Can Stem Cells help with Common Golf injuries?
Golf can be a great way to enjoy some time off on the weekend, relaxing time with friends, or work up a great appetite, but the mechanics of a strong golf swing can takes it toll on the joints and the spine. Typical issues golfers face include back pain, elbow tendonitis, rotator cuff shoulder injuries and pain, knee pain, and wrist injuries. Flexibility and strengthening on the first line treatments to address those kinds of problems, but persistent pain, and bouts of acute inflammation can bring more pain after each round of golf. Chronic and long standing use of anti-inflammatories don’t allow the body to heal properly, and have their own potential side effects.
These types of repetitive sports injuries are ideally addressed by “regenerative” medicine approaches, meaning that stem cells and their healing potentials are tapped to reduce inflammation and promote healing through tissue regeneration. There are multiple ways to approach regenerative medicine applications, with the most modern, efficient, and efficacious being through use of EXOSOMES.
Exosomes are very small, encapsulated particles containing specific growth factors and cellular activity stimulators given off by a cell to communicate and influence neighboring cells. Youthful and active exosomes from stem cells can be used to stimulate and activate your own stem cells to foster healing like when you were young. Think about how quickly a 5 year old heals a skinned knee, and how long you require to heal an abrasion. Do you ever get prolonged bruising around it? Exosomes can be used to augment and support your own healing mechanism, including areas sustaining stressful forces, like those felt while playing golf.
Let us examine what these exosomes do even further! When youthful exosomes are provide to our cells (and our stem cells), they help turn on youthful and anti-aging pathways in the cells, which “rev” up the cell metabolism. This cell activity is similar or even the same type of activity our cells enjoyed when they were younger. How many overweight people have wished for a faster metabolism? Well, that starts with the metabolism of our cells.
When these youthful cell pathways are activated, the cell behaves to fight inflammation. This anti-inflammatory behavior involves turning on or turning up the use of certain genes to make proteins that fight inflammation through a number of methods, such as DNA repair and maintenance, including the end caps of our chromosomes, called telomeres. Other youthful anti-inflammatory activities include anti-oxidations, whereby proteins are made to fight against free radicals made by the cell, and from our environments. Activated cellular metabolism also supports our mitochondria. These are the energy powerhouses of our cells, and are responsible for production of our energy. The more mitochondria, the more mitochondrial activity, and the more efficient they are, the better our metabolism runs at the cellular and also at the organismal level (the person’s metabolism).
When used appropriately, exosomes have been shown to be successful in reducing inflammation and pain, improving degenerative joints, addressing organic conditions including other inflammatory disorders commonly associated with aging. Some have shown a general anti-aging effect in general, although more time is needed to fully study the benefits of exosomes to understand any age reversal results.
Exosomes are best sourced from perinatal fluid. This means that consenting mothers who are undergoing a C-section delivery have been pre-screened and tested to confirm they are disease free, then donate (or sell) their amniotic fluid for this purpose without any problem with their baby. Previously, the placenta and amniotic fluid have been considered medical waste. But now, these materials can be used to help others. Companies process the fluid in a sterile manner, and filter out larger proteins and unwanted elements. The fluid can be “spun down” in a centrifuge to purify only the exosomes. They are deep frozen and then available for use. Each “lot” is tested for purity, and for disease. There are no cells in exosomes, and therefore a person (host) cannot reject the exosomes (“graft”).
Exosomes are being used widely throughout the world. Exosomes are present to a smaller degree in platelet rich plasma (PRP) and in stem cell deliveries. Stem cells are the main source of perinatal exosomes, since the fluid surrounding the placenta and fetus are mainly made up of exosomes. These are the most youthful and active exosomes. They have the most robust ability to activate a dormant and sluggish, older stem cell through their metabolic re-programming. The effect of such cellular activation is not permanent, but can stimulate healing and regenerative biology within an individual.
Many physicians treated in the U.S., even recently, are not exposed to regenerative medicine as an option for patients. Some may have some experience in PRP, which is gaining a foothold. Some patients leave the country for more costly stem cell procedures. The FDA does regulate the use of biologics, so it is important to have an open discussion with your physician about the pros and cons of any treatment, and to understand the regenerative options. Many regenerative medicine approaches can be used to prevent the need for joint surgery, for example, so it is important to get second opinions on all possible ways to address any issues.
Back to golf: without missing a day of golf, there are possible approaches to addressing the usual orthopedic complaints that can make an otherwise enjoyable game somewhat painful. Jumping ahead to surgery for degenerating knees is often too big a step without considering the potential benefits of regenerative medicine. Exosomes and other regenerative applications are much less invasive than surgery, and avoid the surgical risks. Regenerative approaches are not used for people with known cancer, since we have not fully studied the effect of improving cellular metabolism on cells that already have a growth advantage.
That is why I have formed ReCELLebrate, the first of its kind Stem Cell Activation Clinic. See what exosomes can do for your enjoyment of golf, and your golf score! We look forward to helping people address their joint pain, energy, and sports-related pains without pharmaceuticals or surgery.