Why you should listen –
Dr. Harry Adelson is a world-renowned specialist in the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain conditions. He explains the fascinating process of injecting natural substances from our own tissues directly into pain areas to regenerate normal tissue, as well as the efficacy and cost of the procedure. From his groundbreaking treatments, to the sudden stroke he recently suffered, to all the exciting new stem cell technologies, Dr. Adelson shares his expertise and experiences with Dave during this compelling conversation.
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Speaker 1: Bulletproof radio a station of high performance.
Dave Asprey: You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey. Today’s cool fact of the day is that of the 206 bones in your body, 106 of them are in your hands and feet. Today we are going to be talking about all sorts of orthopedic things but more importantly we’re going to be talking about stem cells. In fact, just about everything you wanted to know about stem cells because today’s guest is Dr. Harry Adelson.
Harry is a friend and he did some major stem cell work on me pretty much every site of injury about a year ago. He spoke at the Bulletproof conference about this in 2016. He’ll be coming back to the stage in 2017 to share more. Harry’s had a pretty tumultuous year because in addition to continuing to run his clinic, he had a major stroke and you would not know he had a major stroke. So we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about radical healing. We’re going to talk about new research that he’s recently written. Just give you a good grounding in what are stem cells, what can they do for you, how much they’re going to cost and help you understand why this is what I believe is to see change in your ability to make your body do what you wanted to do. So, Harry welcome back to Bulletproof Radio.
Harry Adelson: Thanks Dave. Thanks. I’m glad we had such a good outcome with you, with your low back pain and your knee pain and your shoulder.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Harry Adelson: Sure.
Dave Asprey: So I came in and I have these chronic injuries. I’ve had three knee surgeries before I was 23. I have a screw in my knee and lots of other injuries. I had a thing in my shoulder that had been bothering me for a long time. Some upper cervical like upper back pain that probably was even the beginning of arthritis that was largely caused by not knowing I was nightshade sensitive as well as just some injuries, low back pain. So Harry went through, took out stem cells from my bone marrow and from my fat and basically put them all over the place. It was like a full day of injections using a 3D x-ray machine to make sure the needles were there.
We’re sitting in front of it. If you watch on YouTube bulletproof.com/YouTube you can see some of the stuff we’re doing. We’re wearing scrubs. We’re looking all medical here. It’s pretty interesting because even within a couple of days my pain levels were down. You also treated my wife, Lana, she had similar experiences. So that was definitely a really positive experience because I don’t have pain in those areas anymore which is I think something that you would expect. You see this in a lot of your patients.
Harry Adelson: Yeah, that’s great. You know there’s the field of orthopedic medicine and in orthopedic medicine there are things wrong with your anatomy. So if you do an MRI, if you do an x-ray you can actually see stuff in the gross anatomy that’s gone wrong. The issue is most of chronic pain happens on the microscopic level. When you move into the area … so if you’ve ruptured your bicep for instance, obviously that’s the problem and that needs to be surgically repaired. When you move into chronic low back pain, somebody has had back pain for 10, 20, 30 years, somebody has had pain anywhere in the body really, sometimes you’ll find stuff wrong with the MRI but frequently you won’t, and really where the pain is coming from is from the microscopic level.
There’s two main things that happen. The collagen matrix becomes irregular so now the miracle fabric that is your connective tissue loses its miracle properties. Second of all, you grow these new blood vessels that are irregular and abnormal blood vessels. So even though you have a higher concentration of blood vessels and thereby every time you grow a new blood vessel, you grow a new sensory nerve, your ability to bring oxygen to the area and bring carbon dioxide away actually becomes diminished because there’s all these little dead ends. So a lot of the pain, the chronic pain, is actually hypoxic pain.
So when you said you got injected all over, that’s exactly right. When we’re treating a low back, we’re not just trying to identify the one single structure that is the problem which is the trap that we fall into with conventional medicine. Really the problem is these entire tissue beds. So when we bring stem cells to the entire tissue beds, we grow healthy new blood vessels. We help grow nice even collagen fibers and restore health to the tissue.
Dave Asprey: You talked about hypoxic pain some people may not know what that means. That just means you’re not getting enough oxygen there and in Head Strong I read about pseudo hypoxia which is something that happens when your mitochondria don’t work very well. You actually get local pockets where there just is enough oxygen and then that makes the problem even worse which contributes to pain. So what’s going on here is when you inject stem cells mitochondrial function improves. Is that a part of it because you have new cells with new mitochondria?
Harry Adelson: Everything improves. When you bring oxygen to the area, then everything improves. There’s what’s happening on the cellular level and then I focus mainly what’s happening on the interstitial level which is the connective tissue between the cells so that’s where most of my knowledge is.
Dave Asprey: That’s probably mostly collagen and …
Harry Adelson: Largely collagen.
Dave Asprey: Clearly I’ve been eating collagen for a long time because I manufacture the big grass-fed collagen product. Is eating collagen important for healing?
Harry Adelson: A balanced diet is critical of course. Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: What the heck is a balanced diet?
Harry Adelson: I think that for different people it means different things. I think everybody just has to experiment which what works for them. Let’s have a brain. Diet soda, it needs to become banned. It is absolute poison. The whole concept of being diet. I mean that’s just a travesty that they’re even allowed to use that word because it’s proven that diet soda makes you fat.
Dave Asprey: It’s the best marketing ever. You sell something to someone that does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do so they’ll do it more and it’s evil. Diet soda should be just take it off the market tomorrow. You can do things with stevia and all that. You can have zero sugar but it doesn’t mean it’s diet. It just means it has no sugar in it.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. So much of what I see with people with chronic pain is that they haven’t even had that many injuries or that much overuse, it’s just they put such poor nutrition into their body that their joints disintegrate. I treated your parents yesterday. I had very interesting conversation with your dad about pesticides. He has a lot of interest in that. Roundup needs to be banned.
Dave Asprey: Amen brother!
Harry Adelson: It’s time.
Dave Asprey: Five billion pounds a year and it’s a mitochondrial poison. I read a lot about that in Head Strong as well because you look at what it does. The gly part of glyphosate is glycine, and what’s the number one amino acid in you collagen? Its glycine. This poison can actually go in when your body is trying to make healthy collagen. It’ll make collagen that incorporates a pesticide instead of the right amino acid. No wonder you get a regular collagen. No wonder you get pain. It’s just unacceptable. If there was a death penalty for a company, it’s hard to kill companies but …
Harry Adelson: Especially that one.
Dave Asprey: Yeah I know. That one needs a death penalty. We should literally seize all of their assets and use it to repair the damage they’ve done to the world. You hear that? We’re looking at you. All right, let’s get back to stem cells. Unless if you ever mix a little bit of Roundup in the stem cells just to piss them off if we inject them?
Harry Adelson: No, no one has ever pissed me off at all.
Dave Asprey: No, just to piss the stem cells so they’d be more aggressive.
Harry Adelson: That’s not the kind of counter or take that we’re looking for.
Dave Asprey: I’m totally kidding. It’s one of those things where if your chronic pain comes from chemical exposure though where certainly a lot of mine did from toxic mold exposure and a lot of people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that’s the root cause is poisoning of the tissues. Does stem cells work for those kind of things?
Harry Adelson: I don’t think that’s ever been formally researched and I don’t know the answer to that. I can tell you that every time we do a stem cell treatment … So mostly what we do here as we discussed in the last podcast as we discussed at the conference we’re going to discuss again at the conference, we take stem cells from your bone marrow, from your fat, combine them then inject them into whatever the damaged structure is. So whether it’s intervertebral discs, whether it’s a joint, whether it’s a tendon, but additionally we take some of the stem cells from your fat and give it intravenously. Every single patient even if they’re …
Dave Asprey: Had some right here yesterday.
Harry Adelson: That’s right. Even if you’re just coming in for arthritis of the knees, we go ahead and give some intravenously. I have had people tell me all kinds of stuff that they didn’t even told me about. My exercise induced asthma is better. It’s astounding to me what people come back to me and say has improved.
Dave Asprey: My brother-in-law had intravenous stem cells and he had a life threatening heart valve issue that spontaneously reversed itself which has never happened. That doesn’t happen. You have to have surgery. Like well you have no symptom of this anymore. Just healing that doesn’t make any sense except it does.
Harry Adelson: I’m treating your brother-in-law in two weeks for his desiccated disc. He has a dehydrated lumbar disc which is very painful to him. He did it sheering sheep. Wasn’t that it?
Dave Asprey: Was that how he did it?
Harry Adelson: It’s a sheep herding injury.
Dave Asprey: He was a pro motorcycle racer too. He’s been life-flighted out and things like that. So I’m sure that you’re going to have lots of needles to stick in him in various places. Let’s talk about disc because you just wrote a paper and post into research on specifically discs, right?
Harry Adelson: Yes. So I’ve been part of what we do is treating the low back pain and neck pain. Of the cases of low back pain, something that we see frequently here in this clinic is young people, starting in their early 20s on up but it can be young, healthy athletic people with midline pain worse bending forward. So they had a life time of athletics and then they do this one sort of … a common one is the popular CrossFit exercise of deadlifts combined with box jumping and they do that and it puts them to the floor. Then that just totally changes their lives. Then we get an MRI and we look at the T2 weighing and we see their discs are white, white, white, white, black or dark gray.
Dave Asprey: Because it’s just damaged.
Harry Adelson: Completely dehydrated. So the level of whiteness represents the level of hydration. So when it’s black, it means that disc is dehydrated. Now what’s interesting is when you look at the radiology report, if it’s from Scripps or Mayo clinic or one of the real high end radiology centers, they mention that that disc is desiccated but more than half of the radiology reports that I see from the less than the most high end radiologist don’t even bother mentioning it. It is so obvious it’s like someone turned the Christmas tree off. It’s that obvious. They don’t even bother mentioning it. The reason is because most surgeons don’t really care. It really doesn’t really register into their thinking. So to me that is the single most important finding in an MRI.
I mean if their disc has exploded into the spinal canal, that’s important too. But a black disc, a dehydrated disc is something that conventional medicine other than fusion has really nothing to offer and that is a condition for which stem cells functions beautifully. So you mentioned the paper I published in the Pain Practitioner which is the publication of the American Academy of Pain Management and I did a survey. We took a period of time. We found 30 people that we had done disc injections with stem cells, this is bone marrow and adipose stem cells.
Dave Asprey: From the person with their own stem cells.
Harry Adelson: With their own stem cells. We injected them into the black disc, into the desiccated disc, the dehydrated disc. We would do epidurals. Put stem cells up into the spinal canal and then we would do all the ligaments of the back and the sacroiliac ligament, iliolumbar ligament. Of the 30 people we surveyed, we called them one year later so this is 12 months after the intervention. We have one person who didn’t have any improvement at all. He wasn’t any worse but he wasn’t any better. So that’s 0.3%. I’m sorry, no 3%.
Then we had five people who had 50% improvement. We had four people who had 100% improvement and then everyone else fell somewhere in between the average improvement with 77.5%. So this is not a major publication. This is not a major journal. It didn’t not have an IRB approval. There were certain things that we didn’t do but it’s my clinical experience and we’re having good success.
Dave Asprey: There are seven different kinds of evidence. The highest form of evidence is not a double blind trial. That’s only if you’re a science troll. The highest form of evidence and in clinical practice and this works and it works reliably most of the time. You will see more as a physician and knowing thousands of physicians like they are the people doing the cutting edge stuff and every time someone says that can’t work because there’s no double blind trial, they’re actually making humanity weaker.
Harry Adelson: Just because it hasn’t been scientifically proven doesn’t mean it’s been disproven.
Dave Asprey: Exactly, right. So I hear people apart from frustrated physicians saying this works. I’ve studied it for 40 years. It’s changed thousands of lives but nobody believes it works and they’re just at their wit’s end. In this case …
Harry Adelson: Contempt prior to investigation condemns you to eternal ignorance. So there you go.
Dave Asprey: Great quote. Now you noticed this is a fact and you’ve been focusing on treating pain and treating joints and all this and certainly my knee is tighter than it was. I think the stem cells is works better.
Harry Adelson: Meaning more stable.
Dave Asprey: Yeah more stable. Not tight in a bad way but just my knee caps were hypermobile and 13 years of soccer when you’re obese will do that to you. I had PRP injected in it before and it had a moderate effect from that but the stem cells were much stronger. When you’re dealing with patients doing stem cells and you do them intravenously, what else happens with an intravenous infusion?
Harry Adelson: Well I’ve never looked formally but I can tell you that I’ve had lots of people tell us … I mean theoretically I can tell you it gives you a systemic boost. The way stem cells function we have stem cells in every connective tissue in our body. Their job is to maintain the health of their micro environment. When they’re in their normal resting state, they’re just in this inactive state wrapped around blood vessels and when they activate they detach from the blood vessel and signal the micro environment to go into healing mode.
So when you give a burst intravenously, you essentially trick the body into thinking that there’s been an injury and you go to into hyper healing mode. There is a very interesting mouse study and I remember the woman who quoted the study. I heard her give it at a meeting. She had this very high voice. On top of it she was kind of pretty and young which made it all even weirder. She was talking about this mouse study where they took these mice and they injured … they essentially induced a macular degeneration by injecting chemicals into their eye.
Dave Asprey: Sucks to be a mouse today.
Harry Adelson: This is really a bummer if you’re a mouse. So then they did these biopsies and showed the vascular damage. Then they burned the mice. This woman was telling the story and we’re all just sitting there going “Ugh!” by burning the mice they waited a period of a month after the burn and then they did another biopsy of the eye and found that their macular degeneration had improved.
Dave Asprey: Because of the burn?
Harry Adelson: Exactly.
Dave Asprey: Truth be told just to disclose this. They do anesthetize the mice before they burn them so they don’t feel the burn.
Harry Adelson: True. Better but still have to burn.
Dave Asprey: Still sucks.
Harry Adelson: Still sucks for the mouse.
Dave Asprey: There’s lot of people are like horrified. They’re like, “Oh at least they’re minimizing suffering.” I got to give them points for that.
Harry Adelson: So theoretically by giving stem cells intravenously what we’re doing is tricking your body into thinking that you had this sort of systemic insult without actually having been injured and you get all the benefit of a healing response without actually having been injured.
Dave Asprey: Okay that’s pretty profound. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is I’ve been exercising with compression bands on a device called the Vasper so you’re in ice and I did a podcast with the Vasper creator recently. One of the things it does is it tricks the body into thinking that you have done several hours of exercise by creating a big pulse of lactic acid. So you’ve exercised for 20 minutes but you get the lactic acid of two and a half hours of exercise. So, the body is like better make growth hormone, better up regulate hormone production and this reminds me of that same approach where we’re sending these signals in. Do you do anything else or can people listening to anything else do either create a signal like that at home or to amplify the signal as stem cells? Any thoughts come to mind?
Harry Adelson: I believe in the four pillars of health which is good sleep, good diet, getting your emotional needs met and then exercise. I think if you’re getting a B or a B plus in those four areas, you’re doing good. I think you can get real fancy with all of this and for most people in the world and most people listening if you just hit all four of those things and shoot for B in all of them, then you’re going to get an exponential effect in your overall health.
Dave Asprey: Let’s switch gears a bit. I got a text message a few months ago from a mutual friend saying, “Dave, Harry is in the hospital. He had a massive stroke.” I was like, “Oh no! You’re one of the more forward thinking stem cell guys.” There was concern about whether you’d ever be functional again. What happened?
Harry Adelson: So after my record year, all this good stuff happening in my life. Docere Clinics had a record 2016 largely thanks to you and largely thanks for speaking at the Bulletproof Conference and everything. It was Christmas Eve at home with my wife. We’re leaving for New York the next day, long awaited vacation. My wife asked me a question and I went to make a smartass remark and I couldn’t remember words.
Dave Asprey: Wow that’s kind of scary.
Harry Adelson: It was very scary. So we went to the hospital here in Park City. They transported me to the big hospital. I kept having strokes. I’d sort of get better and then it will get worse. They couldn’t …
Dave Asprey: You’re having more than one stroke basically.
Harry Adelson: It was lots of little strokes. I had two periods where I completely lost the ability to speak for a couple of hours. I’ll tell you it is a very unpleasant sensation. So on day three, the surgeon comes in, sits down on my bed and says, “Well, good news is we figured out why you keep having strokes. The best news is you have a bacterial infection of your heart and you got to have a valve replacement, open heart surgery in two weeks.” I said, “Excuse me.” So two weeks later I had a seven hour open heart surgery on the cardiac bypass machine for seven hours. I lost 20 pounds in muscle. When we did this podcast a little over a year ago you were 30 pounds lighter and I was 20 pounds heavier. It switched.
Dave Asprey: Yeah I put on a little muscle since then.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. I asked these guys from the infectious disease specialists to the cardiologist to the cardiothoracic surgeons, they all just said, “One in 100,000 you’ve hit the lucky jackpot.”
Dave Asprey: No idea how you got it.
Harry Adelson: No idea and they all said, “Quit trying to play junior detective because you will never know.” There’s no dental disease. My next door neighbor is an orthodontist. He’s done CAT scan of my teeth. I had no gingivitis. I had none of the risk factors. It was just crazy luck.
Dave Asprey: Did you have permanent brain damage from that or any kind of brain damage?
Harry Adelson: No. the good news about the types of strokes because what it is, is you get these accumulations of bacteria on your aortic valve and then they break off. So it’s just debris. It’s these little …
Dave Asprey: Blood clots. Okay, good.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. It wasn’t a massive stroke. It was hundreds of tiny little strokes. I still am having a little trouble speaking but I’m only three months out. So at six months they said I should be completely recovered. I’ll tell you I mean it was a very frightening experience because it really made me realize how random the universe can be. So the upside is in recovery. So I’m the hospital all messed up. My wife gave me Vishen Lakhiani’s book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.
Dave Asprey: Good book, yeah. By the way, you guys should read that book. I recommend and interviewed Vishen for it but read it because what happened when you read it?
Harry Adelson: So I got into the part where he was talking about a period in his career where he’s being very successful but he realized that a small key point of attention in his life had shifted where he was no longer working for his passion but instead he was working just to prove to himself. It was this small little psychic shift that occurred and I read that. I realized that over the last year I had become very comfortable in my little world. I had a great year.
We did 500 stem cell procedures here in this clinic and we helped a lot of people at a deep level. I had sort of created this little emotional and psychic chorale for myself. I need to break that. So, what we’ll talk about at the conference is my commitment to Bulletproof and to Dave Asprey and to you the listeners out there is my goal is to bring stem cell medicine to the people at an affordable price and create a self-sustaining system to provide at least platelet rich plasma and stem cell procedures at no cost to the medically underserved. We’ll talk more about that when the time is appropriate.
Dave Asprey: One of the things that just drives me nuts. I’m a professional biohacker at this point. Like I fly around and do interesting procedures and I invest money in my quest to live to 180. People are saying, “When is this ever going to be accessible?” The first cellphones were $50,000 and took a whole trunk of your car and they were $10 a minute. Now they’re almost free. The first sequence of the human genome, Craig Venter $100 million in over 10 years. I remember I helped one of the companies, had a whole floor of the data center just to store his genome.
Now you can store your genome on your iPhone probably anyway. You can certainly get it done for 1500 bucks. So this happens over the course of 20 years. What you can do with this is you can take something that today runs about five grand and make it much, much more affordable so that people who have arthritis and are on fixed income there’s no reason they should have arthritis. Like we can fix that.
Harry Adelson: The number one leading cause of disability worldwide is musculoskeletal pain.
Dave Asprey: You’ve got a hack for that. It’s just slightly too expensive.
Harry Adelson: You got to make it accessible and affordable.
Dave Asprey: It’s not $50,000 like I’m sure … in fact, you know what the total bill was for the procedures they did to save your life. It must have been half a million dollars at least open surgery.
Harry Adelson: It was close to that.
Dave Asprey: So you look at those numbers which is something that a lot of people spend when they have their federally mandated insurance and all that. Then you look at an expenditure of $5000 that’s not insurable right now and. that’s wrong. It should be covered by insurance. If it’s not, if you can give them the $500 and you’re going to relieve yourself of pain so you can go back to work or you can go back to whatever is important to you, I think that’s a pretty damn important mission Harry. It’s a good one.
Harry Adelson: Yeah thanks. I thank you Vishen Lakhiani if you’re listening to this.
Dave Asprey: Yeah I’ll text him this afterwards. I’ll make sure. Vishen and I got to be friends, he did [inaudible 00:26:53] and he’s a fantastic human being. It’s refreshing to hear when one guest on Bulletproof Radio ends up affecting another one. Just the universe kind of aligns up that way sometimes. What did you do to speed your own healing?
Harry Adelson: Oh gosh! Well reading Vishen’s book was a big part of it. That was calming my mind down because the most dramatic part of it was psychic. It was terrifying.
Dave Asprey: Of course fear of death, right?
Harry Adelson: There was a little medical mistake. They had to have me lay perfectly flat in the bed. That’s part of it is because if you sit up, then that stuff rushes. That debris rushes into your brain. Well they had a little goof up where the physical therapist came in and didn’t read the chart and had me stand up. I thought she was giving me instructions from the neurologist. I stood up. That was the biggest stroke that I had. My wife was watching. I mean it was really awful. It was really just a very terrifying experience. I would say getting through it and doing everything that I could to hold on to the positivity and turn it into a positive experience rather than focus on the negativity because it was a very, very scary thing.
Dave Asprey: That’s what gratitude is for.
Harry Adelson: Uh-hmm (affirmative).
Dave Asprey: I’m the middle of the book tour for Head Strong so I’ve been traveling around and giving talks in seven cities to several hundred people just about mitochondria and all this. One of the guys came up to me and he had tears in his eyes and he’s like, “Dave when I talk to you about two years ago on a coaching call, one of my family members was dying of cancer and you told me that I had to learn to be grateful for the cancer.” He’s like, “I thought you were such an asshole at the time.” He goes, “But actually I did have to do that.
Like I work through it. Now even though I did lose my family member but my emotions about it are very different. So yeah being able to shift this to the point you did it’s so important for healing and it’s something that I don’t know that they teach in medical school. Having not gone to medical school but the power gratitude is massive.” As soon as you’re out, did you gather your stem cells and infused the hell out of them? Did you inject your heart scars? You’ve got more ability to hack yourself than most humans.
Harry Adelson: That’s true I did and I made a decision to not micromanage the cardiothoracic surgeons or try to outguess them. In a rare instance of self-control, I decided to just follow … in that instance to follow medical advice and not mess with it too much because I figure there was a weird stuff happening. I didn’t want to throw anything else at it.
Dave Asprey: That’s not what I thought you were going to say.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. I did do a little bone marrow drive stem cells into my sternum because I was having a little trouble with a nonunion and actually when we … I am getting a stem cell treatment in the next couple of days intravenously.
Dave Asprey: I would have like hitting that every week.
Harry Adelson: The trouble is I don’t have a lot of fat.
Dave Asprey: Got it. Okay.
Harry Adelson: Sure I will be doing things.
Dave Asprey: Let’s talk about this not having very much fat. I’m sure everyone interested here is looking for that. One of my happy moments was when I was … I think I was in Florida getting fat taken for the second time. He’s like, “You don’t have very much left.” I’m like, “Yes I’m winning.” Being formerly obese person. It is possible and in a lot of the world you get your fat taken once and then they culture your stem cells and they can grow them and amplify them so you just have them banked. I do have my stem cells banked and it’s a gray zone. What’s your take on banking stem cells on the regulatory environment? Should we be allowed to do it? Should people leave the country to do it? Let’s talk about that because it seems important.
Harry Adelson: So let me tell you about two things. I’m going to tell you about banking your cells to answer your question and then I want to tell you about umbilical cord stem cells.
Dave Asprey: Oh yeah this other source of stem cells. Thanks, yeah.
Harry Adelson: Sure. It is possible to bank your cells. It is possible t bank your cells in the US. The part that’s difficult is there’s a very small window of spectrums where it’s legal to actually use them. So currently it is very much a gray area. There are small number of laboratories that will culture expand your cells and will deliver them to you. I’m not getting involved with that at this point because my goal is to stay on the cutting edge and stay off the bleeding edge. At this point that’s not permitted. Also because I work with musculoskeletal pain conditions, I haven’t found it to be necessary.
I used to work closely with a stem cell laboratory in Bogota, Colombia so for my patients that wanted culture expansion we would go to Bogota. You meet them in Bogota. We do the treatments there. I just found for musculoskeletal pain conditions, it’s just not necessary. You don’t need to make the trip. It’s too expensive. We’re just doing the same day autologous stem cells from yourself seems to work just fine. If you have something, if you have a really hideous disease, if you have Parkinson’s, if you have kids with profound autism and you want to do this embryonic stem cells or all these other things, yes by all means there are a number of good outfits outside of the country most notably the stem cell institute in Panama City in Panama.
Umbilical cord stem cells are now available in the US. I have just started working with a laboratory here in Salt Lake City. What they do is they very rigorously screen these healthy pregnant women. They put them through a very detailed interview process. They buy the umbilical cord from them then once they have the umbilical cord, then they run it through laboratory test and screen it for every imaginable communicable disease as well as diseases of the DNA. Once it’s been cleared, they make them available to doctors for sale.
Dave Asprey: The stem cells not the umbilical cords, right?
Harry Adelson: This is mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord. So this is not from an embryo. This is from a normal baby that’s been delivered and is healthy and the umbilical cord goes to the laboratory and the stem cells are isolated from the umbilical cord and sold to doctors. I got them in because what I found is that I get consistently good results using people’s own stem cells until people hit about 75 years old. Then I have about half the people do well and the other half it just completely drops of. So, there’s two types of people that I generally offer umbilical cord stem cells to be used along with their bone marrow and fat stem cells, people 75 and older and the Bulletproof crowd because Dave you want to try and basically …
Dave Asprey: I had the thing you put in an IV, right?
Harry Adelson: Uh-hmm (affirmative).
Dave Asprey: Yeah. That’s yesterday.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. The people who think like you do and follow your show and go to the conference, they are interested in experimenting on themselves. This is something that as far as we know for the literature that does exist, it does appear to be safe.
Dave Asprey: Yeah my parents got these too.
Harry Adelson: That’s right.
Dave Asprey: So to record this episode we’re here in Park city. For Christmas I got my parents stem cell procedures. So we flew out to get them treated here with Dr. Harry. The idea there is my dad is having some cognitive dysfunction. He went on blood pressure medication that I suggested that he might not want to go on but hey he’s my dad. He’d do what he’s going to do. It turns out he just didn’t have enough blood flow in his vein which is very common on older people. It caused some calcification in his brain which is not a good thing. So he got vertigo and some other problems like that that really were affecting him and I got him a hyperbaric chamber and some infrared lights and some things like that that were managing his symptoms perfectly.
So if he did that every day, he doesn’t have any symptoms. But let’s get him younger and I would like him and my mom who’s had some complications from brain surgery years ago, I’d like to keep them around for a very long time. So I think this is a wise investment and honestly if it keeps them out of needing a nurse or something like that 20 years from now, cool. It is actually a meaningful investment as well as investment in quality of life for them. So I was happy that you were able to deliver the cutting edge stuff Harry so it’s important.
Harry Adelson: They’re lovely. By the way, they’re very, very pleasant people.
Dave Asprey: Yeah they’re good parents. I just think so. The embryonic stem cells are different than the umbilical cord stem cells though.
Harry Adelson: Yeah. There’s a lot of misconception about people who are against embryonic stem cells. So when people mistakenly throw around terms like aborted fetuses or aborted babies or that sort of thing. So the controversial stem cell is embryonic stem cell. There are people who as soon as they say they’re just against that.
Dave Asprey: Yeah it creates an emotional response. They stop thinking when you say those words.
Harry Adelson: Which is fine. However, I think those people should really understand what an embryonic stem cell is. So a woman is unable to conceive so she goes to an in vitro fertilization doctor. That’s a specialist in fertility and it’s a surgical procedure where they give the woman some medication so they grow extra eggs. Then the surgeon removes those eggs. Then he has the male donate sperm, puts the sperm and the eggs in a petri dish and creates and embryo. An embryo is eight cells. It’s a ball of eight cells. That’s it. It’s an eight cell of these stem cells. The surgeon then picks the four or five best looking ones, the ones that look the healthiest and they put them back in the woman.
Dave Asprey: Best looking embryos, not cells.
Harry Adelson: The embryos that look the healthiest. The remaining embryos, balls of eight cells, go into a freezer for time in memoriam, to kingdom come. They go in that freezer and they never come out. They’re never used for anything else. Those are the ones when we talk about embryonic stem cells that’s what we use. So if you’re a frozen embryo from an IVF lab you can either be in a freezer forever or you could potentially become a lifesaving stem cell for some form of research or some form of treatment. That’s it. That is where when we talk about embryonic research, that’s where they come from.
Dave Asprey: Are they using these to treat people or these using these for research and understanding …?
Harry Adelson: Well mostly they’re used for research when they’re used at all. This is the one that’s so controversial.
Dave Asprey: That’s pretty unusual.
Harry Adelson: I like to point out that if you’re against stem cell research or use of embryonic stem cells, you really should be against in vitro fertilization because …
Dave Asprey: Because you have all these little embryos that are frozen forever.
Harry Adelson: Sitting in the freezer forever. They’re never going to go anywhere. They just can’t be disposed of because disposing of them is controversial also.
Dave Asprey: Got it. Because that will be the same as …
Harry Adelson: But somehow sticking them in a freezer until the end of time, then that seems okay.
Dave Asprey: Kind of like the life imprison sentence.
Harry Adelson: Uh-hmm (affirmative).
Dave Asprey: Okay. So we have the embryonic stem cells that are used research but those aren’t used for treating people. We have the umbilical cord which frankly most people end up throwing them away. They get incinerated so these are wasted and a few people bank their cord blood. Is it a good idea to bank your kid’s cord blood?
Harry Adelson: Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: Okay, got it. Now if you decide not to bank your kid’s cord blood, you could either donate or sell your umbilical cord? What’s the going rate for umbilical cords?
Harry Adelson: I don’t know. I don’t pay for them.
Dave Asprey: No idea? All right. No one knows.
Harry Adelson: We’d have to ask. The company that I’ve been using they’re called Predictive Biotech. Their website is predbiotech, P-R-E-D biotech and they list their products on there. We were carrying them now. In addition to using stem cells from fat with bone marrow, we will additionally use if people want to. It’s not for everybody and it’s not appropriate for everybody but we will use these umbilical cord stem cells.
Dave Asprey: Now you put some of that in my face yesterday, right?
Harry Adelson: Well yeah Dr. Amy did. Dr. Amy is sitting in here. She injected them into your face.
Dave Asprey: So I had the umbilical stem cells and I had my own fat derived stem cells put in and we’ll see if I look even younger. I did all of my hair and then we did the IV. I was bummed. I’m here like I don’t have any pain and no injury. I have nothing that needs your skillset. I wasn’t really that bummed by that but it’s a good thing that the treatment we did a year ago was really effective. So I’m functionally stronger than I was before.
Harry Adelson: That’s great.
Dave Asprey: What other technologies in stem cells are exciting to you?
Harry Adelson: The biggest thing that we’ve just started employing now is umbilical cord stem cells. I think the next step is going to be culture expansion which hopefully over the next few years will become … right now it’s very much a gray area. I’m not doing it. We have some stance on whether or not it’s acceptable to do that then that’s the next thing. I’d like to start doing it with people.
Dave Asprey: That’s one of the nastier things that happens in innovation around hacking the human body. It’s that things aren’t illegal but they aren’t legal. That is the biggest just … you want to stick a spoke in someone’s bicycle wheel. You do that. No one knows if they’re allowed to do stuff so then most people won’t do it because if you have 12 years of investment in medical school and all that and your license is at risk and you don’t know what’s allowed. The cool thing is for people like me who experiment on ourselves, well what are you going to do take away my biohacker license to manage my own biology?
If you try and do that you’re now stepping on inalienable rights. That is a constitutional issue which is cool. That means that if someone like me wants to say culture expand my stem cells, I don’t generally have the knowledge and skills or technology and equipment to do that. if I wanted to do that, there’s probably a million dollars in crap I’d have to somehow figure out how to afford and then learn and then I’d stop recording podcast and that’s just not going to happen. So then we end up taking professional athletes and billionaires. I work with a good number of very wealthy people who are doing everything they can to live forever and more importantly to feel really good right now like that’s a big part of it.
They’re fine to take their private gets to other countries and all that. It’s just not fair that they get to do it and the rest of us don’t. It’s not fair that we could do it for much cheaper here but it’s blocked. It’s not blocked because people … because doctors are unwilling to do it or because it’s unsafe. It’s blocked because of regulatory stuff. One of my goals for Bulletproof is just to get people aware of what’s really happening because when there is demand, the supply will manifest itself and the regulations will shift more quickly. When there’s 100,000 people who hear this show in the first week and they’re like calling around going “I really, really want some stem cells because I have this knee or this back or this pain and whether they come out here to Park City or not, all the people are saying couldn’t fit in your clinic a year.”
What will happen though is they’ll change demand and then people will hear that and then that will make the regulatory people that I guess we should allow it. When that happens the cost drops through the floor. When you do what you’re doing and some of the stuff you’re going to talk about at the Bulletproof conference around just pushing the price of stem cells really far down. I think that’s also a game changer. It’s accessibility. It’s affordability. You got to have biohackers to lead the edge there because you can’t take our license.
Harry Adelson: That’s right.
Dave Asprey: Awesome. Anything else on the stem cell frontier that we should talk about any exciting to you?
Harry Adelson: I think that’s it. I hope that everyone listening I hope to see at the Bulletproof conference in Pasadena October 13th through the 15th.
Dave Asprey: Yeah I’m really looking forward to your talk. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Harry, thanks for being on Bulletproof Radio.
Harry Adelson: Thanks again Dave.
Dave Asprey: Thanks for treating my parents too. That’s really cool. I’m looking forward to seeing them stronger and more youthful. It’s very cool.
Harry Adelson: I think they’re going to do great.
Dave Asprey: if you enjoyed today’s show, you know what to do. A couple of things, you can always leave a review for the show. I’m happy to see that. You can head on over to the Bulletproof website and you can pick up your latest subscription for brain octane oil which is a source of exogenous ketones that makes your brain feel amazing. Turns of cravings. Goes in Bulletproof coffee, goes on every meal that I eat. I just sprinkle some on there especially when I travel. If you haven’t read Head Strong, it’s time to read it.
There’s really cutting edge stuff in there. I write about stem cells a little bit and a lot about this power plant in your body because when your mitochondria are working, you have more energy and that energy goes towards doing better things and the more energy you have, the nicer you are to everyone else. So read the book, share with your friends and please leave a review on Amazon. It makes a huge difference. Thank you.
- 00:00 – #9 of Dave’s Top 10 Biohacks – hanging upside down!
- 00:22 – Teeter Inversion Table – Special Product Offer
- 01:40 – Cool Fact of the Day
- 02:00 – Dave intros Dr. Harry Adelson, a specialist in regenerative stem cell therapy
- 03:00 – Dave discusses his chronic injuries and describes stem cell injection treatments
- 04:19 – Dr. Adelson explains the real source of chronic pain and how stem cell treatment can have a positive impact
- 07:10 – What foods should we eat for proper healing — and to avoid pain?
- 09:38 – Can issues from exposure to chemicals or toxins be treated with stem cells? What other conditions?
- 11:34 – The trend of younger people having more chronic low back pain, black discs
- 13:30 – “The Pain Practitioner”: survey on the success of stem cell injection therapy
- 16:14 – The benefits of stem cell intravenous infusions and hyper-healing
- 18:40 – Dave exercises with compression bands on a Vasper device
- 19:16 – Dr. Adelson’s 4 Pillars of Health
- 19:52 – Dr. Adelson discusses his sudden stroke and the bacterial infection in his heart
- 23:05 – “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” by Vishen Lakhiani – Read it!
- 24:30 – Dr. Adelson’s commitment to make stem cell medicine affordable and accessible
- 27:05 – What Dr. Adelson did to speed his own healing
- 29:10 – Did Dr. Adelson “hack” himself during his recovery?
- 30:30 – Dr. Adelson’s view on banking stem cells
- 32:36 – Umbilical cord stem cells – how it works and who it’s good for
- 36:00 – Embryonic stem cells and why they are controversial
- 38:55 – Banking your baby’s cord blood – Predictive BioTech
- 40:21 – The most exciting stem cell technologies
- 43:39 – Goodbyes…
- 43:56 – Leave a review for our podcast, pick up Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil, and read “Headstrong”!
Why you should listen –
Dr. Harry Adelson has performed over 3,000 bone marrow and adipose-derived adult stem cell procedures. He’s in the company of those most experienced in the world with use of autologous stem cells for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain conditions. He opened Docere Clinics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and his practice is 100% regenerative injection therapies for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain conditions. This episode of the podcast comes days after he gave Dave full-body stem cell treatment, and was recorded inside his lab. Listen to Dave and Dr. Harry talk about fat vs. bone marrow, different kinds of stem cell treatment, culture expansion, prolotherapy, bio-identical hormones and more. Enjoy the show.
Dr. Harry will be speaking at this year’s Bulletproof Conference, and we’re currently offering $200 dollars off of our three-day pass! Get more info here.
Follow Along with the Transcript!
Dave: Hey it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that your liver can safely process up to about eight pills or four grams of acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, in a twenty-four hour period. That’s at least the maximum it can do. I would say less is better. If you have more than that you can be at a really serious risk of poisoning and basically killing liver cells. Hundreds of people every year die especially if they take Tylenol with alcohol.
The reason this happens is because the Tylenol depletes glutathione in your liver. As soon as you run out of glutathione your liver starts to die. You’ve got tot always have a reserve of that. You can build your own glutathione using things like vitamin C or you can take it endogenously. If you’re going to be drinking alcohol you also deplete glutathione. Monitoring that reserve is pretty darn important.
If you’re a regular listener of Bulletproof Radio you’ve already heard the list of the Top Ten Bulletproof Biohacks. Let’s talk about number nine, fun hacks for the Bulletproof mind. Hanging upside-down, also know as inversion therapy, is a simply, natural way to enhance performance. Plus the inverted stretch, which is called decompression, is a really good way to keep your back in good shape. You can use an inversion table or you can use gravity boots but the only inversion equipment I recommend is from Teeter.
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Today’s guest is a really awesome guy. I’ve spent the last several days with him. You should log in and check this out on YouTube because we are in a … You wouldn’t quite call this an operating room, called a procedure room. I’m wearing a very sexy set of scrubs and a cool hat. Our guest today, who is Doctor Harry Adelson, is wearing his normal work uniform. Harry, welcome to the show.
Harry: Thanks very much, Dave.
Dave: For about the last six years Harry’s done three thousand bone marrow and adipose, or fat-derived, stem cell procedures and spent, I think three days ago, most of the day doing stem cell procedures with me and my wife. I’ve had needles in all sorts of place I never thought needles would go. I came to Doctor Adelson because he’s one of the most experienced in the world using stem cells for musculoskeletal pain. I’ve had three knee surgeries as a kid, and I’ve had problems with my right shoulder for quite a while, as well as just a bunch of other little aches and pains.
Part of being Bulletproof is just building maximum resiliency. I can wait til I’m eighty and I could go and try and address these things as they get worse and worse, after their calcified or I can stay on top of it. I decided I wanted to stay on top of it. After doing a good amount of research I’m like, you know, it’s interesting there’s two camps … We’re going to talk about this, but I wanted to not have to pick between fat-derived or bone marrow-derived stem cells. If you’ve listened to this show for a while you know I’m a little bit hardcore.
If you want to get a result you can be like, “Oh, maybe I’ll do just one thing,” and get the result or you can be like, “You know what? I’m just going to do all the things and probably get the result at the same time and I might not know exactly which one works but I got the result I wanted. Then we can go through and we can do some more research to figured out which one worked but meanwhile I feel amazing, and I have my energy back, and I’m thin, and things like that. That’s important.
If your results oriented versus research oriented you just do different things. I value the research very much which is why I look at all the research before I pick all the things likely to make an impact. With Harry that is why I did that. Harry, your clinic is Docere? I probably say it wrong. I’ve the seen the sign many times.
Harry: It’s a Latin word so I think you can pronounce it however you want. We say Docere but people say Docere. I’ve heard everything.
Dave: I was thinking it was Spanish. It’s D-O-C-E-R-E; Docere.
Harry: Yeah. It’s the Latin verb to teach.
Harry: It’s the root of the word doctor. The word doctor means teacher.
Harry: It is the Latin verb to teach.
Dave: This is in Park City, Utah right across from the Olympic Ski Village. We’re sitting by some amazing equipment and you used most of this stuff on me. What is this big device behind us?
Harry: This thing that’s shaped like the letter C is a C-Arm. It’s X-Ray that functions in three dimensions. What you can do is, you know, if you have a structure under here and you’re looking at it in this orientation then you just throw this lever and then suddenly you switch to a completely different orientation. What it does is allows for three dimensional viewing of structures.
Dave: As they move too, right?
Harry: You can do still pictures and you can also do video analysis so you can use it for diagnostics to see if a body is slipping as you move your head side to side. But mostly what we use it for is either bone marrow aspiration and needle placement for the bone marrow aspiration and additionally for needle placement for injecting. We’ve seen all those bogus pictures online of a flashlight on somebody’s abdomen. They’re saying, “This walked into the emergency room.” If you place a needle inches away this way, but look at it only in this orientation, it’s going to look like it’s in the right position.
Dave: But it’s not. Okay.
Harry: You have to additionally look at it in two views. For instance when we’re injecting an intervetebral disc, so we need to get the tip of the needle in a several square millimeter space in the deepest part of the body we have to be absolutely certain it’s in the right place and that’s where this really shines.
Dave: One of the reasons that I came here is that you have this equipment. A lot of people just place needles sort of, they know, but you’re also looking at this. There’s also radiation risk. I tried to minimize my X-Ray exposure. This is a digital X-Ray so you’re not get a lot of radiation.
Harry: You know, I wear a little badge that tells me exactly how much radiation I get exposed to. You have to think, I’m standing in front of this thing all day, every day. This is a very low radiation device. In one year of being exposed to this it’s about the equivalent of a round trip flight to Paris. For someone like you who does as much airline travel you’re getting way more radiation exposure in an airplane than you are from this machine.
Dave: Got it, so it’s within reasonable safety limits.
Dave: My wife is an emergency room physician who, actually, years ago, did some stem cell culturally as part of her work. She was incredibly impressed with the needle placement because you’re using the machine. You guys are going to see this when you see the blog post about stem cells and all. Harry, by the way, will be speaking at the Bulletproof Conference next year so if you want to check that out: bulletproofconference.com. We’re going to talk about all the different ways you can upgrade the human body and stem cells are profound because not a lot of people have talked about this.
I know a few celebrity people get procedures but then they like hide. I’m like, “No, let’s talk about what works.” You guys are going to see some videos and pictures along my spine and needles in all sorts of places where we’re actually introducing stem cells. Why would a relatively healthy forty-three year old like me even considering doing stem cells. In your experience what are the reasons people come in?
Harry: What we treat here, primarily, is chronic musculoskeletal pain. We have sort of two main types, we have the bone on bone arthritis: hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers.
Harry: That’s about half our cases. The other half are spine. There the ages vary because a lot of times we’ll get the people like a twenty-five year old, very healthy, very active person; swings the tennis racket wrong, gets a little fissure in their disc and then a couple week later it’s completely dehydrated. That ranging onto … We get a lot of Saskatchewan who’ve just worked their entire lives and their X-Rays are..
Harry: Yeah, it’s arthritis. Looks like World War III. I mean, it’s unbelievable. What we have, one of the things that we’ve learned in recent years is that we have mes … Mesenchymal stem cells, there’s many types of stem cells, but mesenchymal stem cells are the ones that can … I have a piece of this model right here.
Dave: Yeah. Show me some stuff. Most people are listening in their cars or sitting at work, they’re not on video. You have to describe what you’re-
Dave: That’s okay. Just describe what you’re showing so people who are listening only can get it. This is one of those one of those ones where you can just log into YouTube and check out the video.
Harry: Okay. I have these plush toys and this is are friend the mesenchymal stem cell. This guy has a little cataracts because my dog got at this one. A mesenchymal has the capacity to self-renew and turn into a new version of itself or it can turn into the skin cell, this fat cell, this bone cell, or this muscle cell. It turns into all the different musculoskeletal connected tissues types.
Dave: Or brain cells, right? You can grow new brain matter?
Harry: Those are neural stem cells.
Harry: This is mesenchymal stem cells.
Dave: You can’t get those from … Okay, cool.
Harry: Yeah, those are neural stems cells which is another type of stem cell. The mesenchymal stem cells, we have them in all of the joints in our body; in our peripheral joints, our hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders, elbows, and wrists. We also have them in our spine. Their job is to keep the joint healthy. When you have just sort of normal wear and tear injury and you go through life and you have a little damage, first of all they release proteins that keep the inflammation under control.
It doesn’t let the inflammation go out of control. Additionally they release proteins that signal the regeneration of damaged issue. When you have healing after an injury it’s a stem cell mediated event. In a more extreme case where there’s actual damage to the point that the cells have died, there’s cell death, then those stem cells have the ability to turn into healthy versions of the damaged, killed cells.
The issue that you run into is as we age, as you get more severe injury, as you’re constantly having … If you’re the type of person who just doesn’t give your body the rest it needs or doesn’t give your body the nutrition that it needs for the stem cells to repair the tissue and those stem cells are constantly shunting in that differentiation mode then they no longer have time to self renew and you deplete the population of stem cells in that joint or in that tissue.
That’s when people say, “It was kind of bad, I was having problems with my knee, and then all of the sudden it seems like everything really went downhill.” What were starting to understand is that it’s because you not longer have stem cells in that joint to keep it healthy. What we do here is we take stem cells from another part of your body, take them out, put them right back in to the damaged joint thereby giving you the ability to self renew and heal yourself after injury.
Dave: Let’s talk about the ways you get stem cells. There’s sort of two camps. I did some research before deciding to do my procedure here. There’s a group of people like, “You have to get them from fat,” and a group of people, “You have to get them from bone marrow.” It seems almost like there’s a little bit of hate going on there. What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Harry: It’s very emotional. It’s sort of like there’s four guys and they’re Chevy guys and with this whole thing-
Dave: Which ones are more redneck?
Harry: That’s right. Yeah. The two tissues that are the richest in stem cells that are the easiest to harvest … Because we have stem cells in our tooth pulp, in our hair follicles …
Harry: Everything, but it’s not practical to harvest stem cells from those tissues. The two tissues that are easy to harvest and are abundant in stem cells are bone marrow and fat. What you run into is most clinics in the United States that do same day autologous stem cell procedures … The word autologous means donor and recipient are the same person. Either they do stem cells from bone marrow or they do stem cells from fat. I mean, you would think that two Canadian teams are in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup. It’s so emotional. There’s so much misinformation being slung back and forth between these two camps.
Bone marrow stem cell therapy has been around much longer. There’s data on it. It’s been used for things like avascular necrosis; there’s a pretty good body of data on it. That’s the upside. The downside is you don’t get a lot of stem cells, you don’t get a lot of mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow. With fat there’s a lot less data on it but you get a lot more stem cells.
It’s easy to sort of fall into this thing that you have to do one and one is better. For me, I started out using bone marrow and I did it for years and I got very good results and I was very happy with it. Then when I decided to start isolating stem cells from fat and using it … The thing about the adipose-derived stem cells is they’re just stem cells on their own and you have to suspend them in a growth factor.
Harry: In order for stem cells to get activated they need to come into a cytokine called platelet drive growth factor. You can get it either from platelet rich plasma …
Dave: Which is basically a blood draw which is then spun.
Harry: Exactly. Or you can get it from bone marrow aspirate concentrate where you’re going to take bone marrow and you spin it down similar to the way you do with blood.
Dave: By the way, we’re going to post pictures of my bone marrow in a little vial here so bulletproofexec.com/youtube will take you right to the YouTube channel where you can find this show. The show is Doctor Harry Adelson if you need to Google for it. The whole show notes and all this stuff will be online but it’s pretty neat to look at this stuff. Anyway, go ahead.
Harry: When I started doing the adipose-derived stem cells the woman, Kristen Kumela who you’re going to meet soon, she came and taught use how to do it and she suggested how to suspended the adipose-derived stem cells and platelet rich plasma. My instinct was, because I had so much good experience with bone marrow aspirate concentrate, I thought, “I should just suspend it in bone marrow.” Then I thought, “Well, you know, really I would like to see” … “Maybe we don’t need to do the bone marrow aspiration.” You have all these people in the adipose camp saying that the bone marrow is unnecessary. I just want to find out for myself. I want to know.
Dave: Test it out.
Harry: What I did was for the first four months that I did adipose-derived stem cells people would come to me and I would say, “Okay, here’s your options: either we do bone marrow aspirate concentrate with which I have” … At that point it was four years experience. I’ve done many cases. I’m very happy with the results. We’re going to get in the neighborhood of the tens of thousand of mesenchymal stem cells. “Or we can do adipose-derived stem cells suspended in platelet rich plasma … There’s a lot less data supporting it’s use. I don’t have much experience with it.” At that point I didn’t. I do now. “But we’re going to get potentially in the millions of mesenchymal stem cells. Which do you want to do?” That way people would self select.
Harry: It’s about split down the middle what people chose to do. When people were six months out to their procedure I phoned them. I just said, “If you had to pick a number percentage improvement from what you experienced from this treatment what would you pick?” It’s not the strongest methodology but …
Dave: It’s actually pretty good.
Harry: I think it is. What better than the person’s experience with the whole thing …
Dave: Do you feel better? Like, We don’t care how you feel.
Harry: Exactly. What I found was, as had been my experience for the years leading up to it, that bone marrow guys very consistently got good results. They were very happy with the outcomes. With the adipose suspended, adipose-derived stem cell suspended in platelet rich plasma, the ones who responded did better … On average ten percent better improvement than the bone marrow guys but almost a full thirty percent of them didn’t have any response at all.
Harry: I don’t know why that is and I still haven’t figured out why that is. Maybe the cells didn’t survived the process, maybe the type of plasma I was using wasn’t adequate. I really don’t know.
Dave: It could be what they eat. It could be the alignment of the sun and stars for all we know. There are so many variables that have never been looked at.
Harry: In an ideal world we would know but the fact is I have people coming to me now who want results.
Harry: What happened at that point was my dad came to visit.
Harry: He wanted treatment and I said, “What am I going to do with dad?” I thought, “I’m just going to do both.” We did both and he had a great outcome. After that I think almost part of the Hippocratic oath could be, “Do unto patients as you would do unto dear old dad.” I get asked all the time, “If I were your father what would you do?” Now I know what I would do with my father. After doing that with him I was like, “If I’m going to do that with my dad I have to do it with everybody.” From that point on everyone got both. When we were six months out from those guys I called them and what I found was that I got the consistency of the bone marrow with the augmented improvement of the fat. I have these results published in the Pain Practitioner which is the journal of the American Academy of Pain Management. It’s on my website. I have links to the article.
Dave: Yeah, I will link to those as well. It’s a bit of a maze to figure out what to do if … In fact, for years I’ve been thinking, “I should do some kind of stem cells. Do I need to fly to Germany? Do I need to go to Chile?” You get all these different places where they’re doing all sort of crazy stuff. These are relatively conservative because these are my stem cells versus fetile derived, sheep stem cells, all these other ways you can do it. What are the other sort of stem cell selections that people might consider and why do you go with the ones you go with?
Harry: Hear in the U.S. one of the things you’re hearing more and more about is the amniotic membrane derived stem cells. This is being aggressively promoted by a number of clinics. It’s very easy to do. It comes in a vial. They’re are stem cells that are taken from the amniotic membrane which are similar to placental cells which are similar to umbilical chord cells. The problem is they’re freeze dried and they’re desiccated. The actual stem cells don’t survive that process. When you are getting these stem cells they’re not living stem cells. You are getting the growth factors that are contained within the stems cells. When you get an injection on amniotic membrane you’re getting a burst of growth factors but my opinion is you can get that from platelet rich plasma.
Dave: I was just going to say. For people listening, platelet rich plasma is when they draw about a hundred milliliters of blood and Robyn Benson whose been on the show, did that for me. You thin the blood and you take out this very thin layer where you get these activating factors and you did this for a long time as well, right?
Harry: I did it for many years before I started stem cells. It’s all I did. It was a hundred percent of my practice.
Dave: Okay. That’s one way. You get growth factors but it’s not the same as stem cells.
Harry: Right. If you have a situation where you have some damage to a structure but you still have your own population of stem cells it probably could be helpful.
Harry: I personally would rather use platelet rich plasma in that situation.
Dave: Because it’s your own stuff and you don’t have to worry about it. It’s coming from a person.
Harry: Not only is it coming to a person unknown to you, I would much rather have it coming from my own body. When you are in a situation were you have no stem cells left and you’re using the amniotic membrane you’re not re-population the cells with living stem cells.
Dave: You just start making them in your marrow anymore. You have none left in the tissue or you have none left in your body basically?
Harry: No, you have none left in that particular tissue. When you have none left in your body you die. That’s what dying of old age is. When your stem cells are no longer functioning you die of old age.
Dave: This is interesting. My plan is, seriously, to live to a hundred and eighty years and I’m willing to do all sorts of bizarre stuff that is probably going to work and I may die doing one of those which would really screw up my goal, but whatever, this is what I do. I’ve been doing a lot to grow my mitochondrial function and neuromitochonria in stem cells. I’ve been doing a lot of high fat for a long time and there’s a lot of fat in stem cells as well; in your bone marrow and basically eating a lot of marrow and other things that affect your ability to make cells. What did you see when you looked at my bone marrow?
Harry: Your bone marrow looked like a typical, healthy persons bone marrow. We’re not looking at it under a microscope …
Dave: Of course.
Harry: We’re just looking at it. When you draw it out it looks like whole blood. When you spin it down there’s fat at the top, there’s serum, there’s the buffy layer where the stem cells are, and then there’s the red blood cells. Yours, you have way more fat than we’re accustomed to seeing which is …
Dave: Your marrow should be full of fat, right?
Harry: Your plasma, your serum, is crystal clear which means you don’t have a lot of free, fatty acids and triglycerides and bad cholesterol in your serum. Because when I give people with bad cholesterol panels it’s milky, it’s not that-
Dave: My cholesterol is about two twenty-five right now but it’s high HDL. Okay.
Harry: What was interesting with you though was your fat. Because when I took the fat …
Dave: This was the lipoaspirate.
Harry: lipoaspirate sugar.
Dave: This is a very small amount like fifty mils.
Harry: We got close to a hundred.
Dave: A hundred, okay.
Dave: It’s not-
Harry: About enough to fill a coffee cup.
Harry: But when I took it out we take it into a syringe, we don’t use a liposuction machine because those high suction machines will damage the cells.
Dave: We’ll put video of this. It’s pretty creepy looking. Sticking a McDonald’s straw … Not quite that big but it’s like a metal straw and …
Harry: Yeah, it’s blunt tip. When it was in the syringe it was just unlike any fat I’ve ever seen. We’re accustomed to seeing … Like smokers’ fat kind of looks like Cheetos and relatively healthy people it just looks like what you think fat would be. Yours was different. I don’t really know how to describe it.
Dave: Was it more like butter. But the number of stem cells you saw was also different, right? You saw larger-
Harry: You had a very fat, nice, healthy fat … After we processed it and spun it all the fat cells, the adipose cells, go to the top and the stem cells go to the bottom and you had a nice big pallet at the bottom.
Dave: My hope there is that some of the practices I do, including some air pressure things that I’m going to be talking about more towards the Bulletproof Conference, they’re designed to stimulate stem cell growth. I’m thinking that this is at least an evidence point that some of the things I’m doing seem to be working. We don’t know whether having more fat in your bone marrow is good. I tend to find that grass fed animals have very healthy bone marrow which is very creamy and fatty versus unhealthy animals that ate a lot of grain. There’s also a color difference. It’s more yellow in a healthy animal versus more kind of white and watery in a grain fed animal but who knows. I don’t think there’s great evidence looking at fatty acid ratios and bone marrow correlated in those cells.
Harry: Yours was more yellow, it looked like yak butter. When I was in Tibet and we ate that yak butter it was a lot more yellow-
Dave: It was that same yellowish color.
Harry: There’s more yellow than I’m accustomed to and it was just greasy.
Dave: Yeah. An outlierright?
Harry: That’s right.
Dave: Cool. All right. What else do we want to talk about. Because we talked about the stem cells that you can get-
Harry: Right. Okay. Yeah.
Dave: All right.
Harry: What I’m going to talk about at the Bulletproof Conference is … Let me just tell you quickly about an experience I had. In 2011 when I was really getting as much knowledge as I could on stem cell medicine, what I did is about half the year I was at home doing cases and the other half I was traveling the world learning from the best.
Harry: I had this phenomenal experience. I visited two clinics back to back. The first one I went to was a guy name Carlos Sicilia who, in South America is one of the best known stem cell doctors. He’s in a small town in Venezuela and it was amazing. What this guy does, his clinic … It looks like one of the old school chiropractor offices where he just has all these tables with just curtains in between them and he would have all these people in there and he would go from one to another. He’d take an eighteen gauge, one inch needle, put it into the sternum which is a flat bone …
Harry: That’s rich in stem cells. You place it in aspirates and bone marrow, go to the next one. He would do like forty a day. It was amazing. His material cost was probably three dollars. He charged very low. He would have everybody from illiterate farmers to the Chavez family. It was really an amazing experience. If there’s any question as to my dedication to the field of stem cell medicine, I went and spent a week in Venezuela. I mean …
Dave: Wow. Doing that kind of work.
Harry: Don’t go to Venezuela.
Dave: It’s pretty rough.
Harry: He had a video library of patient testimonials. Thousands of cases of all kinds of different things that he had treated. It was really impressive. What really stood out was how simple it was. He would just take the bone marrow and then run it through a filter as an IV. From there I went to Panama City and visited the Stem Cell Institute, which if anybody’s researched stem cells you’ve probably come across it. They’re one of the best known stem cell treatment centers in the world. They are the absolutely opposite end of the spectrum. This is a high tech, clean laboratory where they culture and expand cells. They take your stem cells, they grow them. I mean, this is a very expensive clinic and to get treated there is very, very expensive.
Dave: How expensive is very expensive?
Harry: I think it’s sixty thousand to walk in the door.
Dave: Holy Moses.
Harry: I mean, just to get started. You are getting the highest tech …. This is it.
Harry: It doesn’t get any more high tech.
Dave: This family or something of …
Harry: What I found was I didn’t really see a whole lot of difference in the outcomes. I saw the extreme opposites back to back, the simplest you can come up with and the most complex that is in existence and it looked like the outcomes were about the same. I realize that’s a very unscientific statement because I was just getting thin slices, I was in each clinic for a week. You know, I started thinking about this whole thing of how in the west, in the United States, we are just sucked into this idea that the more complex something is the better it is necessarily. The other thing is that we’re so enamored with this idea that there’s one right way to do something.
Dave: That’s a big problem in medicine, yeah.
Harry: I sort of think … I’ve just finished reading all of Malcolm Gladwell books where too big of a class is no good and too small of a class is no good and there’s sort of this one sweet spot. I think with stem cell medicine there’s multiple sweet spots and it really depends on the patient. It depends on what your condition is, it depends on your personality. Payton Manning went to Germany to have the most high tech stem cell procedure available in the world. Dave Asprey, I’d like to point out, came to me.
Dave: I’m not done yet, I’m going to go everywhere. No. I like the idea of doing multiple angles at one time. That’s what made it really interesting here. What would be different had I gone to Germany and taken out a mortgage in order to pay for it?
Harry: Abroad you can get … You’re asking about the different types of stem cells.
Dave: What’s so good about that?
Harry: First and foremost there’s autologous which is what we do. Same day, we take it out of you, we put it back in. If you want to go abroad, if you want to go to South America, if you want to go to Europe then you can start using umbilical chord stem cells, embryonic stem cells.
Harry: You know, the famous embryonic stem cells.
Dave: What happens, what’s the benefit of using those versus …
Harry: There’s good and there’s bad. The good news is it’s the most primitive stem cell and they’re the most robust.
Dave: Because they’re young, right?
Harry: Because they’re young. Exactly. That’s good. The downside is it’s from a different organism. We don’t totally know what that means.
Harry: We do know that once you put stem cells from another organism into your body they’re in their forever. You can put them in but you can never take them out. They go in, they just infiltrate your entire system and they are now apart of you forever.
Harry: We don’t know.
Dave: If you believe in a reductionist view of people we’re basically meat robots. Those are just replacement parts. If you read any of the books from people who have done organ transplants and retired, there’s famous cases … One is a cowboy, an old guy, gets a heart form a young woman and goes home and starts taking scented bubble baths. People who have replacement parts from other people often times report that they took on something from the person they got.
This is actually scientific. I’ve read a couple books about this. Most of the people who write the books wait til they’re retired because they’re afraid they’ll be called crazy but they’re like, “I see this in my patients all the time, someone should say something.” I have no idea what the affect of that would be. One thing that might be really interesting is we all inherent mitochondrial DNA, this is the power plants in ourselves for people listening.
All of us inherent weaknesses and strengths; different methylation cycles, different ways that we can be made stronger or weaker. Part of me is like, “Maybe I should have forty-two different embryonic stem cells or, I don’t know, umbilical stem cells.” I haven’t dug in on this or looked at all of the reasons you would or wouldn’t do one of those things. If you have all of these things you’d have a huge mix of mitochondrial DNA throughout your issues which means you’d be way more resilient and that’d be kind of cool because we did not evolve to have more than one type of mitochondrial DNA. There would be huge advantages to living in a world with a lot more toxins, and a lot more EMFs, a lot more of the crap if you basically had a redundant array of types of mitochondrial DNA. There’s no science at all about that, right?
Harry: This is a conversation you should have with Kristen Cavella who is a cellular biologist and a scientist. I mean, I’m a clinician so I don’t know. I would say just … About embryonic stem cells, about placental stem cells, you have to bring into the picture the risk benefit ratio. I think if I had ALS, if I had Parkinson’s; if you have some hideous neurologic disease that’s definitely going to kill you, yeah, you bet.
Dave: Go big.
Harry: Go to Bogotá, Columbia, go visit my friend Carolina Lucena. I mean, yeah, definitely then you should … I would be going straight for that.
Harry: If you’re talking more about anti-aging, I wouldn’t risk it because you just don’t know what you’re going to end up with in the long run. When we’re talking about musculoskeletal pain I just haven’t found it to be necessary.
Dave: For what you’re working with it doesn’t seem like it would be.
Harry: We just use your own stuff, it works fine. I’ve treated eighty-eight year olds. Some of them do well and some of them don’t do so well. We don’t help everyone but we help a lot more people than we don’t help.
Dave: Some really interesting things happened. My wife’s frozen shoulder … We’re now three days after the procedures. The procedure is relatively rough, it’s a lot of injections. It takes some resolve to do it.
Harry: Yeah. I’d like to just interject here that I encouraged both of these guys … With as much injections as we did I encouraged them both to go under sedation to have our anesthetist here and have them sleep through it. But, of course, they wanted to experience the whole thing.
Dave: That was rough but that’s cool. What Lana just told me this morning, she’s like, “This is amazing.” She’s had a frozen shoulder. She fell, when she was a kid, out of a tree from thirty feet up and her shoulders been frozen pretty much ever since. She’s had acupuncture, and adjustments, and funcitonal; all kinds of stuff. Nothing did much for it. Three days after getting stem cells she’s like, “My range of motion is bigger than it’s ever been. Same thing with her neck range of motion. She had whiplash from a similar fall as a child. These are forty year problems that in three days are better than they ever have been. All right, this is pretty profound stuff. My shoulder hurts like hell today. You put a lot of needles into the shoulder here. But my knee doesn’t hurt at all.
Harry: It really takes two, sometimes three, months to get …
Dave: Full results.
Harry: Not the full, most of the result.
Harry: It takes six months before we really get to what I call full results. This is the opposite of a steroid injection. You do a steroid injection. The pain goes completely away for two months, if you’re lucky two months, and then it comes completely back. This, sometimes it takes two months to really work. Originally we had scheduled this podcast for six weeks out because I wanted to be able to talk about your outcomes but we wanted to do it here while we were together.
Dave: In about six months that’s when the conference is. It’s going to be in September, October. Bulletproofconference.com. One of many speakers there about the latest stuff but I want to talk to someone who’s in the trenches doing stem cells this is a way to learn more now and also at the conference. By then we should be able to talk about the full results.
Harry: You bet.
Dave: I’m pretty excited because this has been on my list of things that would be worth doing. Let’s talk though about cost. There’s people who are in school and people who are working who are listening to this. If someone has a chronic musculoskeletal pain or they … We took the leftovers after you did all my joints and stuck them in my face so I’m expecting to look like a teenager by the Conference just to be clear. What is the normal cost for treating a musculoskeletal injury. Just give me a range.
Harry: There’s what I charge and then what sort of the industry …
Dave: You can talk about the industry, you can talk about what you charge.
Harry: I mean, there’s a vast, vast spectrum of price around the country or around the … if we’re talking about in the United States … This is something else I want to talk about at the Conference, it has to do with the complexity of the procedure but it additionally has to do with the overhead of the doctors clinic. If it’s a doctor who has very expensive marketing campaigns, if it’s a doctor who’s in a lot of lawsuits, if it’s a doctor that’s transitioned over from an insurance-based practice where they have this big clinic with lots of staff accustomed to processing all sorts of insurance-
Dave: You sort of half your staff just to cover the insurance.
Dave: Now they transitioned over to a cash paid practice but they still have this tremendous overhead.
Harry: I’m very fortunate because I’ve always been … I started out as a prolotherapist. my first four years I just did prolotherapy. The next four years I just did platelet rich plasma. The last six years we’ve been doing stem cells. I’ve always had a very low overhead of my clinic, very simple. As the spectrum goes I’m definitely on the lower end. It’s not because I’m making less, it’s because I’m charging less because I can because I have a simpler overhead.
Dave: That’s a factor for people. It’s not like anyone listening wants to go write a check for twenty thousand dollars if it’s possible to get …
Harry: Unnecessarily. I mean, the greatest advancement in medicine doesn’t do anybody any good if nobody can afford it.
Harry: I try to keep my prices affordable also because I like working with farmers, I like working with the people and I don’t want to cater to rich folks because they tend to be very difficult to deal with. For a simple hip, knee, if we’re doing bone marrow and adipose-derived stem cells it’s about five thousand.
Harry: If we’re doing a bunch of spine then it’s closer to seven or eight thousand. IF we’re doing a lot of intervertebral discs and they’re being sedated we have the anesthetist her to sedate then it can be up to ten thousand. I think the most we ever charge somebody was twelve thousand.
Dave: Okay. That’s if they’re kind of doing everything.
Harry: Yeah. Usually we get to where we want to be with one treatment.
Harry: What we do is one treatment then we wait six months. At six months we have one of three conversations. People either say to me, “I’ve had seventy-five percent improvement, I’m perfectly happy with this. No reason to do another on.” At that point two to six years later I might here from them again. It might start keeping back on them and we might want to do a tune up. Maybe not the whole thing, maybe something simpler, maybe just PRP. We just see at that point. The second conversation is, “I’ve had forty percent improvement, I’d like a little more.” At that point we can talk about doing a second treatment. Maybe just bone marrow, maybe platelet rich plasma. Again, it just depends on how far the persons come, how much further they want to go, and their particular situation.
Dave: That’s a clinical judgement thing. You’re going to look at them and decide.
Harry: Yeah. Ultimately it’s their decision.
Harry: I try to offer them the options. Same thing, after that second treatment we usually get them where they want to be. Two to six years later I’m probably going to hear from them again because it’s starting to creep back. The third conversation which I don’t have that often, fewer than ten percent of my patients I have this conversation, I just didn’t help them at all. I mean, it was just a dud. These were people usually who are the smokers, the diabetics …
Dave: The lifestyle.
Harry: High blood pressure, negative outlook on life. These are the people who I’m putting the stem cells where they need to be … I’m not trying to blame the patient but if their stem cells aren’t functioning properly than it’s not going to do them any good.
Dave: There’s nothing like a little bit of carbon monoxide to make stem cells work really well, right?
Harry: Unfortunately there is a way to screen for stem cell function but it’s vastly expensive. I don’t have that sort of technology.
Dave: Yeah. Then you add another four thousand dollars to the cost of treatment.
Dave: Help ten percent or less of patients.
Dave: It wouldn’t make sense. In the overall scheme of expensiveness … That’s a factor for me for sure, right? You could mortgage your house and go out there and do all these biohacks. I’ve spent more than I would like over the years, like hundreds of thousands of dollars because I was pretty screwed up biologically and then toxic mold exposure, chronic fatigue, lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis in my knees since I was fourteen. All kinds of bad stuff going on.
I spent a lot of money that I would have like to have no spent and what I’m finding out is that some of the most advanced things are … We know that they work but they’re priced out of availability for most people. The reason for that is because there’s very little demand for them mostly because they haven’t been acknowledged. I seek out people who are doing things like this and shine a spotlight on it, say, “Look, this is how it works, this is the kind of results people are having which, increases demand, which drops price dramatically.
My whole goal is to make the stuff that I should have been able to get when I was sixteen years old, and obese, and having all these problems, it should have cost three thousand dollars and taken me six months to completely not have a body covered in stretch marks and not have this crap that I spent almost twenty years working on. I feel like that’s a responsibility there. One of the things that I do appreciate about that is that this is within the realm of possibility.
Even if your job is waiting tables and you’re saving tips for a year, if you have chronic pain in a part of your body and it’s been affecting you … I know there’s chronic pain, I didn’t know you were suppose to walk without pain until I was twenty three. Every time I walked anywhere it just always hurt in my legs. To get rid of that is worth saving three or five thousand dollars. It just is. If you can get your insurance to cover it that’s even better. Do you even work with insurance companies?
Harry: No, this is all considered experimental.
Harry: Insurance does not cover any of it. I honestly, the insurance companies are doing everything they can to pay for fewer things.
Harry: I don’t see any time in the near future any of this is going to be covered because who wants a knee replacement. Most people don’t want to rush out and have a knee replacement unless they absolutely need it. Who wants a steroid injection unless they absolutely need it. If suddenly insurance started paying for stem cell therapy they would be lining up around the block. You probably remember back when Viagara came out, Kaiser Permanente almost went out of business because they covered at first. It cost them millions of dollars in a seasonal month. I don’t know. Hopefully that day will come but I doubt it.
Dave: Also, expecting your insurance company to pay for things like this … Very few of the practitioners that I work with and very few of the people that have been guests on the show take insurance anymore. The people who are breaking ground, insurance companies fight them tooth and nail.
Dave: They end up spending most of their time and most of their staff time fighting bureaucrats.
Harry: They’re unhappy. MedScape just published … Every year they do a huge survey on physician burnout and it’s staggering, Dave. Doctors are burned out and the number one reason is just all the bureaucratic stuff they have to go through billing insurance. The upside of going to a doctor that you’re paying for is now you’re coming to me, I work for you. Otherwise I’m working for this other entity and you’re just sort of the product and I’m much more focused on them whereas if you’re coming to me you’re my client and I’m working for you. We have this nice, happy relationship. I’m happy to help you with your problems. I don’t know, people call it a broken system but it’s not even a system …
Dave: It’s bad. I buy health insurance for all of my employees at Bulletproof. It’s Blue Cross Blue something. Whatever. I don’t use it that often. I needed to get a prescription filled after this. I went to the pharmacy for a twelve dollar prescription, “Oh, this plan number. Blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “You know what, here. Here’s twelve dollars and let’s not even mess with the insurance company because it’s going to take them an hour of calling some bureaucrat to give me a twelve dollar prescription.
You know what? It’s just not worth your life. If you have a hundred thousand dollar open heart surgery or something insurance companies are kind of useful, but if you’re expecting preventive maintenance or you’re expecting the smaller procedures to be covered you’re probably going to get what you pay for which is a ten dollar copay and all the rest of it gets absorbed by the physician and the staff. I don’t see great usefulness unless you’re in a car accident or you have major trauma in which case it’s incredibly important, but this kind of stuff? The insurance companies are never going to want this to happen.
Harry: Our biggest demographic, our patient base … We have more farmers and ranchers than anything.
Dave: But you’re in Utah, right?
Harry: But they come from all over the place.
Dave: Stem cells are illegal in Canada so people come here.
Harry: Also, I sort of view it as these are people who depend on their bodies for their livelihood.
Harry: They get it. If your truck needs something then you pay for it. They need their bodies in order to work and they understand that. For them it’s an investment to get back to work.
Dave: That’s a really good way of looking at it. I don’t know if that applies just to farmers. Back when I was about twenty-five, twenty-six, I made six million dollars and I lost it when I was twenty-eight so I was briefly wealthy, very good times on some ways. I having really serious cognitive problems and my brain wasn’t functioning. One of the reason that I ended up spending all this money biohacking is I’m like, “I make money as an entrepreneur. I make money with my brain. When that goes … That’s the best investment I could make.”
I’m living in a not so nice house and I’m spending a couple thousand dollars a month that could have been a house payment on my brain. This is how I earn a living. It’s a very similar way of doing it and what I learned was that to support my brain you also have to have the body working. I think that would go so far as stem cells because if you don’t have muscle your brain atrophies.
Harry: I think that’s why I love my work because we get such great people in here. We get motivated people who want to get better. We don’t get drug seekers, we don’t get people who their pain has become part of how they define themselves. They’re people who want their lives back and want to get back to enjoying life.
Dave: What’s the craziest stem cell procedure you wished you were allowed to do that you’re not allowed to do?
Harry: Gosh, I don’t know. I think culture expansion would be great if we were able to do that. That would be … It’s not so crazy or weird but that would be where we take your stem cells, send them to a laboratory, grow them, and then put them back in you. Instead of from adipose we get a mi … Now we’re in the tens of millions of stem cells. I mean, again, for the types of things I’m treating we do just fine like this. If I were treating other things. If I was treating neurologic conditions then that would be much more of a concern. Because in those cases then you really do need those huge numbers of stem cells.
Dave: Say I wanted to have more mass in my brain using stem cells, is that even achievable? I know the-
Harry: I don’t know the answer to that.
Dave: Okay. Cool.
Harry: Yeah. I don’t know the answer to that.
Dave: I’m going to have to find out the answer to that.
Harry: Yeah. I mean, I do know that there has been a lot of work done with stroke, when you’re treating people with stroke. The results are very promising. In the University of South Florida there’s more and more work being done with traumatic brain injuries from our vets, the vets who have traumatic brain injury from the roadside explosives that ring a bell, and doing intravenous stem cells.
We discussed this yesterday, what you do for the chronic injuries is first you give intravenously something called mannitol which is a sugar that’s use in an emergency room for people who have increased inter-cranial pressure. Whether they’ve had a stroke, whether they’ve had a closed head injury and there’s pressure inside their brain, when you give mannitol it temporarily renders permeable the blood brain barrier. First you give this IV of mannitol, then you give IV stem cells, now the grow factors from the stem cells are able to actually penetrate into the brain. That’s something that you should talk to Kristen [inaudible 00:48:14] about.
Dave: All right. I’ll talk to her about that.
Harry: She has experience with all of that.
Dave: We did IV stem cells but I didn’t do the mannitol thing with you because there’s many stem cells as we can manage.
Harry: We save a little bit, just a very small amount to push. The stem cells actually get caught in your lungs because the blood vessels in your lungs are just big enough for the largest white blood cells to go through.
Harry: The stem cells actually stick in your lungs and dump all the growth factors and your whole body gets just a huge burst of growth factors from stem cells.
Dave: That’s stuff would just cause regeneration throughout.
Harry: It’s tricking your body into think that you’ve had a new injury and you go into hyper healing mode. Boy, I took American Academy Anti-Aging Stem Cell Fellowship. They had all these scientists telling these terrible things they do to mice. I mean really just dastardly things. One of them was … What did they do they injected a chemical into a mouses eye to cause macular degeneration. Then they did a biopsy, you could see the macular .. I mean, this is so awful. You can see the macular degeneration, then they burned these mice; you know, exposed them to a burn and then tested their eyes again at a later date. The burn actually caused the stem cells to release systemically and it improved their macular degeneration.
Harry: I remember walking out of that meeting and I was with one of the doctors from the Stem Cell Institute in Panama and he just turned to me and said, “One day the mice will take over.” We were all kind of pissed …
Dave: Brutal experiment.
Harry: It was this real pretty, young woman scientists with this very high voice like this and she was telling us about … We’re just going, “Oh my!”
Dave: She’s like, “Then we hit them with hammers.”
Harry: “Oh my God.” Yeah. You get this burst of growth factors and your body goes into hyper healing mode. I can’t point to any human literature on that but that’s what we think is happening.
Dave: A recent guest on Bulletproof Radio and I talked about the role of larger parasites in stimulating something similar. I’m about to start … [inaudible 00:50:28]. I do everything I think is going to work at once. We might not be able to separate out all of the effects of stem cells but I’m about to start using HDCs which are basically rat tapeworms that you take that are not able to reproduce in humans but they cause a huge shift in our immune function.
Harry: Sounds lovely.
Dave: It’s delicious. This big, long … They’re tiny little eggs in salt water. This is more around GI and immune system affects but the reason that this whole line of therapy came about was because a father of an autistic kid about ten, fifteen years ago, noticed when his son got chiggers. They’re a type of mosquito but they burrow in you skin and then they lay eggs there. It’s disgusting. You have chiggers in Utah, don’t you?
Harry: In Georgia.
Dave: In Georgia.
Harry: My mom is from Georgia. I know what they are.
Dave: I grew up with them in New Mexico. They weren’t that common but in Colorado you can get them sometimes. He noticed the symptoms would go away, then the chiggers would go and the symptoms would come back. They looked at using pig worms and all these things. One of the big theories about why these have these huge modulating effects is they’re essentially causing little injuries. They also have their own compounds they’re secreting. Having things like that can cause healing in a way that I think a lot of medicine hasn’t recognized historically, right?
Harry: The system that we have currently is you create a molecule and then you patent that molecule. If it’s a natural substance it’s not patent-able and no one can make any money off of it. I mean, this is the whole problem with why there’s so much heat on bio-identical hormones is because nobody is going to get rich over it. It’s unfortunate.
Harry: I didn’t go into naturopathic medicine because I was cynical about conventional medicine but, boy, the more I’ve learned about it I’m just like …
Dave: Do you use bio-identical hormones?
Harry: I don’t so much. Amy, who did the cosmetic portion of your stem cell therapy, who’s an emergency medicine physician turned anti-aging who we work with. She’s come in and she’s doing … We were having so many people asking for cosmetic stem cells. Amy has a lot of experience using platelet rich plasma in the skin and the face, also does the empire face lift, and she also does the O shot and the P shot which is injections in women in the vagina and me in the penis for sexual optimization for women who have pain during sex, for men who have erectile dysfunction or any number of things. She had a lot of experience with that so I nearly taught her how to lipoaspirate and isolate stem cells from fat. She still does a lot of platelet rich plasma. She also does platelet rich plasma with stem cells for the more cosmetic and sexual function type things. She does the hormone prescribing. She’s an ex-hormone-
Dave: In the clinic you work with that.
Dave: Do you personally take them? Are you willing to talk about that?
Harry: Yeah. I started supplementing with testosterone just bio-identical, physiological level testosterone since I turned forty I think.
Dave: How old are you now?
Dave: Forty-seven. Isn’t that cheating taking testosterone, doesn’t it make you a bad person?
Harry: It makes you a happy person. It makes you a physiologic younger person. Sure, if you’re juicing and you’re doing big, synthetic-
Harry: You’re doing all that stuff, there’s all kinds of problems that can cause. You know, you’re talking about to just getting back the physiologic levels when you were a younger person and there is a mountain of data showing that it is safe.
Dave: It’s huge.
Harry: If you already have heart disease, you have advanced heart disease, then, yeah, it might be a problem but if you’re a relatively healthy person … I’ve taking up the Neil’s course and he’s excellent. I don’t know if you know him but he’s fantastic.
Dave: I know him from something.
Harry: He’s an emergency medicine doctor turned hormone doctor. He’s the hormone doctor to the hormone doctors.
Harry: This guy, I mean he has read every single study that has ever come out on testosterone replacement, mostly hormone replacement, bit you just cannot convince me that there’s any problem with it.
Dave: It changed my life in my mid twenties. I’m like, “Wait, my mom has more testosterone than I do? This is a problem and I’m not just going to sit here and go, ‘Oh, this is a problem. I guess it would be wrong for me to supplement.’” I took bio-identical for years. With all the nutritional stuff and exercise things that I do, without the supplementation my levels are where they ought to be. They’re like high normal which is awesome. I’ve been off for about three and a half years after eight years of taking it. I consider it a key part of anti-aging for sure. Let’s talk about sexual function for a minute here. Can you tell me about the P shot or do they inject … I just want to say guys, look at the size of these feet. This is three days after my P shot injection.
Harry: He use to have a size eight.
Dave: Nice. For the record I’ve always had a size sixteen feet. This is not a change. I did get the P shot. In fact I’m going to post the video for you guys.
Dave: I’m not going to post the porno version, that would be very popular for our German followers. Just kidding, I love Germany.
Harry: Probably Tokyo too.
Dave: Fair point. You’ll actually just sort of see the needle go down below the blanket and hear me scream like a girl. Not really, it wasn’t that bad. But I think you’ll like it. Why did I do that? Because I had stem cells floating around everywhere. I don’t know, that’s my personality. I put them everywhere they could possibly go. We shall see if it does actually result in increases or changes in function there because we’re already super high functioning. There’s only so much room for improvement, right?
Harry: This is something I’ve found because when we do get people in for anti-aging if there’s not a whole lot wrong with you to begin with you don’t really notice a whole lot of benefit. I’m so much more accustomed to dealing with people who are in severe pain.
Harry: If we get them fifty percent better or seventy percent better they are really aware of it. Yeah, that’s a good point you bring up. If there’s not really a problem to begin with then …
Dave: There’s also the idea of preventive maintenance. I’d rather have an excess of stem cells doing their things because it’s so much easier to not get old than it is to get young. It’s so much easier to not get sick than it is to get well. I learned that because I was basically old when I was young. Try having arthritis when you’re a teenage. I don’t want to get back to that. I’m going to continue assuring up every system in my body with every technology that I can find. I’ll talk about all of them and hopefully the ones that work really well will become more commonplace.
That’s part of my mission. Bulletproof is like, “Yes, you can do things to your body with lights that no one knows about.” I’ve used an infrared light on my brain in the late nineties that had a profound affect. Now, fifteen years later, people are starting to talk about it. Why does it take twenty years for these new technologies to get out? I think the speed of innovation has increased but also the speed of people learning about it has increased which is why you’re on the show. Prolotherapy was hot a while ago. Tell me about what prolotherapy is.
Harry: I started out as a prolotherapist. In the stem cell camp a good portion of the guys who are doing it started out as prolotherapists. More recently it’s the pain management guys and the surgeons who are getting interested in it.
Harry: But the regenerative medicine guys like myself.
Dave: What is it? A lot of people seem to not know.
Harry: Prolotherapy has been around since the 1940s. Really it started in the nineteen thirties but then it was first being mentioned in medical news in the forties and fifties. It was a Doctor George Hackett who was an occupational medicine doctor. He was in charge of this huge factory and all these guys had low back pain. He postulated that low back pain was caused my damaged ligaments. He started injecting irritants into ligaments with the idea that it would trigger healing.
You can caused a controlled injury, not enough to cause permanent damage, but enough to trick your body into thinking there’s been a new injury and thereby launch a healing cascade. You get all the benefits of a healing response without actually having been injured. He was getting great results with low back pain injecting, primarily, the s side ligament and lumbar ligaments. The concept with prolo is simply that. The most common solution used it a dextro solution. It’s sugar water. I think that’s what’s part of what kept it in the shadows for so long because as soon as you say sugar water people think sugar pill, placebo, and their eyes glaze over.
When I was in naturopathic school I tore my labrum and my shoulder rock climbing. I was a high level rock climber. I was getting read for my dream trip to France and I had this labrum tear. I saw a surgeon and he said, “Well, you know, we can snip out the torn piece. It might help, it might not really. It’s going to give you arthritis later.” He said, “I would suggest you get prolotherapy.”
Dave: Okay. That’s an advance surgeon in that time.
Harry: It’s in Portland, Oregon. There’s a lot of hippies there.
Dave: There you go.
Harry: I found Rick Marinelli who was the first Natropath to really start doing prolotherapy seriously and he became my mentor and great friend. He injected me with prolotherapy and it cured it. That’s what got me on this whole path is I said, “Man, this is what I want to do.” For my first four years I just did simple prolotherapy injections.
During my residency actually what I did in order to just gain experiences, I volunteered, I’d be in the hospital all day and then I’d go to this homeless shelter, this fifty bed homeless shelter in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Here are all of these guys who all have musculoskeletal pain and they can’t take drugs because they’re basically in a halfway house in the shelter and so I did prolotherapy on them. They got better. It’s amazing. When I opened practice here in Utah in 2002 I’d already done a bunch of cases.
My first four years I just did prolotherapy injections and we weren’t using any imaging then because nobody really did. Then platelet rich plasma came along and that was a little more high tech so then we got interested in using ultrasound. If you’re going to go through the process of preparing platelet rich plasma you want to make sure you’re injecting it in the right place.
Dave: Yeah. It just costs like a thousand dollars for a kit to do that.
Harry: Back when we used kits. A lot of people don’t use kits anymore.
Harry: The kits were expensive.
Harry: For four years I did ultrasound guided injection PRP. Yeah, I’m very fortunate that by the time I started with stem cells I already had my 10,000 hours.
Harry: I had a lot of foundation in regenerative medicine. Now, with stem cells because it’s kind of hot and hip and there’s a lot of interest there’s now this new breed of pain internationalists who are very experienced with needles but they don’t really have the background in regenerative medicine and the concepts that there can be more than one pain generator. When you’re doing an insurance-based pain management practice, the insurance is only going to pay for one injection. There’s this whole culture of coming up with the exact diagnosis of the one injection that’s going to completely clear up the entire problem. When you’re dealing with a farmer who’s lifted heavy objects their entire lives and they’ve had thirty years of low back pain it’s not one injection that’s going to help that. When you’re doing regenerative medicine injections you got to do a lot of pokes. Sometimes for those guys it’s hard for them to make that transition.
Dave: Yeah. This is a problem in a lot of research as well. They say well, “The core assumption,” that is not even stated is that there is one thing … We’re complex systems and the idea of, “Well, I have a thumbtack in this thumb and I have a nail in this thumb.” If you take it down to that level it’s like, “Well, we pulled the thumbtack out. The pain didn’t resolve so we put it back in. We pulled the nail out, the pain didn’t resolve so we put it back in.” Obviously it’s neither one of those but okay, maybe you should just look at everything that might be causing pain and just deal with it all at the same time. That perspective is missing from double blind studies. That’s why we have empirical evidence which is as important if not more important than the double blind evidence. You need both to be fully there. If the double blind says it works, and you can’t feel it, and it doesn’t feel like it’s working, it’s actually not working. That’s okay.
Harry: My practice grows entirely from word of mouth and I get all these guys who, “You treated my neighbor and he didn’t walk with a cane anymore. There’s something to be said for that. I think that, yeah, in order … The whole concept of scientific study is to isolate one mechanism and when you’re talking about something as complex as low back pain it’s very difficult to do that.
Dave: Do you ever worry about the orthopedic surgeons guild taking out a hit on you?
Harry: What can they do?
Dave: I’m just kidding.
Harry: Taking out a hit. I guess that would be a problem.
Dave: I was like, “What can they do?”
Harry: If they took a hit out on me that would be a problem.
Dave: The reason I’m asking that is you are disrupting a field of medicine. Surgical knee replacement, hip replacements, there will always be a need for some of that, at least until we learn how to growth new things that are biological.
Harry: Yeah. I detached by bicep two months ago and I had to have it surgically repaired.
Harry: All the stem cells in the world aren’t going to reattach that.
Dave: Right. There’s a need for that stuff but it seems like maybe we’re doing a lot of that. Some of what we’re doing is preventative and an order of magnitude cheaper. Those are what cause disruptions in industries.
Harry: In twenty fourteen Medicare paid something like 15 billion dollars in knee and hip replacements. If this were to even impact that ten percent that’s a 1.5 billion dollar industry. I’ve caught a lot of flack. I have some friends out there in the medical community. There’s a lot of people who just … I’ve quit trying to be loved by doctors and I just focus on being loved by my patients.
Dave: Got it. I find that that there’s two kinds of physicians out there, there’s the curious ones who are keeping themselves current and are willing to challenge their assumptions and there are ones who went to medical school, got their drug and text book, and they’re going to do what they’ve always done. I saw one of those very early on when I … I actually had an inkling that I had a problem with fungus because I was living in a moldy house, but I had a lot of symptoms with candida.
I went to my family practitioner in the Bay Area, this was twenty years ago. I’m like, “I have all these weird symptoms. I feel like I’ve been poisoned, something’s wrong.” He basically said, “If you had a problem with candida you’d be in the hospital. It’s not possible.” I struck it off my list for four or five years. This is one of those guys who just didn’t stay on top of what was going on. It turns out if I had found the right kind of practitioner … There was a whole universe of practitioners who were aware of this kind of thing.
Why there’s that division between … I don’t even know what to call both sides, between western medicine and functional medicine. I just don’t get it but it’s time for it to break. If you see someone who is super alternative they might so something really well, they might also just not have the knowledge of a western physician. If you go to your western physician and they’re saying stem cells are for witch doctors, you got to start wondering whose record is that guy playing because it’s probably not his own. An open minded person is going to say, “You got to look at all possible things and you should make an informed decision.”
Harry: We’ve all heard about arthroscopic surgery for knee arthritis. That’s where we’re going to go in and clean things-
Dave: I’ve had it three times.
Harry: It’s been proven to be no more effective than placebo.
Harry: Two major studies in The New England Journal of Medicine and one in the British Medical Journal that show that it is no better than placebo. Do you think that slowed down arthroscopic surgery for arthroscopic debris meant for knee arthritis? Not at all. At the same time they are the same guys who are saying that stem cells is complete quackery and you’re wasting your money and it’s blah, blah, blah. It’s contempt prior to investigation is what we call it.
Dave: It’s funny. All right. I have no idea the answer to this… Have you been listed on QuackWatch?
Harry: God, no. I have not. Thank God.
Dave: One of my goals is I want to be listen on there.
Harry: I do not.
Dave: I’m not a doctor so if that was me I’m like, “Woo! Woo!” You’re saying I’m a doctor now. But I would say for three quarters of the physicians I most respect have been attacked by that, basically tool, of the pharmaceutical industry.
Harry: I suppose that day will come.
Dave: They were sued into oblivion.
Harry: I think they’ve slowed down. That guy was an Air Force psychiatrist.
Dave: He’s not a doctor.
Harry: He’s an MD, he’s a psychiatrist. But, yeah, the Air Force psychiatrist. Keep that in mind.
Dave: Yeah. It’s funny though because I find the people who are innovating are always, always the target of basically these trade groups like QuackWatch. It’s interesting. Hopefully you don’t mind that I brought that up.
Harry: Not at all.
Dave: I would say literally some of my very favorite, most impactful practitioners have a rating on their. I just consider it as a mark of excellence. If someone is listed on there I’m like, “Okay, they’re probably pissing off some drug companies.” That’s just one of my bars for do I want to talk to this guy? Yes, I probably do. Is there anything else you want to say about stem cells?
Harry: No. We’ve covered a lot of stuff. We’ve been all over the map.
Dave: One more question for you. This is a question that’s in every episode of Bulletproof Radio. If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Look, I want to kick ass at everything I do.” Take everything you know, not just from your practice, but just your life what are the three most important things I should know?
Harry: Adequate sleep, getting your emotional needs filled, and good diet. I’d put in exercise. I need four. Those are the cornerstones of health are …
Harry: Sleep, diet, exercise, and getting your emotional needs met.
Dave: Love it.
Dave: Beautiful. Doctor Harry Adelson, thank you so much for being on Bulletproof Radio. Where can people find out more about your word?
Harry: At our website Docereclinics.com. D-O-C-E-R-E clinics.com.
Dave: If you enjoyed today’s episode download the transcript. It’s there for free on the Bulletproof website. Everything we talked about including all the strange spellings of those things will be there. They’ll be links to Doctor Harry’s website. You also should pick up some Brain Octane Oil. I don’t talk about this enough on the show because I kind of assume that everyone who is listening already knows, but when you make Bulletproof Coffee you’ve got the beans that are lab tested and produced differently in the grain coffee processing.
They’re not washed beans. They’re actually a different continuous flow process that we pioneered. Then you need Brain Octane Oil and grass fed butter. brain octane oil is fundamentally different than coconut oil and it’s fundamentally different than MCT oil. We had a lot of problems with disaster pans from MCT oil. This is because MCT oil causes … Because of the way it’s manufactured and because of the way it’s components, it can cause a lot of gastric distress. In other words, you poop on yourself.
Brain octane oil makes ketones more than MCT oil. Ketones are one of the things that affect your hungry levels dramatically. That’s why it’s in the recipe, that’s why we make it in the United States with triple distillation. If you are just putting butter in regular coffee you’re actually not having Bulletproof coffee, you are not experiencing the kind of benefits I’m talking about. If you don’t believe me go to the Bulletproof Coffee Shop in Santa Monica if that’s within reach.
Try it made right one time and you’ll be like, “Oh, I thought it was pretty good with butter. It’s a totally different animal when I make really Bulletproof Coffee with the right ingredients.” Check it out and I’ll send you a Bulletproof Coffee Kit if you like. It’s really important. You can also go into Whole Foods now and in most of the country now they’re carrying brain octane oil which is pretty profound.
I prefer it if you buy it from me of course because then I can send you emails and things like that but if it’s more convenient for you go into Whole Foods, I love Whole Foods, and I shop myself there whenever I’m traveling. You can pick it up there and in a lot of other grocery stores as well. I’m working to make this stuff built into our society and I appreciate your support, I appreciate you listening to the show. Doctor Harry, I appreciate you being here.
Harry: Thanks so much, Dave.
Dave: Have a great day. Thanks for watching. Don’t miss out. To keep getting great videos like this that help you kick more ass at life, subscribe to the Bulletproof YouTube channel at bulletproofexec.com/youtube. Thanks for watching and stay Bulletproof.