Spilling The Tea On PRP
As you likely know, I have integrated Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy into my practice. This is a procedure that involves taking YOUR OWN blood, processing it, and injecting it back in to YOU for the purpose of hair growth and collagen production. There are other applications of course, such as in sports medicine and joint rejuvenation, however for now, I use PRP strictly for aesthetic purposes. Overall, the results have been positive with subtle yet apparent changes.This is consistent with the research that is overwhelmingly positive.
Recently, plasma has been in the headlines with the FDA putting out a statement that cautions consumers against receiving young donor plasma infusions for anti-aging purposes. They state, “There is no proven clinical benefit of infusion of plasma from young donors to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent these conditions, and there are risks associated with the use of any plasma product.” (1)
Let me explain. Enter PARABIOSIS, a 150-year-old technique that unites the vasculature, or blood supply of two living animals. The word comes from the Greek para, or ‘alongside’ and bios, or ‘life’. Over the past couple of years, parabiosis has been revived and applied to the field of anti-aging research. Megan Scudellari from Nature states, “By joining the circulatory system of an old mouse to that of a young mouse, scientists have produced some remarkable results. In the heart, brain, muscles, and almost every other tissue examined, the blood of young mice seems to bring new life to aging organs, making old mice stronger, smarter, and healthier. It even makes their fur shinier.” Also note that in one experiment, 15% of the mice died due to parabiotic disease, and may be a form of tissue rejection. This is the same reason we have suppress the immune system when someone receives a donor organ; to prevent rejection.
It is true that millions of blood and plasma transfusions have been carried out safely in humans and it is possible the parabiosis has a place in anti-aging medicine, however not at this point in time. More research is needed to ensure safety and application.
While both PRP and plasma infusions are being discussed in terms of anti-aging medicine there are KEY differences. First off, PRP treatments are completely autologous, meaning they come from YOU. This eliminates the potential for tissue rejection, the greatest concern of plasma infusions FROM ANOTHER PERSON. Second, there are studies that support PRP is SAFE AND EFFECTIVE. I spend a lot of time on pubmed, which is the central full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the US National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine. After looking at a comprehensive review of literature regarding the use of PRP in aesthetic medicine, it is concluded that PRP treatment has shown itself as a bright future for a safe and efficient cosmetic intervention. More studies are needed because studies tend to be small and uncontrolled, however safety is reproducible.
When it comes to anti-aging, there is nothing like good ol’ exercise and a diet rich in plants. To age is a privilege and to truly age gracefully we start first with a healthy body.