Regenerative Medicine & COVID-19: Prevention & Treatment

May 29, 2020

Reading Time: 7 minutes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of press on potential drugs and vaccines with the potential to combat this novel coronavirus, but very little press on ways to boost your immune system and possible regenerative medicine options like stem cells.

Most masks that the public are wearing are reactive and do not protect the mask-wearer from the virus. Scientists have found that a healthy immune system is integral to fighting it. Getting enough oxygen is a key component to the good health of your immune system, so I only wear a mask when I am mandated to. I am also using common sense and wash my hands frequently but always whenever I go out in public—if I touch my eyes, mouth, nose—I used hand sanitizer before I touch anything else.

I also try to extend as many gestures of kindness as I can because society needs this kindness. Because the media is not talking about it, I am writing this article to share what I have learned in working with regenerative and functional medicine physicians from around the world.

Here are some things you should know about boosting your immune system, about alternative treatment options like stem cells and nebulizer umbilical-cord-derived exosomes and proactive things you can do to improve your chances regarding COVID-19 and other infections:

Good nutrition is the foundation to good health.

If you want to be at your “fighting best,” physicians agree that you should be eating fruits and vegetables, limiting sugar/alcohol, getting fresh air and sunshine, exercising daily, and trying to mitigate stress with meditation, deep breathing, yoga and other tools.

Get your blood evaluated by a physician.

Check your vitamin levels and identify any deficiencies. Did you know that there is evidence that certain blood types have a higher chance of getting COVID-19?

  • Diabetes screenings
  • Hormone levels testing
  • Cancer screenings
  • Heavy metal screenings (no, not AC/DC, but mercury, etc.)

All of the above can be done with immune system boosting services provided by concierge physicians who have a private phlebotomist collect your blood

Take nutritional supplements.

I recommend plant-derived vs. the over-the-counter vitamins you find in pharmacies. In my opinion, from nature is always better.

  • Core Complete by Vasayo has at least 100% of your daily vitamins suggested by physicians and they are derived from plants from around the world. For instance the Vitamin C is derived from rosehips and acerola cherries. These capsules also have a superfood blend and berry blend along with probiotics and digestive enzymes. What is unique about Vasayo’s phytonutrients is that they are encapsulated in a fat bubble, which protects them from being destroyed by stomach acid, so they are better absorbed by your body. This is called liposomal delivery.
  • Eternal by Vasayo: an antioxidant, super fruit supplement with collagen. In my opinion, one can never have too many antioxidants! (Free sample.)
  • Essentials for Life is also by Vollara and is also plant-derived. What is great about these is that you can open up the capsule and sprinkle the phytonutrients right onto your childrens’ food (or yours) so no pill-swallowing needed. Simply email me to order yours.

All of the above are the things we should all be doing daily for optimal health. There is no magic pill or magic cell that is going to just make you healthy. Like anything worthwhile, you have to invest in your health through good nutrition, daily exercise, limiting sugar and alcohol, breathing fresh, purified (indoor) air, drinking clean (filtered) water, and making good choices like refraining from smoking.

Are your doctors or is the news advising you on how important these things are? In their defense, not all physicians are well-versed in how to treat people preventatively. They are taught in medical school to be reactive and how to treat disease and ailments once you have them, mostly with drugs and surgery, but there are alternatives that you should at least be aware of as choices.

An abstract painting with many shades of pink, resembling three cells in healthy tissue.

“Life” by Valeria Ribeiro

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of great interest in the scientific community because of their immunomodulatory and differentiation abilities. This essentially means that they can boost and reduce your immune system, depending on the circumstances (which are basically chemical signals they respond to). MSCs can be found in most vascularized tissues in the body, but are mostly harvested from bone marrow, adipose tissue and birth tissue (umbilical cord and placenta). According to the clinical studies I have read, bone marrow is estimated to have about 0.01% MSCs, adipose tissue varies but can be as much as 20% MSCs, and birth tissue is especially rich showing levels as high as 40%. As we age, we have fewer and fewer MSCs that are active; many die or go dormant. In fact, in a 2013 clinical study called “Comparative Analysis of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Bone Marrow, Adipose Tissue, and Umbilical Cord Blood as Sources of Cell Therapy,” by Hye Jin Jin et, al., it is definitively stated that “MSCs derived from elderly patients may be clinically ineffective.”

Birth tissue is an amazingly rich resource for vibrant MSCs and respiratory problems. This makes sense since umbilical tissue is the conduit between fetus and mother and the former is growing at a very fast rate while inside the latter. It also makes sense that these MSCs are more primitive than adult cells in at least one way: they do not have HLA II markers; if they did, the mother’s immune system would recognize a foreign body and abort the baby. MSCs from the umbilical cord and placental tissue are considered immune-privileged, passing under the immune system’s radar. What does that mean? You don’t have to worry about blood type matching.

You may have been hearing a lot about exosomes. These are vesicles that are released by MSCs and are thought to be the cell to cell communicators. They contain a plethora of growth mechanisms and carry out the “jobs” of the MSCs they are derived from. These nano-vesicles are thought to also be anti-inflammatory and helpful in boosting the immune system. If you would like to learn more about different delivery mechanisms like nebulized or intranasal, comment below.

Now, let’s get into how MSCs could play a role in treating COVID-19 and the accompanying pneumonia that is killing so many people over sixty with respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems. According to Dr. Sairam Atluru et. al., in the article published in Pain Physician 2020, “Expanded Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSCs) as a Therapeutic Strategy in Managing Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients: The Case for Compassionate Use,” here are some things that you should know:

  • “The cure of COVID-19 is essentially dependent on the patients’ own immune system. When the immune system is over activated in an attempt to kill the virus, this can lead to the production of a large number of inflammatory factors, resulting in severe cytokine storm… thus the avoidance of the cytokine storm may be the key for the treatment of HCoV-19 infected patients.” There are things you can do and take that can quell this storm. As far as MSCs, the “safety and effectiveness have been…documented in many clinical trials, especially in the immune-mediated inflammatory diseases…stem cells are thought to regulate the inflammatory response and promote tissue repair and regeneration.”
  • “A study of seven patients with COVID-19 pneumonia (and three controls) in Beijing suggested that the coronavirus was not able to infect the injected umbilical cord stem cells. Current data suggest that MSCs exert their antimicrobial effects through indirect and direct mechanisms.” They have been shown to exert antiviral effects in other clinical studies I have read as well.

There is no question that we need double-blind clinical trials with MSCs before anything can be implemented, but the above at least gives me hope. One of the things we do know is that when administered via IV, MSCs have been seen to first congregate in the lungs, which has been recognized as a potential benefit with pulmonary ailments like COPD and COVID19. According to Maroun Khoury et. al., in “Current Status of Cell-Based Therapies for Respiratory Virus Infections: Applicability to COVID-19,” from the European Respiratory Journal:

“Following systemic administration, the majority of MSCs lodge in the pulmonary vascular bed through as yet unclear interactions with the capillary endothelial cells…While lodged in the lungs, the MSCs are able to release a wide variety of soluble mediators including anti-inflammatory cytokines, antimicrobial peptides, angiogenic growth factors, and extracellular vesicles (EVs).”

MSCs may fine-tune the balance of the immune system. One theory regarding COVID-19 are that when some people’s immune systems “overreact” and flood the lungs with cytokines to create a hostile environment for the virus, the immune system doesn’t know when to stop. The MSCs are believed to help calm down the immune system’s cytokine storm and wake up endogenous stem cells to start tissue repair.

It is obvious that there is still a lot that we do not know about the mechanisms of how stem cells work, but our knowledge is growing with hundreds of clinical trials going on right now around the world. In all of the studies I’ve read and personal stories I’ve collected from physicians, I have yet to see any reported major adverse effects, which is more than I can say for any pharmaceutical product I see advertised on TV. I can also without a doubt tell you that if I or one of my family members contracted COVID-19, I would have one of my expert regenerative physicians administer Wharton’s jelly-derived MSCs via IV, as many of them that I could afford, as soon as I found out. The FDA has conditionally approved MSCs for compassionate use, specifically for allogeneic (someone else’s) cells. I am happy to connect any readers to these physicians who would be happy to provide a consultation, either as a patient or a physician.

For now, I will continue to try to eat fruits and vegetables, rich in Vitamin C, D and B12. I will be continuing to take my daily phytonutrient supplements, going on daily 45-minute hikes through the woods with my children and pug. I will be getting IV nutrition to boost my immune system even more, and I will be doing a medical weight loss program with my concierge physician because studies show that the extra weight is bad for me in so many ways. I have my children and the rest of my family taking daily nutritional supplements. I’ll also be doing proactive WJ-MSC derived exosome treatments via IV as soon as I can see my regenerative medicine doctor safely.

If you’d like help in any of the above, please reach out to me through my Healers page. Otherwise, you can now let us know what you are doing to boost your immune system by commenting.

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