The regenerative medicine procedures performed at RestorePDX rely primarily on autologous regenerative medicine products. This means the regenerative or restorative agent that is being deployed at the site of injury is being sourced from the patient’s own body. While there is typically some level of processing involved that can dictate quality–like the centrifuge for platelet-rich plasma therapy or “washes” for adipose-derived stem cell therapy–generally speaking, the healthier a patient is the better the autologous regenerative medicine agent harvested from their body will be. If a patient is unhealthy, then there is a good chance that the autologous regenerative agent sourced from their body will be of a lower quality and therefore less effective. So the key to maximizing your chances of having a successful regenerative medicine procedure is to be as healthy as possible before, during, and after the procedure.
Fortunately, naturopathic doctors are well-suited to defining and promoting overall health in their patients, because restoring and maintaining the foundations of health is the cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. Optimizing your body for a regenerative medicine procedure entails ensuring overall health in five key areas: sleep hygiene, systemic inflammation, diet and supplementation, stress management, and hormone levels.
Adequate, restful sleep is one of the most critical elements dictating overall health. Sleep drives recovery, reduces inflammation, and promotes overall mental health. If you are not sleeping well, then it is very difficult to be truly healthy in other areas of your life. Leading up to a regenerative medicine procedure, you should track your sleep using a FitBit or other wearable device to ensure you are getting adequate sleep. Furthermore, if you suffer from sleep apnea or another disruptive sleep disorder, you should seek treatment as soon as possible, as this condition can be devastating to overall sleep hygiene.
2. Systemic Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to healing. However, too much inflammation has the potential to interfere with an orthobiologic treatment and stop the regenerative agent from working to its full potential. Therefore, it is critically important that you do all you can to control systemic inflammation before undergoing a regenerative medicine procedure. Fortunately, controlling systemic inflammation goes hand in hand with the other suggestions in this section, including diet, exercise, and sleep, so if you focus on those aspects of your lifestyle, your systemic inflammation should be well-managed!
One oft-overlooked driver of systemic inflammation is the gastrointestinal system. Conditions like leaky gut, dysbiosis of the microbiome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can all cause systemic inflammation if left unchecked. Therefore, it is critically important to consult your primary care naturopath before undergoing a regenerative medicine procedure if you suffer from these issues, as they can provide a number of integrative and allopathic interventions for these conditions.
3. Diet and Supplementation
Second only to sleep, diet is the foundation for all health. What you eat, when you eat it, and how you eat it is critically important to your overall health and, by extension, the likelihood of success following a regenerative medicine procedure. A diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in healthful fats and overall nutritional value will increase systemic inflammation, depress your mood, and lower cellular resilience, all of which can interfere with an orthobiologic agent.
However, it is important to realize that nutrition goes beyond mere caloric intake; proper supplementation is also key to optimizing your diet before and after a regenerative medicine procedure. Things like turmeric, fish oil, and boswellia, can reduce bad inflammation while promoting the beneficial, healing inflammatory responses required for healing. There are also a number of medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, that can interfere with a regenerative medicine procedure, so you should review a list of all medications, including supplements, you take with your provider before undergoing the procedure to make sure nothing you take will present obstacles to success.
Finally, how and when you eat is just as important as what you’re consuming. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal in this regard is an approach to diet called intermittent fasting and/or time restricted eating. For true intermittent fasting, one should go for a period of at least 24 hours without caloric intake. Another, and more popular method is called time restricted eating, wherein you consume calories only within a set window of time, generally a window of 8 hours or less, and forego all foods outside of that window. The human body is not designed to accommodate the easily accessible, high-calorie food sources that are in existence today. Our ancestors, even as recently as a few hundred years ago, went days or weeks between big game kills, so their bodies evolved to accommodate long periods without eating. Mirroring these caloric deserts can help control inflammation, manage your weight, and even unleash powerful substances called fibroblast growth factors that play a critical role in the healing and repair of connective tissues like collagen.
4. Stress Management
Stress levels affect a wide range of the body’s systems and processes, nearly all of which could impact the success or failure of a regenerative medicine procedure. Excess stress and its resultant hormonal imbalances reduces cellular resilience and interferes with the body’s natural healing processes. Addressing high levels of stress in our lives can improve overall health and better situate the body to respond to a regenerative medicine procedure. Things like exercise, diet and nutrition, supplementation, and meditation or focused breathing exercises can allow lower stress and improve your chances of experiencing a positive outcome from your regenerative medicine procedure.
5. Hormone Levels
As a matter of routine, patients at RestorePDX who have been indicated for a regenerative medicine treatment first undergo routine lab work to check the levels of a variety of hormones and nutrients in their bloodstream. This is done to rule out comorbidities like anemia, hypothyroidism–both clinical and subclinical varieties–and Vitamin D deficiencies that could interfere with an orthobiologic agent. If your blood work returns any worrisome values, Dr. Manning and his team will work with you to address them and remove any obstacles to success before your regenerative medicine procedure.
In conclusion, the healthier you are leading up to and following a regenerative medicine procedure, the better your chances are of experiencing a positive outcome from the treatment. Because the key component of an orthobiologic treatment is being sourced from the patient’s own body, it stands to reason that someone in poor health with bad diet, exercise patterns, and sleep hygiene would fare worse than someone whose health was in top order.