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Teenage Blood Transfusions Are Being Used to Treat Aging

Blood transfusion
July 18, 2017 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

Have you seen a recent spate of headlines about teenage blood transfusions used to reverse aging? Did the idea horrify you or were you intrigued? For me, it raised a lot of questions about blood plasma treatments, which are a hot trend in anti-aging, as well as the credibility of the company behind the headlines.

Ambrosia is a biotech startup that, according to a report from CNBC, has some 100 customers 35 and over who are coughing up $8,000 to receive young blood plasma transfusions. Other reports say that they use blood from 18- to 25-year-old donors. Well, at least Millennials are making themselves useful. Or are they?

Does Ambrosia’s treatment actually work? The company’s website is utterly devoid of information. However, the founder Jesse Karmazin has been quoted saying that “it reverses aging.” He added that the results are so good that they don’t need to continue with clinical trials. Supposedly, participants in the trials have seen lower levels of cancer-causing carcinoembryonic antigens, lower cholesterol, and a lowered Alzheimer’s risk. The only problem is that Ambrosia has come under fire from the science community for not using a control group.

Karmazin says that he was inspired to launch his blood transfusion treatment after hearing about similar trials on mice. In fact, Truth In Aging wrote about these experiments back in 2014. The mice had been sewn together with their veins conjoined for four weeks in a procedure called parabiosis. It was claimed that the older mice reversed aging with the blood from their younger brethren. However, attempts to replicate the results have failed. Furthermore, Ambrosia isn’t conducting parabiosis (probably just as well) but one-time transfusions.

Using blood — or specifically, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — is a hot trend in dermatology. Typically, a patient’s own blood is drawn and then processed to extract the platelets. These function in the blood as clotters, although they are also rich in growth factors. It’s used for everything from eyebrow injections to topical creams. Though there may be an age limit for using one’s own blood since it has been shown that platelets decline after 65.

In any case, I’m not very convinced by the idea of removing blood only to have it injected back again. The research backing up claims for hair growth, skin rejuvenation, vaginal rejuvenation and scarring is patchy at best.  In the meantime, mice are continuing to be sacrificed at the University of California, San Francisco, which is examining the effects of transfusions on a degenerative disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy. A study under way in China investigates whether young plasma alleviates the neurologic deficits induced by acute stroke.

In the cold light of day, the vampire facial is not for me. What do others think? Would you inject your own blood, millennial blood, or neither?

  • October 29, 2018

    by Jen

    Of course, if proven and popular enough, most people would happily receive blood products; if it enhanced their lives. BIG caution - when there is a market, there follows a demand. How young would people be prepared to go and to what lengths? Fetal cells are obviously going to be containing the most growth and repair factors. How sure can anyone be that the blood products are not from missing children or aborted fetuses? This is impossible to regulate and because of that, it is unconscionable to participate in creating the demand.

  • December 27, 2017

    by diana

    i was a blood donor in my teens. if i new, i would have cryogenized some, duh!

  • July 19, 2017

    by Marta

    To Sheena's point, I should also mention that the blood used by Ambrosia is acquired from the blood bank - where donors give their blood for free and then the bank sells it to healthcare companies. Doesn't seem quite right.

  • July 18, 2017

    by Laura

    I would not use someone elese's blood for rejuvenation purposes. They should be donating.
    Although, I did have 3 sessions of PRP and can honestly say it worked wonders for me. I have been using human stem cell conditioned media serum and day and night cream for a year now. The work very well but I did not get that glow effect and firmness I was looking for. Whereas the PRP did give that healthy glow, eliminated fine lines on my hands and tightned my neck. Looking forward to next years sessions.

  • July 18, 2017

    by Sheena

    Honestly? I'm firmly in the disgusted camp. If those millennials wanted to make themselves 'useful', they would donate their blood to benefit those in medical need - as would those shelling out to receive the blood products.
    I'm a massive supporter of anti-aging innovation and a huge fan of TIA. But this? It's going too far. Especially when blood banks around the world are desperate for donors. Please put this in the dept of daft!

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