Is Testosterone Good or Bad for Stem Cells? More on Our Recent Study

By Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

testosterone stem cells

Testosterone use in men has exploded this past 10 years. Commercials lace the airways warning men of the problems of “Low T”. At the same time, due to recent studies suggesting that older men have more heart attacks on testosterone, the same airwaves are starting to become populated with advertisements for law firms seeking clients to sue testosterone makers. It’s a bit of a mess. Our own study into testosterone and stem cells further muddied that water by suggesting that the hormone may hurt adult stem cells. However, when we dig deeper into that data does it have more to tell us?

To review, we took 20 men who had low testosterone and first harvested their stem cells. We then froze those cells down and placed the men on testosterone and thyroid (the most common program used today by age management physicians). They were seen at 6 weeks to measure levels and adjust meds and then at 3 months to take new levels and then take stem cells. They were told to change nothing else. Regrettably, we saw an average decline in adult mesnechymal stem cell number from bone marrow of 49%. At the time, busy with a million other things, I only really studied the lab data and had our advanced research team slice and dice that data. This past week, knowing I would be presenting this data at an age management conference today, I began to also look at the clinical data.

What should I have found in the clinical lab data based on the experience of many physicians who practice age management using testosterone? Basically an improvement in heart risk factors like cholesterol and tricglycerides. In addition, I should have also seen improvements in blood sugar control (HbA1C). This is what I found in our testosterone stem cells study instead:

  • 5/20 did not achieve optimal testosterone levels (170-200)
  • 8/20 undershot (2) or overshot (6) their Free T3 levels of <4.0->4.4
  • 7/20 had DHEA under 500
  • 11/20 increased their HbA1C

My biggest concern was the HbA1C levels-they went up in many patients. This suggests blood sugar control got worse – something that in our experience can hurt adult stem cells. In addition, many patients didn’t end up getting to optimal testosterone levels in our 3 month “guerrilla program”. Why? From talking to the clinician treating these patients, these men considered they were on a “wonder drug” and didn’t make the lifestyle changes that many age management doctors stress.

So what did we learn? Like the recent VA study where they willy-nilly placed unhealthy elderly men on testosterone and saw bad things – we placed middle aged men who were unhealthy on a wonder drug and in a short-term program weren’t able to do what needed to be done – a hormone and lifestyle overhaul. The good news is that we learned that this type of program won’t help their stem cells. In addition, we may have put a drop of water in the knowledge bucket about the use of this drug in men who aren’t devoted to also changing their life-style.

The upshot? Based on what I’ve seen, testosterone works well when used as part of a major lifestyle reboot and when it’s closely monitored over a long period of time. It is not a stem cell wonder drug for short-term use!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.