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Homemade Yogurt Face Mask Recipes for Glowing Skin (with Pictures)

Homemade Yogurt Face Mask Recipes for Glowing Skin (with Pictures)

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It could be hard to find one ingredient that you can use for treating most of your skin issues, do you think so?

Think again!

I have found the magical ingredient that has always been my number one choice for most of my skin issues, and that is YOGURT!

Back in the time when I was in high school, I used to use Greek yogurt face mask recipes for exfoliating my skin, and it always made my skin smooth and glowing. Not only it removed all dead skin cells but also moisturized my skin.

What is Greek Yogurt?

According to Wikipedia:

Strained yogurt, Greek yogurt, is yogurt that has been strained to remove most of its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than unstrained yogurt, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive sour taste.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per 100 grams, calories 59.

Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 11% Iron 0%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 5%
Cobalamin 13% Magnesium 2%
Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg 1%
Sodium 36 mg 1%
Potassium 141 mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 3.6 g 1%
Dietary fiber 0 g 0%
Sugar 3.2 g
Protein 10 g 20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Why is Greek yogurt good for your skin?

According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York City dermatologist, “acne, eczema, rosacea and even premature aging — can be addressed by incorporating topical probiotics”; thus applying a yogurt face mask could help to restore the healthy balance of bacteria on the surface of your skin, and boost hydration.

Other Benefits of Yogurt for health and Skin include:

  • Having a yogurt a day helps prevent Osteoporosis and reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Thanks to probiotics (the good bacteria), yogurt promotes a healthy digestive tract.
  • Yogurt is great for your skin, as it contains lactic acid (one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)) it exfoliates your skin, which helps get rid of dead skin cells, reduces fine lines, and fade age spots.
  • If you spend a long time under direct sun rays, yogurt will help cool down your skin after excessive sun exposure and soothes sunburns.
  • Because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, yogurt can be used to fight acne.
  • According to this study, yogurt, which is a natural source of probiotics,  may provide benefits for skin health, when used both topically and orally.

When it comes to applying yogurt on your skin, make sure you use plain and organic yogurt without any additives. Additives may irritate your skin, especially if your skin is dry or sensitive. And if you would prefer making your own yogurt at home, watch this video.

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Depending on the ingredients you add, you can make yogurt face mask for exfoliating your skin, moisturizing dry skin, and much more. And by regular use of one of the following recipes, I assure you that you will achieve the glowing skin you are looking.

Greek yogurt face mask recipes

                                            Credit: yeko

Greek Yogurt Face Mask Recipes for Skin:

1. Sun-damaged skin Face Mask Recipe

Years ago, when I used to go outdoors in the midday, my skin used to turn deep red. My mother always told me that I should use yogurt mask to cool down my skin. Since then I developed the habit of applying it for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water, it has a cooling effect and helps reduces red blemishes.

Dr. Oz suggests adding blueberries: ” Remove the damaged surface layers of your skin with a facial mask of yogurt and (approximately 12) blueberries. Mash together; apply to face and leave on for 15 minutes then rinse. Blueberries contain vitamin C and E to help heal skin, and the lactic acid in yogurt is an effective exfoliate.”

Read: How to Get Glowing Skin Using Lactic Acid Peel at Home

2. Yogurt Scrub Face Mask Recipe

Oatmeal, honey and yogurt face mask
Oatmeal, honey and yogurt face mask

4.0 from 1 reviews

Oatmeal, Honey, and Yogurt Face Mask Recipe:

Yogurt contains lactic acid that helps lightens the pores and softens the skin. Along with oatmeal and honey, yogurt makes a great natural exfoliator.

Author: Dima Al Mahsiri

Best for: All skin types

Recipe type: Face Mask

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Instructions

  1. Mix the ingredients
  2. Apply to clean face
  3. Leave on for 15-20 minutes
  4. Scrub gently and rinse with warm water.

Notes

Always moisturize your skin after exfoliation.

3.5.3229

3. Yogurt Face Mask Recipe for Fading Age Spots.

Lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid, is also known to prevent premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots on face.

When asked: How can I fade age spots? Dr. Oz answered:

“Eggplant can help fade age spots. Make a face mask by blending 1 cup of eggplant, skin on, with a half-cup of yogurt. Apply to your face for at least 20 minutes. You should look for results to show up in about 10 days.Age spots – or sunspots – are pockets of melanin caused by sun damage. There are many ways to treat age spots on face, but one great at-home remedy is plain Greek yogurt face mask. Apply it directly on to the spots then let it dry for about 15 to 20 minutes. The lactic acid in the yogurt helps lighten the spots. Repeat this every three days until the spots have noticeably faded.”

One of the easiest Greek yogurt recipes for fighting age spots on face is:

Honey and Greek Yogurt Face Mask Recipe:

Honey and yogurt face mask
Honey and yogurt face mask

I use this one, it exfoliates my skin and reduces the appearance of age spots.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Directions: Mix ingredients and apply on face, leave it on for 20-30 minutes then rinse with warm water.

For a simple and cost-effective way to smooth out wrinkles, you can use banana, honey, and yogurt face mask:

Banana, honey, and yogurt face mask recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 a banana
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Directions:

Mash 1/4 banana and combine with a teaspoon of honey and 1/4 cup of yogurt. Spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and gently pat dry.

4. Yogurt Facemask for Acne-Prone Skin.

The probiotics in yogurt (live active cultures) treat eczema, and since it is rich in zinc, it is ideal for the acne- prone skin.

Lemon and yogurt face mask recipe for acne-prone skin:

Yogurt-and-lemon-face-mask recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.

Directions:

Mix ingredients, apply on your face, leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water. Yogurt along with lemon juice removes the excess oil on your face and opens the pores.

Yogurt is one of the most delicious options on breakfast, and because it is loaded with nutrients, it makes a great healthy snack during the day,too. Your skin also can benefit from it. So, next time you have yogurt on your table, make sure to slather some on your face!

These are only a few examples of Greek yogurt recipes that you can easily make at home. Do you know other yogurt face mask recipes? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to find a cure for aging

Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to find a cure for aging

Longevity Fund's Laura Deming

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Longevity Fund’s Laura Deming
source
YouTube/Hello Tomorrow
  • A recent report published by CB Insights shows that funding for aging-related companies has far surpassed previous years.
  • It comes at a time where scientists are understanding more about how humans age and how targeting different elements of aging could slow the progression of diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Here are the major venture firms, investors, and pharmaceutical companies putting money into advancing anti-aging research and treatments.

Funding in the anti-aging field is at an all-time high.

Investors have bet $850 million on aging and longevity startups so far this year, according to a recent CB Insights report. There’s been tremendous growth recently. That’s up from $324 million last year, and almost nothing before 2016.

The burgeoning interest in anti-aging treatments has been fueled by growing scientific knowledge about how the aging process works. In fact, in 2013, the journal Cell published a paper that outlined the nine key biologic hallmarks implicated in aging.

Since then, scientists have been working to develop drugs to tackle specific features of aging. Even the National Institutes of Health carved out a department dedicated to aging research. NIH believes that aging is the common factor underlying diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

By solving aging, scientists could in turn create a universal cure for all of these diseases, the thinking goes.

More funding translates to greater capacity for research and more clinical trials. In 2015, there was a jump in the number of clinical trials targeting aging, and over the last 3 years, that number has held steady around that new high.

clinical trials aging

source
CB Insights

A record amount of funding flowed into companies involved in the aging area this year, according to the report. This includes Samumed’s recent fundraising round that raised $438 million. The company wants to use stem cells to regenerate hair, skin, bones, and joints. Their lead product is a treatment for osteoarthritis.

One notable venture capital firm investing in the longevity space is The Longevity Fund headed by 24-year-old Laura Deming, according to the report. It manages $37 million, and to date the the companies it has invested in have gone on to raise a combined $500 million.

Longevity Fund has invested in Unity Biotechnology, which spun out from Mayo Clinic. Its research into a class of drugs called senolytics, which kill off zombie-like pre-cancerous cells that accumulate in aged and damaged tissue, entered human trials in June and has the potential to disrupt multibillion-dollar franchises like AbbVie’s Humira and Amgen’s Enbrel, according to analysts at Citi. Unity is also backed by Jeff Bezos.

funding activity longevity

source
CB Insights

Kizoo Technology Ventures has invested in four longevity startups since 2013, according to the report. Of these, a notable one is Elevian, which is also backed by Harvard.

British billionaire Jim Mellon is also a prominent angel investor in aging-related startups, according to CB Insights, backing companies including Juvenescence, Insilico Medicine, and AgeX Therapeutics.

Of the major pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Celgene are the two main ones investing in aging research.

Novartis recently conducted a study on a drug similar to rapamycin, to see how it affected elderly patients’ immune response and risk for infection. The results showed that the patients’ rate of respiratory infections went down by more than 65% during winter cold and flu season. The research and the subsequent drugs are being developed by spin-off company resTORbio, in which Novartis has a 15% stake.

Celgene also had a spin-off of its own: Celularity, which wants to use placental stem cells to promote longevity and treat conditions like cancer and autoimmune disease. The startup raised $250 million in February.

See more coverage from the anti-aging arena:

‘There is no reality here’: Researchers whose work inspired a startup to charge $8,000 to fill patients’ veins with young blood say it’s putting lives at risk

‘There is no reality here’: Researchers whose work inspired a startup to charge $8,000 to fill patients’ veins with young blood say it’s putting lives at risk

A bag of red blood cells.

caption
A bag of red blood cells.
source
Joern Pollex/Getty Images
  • A startup called Ambrosia Medical that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with the blood of young people plans to launch its first clinic in New York City at the end of this year.
  • Researchers who study blood transfusions called the procedure “dangerous” and said the idea behind it is based on “incorrect interpretations” of their work.
  • Founded by Stanford graduate Jesse Karmazin, the company recently completed the first clinical trial designed to assess the benefits of young blood transfusions. Those results have not been published.

Does young blood hold the keys to a long and healthy life? Startup founder and and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin believes it might, so he launched a startup called Ambrosia Medical that fills older people’s veins with fresh blood from young donors.

But researchers who study the procedure say it poses major risks for patients, including an elevated risk of developing several serious conditions later in life, such as graft-versus-host disease, which can occur when transfused blood cells attack the patient’s own cells, and transfusion-associated lung injury.

Irina and Michael Conboy, two University of California at Berkeley researchers who’ve published research on young blood transfusions in mice, called Ambrosia’s plans “dangerous.”

“They quite likely could inflict bodily harm,” Irina Conboy told Business Insider.

The Conboys’ concern stems from an awareness of what happens in the body when it receives foreign blood from a donor.

“It is well known in the medical community – and this is also the reason we don’t do transfusions frequently – that in 50% of patients there are very bad side effects. You are being infused with somebody else’s blood and it doesn’t match,” Conboy said. “That unleashes a strong immune reaction.”

Karmazin told Business Insider that the Conboys’ statements “are not supported by data or clinical experience.”

“Millions of plasma transfusions are performed safely in the US each year and the FDA monitors the safety of the blood supply and transfusions closely. We agree with the Conboys that exposure to young plasma has potential beneficial effects. Further research in this field at Stanford and Harvard, amongst other institutions, indicates that ‘blood dilution’ is not responsible for the observed effects, so it is not clear what the basis for that statement is.”

The first clinical trial of its kind

blood

source
Getty Images/Joern Pollex

In 2017, Ambrosia enrolled people in the first US clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with blood from the young.

While the results of that study have not yet been made public, Karmazin told Business Insider the results were “really positive.”

Because blood transfusions are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Ambrosia’s approach has the green-light to continue as an off-label treatment. There appears to be significant interest: since putting up its website last week, the company has received roughly 100 inquiries about how to get the treatment, David Cavalier, Ambrosia’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider. That led to the creation of the company’s first waiting list, Cavalier said.

“So many people were reaching out to us that we wanted to make a simple way for them to be added to the list,” Cavalier said.

With that in mind, Cavalier and Karmazin are currently scouting a number of potential clinic locations in New York City and organizing talks with potential investors. They hope to open the facility by the end of this year.

“New York would be the flagship location,” Karmazin said.

Blood tranfusions are already approved by federal regulators, so Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.

So far, the company has already infused close to 150 patients ranging in age from 35 to 92 with the blood of young donors, Cavalier said. Of those, 81 were participants in their clinical trial.

The trial, which involved giving patients 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over two days, was conducted with physician David Wright, who owns a private intravenous-therapy center in Monterey, California. Before and after the infusions, participants’ blood was tested for a handful of biomarkers, or measurable biological substances and processes that are thought to provide a snapshot of health and disease.

People in the trial paid $8,000 to participate. The company hasn’t settled on a commercial pricetag for the procedure, Karmazin said.

Young blood and anti-aging: ‘There’s no reality here’

Conboy’s research was one of a handful of studies that initially inspired Karmazin to pursue young blood transfusions for anti-aging benefits.

But she told Business Insider that Karmazin’s work was based on an “incorrect interpretation.”

“Not only is it incorrect, it’s dangerous,” Conboy said.

In 2005, Conboy pioneered a study using parabiosis, a 150-year-old surgical technique that connects the veins of two living animals, to see whether the blood from a younger mouse could have benefits on an older mouse.

And while she did observe some benefits as a result of the procedure, she pointed out to Business Insider that the animals weren’t simply swapping blood – the older rodent was also reaping the benefits of the younger one’s more vibrant internal organs and circulatory system too. Conboy believes that – not the young blood itself – is likely what accounted for the positive effects she saw.

“When old and young mice are sutured together they share organs too – including their kidneys and all the important filtering organs,” Conboy told Business Insider. “Imagine you had a new liver. You’d probably see benefits too.”

Conboy followed up that work with a more recent study in 2016 to see what would happen if she merely exchanged the rodents’ blood without connecting their bodies in any way. She found that while the muscle tissue in the older mice appeared to benefit slightly from the younger blood, they still couldn’t say for sure that these modest benefits were coming from the young blood itself. After all, the experiment had also fundamentally changed the older mouse blood by diluting it.

“Something about the old blood seemed to be having a negative effect, yes, but young blood was not capable of rejuvenation,” Conboy said.

Michael Conboy said part of the problem is simply the fact that there’s too much old blood for the young blood to have a substantial effect on its own.

“Is there really something in the young blood that would override all the negative effects from the old blood?” Conboy said. “Until someone repeats that I’m not sure that I believe it. Even scientists with the best of intentions can observe something that’s a fluke.”

Meanwhile, the Conboys said there are substantial risks with giving older people the young blood of donors. Those include a heightened immune response which is triggered with increasing magnitude every time the procedure is completed.

A 2012 study published in the journal Transfusion outlines the risks of blood transfusions and includes these risks, as does published work from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

“Every time you do it you’re magnifying your immune response,” Michael Conboy said. “Reputable physicians who do this for life-threatening conditions know this risk.”

A controversial startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood is opening its first clinic

A controversial startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood is opening its first clinic

source
Getty Images/Joern Pollex
  • A startup called Ambrosia Medical that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with the blood of young people plans to launch its first clinic in New York City at the end of this year.
  • Founded by Stanford graduate Jesse Karmazin, the company recently completed the first clinical trial designed to assess the benefits of young blood transfusions.
  • Although his team has not yet published the results of the trial, Karmazin said the results were “really positive.”

To startup founder and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin, blood is the next big government-approved drug.

Karmazin recently launched Ambrosia Medical – a startup that fills the veins of older people with fresh blood from young donors – in the hopes that the procedure will help conquer aging by rejuvenating the body’s organs. The company plans to open its first clinic in New York City by the end of this year, Karmazin told Business Insider.

In 2017, Ambrosia enrolled people in the first US clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with blood from the young.

While the results of that study have not yet been made public, Karmazin told Business Insider the results were “really positive.”

Because blood transfusions are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Ambrosia’s approach has the green-light to continue as an off-label treatment. There appears to be significant interest: since putting up its website last week, the company has received roughly 100 inquiries about how to get the treatment, David Cavalier, Ambrosia’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider. That led to the creation of the company’s first waiting list, Cavalier said.

“So many people were reaching out to us that we wanted to make a simple way for them to be added to the list,” Cavalier said.

With that in mind, Cavalier and Karmazin are currently scouting a number of potential clinic locations in New York City and organizing talks with potential investors. They hope to open the facility by the end of this year.

“New York would be the flagship location,” Karmazin said.

The first clinical trial of its kind

A bag of red blood cells.

caption
A bag of red blood cells.
source
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Because blood tranfusions are already approved by federal regulators, Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.

So far, the company has already infused close to 150 patients ranging in age from 35 to 92 with the blood of young donors, Cavalier said. Of those, 81 were participants in their clinical trial.

The trial, which involved giving patients 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over two days, was conducted with physician David Wright, who owns a private intravenous-therapy center in Monterey, California. Before and after the infusions, participants’ blood was tested for a handful of biomarkers, or measurable biological substances and processes that are thought to provide a snapshot of health and disease.

People in the trial paid $8,000 to participate. The company hasn’t settled on a commercial pricetag for the procedure, Karmazin said.

“The trial was an investigational study. We saw some interesting things and we do plan to publish that data. And we want to begin to open clinics where the treatment will be made available,” Cavalier said.

Karmazin added that the trial showed the treatment to be very safe.

“The safety profile was essentially perfect, or as good as plasma transfusions are,” Karmazin said.

Young blood and anti-aging: Are there any benefits?

Karmazin is right about the safety of blood transfusions and their capacity to save lives.

A simple blood transfusion, which involves hooking up an IV and pumping the plasma of a healthy person into the veins of someone who’s undergone surgery or been in a car crash, for example, is one of the safest life-saving procedures available. Every year in the US, nurses perform about 14.6 million of them, which means about 40,000 blood transfusions happen on any given day.

But as far as young blood is concerned – and its alleged potential to fight aging – the science remains unclear.

“There’s just no clinical evidence [that the treatment will be beneficial], and you’re basically abusing people’s trust and the public excitement around this,” Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who led a 2014 study of young plasma in mice, recently told Science magazine.

Karmazin is still optimistic. He got the idea for his company as a medical student at Stanford and an intern at the National Institute on Aging, where he watched dozens of traditional blood transfusions performed safely.

“Some patients got young blood and others got older blood, and I was able to do some statistics on it, and the results looked really awesome,” Karmazin told Business Insider last year. “And I thought, this is the kind of therapy that I’d want to be available to me.”

So far, no one knows if young blood transfusions can be reliably linked to a single health benefit in people.

Karmazin said “many” of the roughly 150 people who’ve received the treatment have noted benefits that include renewed focus, better memory and sleep, and improved appearance and muscle tone.

But it’s tough to quantify these benefits before the study findings are made public. There’s also the possibility that simply traveling to a lab in Monterey and paying to enroll in the study could have made patients feel better.

Studies in mice don’t necessarily translate to results in people

Karmazin was inspired to create his blood infusion treatment after seeing seeing several mouse studies that involve parabiosis, a 150-year-old surgical technique that connects the veins of two living animals. (The word comes from the Greek words para, or “beside,” and bio, or “life.”)

Irina Conboy, a bioengineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley who pioneered one of these parabiosis studies in mice in 2005, found evidence that the exchange had done something positive for the health of the older mouse who received the blood of the younger mouse. But the animals weren’t simply swapping blood – the older rodent was also reaping the benefits of the younger one’s more vibrant internal organs and circulatory system.

In other words, the researchers couldn’t say for sure whether it was the blood itself that was doing the apparent reviving or if the fact that the animals were linked in other ways was responsible for those perceived benefits.

In 2016, Conboy and her team ran another study to see what would happen if they merely exchanged the rodents’ blood without connecting their bodies in any way. They found that while the muscle tissue in the older mice appeared to benefit slightly from the younger blood, they still couldn’t say for sure that these modest benefits were coming from the young blood itself. After all, the experiment had also fundamentally changed the older mouse blood by diluting it.

“The effects of young blood on old tissue seems to be rejuvenating; however, there is no concrete evidence that young blood is what is causing the change in results. It may very well be the dilution of old blood,” Ranveer Gathwala, a UC Berkeley stem-cell researcher in Conboy’s lab who co-authored the 2016 paper, previously told Business Insider.

Nevertheless, Karmazin remains hopeful that the benefits he said he’s witnessing are the result of young blood transfusions.

“I’m really happy with the results we’re seeing,” he said.

Tech elites are paying $7,000 to freeze stem cells from liposuctioned fat as a ‘back up’ for a longer life

Tech elites are paying $7,000 to freeze stem cells from liposuctioned fat as a ‘back up’ for a longer life

source
Shutterstock
  • A startup called Forever Labs freezes and stores people’s stem cells as a kind of back-up drive for their future selves.
  • The company is now offering a way to bank stem cells from fat stores instead of bone marrow.
  • Stem cells have a range of potential therapeutic uses in conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, since they can turn into any kind of cell.
  • But for now, stem cells are used only for very limited purposes, like treating cancer.

Your next effort to prolong your life could involve an awkward conversation with your plastic surgeon. Don’t throw away the fat you’ve just removed from my liposuction procedure, you might ask them. Instead, save the excess material because it’s rich in stem cells.

Beginning this week, longevity startup Forever Labs will offer its customers the ability to bank the stem cells in their fat stores – the same material that’s removed and destroyed after liposuction. Those stem cells are seen as a key component of health. Some believe they may also hold the keys to a longer, better life.

Founded in 2015, Forever Labs collaborates with a network of specialized doctors to siphon stem cells from customers’ bone marrow. The company is now also partnering with some plastic surgeons to allow people who are already undergoing liposuction to bank the stem cells from the fat that would otherwise be discarded.

“If you’re going to throw them in the garbage, you might as well bank them,” Mark Katakowski, Forever Labs’ co-founder and CEO, told Business Insider.

Forever Labs then freezes the stem cells, delivers them to one of its cell-banking facilities, and maintains them under careful conditions. The hope is that one day, more advanced science will allow patients to have their own young cells injected back into their bodies. According to this line of thinking, these cells could then do everything from fight aging to help treat diseases like diabetes.

“This is like a back-up,” Katakowski said.

To harvest a customer’s stem cells from the bone marrow extracted by an orthopedic surgeon, Forever Labs charges $2,500 for the procedure plus $250 per year for storage – or a one-time payment of $7,000. The new method using fat is $1,000 cheaper for the procedure, but the annual storage fees or one-time payment cost the same.

What a bank of your stem cells might be used for

A tray of stem cells at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute.

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A tray of stem cells at the University of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Institute.
source
Getty Images/Spencer Platt

A medical physicist and former research scientist for the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, Katakowski was spurred to bank his own stem cells in 2015 after studying their therapeutic potential in mice.

Stem cells are unique because they can develop into many different cell types, from those that make up muscle tissue to those that form the neurons in our brain. For that reason, scientists have long hoped that stem cells could be used to regenerate failing tissues or organs as an alternative to transplants, which are expensive, time-consuming, and come with a risk of rejection. Instead of getting a transplanted kidney from a donor, for example, a patient could one day hope to receive a sample of his or her own stem cells, programmed to generate a new kidney.

But stem cells are only widely used today for one procedure: bone marrow transplants. The transplants are typically used by leukemia patients who undergo the treatment in conjunction with chemotherapy as a means of replacing the healthy stem cells that the chemo has destroyed.

“Right now that’s the only approved use of stem cells,” Allison Mayle, a cancer researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told Business Insider.

In recent years, scientists have been studying how to use stem cells to treat a range of other conditions that involve a specific type of failing cell, such as type 1 diabetes (where the body’s immune system destroys the pancreas’ insulin-producing beta cells), macular degeneration, and heart disease. So far, however, those trials have only included a very small number of patients; more extensive studies have only been carried out in lab animals.

Ronna Parsa, a Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon, contracts with Forever Labs to do bone marrow stem cell draws. Since she started in March, she’s done roughly five procedures, she said. Parsa also banked her own stem cells with Forever Labs.

“After doing the research I can just see the vast potential for these types of therapies in the future,” Parsa told Business Insider. “By freezing my 32-year-old stem cells, hopefully when I’m 50 or 60 or 70 I can use those.”

Mayle agrees that the therapies could have potential, but she isn’t sure they’ll come to fruition in time for most patients to see a benefit.

“Would this be something that’s going to happen in our lifetime? It’s hard to tell,” Mayle said. “There certainly are things that could work in the next five to ten years, but they also might not.”

‘An ace in my pocket’

Nevertheless, stem cell banking is beginning to emerge as a trend. One recent report projected that the global stem cell banking market would grow from $6.3 billion in 2018 to $9.3 billion by 2023. Katakowski wouldn’t share how many customers he’s had so far, but said most hail from areas with tech meccas, like Silicon Valley and New York City.

In the US, hundreds of providers currently offer stem cell banking. A handful also offer unproven anti-aging therapies using the cells. One such company, Houston-based Celltex Therapeutics, used to inject patients with retrieved stem cells, and once treated Texas governor Rick Perry. But Celltex stopped offering the service in the US in 2012 after regulators warned them that they lacked federal approval.

Katakowski said Forever Labs is not offering any stem cell therapies, just the ability to store the cells until peer-reviewed science makes proven therapies available.

“In the back of your mind you know you’ve got it,” Katakowski said. “It gives you a little piece of mind. Is it going to be a get-out-of-jail-free card or an ace in my pocket? It might.”

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