7. Stem Cell Therapy

The pros love it, but does it work?

Dec 22, 2011
Outside Magazine

Stem cell therapy, a remedy that has had little recognition in the United States due to a ban on stem cell research, blew up in 2011 when sports stars like Bartolo Colon, Kobe Bryant, and Peyton Manning started traveling to foreign countries for treatment. 

Colon’s Major League Baseball career nearly ended in 2009 when the Chicago White Sox released him because of a recurring shoulder injury, according to Wired.com. But after Colon, 38, got an injection of stem cells, he was able to throw as hard as he did in 2007. He credits the stem cell therapy, which involves extracting fat and bone-marrow stem cells from one part of the athlete’s body, and re-injecting them into the injured area in the hopes that the cells will help regenerate and repair damaged tissue. 

Still, not everyone is buying it.

“There's very little evidence that bone marrow stem cells taken from one site and injected into another will do anything," Theodore Friedmann, a University of California at San Diego geneticist who heads the World Anti-Doping Agency's gene doping panel and advises WADA on stem cell policy, told ESPN. "The most likely outcome is that if you put stem cells in places that are unfamiliar to them, like a knee or shoulder, most of them will just die."

Read more at Wired.com