Therapeutic plasma exchange – a new therapeutic modality for longevity

Healthy Longevity Clinic’s Dr Alison Levitt on why spring cleaning your blood could be the best thing for longevity.

Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), also known as plasmapheresis, has been used to treat diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and multiple sclerosis, but is also gaining traction as a longevity therapy. Research has shown that TPE can promote a shift towards a younger systemic proteome, including cells that exhibit reduced senescence and less DNA damage, as well as youthfully restoring pro-regenerative apoptotic regulators. Other benefits of TPE include an increase in the number of biomarkers of immune function, a reduction in the amount of neurodegeneration and cancer-related proteins and a decrease in inflammaging [1].

Longevity.Technology: TPE involves drawing blood from a vein in the patient’s arm. A special machine separates the polluted plasma from the blood cells, and the aged, polluted plasma is discarded and replaced with clean, individualized, plasma-like replacement fluids, albumin, immunoglobins and other regeneration promoting factors. The new solution of freshly-cleaned blood is infused back into the patient’s body, supporting the body and brain’s ability to fight degeneration.

Alison Levitt, MD, is a doctor specializing in antiaging and regenerative medicine. We caught up with her at Healthy Longevity Clinic to find out more about TPE, the process and the benefits.

Alison Levitt on…

Getting to grips with TPE

Therapeutic plasma exchange and plasmapheresis are big words, but what does that all mean? In simple terms, we’re removing the plasma portion of your blood which contains cells that can contribute to the aging process. This includes antibodies, senescent cells and cells with free radicals that can cause oxidative damage. All of these cells can damage other cells in your body, damage genetic material or trigger the aging process. They can also cause inflammatory processes which can lead to diseases of aging.

During the process, we remove approximately 2-2.5 liters of plasma and replace it with a substance called albumin. Not only does this avoid volume loss, but albumin has some therapeutic properties because it is immunomodulatory and is an antioxidant, so it’s beneficial. We’re taking out toxins and aging-causing cells and replenishing the blood with something beneficial – you certainly won’t be missing anything that you don’t want missing from your body!

TPE is individualized, but most people will need a minimum of 3 to 6 sessions to get the desired effect. Typically, then, they would go on a ‘maintenance protocol’ for an extended period of time.

TPE is used in hospitals right now to treat autoimmune diseases like myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré, but we are using it in the field of longevity. We are trying to remove cells in the body that are contributing to the aging process. We now know that inflammation causes side effects to every cell in the body. It damages DNA and that can produce a more rapid aging effect on your system.

Under maintenance

Plasmapheresis can remove a lot of these damaging cells. There are so many chronic diseases of aging – heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, chronic fatigue – and they all have their basis in inflammation. Reducing inflammatory markers reduces the load of inflammation in the body and that takes away the load of disease processes in your body. While completely removing a disease is our ultimate goal, aging is constantly happening and we all live in toxic environments. This means we are constantly producing chemical products that have an effect on each cell and in turn means a maintenance program is needed.

Addressing Alzheimer’s

We know TPE is beneficial for patients who have Alzheimer’s, and we also know that what’s available today on the market in conventional medicine is not really helpful – it’s a Band Aid. TPE, however, has the potential to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in patients, so we are very excited about the prospect. We are also trying to reverse the biological age of our patients, and there are various studies coming out that prove that the removal of inflammatory markers can reverse biological age – we’re waiting on the exact figures at the moment.