Can stem cells help with depression?

Louis A. Cona M.D.

A brief summary of depression, including information as to why stem cell therapy may be able to help the condition.

The benefits of stem cell therapy are becoming more well-known and publicised by the day, but there are a number of conditions that have not been considered good candidates for treatment. While autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases are easily targeted for stem cell use, conditions such as psychological disorders have been largely overlooked. However, as conditions such as depression become better researched, it’s starting to become apparent that there are physical effects in the body that are affecting the brain to cause these disorders, and they can possibly be treated naturally through stem cell therapy.

What is Depression?

Depression was thought in the past to be a figment of the mind. Something that can easily be overcome with effort or a more positive attitude. Through years of psychological research, chemical imbalances were identified in patients that were causing these symptoms. These physical effects needed to be addressed for a patient to recover. However, it has now been shown many people suffering from depression also have increased levels of inflammation markers, such as TNF, IL-1β, and CRP. High levels of these markers indicate a high risk for inflammation in the body. These levels were indicated not only in patients with clinical depression, but also bipolar disorder, anxiety, personality disorders, and schizophrenia. This inflammation has powerful effects on the brain. Specifically, high levels of inflammation can affect how neurotransmitters in the brain function, as well as impact cortical brain circuits and motor activity in regions responsible for arousal, anxiety, and alarm. Inflammation reduces the function of presynaptic reuptake pumps for serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. There has even been recent medical literature reported by Psychiatric Times linking these inflammation markers with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Although there is still more to learn about how inflammation impacts mental disorders, it is clear that its reduction and control can positively affect symptoms of these conditions.

Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are primal or “undifferentiated” cells. They are essentially “blank” and have the ability to become almost any other type of cell. In the body, their function is to find damaged or diseased tissue and repair or replace it. We all have a supply of stem cells when we’re born, but it decreases with time, and their effectiveness diminishes with age. A stem cell transplant seeks to boost the body’s number of stem cells by the hundreds of millions. Through the use of donated cord tissue-derived stem cells, the cells used in treatment are “brand new”, with the highest potency and healing potential. Additionally, the treatment involves only natural cell products, avoiding the use of potentially harmful additives and drugs.

Can Stem Cells help reduce Inflammation?

Stem cells have been proven to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Through the use of large cell quantity transplants, the youthful stem cells have a regulatory nature on the body. They have shown the ability to positively impact the levels of inflammation markers in the body. These effects are long-lasting and patients can often go years without the need for supplemental treatment. It is for this reason that MSCs are already commonly used to treat autoimmune and degenerative diseases, where the reduction of inflammation is essential to repairing damage within the body. When used in conjunction with prescribed medications, it is likely that stem cell therapy can aid in the treatment of many of these inflammation-induced psychological conditions. By addressing the underlying physical causes and regulating the brain to normal function, patients can find a solution to their symptoms and increase their quality of life.

DVC Stem

DVC Stem is a stem cell therapy pioneer, offering stem cell therapies for years and has become a cornerstone of the medical tourism industry. Located in the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman in the Western Caribbean, we offer patients a nearby alternative to traveling long distances and to less ideal locations. Our protocols are IRB approved, and our cells come from regulated, U.S. based, FDA compliant laboratories. We seek to offer the highest quality products, the latest available treatments for a variety of conditions, all combined with a world-class setting and service.


Tyler explains his experience at DVC Stem in the Cayman Islands.

Tyler is optimistic that he will see positive results post treatment.

"The cool thing about the Cayman Islands besides being beautiful, it was an opportunity to get some rest and relaxation allowing my body to heal and restore. I'm back in the US now and feel like I am ready to conquer the world."

- Tyler Heid


2 weeks post treatment, MS patient Tyler is beginning to see amazing progress. He has been wheelchair bound for the last year and has not been able to move his legs unassisted before now.


Tyler updates about his progress, explaining the amazing response he has been receiving from his friends and family.

"People coming up to me saying I am moving, talking and smiling so much better. They are noticing a lot of things that have improved over the course of 3 months."

"This morning I was able to do things that I was unable to do before, I was able to stand up and lift my leg higher than I ever have before."


5 months post treatment Tyler sends us an update on his progress.

"I'm able to smile better, I have more control over the left side of my face."

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler is optimistic and on the right track to recovery. We are ecstatic to see his progress and look forward to more updates from him.

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler Heid - 5 months post treatment

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

You also might be interested in