About that Joe Rogan stem cell treatment & clinic promotion

Joe Rogan first popped up more squarely on my radar screen years ago because of a concerning video that’s out there of him talking with Mel Gibson about stem cells.

At the time it was one of the most-watched videos on YouTube on stem cells.

I took apart that stem cell video and its claims including related to a Panama stem cell clinic, which in my opinion were way out there. It seems to me that the video was likely encouraging everyday people to take risks for themselves and their families at the clinics.

Joe Rogan Stem Cells Mike Tyson
Joe Rogan talking about unproven Stem Cells with Mike Tyson. Video screenshot.

Joe Rogan stem cell clinic promoter?

I thought at the time that maybe that was that.

However, it turns out that Joe Rogan is still really into stem cells. There are many videos out there of him talking with celebrities about stem cells. In addition to Mel Gibson, he has also talked stem cells with former boxer Mike Tyson (see above), rapper Action Bronson, MMA fighter Henry Cejudo, and quite a few others. In some of the videos, Rogan is talking about his own experiences.

The clip promoting the clinic Bioxcellerator ends with Rogan saying, “Yeah, it’s real shit man” about the stem cells.

Joe Rogan promoting a stem cell clinic
Joe Rogan stem cell video promoting a clinic with Henry Cejudo. Video screenshot.

So what’s the big deal?

One problem is that the stem cell content on his show encourages risk-taking by the public. The supposed stem cell treatments aren’t based on solid, consistent data and they focus largely on anecdotes.

As with the Mel Gibson video, in the other videos Joe also often seems to promote specific unproven clinics. There’s no balance in the interviews. I haven’t watched all the Rogan videos mentioning stem cells but much of the content feels like advertising to me. Like infomercials.


Searching for Joe’s name and “stem cells” on the web under videos on Google or on YouTube and you’ll easily see much of this content.

Strikingly, some of the clips were uploaded to YouTube by the unproven stem cell clinics mentioned in the videos.

If nothing else this tells us that the clinics view the videos as promotional material. Does Rogan get paid for some of this? Or maybe he gets a discount or free treatments for himself or his family?

Who knows, but these are important questions. He might just be extremely enthusiastic about stem cells without some compensation.

Looking ahead

Has he ever had a physician doing legit stem cell-related clinical trials on his show too? If so, I haven’t seen that. About the closest thing is a 2020 interview with Aubrey De Grey, which I’ve included above. There’s some sober discussion in there from Aubrey, but unfortunately, it’s mixed in with Rogan going on about stem cell clinic offerings. Aubrey has a somewhat more relaxed view about stem cell tourism than I do, but you can tell from this video and other talks that I’ve seen him give that he still wants to see all the data.

Moving forward, Rogan could do some good by bringing attention to strong stem cell clinical trials and advocating for a data-focused approach. That’s not likely. In the bigger picture, there are some major concerns about Joe Rogan’s statements about COVID-19 and other health issues as well.

24 thoughts on “About that Joe Rogan stem cell treatment & clinic promotion”

  1. This article reads like a hit piece suitable for what the NYT or CNN has become. Your overuse of the word “unproven” followed by a smear of Joe Rogan’s “possible” financial involvement, of which you have no knowledge, is not science. It has only loose basis in fact. “unproven” does not mean “doesn’t work”

    If a bunch of people, all of whom had pain severe enough to fly to a foreign country, recover enough function that they’re now pain free, you, not they, need to show why what’s being done to them down there isn’t working.

    Perhaps start with talking to the clinic, seeing what they do, and testing it for yourself before you spout off like this. That, or become a NYT journalist. Your current article would fit right in.

  2. I would be curious to know: Dr. Knoepfler, Do you or did you advocate for the Covid mRNA shots? In evaluating your stance, I would like to have greater context of your viewed on evidence-based medicine. Thank you.

  3. I think anectodal improvements are still worth to talk about although scientifically meaningless in the field of medicine. I was talking with a guy with serious injuries on his arm and shoulder. Not simple wear and tear. After a msc treatement five years ago, he was using that arm “more” efficiently. I hear you mr. Knoepfler but isn’t anectodal improvements remarkable?

  4. Professor Knoepfler, thanks for your site and your time put in to it to educating the public on stem cells. Dr Camillo Ricordi has looked at some of the research that Creative Medical has done with diabetes, any thoughts as to this ever getting FDA approval?

  5. The FDA and medical establishment have done a terrible thing to prevent the development of viable stem cell treatments.

    First, the FDA makes it illegal to get the great stem cell treatment Wharton’s jelly,

    The government spends millions on organizations like CIRM, for closed medical institutions to do “research“. Meanwhile people can’t get treatment.

    Why should patients have to travel to a different country to get stem cells?

    I got good results but I had to book a flight and accommodation, go through customs, and pay a whole lot of extra money, and take a bunch of extra time amd effort to travel to and stay in Mexico.

    Nobody should have to do that. It’s a restriction on freedom and it means that we are moving dollars from the United States to Mexico.

    A lot of people Who would otherwise benefit from stem cell treatment won’t travel to other countries to get it. Thanks to the FDA, People who could benefit from such treatments are discouraged and restricted from getting them.

    I wonder if this comment will be approved or for how long it will stay up. One of the big reasons I just like posting on blogs as they tend to be echo chambers of the blog authors.

    1. I’m considering getting some stem cell treatments for multiple level: degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and hemangiomas. Along with knee problems and wide spread osteoarthritis. I had a knee replacement 10 years ago that didn’t go at all well and I’m avoiding having the other one replaced because of such a bad experience. I’m 73 years old and my wonderful son wants to do this for me after watching the amount of pain I’m in pretty well everyday. I’m really nervous about letting him spent the money and have adverse or no results. After reading your write up I just felt compelled to write this and see if you had any info to share with me

  6. This is where people get confused. The stem cells used for transplants for cancer treatments are hematopoietic stem cells- they are adult stem cells that can make all kinds of blood cells, but not anything else. This is the only FDA approved stem cell type. The cells from fat and connective tissue are not at all the same. They can’t develop into blood cells – only fat, cartilage, and bone. Not FDA approved for any application, in spite of anecdotal reports from people who believe they helped them. The number of people who do NOT believe they helped them is much larger- hence the lawsuits.

    I hope that someday our pluripotent stem cell-derived cell therapy will be as common as hematopoietic stem cell therapies.

  7. I think physics is cool. When I watched the SpaceX rocket launch to carry our stem cells to the ISS, I was so impressed – if only us biologists could solve biological problems so well!

  8. I had a stem cell transplant after extensive chemotherapy for aggressive lymphoma cancer on my kidney back in 2019. I am in remission and feel absolutely amazing. To each his own, I am blessed and thankful to be alive.

  9. Believe it or not, I have a degree in physics so I don’t need anyone telling me about science, scientists, or The Science™. Thank you for the advice,

  10. Bill, there is no need to imagine a coverup. We are all influenced by articulate, passionate people who entertain us. They spark our imagination.

    It’s just that while scientists are excited about science, we live in the real world of facts and evidence. This limits our ability to be entertaining. Facts aren’t as exciting as imaginary things.

    The trouble with a scientist being interviewed by Joe Rogan is that the scientist would have to keep saying “that’s not true”, which would be boring.

  11. @arahmanford Let’s not forget that Joe Rogan has stated on his show more than once that his mother, who is in her late 70’s was told by her doctors that she needed a knee replacement. According to Joe, his mother’s knee got better after treatment in Panama and she no longer needs a knee replacement. Joe has also stated that he got stem cells somewhere (I can’t remember where) for his shoulder and it got better too. So, perhaps Joe is just a shameless, lying, cheating, stealing, evil capitalist intentionally misleading his listeners to make yet another buck. Or maybe, just maybe, he brings people who he finds interesting on his show to discuss a variety of topics. And maybe, just maybe, Joe is simply telling the truth. He has a reputation built up over the past 10 years that points to the latter. That’s why so many people (like) me listen to his show. He’s certainly better (and more popular) than CNN talking heads who accused Joe of taking “horse dewormer” for COVID, and put a yellow filter on his phone video to make him look as sick as possible. CNN conveniently omitted the facts that Joe took a variety of things like monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, Z pack, IV vitamins, NAD drip, etc – all of which he mentioned in that video. CNN also failed to mention that Joe recovered and tested negative after 3 days. They wouldn’t want anyone to find that out.

  12. The cells that Arnold Caplan isolated from fetal mice in the 1980s were actually stem cells. He called them stem cells because they could differentiate into fat, bone and cartilage. I think the cells used in clinics are just mesenchyme (aka connective tissue).

    1. Yeah, there are actual stem cells in certain MSC preps and some researchers sort and study them. Some biotechs are using them. I bet much of what is in the for-profit clinics’ preps are fibroblasts and/or their relatives and then there are some endothelial cells, a few pericytes (which might be like stem cells), blood cells, some adipocyte-like cells without so much fat, etc. Very heterogeneous.

  13. I am troubled by your attack on Paul and will explain why. I think you misunderstand what it means to have expertise in stem cell research. Paul and I are experts on stem cells because we have spent our careers studying them; we understand what they can and cannot do. We’ve put these cells in culture dishes, watched them under microscopes, and analyzed them using the best technology available. We’ve worked with other stem cell researchers, shared our results in publications and talks.

    When I was an impoverished undergraduate, I rebuilt our VW’s carburetor , following the time’s closest thing to the internet, a book called “How to keep your Volkswagen alive”. I did it on our kitchen table; it took a long time. For me, it was a challenge I wanted to take on, and I did it.

    But that did not make me an expert on carburetors; I could read about them on the internet now and learn enough to pretend to be an expert. Any smart person could.

    I’ll state the point clearly. Nothing is better than experience. I’m not going to ask a neurologist to replace my knee. And, I won’t be charging money to fix anyone’s carburetor.

    Paul and I have experience with stem cells- decades of hands-on practical experience (I have a bit more than Paul!). We aren’t pretending to be experts because we read about stem cells on the internet.

    If you want to know about stem cells, ask us. If you want to know about carburetors, ask a mechanic- I’m not willing to give advice on that.

  14. Yes, I agree, Dr. Knoepfler please seek out an interview with Joe Rogan to express you viewpoints, or have an open discussion with Joshua Ketner of Dream Body Clinic in Puerto Vallarta, or Dr, David Greene MD of D3 Stem Cell.

    Unfortunately the use of stem cell continues when these cells are not truly stem cells. Dr. Caplan now calls them “medical signaling cells” he realizes that it is a misnomer referring them as stromal or stem, cells.

    From the many medically published papers I have read the succinct conclusion seems to be there is no toxicity, no immune system defense response, and experienced benefits to the patients that have been treated with MSCs. Every clinical trial report paper states that more trials should be conducted. NIH should conduct clinical trials to develop treatment protocols using MSCs that can be approved by the FDA.

    Mesoblast Limited is on the verge of having their lower back degenerative disease treatment which is derived from MSCs, FDA approved,
    Mesoblast Limited has 41 individual clinical trials listed on Clinical Trials .Gov.
    The misnomer of “stem cells” is the greatest challenge.

  15. I think we all appreciate your apparent concern for the health and safety of patients. However, I’d like to pose a few pointed questions, if I may.

    Why do you have such a problem with people using stem cells to get healthy?
    Who appointed you “king” of all there is to know about stem cells?
    Who gave you and others in academia the monopoly on stem cell truth?
    Do you have any experience at all in the practical application of stem cell therapy?
    Are you jealous of Joe Rogan because more people listen to him than to you?
    Do you think that Joe Rogan and his listeners are beneath you?
    Why are you so belittling, condescending and imperious toward people who have benefitted from stem cells?
    Do you think that because you’re a “scientist” with a lab and you have academic credentials that your opinion is more valid than a “plebian” from the “ignorant masses”?
    Why do you advocate online censorship of opinions on stem cell therapy that differ from yours?
    Why do you constantly deny that stem cell therapy has helped and is helping countless people NOW?
    Why are you so attached to the archaic, anachronistic, clinical trial model of yester-year that even the FDA is moving on from?

    Finally, it would be excellent if you contacted BioXcellerator yourself, interviewed them and posted the interview on your blog. I think many of your readers would be interested in that.

    Or better yet, contact Joe Rogan and do an interview with him. That would be a very educational exchange.

    Thank you.

    1. @Rahman,
      Your questions just reflect your own obviously very strong feelings and beliefs rather than facts.
      As to the “king” question, keep in mind this is just one website about stem cells and regenerative medicine. I’m just stating my views as a stem cell biologist. There’s no monopoly. Also, if I advocated censorship why do I regularly post your comments on my site?
      I do think your idea of reaching out to BioXcellerator is a good one and I’ll see if I can get in touch with Joe Rogan although I’m not sure how.

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