LifeWave X39 stem cell patch story has holes

I often learn about new supposedly stem cell-related products like the LifeWave X39 Patch from readers. Sometimes such products are used by tens of thousands of people, in my view potentially raising risks to the public.

If nothing else, people might be spending  their money on something that isn’t worth it.

As a stem cell biologist, how do I see LifeWave? What’s the claimed stem cell connection?

The goal of today’s post is to fact-check the LifeWave X39 Patch. I also dig specifically into its stem cell activation claims.

Overall, my claim review as a stem cell biologist is that in my opinion the X39 patch and its health claims do not appear to have solid science behind them.

It’s an unusual product with some surprising claims and backstory so the whole thing is very interesting even if highly problematic too in my view.

What is the LifeWave X39 Patch | Data | GHK-Cu | No stem cell scientists? | Cost of X39: $150-$280 | LifeWave Review | Stem cell patches overall | References

LifeWave X39 patches
LifeWave X39 patch marketing image. From the firm’s website.

What is the LifeWave X39 Patch

The LifeWave X39 patch is a device about the size of a quarter that you stick on your skin. While as best as I can tell it does not actively emit new light itself like a bulb, it is claimed to expose the skin to only certain wavelengths of light, which I’m assuming have ambient light as the original source.

Here are the instructions: “Place one LifeWave X39™ patch on the body, use one of the locations shown below. Apply the patch to clean, dry skin in the morning. Patches may be worn for up to 12 hours before discarding. Keep well hydrated while using this product.”

I’m not sure, but it could be a medical device. The same might be the case for the X49 patch from the same company too.


In part, it relates to the claims.

They state that the X39 patches do several medical-related things via that light exposure:

  • “Activate your stem cells!
  • Patented phototherapy is designed to elevate a peptide known to enhance stem cell activity
  • Supports relief of minor aches and pains.
  • More energy and better sleep – must be experienced to be believed
  • Supports natural wound healing process
  • Maintains healthy inflammatory response”

Admittedly, I know less about FDA device rules than drug and biologics regulations, but it’s at least an important question to clarify.

Big hole: no solid clinical trial data for LifeWave patches?

The LifeWave website instructs users to place the X39 patch on the skin of the back of the neck. How would one little patch placed there impact systemic things like the claims related to improved sleep and wound healing elsewhere?

As mentioned in the previous section, these patches are claimed to work by activating your stem cells.  How would that work exactly in terms of actual biology? It’s not at all clear.

I found 6 papers from a PubMed search for “LifeWave.” None of the papers provide concrete evidence to back up the claims about the patches in my view. I also found no clinical trial listings for a search for LifeWave and no relevant results for “X39” patches.

At this point in my research into these products, I found there was no strong reason to think the patches would activate stem cells or do so in a meaningful way to have systemic positive effects. A little patch also only exposes a correspondingly small area of skin. Could a little patch of skin exposed to light also make the skin release helpful endogenous substances throughout the whole body? I don’t believe there is good evidence of that either.

Claimed role for GHK-Cu

I wanted to try to better understand at a molecular and cellular level what the firm was claiming the patches do to customers’ stem cells. After all, I am a cell and molecular biologist. I finally found a page with more detail on their site. It is focused in part on something called GHK-Cu. I’d never heard of it, so I looked up research on it.

A paper with first author Loren Pickart popped up. His affiliation is something called R&D Skin Biology or just Skin Biology in Bellevue, WA.

Pickart and co-author Anna Margolina claim that GHK-Cu has regenerative and protective actions. The paper seems to be full of unproven claims rather than anything convincing to me data-wise. I found a few pubs by Pickart on PubMed. None of them seem at all convincing to me to support the sale of a small skin patch product claiming to improve health via stem cell activation by GHK-Cu. One paper claims an affiliation with the Research & Development Department of Skin Biology as though it’s a large corporation or university. I don’t see evidence of that either.

The proposed mechanism whereby light triggers increases in GHK-Cu and that in turn activates stem cells also brings to mind another product that I’ve fact-checked recently. The Augustinus Bader cream products also seem to claim to work by triggering endogenous stem cells via a substance called TCF8.

No stem cell scientists?

As another potential hole in the story and red flag, I don’t see that LifeWave leadership has rigorous stem cell research experience. What’s the leadership team?

CEO David Schmidt is the inventor of the X39 patch.

On the page about Schmidt it says this: “One of his inventions, the Double Helix Conductor, produces a novel blend of electromagnetic and non-electromagnetic fields to improve the speed of wound healing that rivals that of stem-cell injections. This led to David realizing that phototherapy can be a means by which a person’s own stem cells can be activated into a more youthful state as opposed to requiring an injection of expensive and potentially dangerous stem cells . Hence, after ten years of study, the X39® patch was born.”

Suzanne Somers, lifewave
Suzanne Somers promoting LifeWave in a YouTube video.

What about Loren Pickart whose work LifeWave cites? I don’t see that Pickart works for LifeWave. 

Pickart’s co-author on the GHK-Cu papers, Anna Margolina, has her email listed as the corresponding email on the paper. I emailed her about LifeWave and GHK-Cu but got no reply.

Interestingly, the website that is the source of Margolina’s email shows her to be a hypnotist now. She also has a YouTube video on her site in which she uses a puppet to make some points.

At this point in reading up on LifeWave, I was even less convinced there’s robust stem cell science behind these patches. The claimed light-induced GHK-Cu mechanism of stem cell activation seems dubious to me. I even went to the X39 patch patent document and still didn’t find convincing evidence that the patch does something beneficial to stem cells.

Cost of LifeWave X39 patch: $150-$280

These are also expensive patches. Depending on the product, you can pay more than a hundred dollars for a month’s supply. If you use them for years, we’re talking about thousands of dollars.

The prices seem even more unreasonable to me given that there’s no good evidence from clinical trials that these work.

Perhaps part of the money earned goes to support the firm’s abundant marketing.

One of the LifeWave celebrity ambassadors is Suzanne Somers, who I assume gets paid for this role. Long-time readers of The Niche may recall that Somers has been a believer in alternative stem cell medical approaches for a very long time. She was apparently the first person who got a stem cell breast surgery. 

Does LifeWave have FDA approval for their device? Perhaps the firm argues they don’t need it.

Overall LifeWave X39 review

I couldn’t find clear data on potential LifeWave patch side effects. Some folks on the web even claim that no side effects are possible, which is, of course, false. Anything that can activate one’s stem cells, assuming for one second that that claim is true, has the potential to do unhelpful things.  So there’s at least some possible risk here.

My overall review is that the LifeWave X39 does not appear to have strong, published clinical science to support its claims based on a tiny patch. There could also be side effects. If the X39 is active in the skin itself, I would imagine at most it could positively impact locally nearby issues like tissue healing.

Note that this patch approach is very different than drug patches, which contain concentrated chemicals. A drug patch releases a chemical into your body that then is distributed systemically via the bloodstream. The FDA says these transdermal drug patches are complex combinations of drugs and devices. LifeWave seems to instead rely on a supposed activation of one or more endogenous substances with cells already in your own body.

I also have some concerns about LifeWave as an MLM firm. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any other science-based reviews of these patches to cite.

Overall, given the high cost and uncertainties, I would not recommend this product.

Stem cell patch research more generally

Finally, note that the term “stem cell patch” has several different meanings today. There are LifeWave bandaid-like patches, but also other very different things.

There is rigorous clinical trial research ongoing for stem cell patches meaning either a layer of stem cells or a layer of differentiated cells made from stem cells. These stem cell patches are hoped to fix damaged tissue. They might repair holes or openings in tissues. For example, I’m very excited about spina bifida research ongoing right here at UC Davis Medical School involving stem cell patches. There are also studies of stem cell patches for other damaged tissues.

So keep in mind that “stem cell patch” is a broad term.

References and notes

47 thoughts on “LifeWave X39 stem cell patch story has holes”

  1. Hey, folks ever hear of the mitochondria in our cells that produce 90% of our body’s energy? Did you know that they conduct electrons along a carbon scaffold? Do you think maybe improved more bio-available copper might conduct electrons better?

    My old van has an electric module that requires a certain current threshold to shift gears. It takes more rpms generating more energy in the alternator to shift gears than it used to. Same deal with patches and mitochondria – increase output by reducing resistance and you get more ATP energy out the other end. No placebo here just citizen science.
    The patches take us to a new, nonprescription paradigm. Lifewave patches do a good job of managing many symptoms well through mitochondrial enhancement – stem cell production being one of them.
    These patches are too good to be true for some people. Others find them good enough to be true to the products and the results. Maybe the patches are doing good for our mitochondria. Maybe they are helping the mitochondria produce more energy in the marvelous system that is more than just anatomy.

    Information and energy are the new frontier. Biophotons and microcurrents are kicking it in the second and third paradigms beyond the body as an anatomical machine.

    Take the time, the first ten minutes at least and consider Doug C. Wallace’s NIH video A Mitochondrial Etiology of Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases

    1. These papers/studies are all biased and funded by LifeWave or divisions there of. Not reliable or founded research.

  2. What are the risks? i’m 39 and would like to have a child. I’m also worried about cancer risk, like ovarian and breast cancer risk. Could this harm me?? The author says there are risks with stem cells – what exactly did they mean?

    1. @Laura,
      From all the reading I did the potential risks are not clear. However, anything that activates stem cells (assuming these patches actually do that in a strong way) could present other risks like activating mutant cells too or causing unwanted tissue growth. I’m somewhat skeptical about how strongly these patches activate very many stem cells though. I believe they most likely do nothing very positive or negative.

      1. All I know is from day one, I haven’t felt this good since I was a teenager. I gives me hope that I can live without constant pain. And that’s a blessing

  3. Did you also see, while doing your research, that LifeWave has been… might still be… under class action review for “unsubstantiated claims” and “MLM malpractice”. For me, if it sounds too good to be true and it costs a ridiculous amount, it’s probably not a good idea. Well, except for those at the top of the MLM chain.

  4. This patch has copper in it. Copper helps the thyroid convert T4 to T3. T3 give you energy. Copper helps promote collagen production. Copper helps the body absorb iron. Copper is correlated with increases in estrogen levels. Copper and Zinc compete, so taking too much Zinc will decrease the body’s ability to use Copper. Zinc is present in more food sources than Copper and multivitamins often contain Zinc without Copper. Elemental copper found in the environment is not very bioavailable, so it may be beneficial to try a supplement from the store (copper sulfate) based on the Dietary Reference Intake Daily Value for similar results as the X39 form of Copper. I am not sure how similar results would be, because I have never heard of this form of Copper.

        1. In her opening sentence, “This patch has copper in it. Copper helps the thyroid convert T4 to T3. T3 give you energy.” Briana clearly thinks copper enters the body from the patch.

    1. Richard Plantan

      The patch does not have copper in it.what the patch has is certain light frequencies which goes onto the skin and causes the body to produce copper peptide which in turn causes stem cell production and rejuvenation .

  5. I agree that I don’t see the proof for this product. But the reason people believe this kind of thing is that so many are so desperate for some kind of realistic hope. All we are getting is over the top media claims from non-scientists. So the actual scientists need to step up and say “Here’s a realistic timeline for when xyz treatment for xyz condition actually MIGHT be available”. Statements like this could be followed by every disclaimer on earth, but at least it would be something. Somebody who actually has the expertise, somewhere, needs to do this. It isn’t the first time I’ve said something like this, but as long as it isn’t happening, I’m going to keep saying it.

      1. It does work. All I know is
        That I had debilitating knee pain, had gel shots that did nothing for the pain to the tune of 6000.00. I would
        Wake up every hour and now I sleep through the night and can walk without pain. I will spend $99.00 a month for

        1. Richard Plantan

          If you listen to Dr. Knoepler your improvements are all in your head and you should stop using the patches and continue to be in alot of pain. Great advice.

      2. 1 month into using Lifewave X39, Aeon & one other patch. Physical symptoms worse than before I began. They say the 1st few weeks or more will put you into a detoxifying phase. Either these aren’t working or I have a lot of toxins in my body that need to be eliminated (which is what Lifewave states when you first begin using them).

  6. The FDA is a “claims made” regulatory body. If a company claims their product “activates stem cells” then the FDA will regulate the company based on that claim. So, I expect if enough complaints are filed there will be a FDA “Letter” going out to this company just like the FDA has sent out to many other companys making incredible medical claims with no scientific data. Unfortunately there are no significant penalties to these companies so this will continue to happen. I find no public evidence of any sort that Lifewave has data to back up any of the myriad claims they make in their marketing or multi-level sales promotional material. Some people will not mind paying $100+ if they get a placebo benefit from wearing a fancy bandaid but don’t call that medicine or science. Dr. Knoepfler is exactly right on that point.

  7. I put on an x39 patch yesterday for the first time, I have to say that after 2 months of sciatic pain, (pretty severe) I have gone to an orthopedic a pain management dr, physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractor care, out of work for 2 months, today I woke up with hardly any pain and I was able to walk for 4 hours with minimal discomfort. I have suffered a lot of pain this last 2 months and feeling this back to normal today is pretty amazing.
    Can this all be a coincidence? I don’t know.

      1. Russ Male (M) Allen

        I have used X39 patches for 2 years and have experienced consistent results in the alleviation of pain. I was skeptical of the product. Happy to discuss offline my findings. They deserve a thorough examination and clinical trials.

      2. Have you not look at all the double blind placebo effect studies? Come on. You don’t even know what GHK is!? Doctors around the world have been giving GHK injections. It’s a peptide.

  8. I certainly think this is another example of products that litter our society that have no scientific basis in reality, but desperate people (and there are so many that I’ve seen on various maliday Facebook pages and forums) that somebody simply says, “It helped me” and sold. I don’t understand how unsubstantiated products have zero oversight and no wonder there are so many doing it. I even have doctors selling products that are homeopathic that are scientifically debunked as ineffective, but some vendor shows how the doctor can make a profit, and that register rings. Let’s face it, the Lifewave product is a Network Marketing thing, not unlike overpriced Amway products. The only thing I’e read years ago is the power of the placebo effect that has evidence of working on some. So mind over matter. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was more effort placed on that at no cost to the public. One doctor years ago said how well bio feedback helped him with some hand difficulty he was having.

    So why am I posting here? My neighbor has claimed for months (and she is 81 and very physically active as a Yoga instructor) how she has renewed activity and vitality and of course doesn’t care about the science. And I’ve been ill for 2 years, been scene at major medical facilities with a neuro muscular issue that doesn’t reveal itself in any of the tests. But shows up with reflex and muscle weakness and sensory issues that are recognized (by a Cleveland Clinic neurologist). Exertion causes burning deep down in various areas that stop me from doing very much, which is frustrating as a 67 year old. The only nebulus comment I got from the neuro at CC was, “You will get better.” Can I get that in a pill?

    So my neighbor brought 6 of the X39 patches over for me to try if I wanted to. Of course I am skeptical but I did put one on today. In a week, I will post an update if I noticed any benefit. (She has had other people she got to take it that have had claims of some improvement, and supposedly the amount of time it takes to work varies.) But I know how network marketing works, and of course the customers don’t want to admit it’s not working since the person who gets you to take it benefits from the relationship.

    1. First off, I’m really sorry to hear about the immense amount of pain you are in. That can make life challenging at times. Please post if you notice a difference. I am curious about your results.

    2. J Cranston, do you have an update on your experience? Did you wear the patches? If so, how long for how many days?

    3. Hi there. I can assure you there is no placebo effect. As someone who has had 2 hip replacements over the last 4 years, I can tell you that while I am very grateful for modern science and technology, the prosthetics do pull down on my SI joints heavily. That has created a lot of pain. I have been on the patches since 2/9/23 and all that pain has been HIGHLY mitigated or completely arrested. I was skeptical being a Bio/Chem major from Tulane since I did NOT want anything invasive / or was transdermal infusion taking place in my body. This is Photo Light Bio Modulation. Taking our body heat and light which attracts the GHK Cu Peptides. They in turn send a signal to the brain to reactivate your stem cells you were born with. David Schmidt the inventor based his 10 year research on a research scientist named Dr. Fritz Albert Popp.

      He provided the ground work and David Schmidt built upon it.

      A sleeve (30 day supply) of the patches X39 or X49 are approximately $100. This is inexpensive and allows the masses to be able to control their pain given that many people do not have health insurance or if they do, they have catastrophic health coverage with deductibles hovering around $10,000. My suggestion for all who may be skeptical is TRY IT. Order a sleeve and see for yourself. It is not the end all…be all but it a quantum leap advancement in technology which I fully expect will continue to happen given that we are now living in the year 2023.

      With 1000’s of incredible testimonies, celebrities who use it along with pro NBA athletes, if it did not work and provide some measurable relief, this technology would have folded in on itself a long time ago. I know my quality of life has taken a dramatic turn for the better since 2/9/23 when I started.

      1. Richard Plantan

        The company allows you on your first purchase to try the patches for 90 days with a money back guarantee. This means that your first purchase has to be for 3 months worth of product. Use it for 85 days and contact the company before 90 days and get a refund. You can’t beat that.

  9. I will get the x-39 in a couple of days. What got me was a You Tube video on how to increase the number of stem cells. Four suggestion were totally practical and convincing: diet, exercise, lower stress. The fifth was LifeWave. Could this be a ploy.? Going through some 30 You Tube videos was unconvincing. Many seemed like sellers and most had connections with LifeWave. Could this be mostly placebo? Lifewave could easily sponsor a double-blind study. At $5 a patch the profit must be in the stratosphere. We will see.

      1. would u please comment on the posts that have had postive result from the patches.. Any Explanations from you?

          1. How is it thousands of people
            Are having a placebo effect?
            A friend of mine had severe neuropathy, could
            Hardly walk or drive. Since being on the
            Patch he is now walking without pain, driving again and playing golf!
            This same person had some
            Other amazing things happen which I won’t go into on a public forum.

          2. Richard Plantan

            Anything of an alternative to toxic drugs that people say works for them is because of a placebo effect. Why not tell people to try the product and if it works continue If it doesn’t don’t buy it anymore.

    1. Richard Plantan

      If you go to their website and click on science there will be numerous studies performed by numerous scientists that affirm that the x39 patch stimulates chk copper peptide which in turn is positive for stem cell production and rejuvenation

  10. I read your post and would like to say I was very skeptical as well… however I have experienced relief from agonizing neuropathy… LifeWave works for me… and that is evidence enough. No medication, treatment, therapy has been able to provide me relief for 12+ years, on day one with the Aeon patch, I could actually feel my feet, but not the hot burning pain. As you may know neuropathy contributes to slow healing of wounds on the legs and feet. Early Dec 2022 I had skin cancer removed, the wound would not heal… 5 days after my first patch my wound is completely healed.

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