Blood transfusions have been used to save lives for decades, but now one startup wants to use the medical procedure to combat the effects of aging by injecting older people with young blood. The treatment is called “Ambrosia”, after the mythological food of the Greek gods, which granted whoever consumed it longevity or immortality.
It only takes two hours to have two liters of plasma from donors aged 16 to 25 into your body, but according to Ambrosia founder Jesse Karmazin, the results are nothing-short of miraculous. He once called it “plastic surgery from the inside out“, told one reporter that while the transfusion doesn’t grant immortality, it “comes pretty close”, and told another journalist that just one infusion of young blood “dramatically improves people’s appearance, their memory and their strength”. The company even ran a medical study that officially ended in January of 2018, but despite boasting about its “really positive” results, Ambrosia Medical has yet to make those results public. And that’s what makes this treatment so controversial in the eyes of many health experts – no one has ever offered any solid proof of its efficacy.
34-year-old Karamazin founded Ambrosia Medical in 2016, after graduating from Stanford Medical School. He got the idea for infusing young blood into older people with the goal of stopping or at least slowing down the effects of aging, after reading several studies in which young and old mice were surgically conjoined in order to observe the effects of mixing their blood. Researchers reported cases in which the older mice became temporarily stronger and exhibited slightly improved health, and Karamazin was confident that these same type of result could be replicated in humans.
In the summer of 2016, Jesse Karmazin announced that he would start charging people 35 and over $8,000 to participate in a “clinical trial” where they would be injected with about 2 liters of plasma from young donors. Believe it or not, he didn’t have to get an approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as this was technically a simple transfusion, the well-established medical procedure that has been performed for many decades. The only difference here was the goal. Instead of using transfusion to treat serious health conditions, Ambrosia Medical was promoting it as an anti-aging treatment.