By Hillary Latos.
Meet Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., Renaissance man. A board certified family practitioner, he’s become a leader in the use of stem cell therapy in the United States, participating in clinical trials to treat a host of disorders. In 2015, the New York Daily News referred to him as “The Stem Cell Guru.” His other specialties include anti-aging medicine and nutritional guidance. He has consulted with a number of high-profile individuals, including Chris Noth; Mike Tyson; Mickey Rourke; Steven Seagal; Donal Logue, of Fox’s hit series Gotham; and actress and model Anastasia Garvey, whom he advises on nutrition for health and beauty enhancement.
Dr. Calapai was a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team in the 1990s, and for this Resident cover he happily posed for the cameras in the breathtaking One 57 aerie on the 62nd floor with his pal and co-cover subject, Ramona Singer. For over 25 years Dr. Calapai has hosted radio shows on various stations; he currently hosts two weekly call-in shows on WABC-AM, offering health and medical advice. He treats patients in Manhattan and at two offices on Long Island, in East Meadow and Plainview.
In 1995, the New York Post named Dr. Calapai one of the ten most eligible bachelors suitable to escort a separated Princess Diana on her trip to New York. He’s a people person, and in his off hours, when he’s not playing with his 150-lb. German shepherd, Maximus, he’s something of a swashbuckler: piloting planes, practicing full-contact karate with other black belts, boating (he’s a member of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club), or taking racecar-driving lessons, and jetting off to the Hamptons, St Tropez and Monaco. Dr. Calapai enjoys entertaining; his specialty is leg of lamb, based on a family recipe his mother taught him.
WHAT IS STEM CELL THERAPY?
Stem cell therapy is a technique in which certain cells taken from your body fat are extracted and injected into tissues or the bloodstream, and these cells create healing for growth and repair of your body. The cells used in the therapy don’t have any “identity” or “blueprint.” “When your eye, say, makes new cells, they can only be eye cells. Your hair or heart cells can only divide into the realm of the same cell,”Dr. Calapai explains. “There is a special type of cell that exists in your fat and your bone marrow that can be used to go anywhere and take on the identity of anything else.”
This allows us to move cells to repair any area of your body that needs it. Stem cell therapy has proven beneficial in treating a range of chronic conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, joint pain, stroke, liver, heart and kidney failure, COPD, MS, and lupus. Any degenerative disease in your body can be repaired with your own cells that will go to the site and set up brand new generations of healthy cells, that’s why it works so well because you are using your own cells to repair your own body. Diabetes patients have seen remarkable results with blood sugar levels dropping 50 to 70 points. “Getting people off their medications is certainly a testament that stem cell treatment really works.” Your own cells are always the best choice as your body will always accept them. Dr. Calapai is ushering in a new era of stem cell therapy in the United States.
ANTI-AGING MEDICINE AND STEM CELLS
Dr. Calapai is also board certified in anti-aging medicine, which constitutes a large part of his practice. His approach is a comprehensive medical and nutritional plan involving vitamins, minerals, diet, and exercise. Anti-aging medicine involves taking steps to get the body functioning at the level that it did years before by raising vitamin and mineral levels, which decreases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.
“If we can get your hormone levels where they were ten to fifteen years ago, like thyroid DHEA and testosterone, your body will feel and function as it did,” Dr. Calapai reports. “We’re not going to make you live to age 150, but we can get you to function at far greater levels. We’ve reversed type-2 diabetes in people,” he added.
The use of stem cells fits into anti-aging treatment because when injected, they go to wherever there is damage or degeneration. They seek out the body’s distress signals, Dr. Calapai says. “So if the pancreas is damaged, stem cells can get to the pancreas because of those distress signals, take on the identity of pancreatic cells, make more pancreatic cells that make insulin, and now the diabetic will make insulin again, and then their sugar comes down. And combine that with the exercise, vitamins, minerals, and hormones and you’ve reversed a very damaging process.”
STEM CELL THERAPY AND JOINT PAIN
For joint pain, from sports injuries or arthritis, stem cells are injected directly into the affected joint, the shoulder or the knee for instance, and they begin to repair damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. The new cells will continue to divide, which helps the healing along.
COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL NUTRITIONAL APPROACH, WITH A VITAMIN BLOOD TEST
Dr. Calapai created a comprehensive technique to evaluate all underlying causes of a patient’s medical problems. “This is the ultimate holistic approach,” he said. It includes a physical and a series of tests, including a blood test to evaluate the body’s vitamin, mineral, and hormone levels. “We go over that and determine what you should or should not eat, what exercises to do, what vitamins to take, so it’s based upon your body’s specific requirements,” he explains. “With this thorough evaluation, we take steps to start correcting things.” Looking at all of these parameters allows us to correct your diet, fitness which plays a perfect way to treat ailments. This method, he pointed out, contrasts with the traditional medical approach of treating symptoms. Every single patient he’s ever seen requests the vitamin blood test.
HOW THE MEDICAL/NUTRITIONAL APPROACH BENEFITED A 19-YEAR OLD WOMAN BATTLING OBESITY
The patient was 5’10”, weighed over 200 lbs., and was anxious and depressed. Her blood tests revealed a thyroid problem, which required treatment. Dr. Calapai asked her to follow a low-carb diet, and to do some walking every day, even just around the block, and to gradually increase that until she was getting 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. The exercise, paired with the thyroid medication, he said, flooded her cells with oxygen, vitamins, and minerals, and she started to feel more energy. “The anxiety and depression started to go away because her thyroids came up,” he recalls. “She was losing weight, and she was thrilled. So this girl who was a wallflower was now breaking out of her shell.” After about four months, the patient got her weight down to 140, and she is now a certified personal trainer. “She’s taken it to completely the next level,” Dr.Calapai adds. “The girl went from feeling miserable to feeling ecstatic. That kind of transformation can occur if you look at all the right things.”
A PEOPLE PERSON
Dr. Calapai has continued to host his radio shows for almost three decades simply because he finds it gratifying to help listeners learn how to better deal with medical issues.
The radio shows, seeing patients, twice-weekly flying lessons, weekly karate sessions, sailing, his racecar training course in New Orleans (which he learned about from two friends involved in that world), entertaining at home — all of these varied activities have one thing in common. “I love to meet people,” Dr. Calapai says. “Whether it’s going out to dinner with friends, or seeing patients, it’s just fun for me to meet people and learn about them, what they’re about. You can learn something new from everybody.”
And that 1995 newspaper article naming him a perfect match for Princess Di came as a total surprise. He never did get to meet the beloved royal, but people teased him about it endlessly. “Everybody, for five years, teased me about it,” Dr. Calapai says, smiling at the memory. “Every patient came in asking about it, asking what she is like, for years. It was pretty incredible.”
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