Lululemon founder Chip Wilson takes 2 popular longevity drugs — and flies to Mexico for stem cell injections — to try to stave off his muscular dystrophy

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson takes 2 popular longevity drugs — and flies to Mexico for stem cell injections — to try to stave off his muscular dystrophy
  • Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that makes it hard to walk.

  • He's spending $100 million on high-end treatments, and research for a cure, Bloomberg reported.

  • He's also trying some of the most popular longevity treatments: stem cells, NAD+, and rapamycin.

The founder of Lululemon – the guy who pioneered a luxury athleisure market – was, at first, just a guy looking for a good yoga class to ease the back pain caused by his rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Wilson was diagnosed with the incurable muscle-wasting disease called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy in his 30s, before he was a billionaire. He began taking yoga classes to help with the muscle loss in his lower back, and a resulting slouchy, gut-forward posture.

It was in yoga class where he got the idea to start Lululemon in 1998, inventing a special patented butt-hugging fabric for skin-tight yoga pants. (Wilson stepped down in 2013, following off-color comments about plus-size clothes and people whose thighs rub together, birth control, and how Japanese people pronounce the world L, Business Insider reported.)

But in recent years, Wilson decided to take more measures to try to extend his healthy years, as his muscle wasting worsened to the point that he couldn't walk without falling over.

Wilson is now on a bevy of different treatments, including some prized by longevity-seekers for their inflammation-dampening effects, a recent Bloomberg profile explains.

Injecting his own plasma and flying to Mexico twice a year

doctor injecting prp into man's back with needle
Platelet rich plasma injections are common to help with conditions like arthritis.Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Wilson regularly receives hefty and painful 90-minute plasma injections into his back and his legs, a treatment that athletes often use successfully to ease pain in achy, arthritic knees. It's unclear if this same technique can work for muscular dystrophy, but he's willing to give it a try.

Twice a year, Wilson flies to Mexico for an injection of stem cells he wouldn't be able to get in the US or Canada.

The Vancouverite is also pouring tens of millions of dollars into small biotech companies looking for various cures for his disease, a complicated genetic issue which affects only tens of thousands of people worldwide.

He pops the cheap cancer drug rapamycin that is popular for longevity once a week

Easter Island
Rapamycin was discovered in a clump of dirt on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) — a remote, volcanic island in the South Pacific. PABLO COZZAGLIO/AFP via Getty Images

In addition to the plasma and stem cell injections, Wilson also takes rapamycin — a cheap antifungal cancer drug that scientists suspect may be helpful for reducing age-related inflammation.

It is one of the most popular treatments that longevity seekers use in hopes of prolonging their healthy years.

It's already been shown to lengthen the healthy lifespan of worms, flies, and mice many times over in the lab. It's now being tested for the same purpose in a small trial of pre-menopausal women, and another larger trial of aging dogs.

NAD+, a Kardashian-favorite longevity supplement

kendall jenner sitting casually on a couch in a yellow shirt and jeans, with an IV running into her arm. she's smiling
Kendall Jenner getting an IV treatment.Hulu

The other popular longevity treatment Wilson is trying is a supplement called NAD+, which he gets intravenously.

NAD+ is an enzyme that helps us create energy, and our bodies produce it naturally. But our natural NAD+ levels decline with age.

It's possible that boosting NAD+ through supplementation (it's available both as a pill, as well as via IV drip) might help people live longer, while feeling younger, or even regenerate their cells.

Kourtney Kardashian (not a scientist) has called NAD+ "our genetic key to longevity." But science hasn't really borne out yet whether artificially boosting NAD+ has real benefits for people.

Wilson says he doesn't have time to waste trying all of these treatments meticulously one by one to better evaluate which might work.

"My time is limited," he told Bloomberg.

"I have the right amount of money at the right time," he added. "And I'm willing to take the risks."

Read the original article on Insider