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Ultimate Human. Hey, guys, welcome back to the Ultimate Human podcast. Today's short is about red light therapy or photobiomodulation. I get a ton of questions about red light therapy and photobiomodulation. I know it's the rage right now. You can buy red light panels. You can buy red lights for your scalp to regrow hair. They've got ones that look like the old Freddy Krueger masks that are red light for your face, for the formation of collagen, elastin and fibrin in your skin. And then there's the full blown red light therapy panels and red light therapy beds that are about the size of a tanning bed and can cost you upwards of $110,000. So the question is, does red light therapy work? What evidence is there to support that it works? What are the main treatments that it is effective for? Is it FDA approved? Is it not FDA approved? So really, what is it about red light therapy that's creating all the rage? Well, I can tell you that red light therapy has been cited in a number of recent peer reviewed articles. I'm going to go through some of those right now, just in summary, and then give you the real crux where all of these spokes of the wheel meet the hub of red light therapy.


What is it doing for you? Why is it the antiaging rage? Why is it so good for your skin? And why should you be using red light therapy? And one of the first articles that I reviewed was published recently in a peer reviewed journal in 2018. This was actually one of the older ones. It was transcranial photobiomodulation, which is another name for red light therapy. And it was a systemic or systematic review of using red light therapy in major depressive disorder. And if you'd like, you're welcome to read this study. I'm going to put a link to all of these research studies below. Now, this study, albeit was done in animals and is being repeated in human clinical trials, but it did find that the photobiomodulation red light therapy was actually comparable to antidepressant medications. And the clinical studies also indicated a significant antidepressant effect and very, very good tolerability meaning there's virtually no contraindications to red light therapy other than I'm aware of autoimmune disorders or if you're on immunosuppressant drugs, because photobiomodulation and red light therapy can actually improve the immune system and strengthen the immune system. So if you're on some sort of medication to suppress the immune system, that would be a contraindication for red light therapy.


But there's an interesting second published study on red light therapy concluding that this is the next wave of regenerative medicine tools that are going to be used to actually enhance stem cell therapies. Meaning stem cell therapies when stem cells are put into the joints or maybe even when stem cells are used intravenously, which is not legal right now in the United States, but is legal outside of the United States. And then the major one and the one that I happen to be very familiar with and recommend to a lot of athletes, and that is photobiomodulation or red light therapy for exercise recovery. This particular study found that in conclusion, photobiomodulation and red light therapy not only improved muscular performance, but it accelerated recovery when applied before exercise.


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So if you know anything about the superhuman protocol that I talk about very often, which is a combination of magnetism, oxygen and light, the final stage is red light therapy. And the whole idea of this podcast is not to make you run out and buy a red light therapy panel or a red light therapy bed. Remember the majority of these benefits. Many of these benefits you can actually get by exposing your skin to natural sunlight, especially first thing in the morning during first light. But for those of you that want to go next level, or you're considering the purchase of a red light therapy bed or red light therapy panels, make sure that it has the following wavelengths 680 to 720 nm specifically has the 810 nanometer wavelength and the nanometer wavelength of 940. Now, the difference in wavelengths does not mean there's a difference in its therapeutic effect. It just does the same thing at different depths. If you continue to look at the research that is published on Photobiomodulation and Exercise recovery, even a metaanalysis confirms significant performance effects, positive performance effects and significant acceleration of tissue injury and repair when used prior to exercise.


There are also a number of research articles that are cited for post surgical repair. So knees, hips, shoulders, rotator cuffs, especially in joint replacements and ligament and tendon repairs, medial meniscus, ACL repairs, joint repairs, bicep tendon tears. The powerful red light therapy beds will actually go right through these bandages and even some of these braces and still embed themselves in the skin. Many reports have shown a reduction in reactive nitrogen species, a reduction in prostaglandins in human and animal models, and a significant reduction in inflammation in the brain, abdominal fat wounds, lungs, and the spinal cord. So the question is, what is red light therapy doing? What is photobiomodulation doing at a cellular level that is so important? Well, as you may or may not know, inside every cell in our body is a small organelle called the mitochondria. You have about 110,000,000,000,000 of these in your body right now. In fact, 10% of your body weight is actually mitochondria. And inside the mitochondria, there's a little motor, there's thousands of these little motors spinning around. It's called the Krebs cycle. And if you remember from high school biology, the Krebs cycle is what generates ATP, adenosine triphosphate, the actual life source for human beings.


This is how we get all of what we perceive as energy. The more efficient we are at creating ATP, in other words, the healthier our mitochondria are, the more energy our system has at a cellular level.


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So one of the wavelengths of light, when it passes through your skin, it's not only reducing inflammation, increasing microvascular circulation, it's also passing through the cell wall and it's going into this organelle called the mitochondria. And as certain wavelengths of light pass through the cell wall of the mitochondria, they kick out a useless gas, a gas called mitochondrial nitric oxide. Now, a lot of us subscribe to the old myth that nitric oxide is good because it's a vasodilator. But there's a horde of scientific evidence now showing that nitric oxide is not the panacea for vasodilation that we thought it once was. It actually has a vasodilation effect and then actually causes a vasoconstriction effect. It may actually be part of the genesis of neural entanglements and amyloid plaques, those things that we see in Alzheimer's and other types of memory disorders. So nitric oxide is not certainly not something that you should be supplementing with, but it's also not the panacea for vasodilation that we think it is. However, when nitric oxide, mitochondrial nitric oxide, is inside the mitochondria, what it's doing is it's competing for oxygen. And remember, the Krebs cycle has two cycles, an anaerobic cycle where it can actually generate ATP, albeit very inefficiently, without oxygen.


And it has an aerobic cycle where it has oxygen and can actually generate 16 times more energy. So, in other words, for the same revolution, you get roughly 16 times more ATP in the presence of oxygen than you do the absence of oxygen. So we could conclude that anything that actually helps oxygen enter the mitochondria or the Krebs cycle is beneficial for cellular energy. And if the cell has more energy, it can eliminate waste repair, detoxify, divide, and regenerate at a much healthier pace. So one of these wavelengths of light passes through the wall of the mitochondria. It kicks out a gas called mitochondrial nitric oxide and forces oxygen to dock. So, yes, imagine laying in a red light therapy bed and forcing oxygen into all 32 trillion cells in your body, upstaging the mitochondria, giving all of those cells more power to eliminate waste, to repair, to detoxify, to divide, and to regenerate. This is arguably the greatest benefit of photobiomodulation. It's now being investigated for all kinds of transcranial modalities, like Alzheimer's, dementia. It's shown some very significant promise in Parkinson's disease and other neurological diseases. And the best thing is that even deconditioned patients, patients that are unable to exercise or have impaired mobility, can get in a red light therapy bed and get the benefits from red light therapy.


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For those of you that are a little more vain, you may want to look at some of the articles here that indicate an improvement in the production of collagen, elastin and fibrin, a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. I think there actually may be an FDA indication for red light therapy in this regard. There is a tremendous amount of evidence showing that red light therapy applied to the scalp can regenerate hair follicles, thicken the size of the hair follicle, and actually increase the nutrients to the root of the hair and therefore possibly even reverse some of the signs of alopecia. So photobiomodulation, for its downside risk, has so many positive effects. If you're thinking about purchasing a red light therapy panel, or a red light therapy bed or a red light therapy mask, make sure it has those wavelengths 680 to 700 and 2800 and ten and 940 as those seem to be the most commonly researched wavelengths. And those are the ones that are proven to remove this mitochondrial nitric oxide from the mitochondria and force oxygen to dock. I think very soon we are going to see red light therapy become the rage in antiaging longevity and biohacking treatments because of its limited risk and its unlimited upside potential.


I hope you enjoyed this podcast on photobiomodulation and red light therapy. This is the ultimate human podcast. Podcast please like and subscribe to the channel. And as always, that's just science.