by Dr. Kilcup | May 11, 2022 | Articles


Is This You?

For whatever reason you were willing to give Photobiomodulation (PBM aka red light) therapy a try, but it didn’t work for you like you expected! Believe it or not you are not alone. There are reasons why PBT doesn’t work for some people. I hope after reading this article you will see that the people for whom red light therapy isn’t working actually NEED IT THE MOST. I also hope that you’ll realize how important your mitochondria are, and how addressing the root causes of mitochondrial dysfunction can improve your health.

Exercise for the Mitochondria

Red light therapy is like exercise for your mitochondria. The red wavelengths of light literally stimulate these cellular powerhouses to make fuel for the body. If you think in general terms of how exercise works for our bodies it helps to understand how PBM works.

Out of Shape Mitochondria

Just like it takes longer for out of shape muscles to get strong when you start exercising, weak mitochondria take longer to get in shape and respond to red light therapy. Our mitochondria are under all kinds of stress and strain every day. For some people their mitochondria are getting flat out beat up every day. Here is a list of things that damage our mitochondria:

This list looks like all the root problems I find as a functional medicine doctor which are causing most of the chronic health issues my patients have. It’s not a stretch to say that all our health problems stem from sick mitochondria.

If some of these things apply to you, it’s safe to say that your mitochondria are out of shape, and seeing results from Photobiomodulation is going to be slower for you.

The good news is that red light therapy has the greatest potential to help you! Obviously by itself PBM will not reverse the listed issues. The best thing to do it fix those root problems so that the damage to the mitochondria stops. However even if fixing the root problems is not possible, Photobiomodulation is a huge help in lessening the damage caused by them.

I have patients whom I have helped fix many of these root causes that damage mitochondria. Since the addition of PBM to their treatment plan we have seen a faster response to the treatment. If you are not experiencing the many benefits of red light therapy and you are not getting helped by a functional medicine doctor I would love to help you!

Consistency is KEY!

Back to our exercise analogy. If you want to see results with exercise you must be consistent. When people ask me, “What is the best exercise?” I always say that the best exercise is the one you will do! When it comes to Photobiomodulation, consistency is super important. There is a mountain of research on PBM, and the studies generally show that getting GOOD (I’ll address this next) red light therapy a least 2 times a week is needed to see results. In my practice I strongly recommend that my patients get this therapy 3 times a week to start. When PBM therapy is hit and miss results will be disappointing. In order to help the mitochondria they need this therapy regularly. some of my patients have purchased the equipment I recommend for their home and are able to get PBM daily.

Here is what I recommend for Photobiomodulation for home:

If I were getting these for my home I would get the MitoPRO 75-+1500 panels.

Use the ” Dr.Kilcup5% ” to get the 5% discount.

Equipment Matters!

I workout at the gym three days a week. Almost every time I get a chuckle watching someone use the workout equipment creatively but improperly. These folks get full credit for trying but they are not going to see the results if they don’t use the equipment correctly.

With Photobiomodulation if the equipment is not good enough it will not help much. The right POWER or INTENSITY and the proper frequencies are critical to getting results. If you use the PBM panels in my office, pictured below, you are getting one of the best treatments on planet earth right now.

Red Light Therapy is Here!

What I recommended for home equipment above is about 1/6th of what we have in our office. In my office a 10 minute treatment is all that is needed to get awesome treatment. If you want to do this at home its going to take 20 mins a day (10 mins front/10 mins back) to get sufficient stimulation.

As I researched this equipment I found it confusing and often misleading. I recommend exercising caution when shopping.


Without proper nutrition working out can actually result in a weaker body. The body needs proper nutrition in order to get stronger.

Mitochondria also need to be fed! If they are starving they can’t work no matter how much red light therapy they get. I wrote an article about chronic fatigue in which I explained a test called Organic Acids. This test will show if the mitochondria are starving. This test is a perfect fit to see what nutrients are needed.

Here is a list of the nutrients we know that mitochondria need:

▪ FAD (riboflavin)

▪ Carnitine to transport fatty acids

▪ Iron, magnesium, manganese

▪ B1, B2, B3

▪ Cysteine (glutathione), lipoate

▪ CoQ10 (transports high-energy electrons)

▪ Riboflavin (complex II)

▪ NADH (niacin)

▪ Magnesium (final ATP production)

If you are not seeing results from PMB it could be because your mitochondria are starving.

Recently a patient was experiencing tingling after her red light therapy. Turned out that she was deficient in B12 and folate. These vitamins are needed for nerve cells. Once we fixed the deficiencies the tingling stopped. This is a great example of how important nutrients are to PBM working. All cells being helped by PBM need their nutrition in order to do their job. Whether a brain, hair, skin, eye, joint, etc. cell, if it doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to work it can’t do its job.

Photobiomodulation Always Works

It’s 100% true that Photobiomodulation therapy always works. Red light frequencies are absorbed by the mitochondria which, if healthy, will make the ATP that our body runs on. There are things that can impair the mitochondria’s ability to respond to PBM. When red light therapy is not working, it’s a red flag that something else is broken. All disease at its core is due to broken mitochondria. Getting our mitochondria healthy is one of the most powerful things we can do to get healthier!

Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Darrell Kilcup, DC, CFMP

Hi there! I’m Dr. Kilcup. You know that health problem you’ve been dealing with – the one that doctors can’t seem to solve, that’s stealing way too much of your time, energy and joy? I can help you get to the bottom that. I am passionate about using the best of science and nutrition to find and fix root causes of health issues. Start your journey towards healing and relief today.

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I have been using the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the last few weeks and It has helped me so much. I struggle quite a bit with work related stress. When I'm in the chamber I feel completely relaxed, so much so that I can bring my laptop inside and work without stressing. The calmness I feel in the chamber lasts for the remainder of the day as well. I have found too, the more consistent I am with sessions throughout the week the better I feel. The office staff seems well trained in running the tanks too, so I feel safe. I see Dr. Kilcup as well for my brain and gut health. Until now, I don't think I've ever known what "normal" or "healthy" feels like. Thank you all, sincerely!
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Mike Kutz
6 months ago
Dr. Kilcup is a pleasure to work with. His office is beautiful! I can’t wait to try his hyperbaric chambers!
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Sarina Gomez
9 months ago
Darrell is highly knowledgeable and really gets to the root of the problem. Unlike a lot of doctors, Darrell doesn't just throw prescriptions at issues. He will test and test - digging for the cause and then working on fixing the issue. He and his staff are professional, courteous, and a joy to be around.
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Kevin Miller
1 year ago
I am very grateful to have found Dr. Kilcup and be his patient for the last couple of years. He has helped me restore my health back after being exposed to toxic mold for years. He helped identify and treat all of my symptoms I was experiencing and address the root problem. I was looking for the right person who could help me heal with natural therapies and supplements and Dr. Kilcup was the perfect fit. Every appointment and session was necessary and one step towards all the progress I made. Dr. Kilcup is a great functional medicine doctor who was also an advocate for my own health and well-being. I never received any care or attention to detail from other Doctors in past experiences except with Dr. Kilcup. Anyone who is seeking a holistic path towards healing or improving their own health should see him.
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Ciara Wakley
1 year ago