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:
- Heavy metals
- Painkillers, including acetaminophen
- Statin medications for cholesterol lowering
- Mental health drugs, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers
- Severe oxidative stress
- Nutrient deficiency
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.
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.
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