Infinity Spine Center Blog

Red and Near Infrared Therapy: Boost Your Testosterone

Red and near infrared (RNIr) therapy research began almost 50 years ago and in this time over 1000 studies including randomized controlled trials and case series have been published.  Red and near infrared, also known as photobiomodulation, research has been found to effect the many organs and tissues including the brain, lungs, immune system, lymphatics, skin, bones, tendons, muscles, body fat and other tissues.  Red and near infrared is used to reduce pain and inflammation and regenerate damaged cells by creating more ATP (energy) in the cells that absorb this light.

Several years ago there were articles describing anecdotal cases of red and near infrared increasing testosterone and improving thyroid function.  These intrigued me as I suffered with low thyroid and low testosterone.  Some articles report increasing testosterone by 3 times!  I know–I was skeptical too, until I did it for 3 months and saw objective changes in my labs.  I know people on testosterone replacement therapy that would love to get that kind of testosterone boost.  I was looking for a boost in my testosterone as well.  My testosterone levels were “that of an 80 year old” in my 20s and early 30s, according to my doctor.  Needless to say, I was willing to try almost anything to get my levels to increase.  I did the typical non-drug approaches including diet, supplements, exercise, as well as other life style modifications, such as filtering artificial light  (blue and green frequencies) during the day and night.  Nothing budged my testosterone levels.  Before RNIr therapy, my testosterone levels hovered in the mid 200s and 300s.  Looking back I met inclusion criteria for hypogonadism as my testosterone levels were less than 300 ng/dL along with RBC, hematocrit, and hemoglobin lab markers indicating anemia.  All this was daunting considering I wasn’t getting any younger and testosterone levels begin declining around 1% every year after the age of 30.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

I didn’t knowingly experience any of the common symptoms of low testosterone other than fatigue, which at the time I thought was normal.  Common symptoms of low testosterone include decreased libido, vitality, and lean muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and reduced the quality of life.

Benefits of Optimal Testosterone 

  • Decreased depression
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • Increased libido
  • Improved heart strength
  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased weight loss
  • Increased bone density
  • Decreased mortality rate

Testosterone Results After 3 and 6 Months of Red and Near Infrared Therapy

The last testosterone lab that I did before starting red and near infrared therapy my levels were 266 total and 3.39 free, respectively.

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After doing red and near infrared for 3 months my levels increased to 753 and 10.1 total and free, respectively.  The red and near infrared therapy was 4 minutes per day and 5-6 days per week.

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As stated above, several articles online report that red and near infrared may increase testosterone production by 3 times.  When we do that math my levels fell just short of that at 2.86 times for total testosterone.  6 months later I did follow up labs and results were even more astounding: 1219 and 17.1 total and free testosterone, respectively.

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Testosterone Production: Anatomy and RNIr 

Testosterone is produced by the adrenal glands in men and women, but higher levels are produced in the testicles and ovaries in men and women, respectively.  For the purpose of this article, I will mainly be focusing on testicular production of testosterone since that is the most likely site that the red and near infrared therapy directly affected my change in testosterone levels.  As we continue to advocate the use of RNIr for females as well, we will report changes in hormones within the female population and discuss possible mechanisms when necessary.

The anatomy of the scrotum, the skin pouch that houses the testicles sets males up for the perfect site for light penetration to activate proteins in our mitochondria that create ATP.  Since scrotal skin thickness is 2-8mm this is the perfect a perfect opportunity for RNIr penetration with absorption up to 10mm with near infrared frequencies (longer wavelength penetrates deeper).

light-penetration

 

One of the cell types in the testicles and responsible for production of testosterone are Leydig cells.  These cells, like many other types of cells, contain mitochondrion.  The mitochondrion create ATP for the Leydig cells which is a major supporter in their function to produce testosterone.  As with other cells that contains mitochondrion, ATP is generated at the highest level when electrons are flowing through the electron transport chain and protons are pumped across the inner mitochondrial membrane.  The flow of electrons to bind with oxygen allows for the formation of water and the pumping of protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane sets up a proton gradient that activates the ATPase, the enzyme that is responsible for generating ATP.

 

 

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A protein in this inner mitochondrial membrane, cytochrome c oxidase (far right purple sphere in picture above), when bound with nitric oxide, electron flow and proton pumping decreases leading to sluggish ATP production.  When ATP production in the cells is compromised, Leydig cells in the case for testosterone production, we end up with low testosterone–perhaps like and 80 year old.  Red and near infrared therapy directly affects ATP production by releasing nitric oxide from cytochrome c resulting in increased ATP production at the cellular level and vasodilation more distally.  This dilation in the vasculature leads to further benefits, which we will discuss in a later blog post.

ETC-2

 

Low testosterone is becoming more common and a probable cause is lack of light absorption in your cells including your testicles. Red and near infrared therapy may serve as a more safe and effective option when compared to current recommendations for increasing testosterone. One advantage of RNIr therapy is it’s work at the cellular level; meaning that its effects are across different cell types (testicular, immune, neuronal, muscular, thyroid). In addition to possibly increasing low testosterone levels and improving muscle recovery, libido and vitality and decreased fatigue and depression, it has an effect on other systems of the body. Independent of your goal, it’s likely you will benefit from RNIr therapy.

 

 


Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy: Short and Sweet

What is Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy?

If you read or follow the works of Dr. Mercola (mercola.com), Tony Robbins (tonyrobbins.com), or another advocate of unconventional healing methods such as Dave Asprey (bulletproof.com) from Bulletproof, you have likely heard about red and near infrared light therapy. Red and near infrared light therapy, or photobiomodulation, works on the part of your cell that creates energy resulting in increased ability for your cell to carry out its function. The part of your cell that red and near infrared light therapy directly affects is a protein in your mitochondria called cytochrome oxidase c (COC).   Without red and near infrared frequencies of light your mitochondrion energy production slows which can lead to a myriad of health issues due to build up of free radicals leading to oxidative stress. Increased oxidative stress leads to aging. As oxidative stress builds, fatigue sets in along with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s hypothyroid or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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Why Red and Near Infrared Therapy is More Important Than Ever

Exposure to red and near infrared is more important than ever before due to the fact that we are almost always clothed and when we are exposed to light it’s the blue end of the visible spectrum of light. The blue frequencies damage protiens in the cell which takes a huge amount of energy to rebuild. Cell energy required to rebuild these proteins is shunted away from other cellular healing programs that require energy. Blue frequencies are used in artificial lights for their brightness and energy efficiency. Although these shorter wavelength lights are more energy efficient and easier on our wallet, they cause havoc on our cells due to the abscence of red and near infrared light. The red and near infrared frequencies are the magical precusors of creating cell energy from the food that we eat. This part of human cellular respiration, electron transport chain of the mitochondria, is so important as it produces a majority of the cell’s energy.

 

Athletes Use of Red and Near Infrared Therapy

Many athletes and coaches looking for an edge on performance and recovery are using red and near infrared therapy. Recently, Dr. Mercola, a world renowned Doctor of Osteopathy, published an article (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/11/12/photobiomodulation-light-therapy.aspx) on Olympic and Nike Oregon Project athletes use of red and near infrared therapy to speed post-exercise recovery. Red and near infrared therapy was used by top NFL prospects at this year’s NFL Combine and regarded as one of the top recovery methods available to athletes. Current NFL and New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard (instagram: @devonkennard), regularly uses red and near infrared as a means for recovery during his NFL season and his offseason recovery program.

 

Whether you are a professional athlete or just want to optimize your health, you will likely benefit from red and near infrared light therapy as our cells are starving for these specific frequencies of light that create energy from the food in our diet. Without RNIr, we end up with sluggish cells regardless of your nutrition. This deficit in cellular metabolism and energy overtime is what leads to obesity, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases such as the ones stated above.

 

What is the Duration and Frequency Recommendations?

4 minutes, 5 times per week has been found to be very effective. Yes, just 4 minutes per day and cost per treatment is less than a cup of Starbucks. After 3 months of RNIr therapy I had labs that revealed I no longer have markers for anemia, hypothyroid, and low testosterone, which I struggled with for over 5 years. If you’re interested in learning more, make an appointment by calling us at 480-656-6200!


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