PBM - PHOTOBIOMODULATION

The ultimate energy boost and anti-inflammatory: non-invasive, non-chemical, non-toxic. Light therapy is effective for so many conditions, it’s a part of every Xenogenesis protocol!

LIGHT 101

Too many free radicals in the body cause oxidative stress and cellular damage. Oxidative stress accelerates the aging process and has been linked to all of the most debilitating diseases and inflammatory conditions. Hardly any of us are immune to the environmental factors, such as pollution, radiation, chemicals, that promote excessive free radicals, meaning most of us suffer from oxidative damage. Red light therapy, in the right wavelengths in the right amount, penetrates deep into the body's cells to repair this damage. PBM boosts energy production within the cell, promoting the body's natural healing cycle. Done with consistency, red light therapy can reverse the damage caused by oxidative stress.

THE SCIENCE OF LIGHT

In a normal cell, cytochrome C oxidase, the terminal enzyme in the electron transport chain, combines oxygen with NADH to make the hydrogen ions that drive ATP synthase. This is how the cell produces energy. However, when we are sick, injured or stressed, something goes wrong. The mitochondria starts to make nitric oxide, which competes with oxygen. It binds to the cytochrome C oxidase and displaces the oxygen. This stops the production of ATP and increases oxidative stress, which leads to inflammation and cell death. Light therapy breaks the bond between nitric oxide and cytochrome C oxidase, allowing oxygen to combine with NADH so that ATP can be produced and oxidative stress can be diminished.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a form of light therapy that utilizes non-ionizing light sources, including lasers, light emitting diodes, and/or broadband light, in the visible (400 – 700 nm) and near-infrared (700 – 1100 nm) electromagnetic spectrum. PBM is a nonthermal process involving endogenous chromophores eliciting photophysical (i.e., linear and nonlinear) and photochemical events at various biological scales. This process results in beneficial therapeutic outcomes including, but not limited to, the alleviation of pain or inflammation, immunomodulation, and promotion of wound healing and tissue regeneration. The fundamental principles that underpin photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, as currently understood in the scientific literature, are relatively straightforward. There is consensus that the application of a therapeutic dose of light to impaired or dysfunctional tissue leads to a cellular response mediated by mitochondrial mechanisms that reduce pain and inflammation and speed healing.

The primary target (chromophore) for the process is the cytochrome c complex which is found in the inner membrane of the cell mitochondria. Cytochrome c is a vital component of the electron transport chain that drives cellular metabolism. As light is absorbed, cytochrome c is stimulated, leading to increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that facilitates energy transfer within the cell. In addition to ATP, laser stimulation also produces free nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator and an important cellular signaling molecule involved in many physiological processes. Reactive oxygen species have been shown to affect many important physiological signaling pathways including the inflammatory response. In concert, the production of these signaling molecules has been shown to induce growth factor production, to increase cell proliferation and motility, and to promote extracellular matrix deposition and pro-survival pathways. Outside the cell, nitric oxide signaling drives vasodilation which improves microcirculation in the damaged tissue, delivering oxygen, vital sugars, proteins, and salts while removing wastes.

PBM therapy can lead to increased cell proliferation and migration (particularly by fibroblasts), modulation in levels of cytokines, growth factors and inflammatory mediators, and increased tissue oxygenation. The results of these biochemical and cellular changes include such benefits as increased healing of chronic wounds, improvements in sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, pain reduction in arthritis and neuropathies, and amelioration of damage after heart attacks, stroke, nerve injury, and retinal toxicity. PBM is also being applied and investigated for a wide range of applications, including the harnessing of stem cells for tissue regeneration. Regulatory proteins called growth factors can trigger stem cells (which occur naturally in the adult body) to differentiate into a range of functional cell types. The standard method of boosting stem cell proliferation is a multi-step process that involves extracting tissue, isolating stem cells and processing them in a lab, and then returning them to the body. Recent research shows, however, that noninvasive application of light can boost the natural growth of an individual's own stem cells to enable exciting new treatments.

Healing with Light

Affecting biological change by safely exposing the body to light is exciting for many reasons. Not only has research demonstrated the effectiveness for PBM therapies, but the approaches are also low cost. The biostimulatory effects of laser light on cells and organs trigger various regenerative pathways in the human body. Clinical applications of PBM are diverse. The field is characterized by a variety of methodologies, and uses of various light sources (lasers, LEDs) with different parameters (wavelength, output power, continuous-wave or pulsed operation modes, pulse parameters). Many different diseases, conditions, and fields of medical treatment are now becoming amenable to the beneficial effects of PBM:

  1. Chronic Pain Relief
    PBM modulates damaging ROS, induces transcription factors that resolve immune activation and clear inflammatory immune compounds like cytokines, decreases COX-2 and has a strong anti-inflammatory and immune-balancing effect on the entire system. Red light also floods hypoxic tissues with oxygen, which has a direct correlation to pain.
  2. Tissue Repair & Rapid Cell Growth
    PBM affects the homeostatic balance of the cells and accelerates tissue healing by upregulating cell proliferation and growth
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
    Promotes vasodilation and activates the lymphatic system to remove metabolic wastes from injury sites
  4. Reduced Scar Tissue Formation
    Stimulates fibroblastic collagen generation and enhances the normal fibroblastic repair processes thereby decreasing scar tissue formation. Surface scars from cuts, post operative procedures, burns, etc. can heal at a much faster rate, if treated with PBM, and are less likely to bind to deeper layers of tissue.
  5. Improved Wound Healing
    Increases fibroblast activity, speeds up angiogenesis, and speeds up reabsorption of haematoma (swelling)
  6. Increased Metabolic Activity
    Stimulates increased production of serotonin and calcium ion channels. Facilitates protein, fibroblast, lymphocyte, leukocyte and RNA/DNA synthesis. Also increases plasma oxygen concentrations leading to greater biosynthesis of cell nutrients.
  7. Improved Nerve Function
    Restores normal nerve function by stimulating the sodium-potassium pump, allowing for restored nerve signaling. Decreases scar tissue blocks, lessening nerve entrapments to promote smoother nerve gliding.
  8. Accelerates Bone Repair
    Stimulates osteoblast proliferation and osteogenesis at fracture sites, leading to a greater deposition of bone mass and acceleration of bone consolidation.
  9. Enhanced Immune Modulation
    Stimulates macrophages and mast cells. PBM, regardless of the treatment site, can also lead to the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the up-regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines
  10. Supports Lymphatic Drainage
    Causes the smaller arteries and lymph vessels of the body to increase in size, which is called vasodilation. Vasodilation allows inflammation, swelling, and edema to be cleared away from injury sites more effectively. Vasodilation in lymph nodes promotes lymphatic drainage, which also aids in the healing process. Basic research has demonstrated that PBM can decrease the pro-inflammatory cellular response factors and increase the anti-inflammatory response.
  11. Metabolism and Weight Effects
    PBM is beneficial to metabolism and can help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers of a 2017 study believe that photobiomodulation affects cells that store fat by reducing levels of a protein (CTRP7) associated with glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and high triglyceride levels. In other words, PBM can improve metabolic function by suppressing CTRP7.
  12. Reduced allergy responses
    Many cytokines and inflammatory mediators have their levels altered by PBM, regardless if they have pro- or anti-inflammatory actions, i.e. TNF, various interleukins, histamine, TGF-β, prostaglandins and eicosanoids. It seems that when inflammation is present, PBM exerts an anti-inflammatory action, but in the absence of inflammation, PBM provide pro-inflammatory mediators that could help in tissue remodeling and to mediate immune cell function.
  13. Traumatic Brain Injury
    PBM therapy enhances the metabolic capacity of neurons and stimulates anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and antioxidant responses, as well as neurogenesis and synaptogenesis
  14. Thyroid Autoimmunity
    A number of human studies published between 1996 and 2019 have shown that red light applied to the thyroid or other parts of the body can significantly improve the following aspects of hypothyroidism and associated autoimmunity in humans: Free T3, total T3, free T4, total T4, TSH, anti-TPO (TPOab), goiter, markers of cellular immunity (T cells), sensations of thyroid compression in the throat, reduction of facial swelling and other oedema, lower TGF-b1, reversal of dyslipidaemia (the changes in blood lipid markers often associated with the development of heart disease).
  15. Skin Conditions
    Although the skin is the organ that is naturally exposed to light more than any other organ, it still responds well to red and near-infrared wavelengths. PBM can activate stem cells allowing increased tissue repair and healing. In dermatology, PBM has beneficial effects on wrinkles, acne scars, hypertrophic scars, and healing of burns. PBM can reduce UV damage both as a treatment and as a prophylaxis. In pigmentary disorders such as vitiligo, PBM can increase pigmentation by stimulating melanocyte proliferation and reduce depigmentation by inhibiting autoimmunity. Inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, eczema and acne can also benefit.