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Photobiomodulation and Testosterone

You have probably seen the television commercials lamenting the condition they call “Low T,” a shorthand expression for diminished testosterone. The message is usually along the lines of “Not feeling well? Ask your doctor about low testosterone.” This is a powerful message to men because, in the words of WebMD, “During puberty, testosterone helps build a man’s muscles, deepens his voice, and boosts the size of his penis and testes. In adulthood, it keeps a man’s muscles and bones strong and maintains his interest in sex. In short, it’s what makes a man a man (at least physically).”

If you’re a man, when you turn 30, your testosterone level begins to decline. For most men, it’s probably not a significant issue, and notwithstanding television commercials, there are other approaches you can take to enhance your life without badgering your doctor for testosterone supplements. Still, some men who have received testosterone treatments report an increased sex drive and improvements in depression. And everybody knows that testosterone can improve athletic performance. Just ask Floyd Landis, the initial winner of the 2006 Tour de France. He was stripped of the title when testing found evidence of synthetic testosterone in his urine.

It sounds, however, as if testosterone might be what we call in triathlon training “free watts.” Increased sex drive… harder muscles… reduced depression… less fatigue… more competitive spirit… What’s not to like? It’s not that simple, unfortunately. There are reasons synthetic testosterone is on the banned list in international sports. The biggest reason, of course, is that gives a competitive edge to users over non-users. In addition, however, there are tradeoffs that they don’t mention in the television commercials. Testosterone treatments can increase your red blood cell count, which thickens your blood and puts you at risk of stroke or heart attack. It can also increase the size of the breasts or the prostate.

If you think you might need testosterone treatment, don’t just buy “testosterone supplements” over the internet. See a doctor and make sure the treatment will involve regular and careful monitoring to help you avoid possible side effects. But if you want to increase your testosterone level and you don’t want side effects, consider this study (PDF) that appeared in the journal Biomedical Research in 2013. In a study of 30 rats, the authors found significantly increased levels of testosterone in four days of treatment with 670 nanometer photobiomodulation (PBM). In addition to increasing testosterone levels in rats, PBM seems to enhance health at the cellular level by relieving oxidative stress. On this page, you can find a video that explains some of the chemistry of PBM. Just because it works for rats doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. But PBM at Peak Recovery & Health Center is safe and noninvasive and takes only 30 minutes.

At Peak Recovery & Health Center, PBM is not a medical treatment. If you think you need medical treatment, see your doctor. But if you think this process could improve your life by increasing your testosterone the way it did for the rats, a few sessions might enhance the quality of your life. You will not risk any side effects, especially the dreaded one of being stripped of a race win. Book a session today.

Image: “Testosterone” by Eduardo García Cruz. Creative Commons license.