“What is exciting about these studies is that they show that LLLT actually improves mitochondrial function and ATP (energy) production which is necessary for aging ovaries,” says Brown.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia April 30, 2018
For the one-in-six Canadian couples struggling with the burden of infertility, a new, non-invasive technology may increase the odds for success. A growing number of studies are showing that low level light therapy (LLLT/photobiomodulation) may significantly increase male sperm counts and boost the pregnancy rates even of women who have been unsuccessful with other assisted reproduction treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Acubalance Wellness Centre’s clinical director, Dr Lorne Brown, a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, presented at the 4th Annual Integrative Fertility Symposium in Vancouver on April 27 on the current research showing LLLT potential to increase pregnancy rates.
The Integrative Fertility Symposium—which brings together reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, Drs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), naturopaths and Functional Medicine specialists—is the culmination of Dr Lorne Brown’s pioneering work over the last 18 years promoting integrative fertility care and the healthy baby approach. Known world-wide for his ground-breaking work as an educator and advocate for integrative fertility care, Dr Brown is founder and clinical director of Acubalance Wellness Centre in Vancouver—the first clinic in British Columbia to offer LLLT for fertility.
Until recently, Western reproductive medicine has maintained that aging and declining egg quality is an irreversible process. However, research with LLLT in Denmark and Japan showed that it may be possible to improve egg quality, slow down the aging process, and significantly improve fertility in women and men.
The Danish report showed that LLLT had a pregnancy rate of 66% success for women after at least four years of failure with other ART methods. LLLT studies have also pointed to the efficacy of laser treatment in raising the quality of the male partner’s semen, particularly motility.
Similarly, the Japanese studies showed a connection between improved fertility and low level laser therapy concluding that, even in low doses, LLLT can help improve the woman’s chances of conception. Under the direction of Dr Toshio Ohshiro at Sanno Hospital, an extended trial on LLLT was performed in 701 infertile patients, 156 (22.3%) of whom became pregnant. This resulted in a successful live birth rate in over half (50.1%) of those pregnancies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944482/
It appears that LLLT displaces nitric oxide (the biomarker of oxidative stress that blocks oxygen from being absorbed by cells) which allows more oxygen to saturate cells. Laser therapy also allows more ATP (cellular energy) to be produced by the mitochondria of the cells, improves blood circulation, and reduces inflammation. These factors are all beneficial to female reproduction in general.
Dr Brown sees huge potential for women who are struggling to conceive—particularly those who are of advanced maternal age.
“What is exciting about these studies is that they show that LLLT actually improves mitochondrial function and ATP (energy) production which is necessary for aging ovaries,” says Brown. All our cells are powered by little structures called mitochondria. Eggs have about 200 times more mitochondria than any other cell. When eggs are developing, they use a tremendous amount of energy. After 35 years, the mitochondria wear down. At age 40, nine out of ten eggs are abnormal.”
Studies show that the mitochondria of older eggs are not so good at producing ATP. However, the rate of division and successful implantation of embryos has more to do with how much energy (ATP) than with maternal age per se. Similarly, it is known that older follicles have fewer defences against cellular damage caused by oxidative stress, and that this is related to poorer IVF outcomes.
“Increasing energy level in the cells will improve blood circulation, relax muscle tensions and reduce inflammation. These factors are all beneficial to female reproduction in general and to the ovarian lining in particular,” says Brown.
The mechanism behind LLLT’s potential to optimize fertility is to:
1. Stimulate the mitochondria to produce more ATP
2. Improve blood circulation
3. Regulate inflammation
4. Lower oxidative stress (ROS)
5. Soften scar tissue
Acubalance Wellness Centre (Acubalance.ca) is Vancouver British Columbia’s leading natural reproductive wellness clinic, known for its integrative and multi-disciplinary approach for fertility, pregnancy support, and women’s health. As the first clinic in Western Canada to introduce fertility acupuncture onsite for IVF transfers, Acubalance has helped thousands of women and couples find the way to conceive and have a healthy baby.
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