Medicine 3.0: CeraThrive CEO on Photobiomodulation and Red Light Therapy

March 25, 2024 – Join us in the latest episode of our Lifetime Planning podcast as we delve into the fascinating field of photobiomodulation, also known as Red Light Therapy (RTL). In this episode, our special guest Sarah Turner, a clinical neuroscientist and the founder and CEO of CeraThrive, engages in an in-depth conversation with Financial Sense Wealth Managment's Jim Puplava to explore the science of photobiomodulation, its potential benefits for age-related diseases based on clinical trials, how it can be used to impact the gut-brain connection, mitochondria, ATP production, sleep, and much, much more.

CeraThrive website: The Cera System | Photobiomodulation for the Gut-Brain Axis – CeraThrive
Financial Sense Wealth Management: Home | Financial Sense® Wealth Management (financialsensewealth.com)

For more info on the science of Red Light Therapy and photobiomodulation, see https://www.cerathrive.com/pages/faq-find-your-answers-to-common-questio....

Transcript:

Jim Puplava:
Well, you're hearing a lot about a new form of medicine. Dr. Attia, one of the experts on longevity, has talked about how we're moving from medicine 2.0, which was surgery, radiation, and pills, to medicine 3.0, which is exercise, diet, and alternative therapy. Now, one of those alternative therapies is something called photobiomodulation, which is red light therapy. And I'm happy to have on our show Sarah Turner, she is the CEO and inventor of CeraThrive, which deals with red light therapy. Sarah, can you explain for our listeners who are not familiar with what photobiomodulation is, or red light therapy, give them a little bit of a primer, what it entails.

Sarah Turner:
Yes. Hi, Jim. Thank you for having me on. It's lovely to meet you. And, yeah, let's break down some of these long words because I think they're unnecessarily complicated. But really, photo just means light. So something that's using light. Bio, is obviously biology, and then just modulate is to change. So basically, it's using light to change biology. And it's an umbrella term that came around because there are a lot of different ways that you can actually deliver light to the body. So initially it was laser and people used laser light to deliver light in a kind of medical, therapeutic way. But now there's been the advent of newer technologies like LED, which is light emitting diodes. And so the old terminologies of laser therapy or cold laser therapy or low level laser therapy needed to be replaced and updated. So the umbrella term is now photobiomodulation, because that encompasses all kinds of light delivery devices and all kinds of wavelengths of light.

Jim Puplava:
And what does this do specifically, because we all know about the importance of sunlight, vitamin D for many people, especially if you live Midwest or in the east coast during the winter, where it's cloudy most of the day, you don't get much light. This is something similar to light, but it's a little bit different. Explain.

Sarah Turner:
Yeah, so, as you said, light does have an effect on your biology. And I think most people are aware that light, for example, makes your skin change color or helps with the production of certain vitamin like vitamin D. But actually, the body is covered in light receptors. We are actually diurnal mammals. We are creatures that are meant to be out in the sun. So our bodies totally react to all different wavelengths of light. And really, the impact that light has on our body depends on the wavelength, which just translates to the color. So, for example, if we're talking about vitamin D, we're talking about UV light. That's a very specific wavelength or color of light that you see mainly during the middle of the day.

And like you've just mentioned, in northern hemisphere, you don't see enough of it to produce vitamin D in these cold winter months. People, we see all kinds of skin adaptations, for example, in order to allow people to maximize UV exposure. But when we're talking about therapeutic photobiomodulation, we're usually talking about light in the red wavelength, red and near infrared. And this is a longer wavelength of light. And this wavelength of light penetrates deeper into the body. It's not just a surface skin effect, as with UV, red light.

And especially the near infrared lights are longer wavelength and will penetrate deep into the body, deep into the tissues, and they're received by a very specific organelle within the cell, which is the mitochondria, which people may recognize from their school days as being the powerhouse of the cell. Really, it's just a place where your body makes energy. So to be very simplistic about it, what happens with red and near infrared light is it causes the body to produce a lot more energy. And this is one of the reasons why it has such profound therapeutic effects and why it has so many applications, because most conditions or illnesses or things that people are suffering in the body are connected to a lack of energy and a lack of the body's innate healing mechanism having enough energy to sort of do its own work.

Jim Puplava:
Yeah, a lot of doctors are finding that a large range of diseases are traced back to the mitochondria. So if you can repair the cells, you can be healthier, because a lot of the studies, they've proven that red light improves blood flow, it reduces inflammation in the body and increases the ATP, which is the energy within that cell. So let's talk about...there's various devices in red light. I use red light panels. For example, your device is a headband along with a waistband. Explain what's behind this. I guess it's the gut brain connection. What's the science behind this? And what led you to actually invent this?

Sarah Turner:
Yeah, well, I had a bit of a circuitous journey to get where I am. I was initially involved in the kind of nascent biohacking movement. I was living in California, and I was actually looking at structured water and how light structured water. And there was some fabulous research going on at the time. Professor Jerry Pollock, who wrote a fabulous book I highly recommend called fourth phase water, was describing experiments where he was using light in order to change the charge on water.

Now, changing how water has a charge has all kinds of biological effects, which are very interesting. But it got me thinking, because my background actually is neuroscience, and it got me thinking, okay, if we can change water by shining light on it, we can probably change the structure of the brain, because, after all, the brain is majority water. So I came from that route. So I was more looking at different charges in the body, different hydration states in the body, different ways that we could potentially influence biology using light in that way. And I started looking at red light therapy, and I wondered if people were actually even using it for a brain function.

And a little bit of digging found that actually there were people, not many, but there were researchers that were doing exactly that, using red and near infrared light for a brain wellness or a brain health application. And so I took myself off to Quietmind foundation in Philadelphia, where they were actually doing some clinical trials on Parkinson's disease, using long wavelengths near infrared. And actually, after three months of doing data collection on that trial, I saw for myself just how effective it was. It was very apparent by the end of the study who had had the active treatment, because people who had kind of fairly intransient, long term Parkinson's were beginning to see a reversal in some of their symptoms. So that's really what started me on my journey, that was probably five years ago, of wanting to make a device that was more accessible, something people could use at home, and something that wasn't just for the elite or people who were on clinical trials, because it really is a very amazingly effective therapy.

It's non invasive, it's nontoxic, and if you're asking why, I've also got the gut panel. There is a lot of research lately about the importance of the gut brain connection in any kind of brain condition. So my idea behind that is let's irradiate a lot of the blood, let's irradiate the gut and the vagus nerve using a light panel, which is relatively easy to do because there's not so many biological barriers there. And then let's use the headband to get light onto the brain, but also modulate that signal with pulsing, which I think is probably, again, another interesting avenue where we're not only doing this photobiomodulation we've been talking about, we're also doing neuromodulation in terms of brainwave entrainment. So it's taken me quite a while to get here, but this is kind of my offering of, ok, how can I interpret what's going on in that fundamental research and make it into something that's a bit more accessible.

Jim Puplava:
I know that. As a matter of fact, at Harvard, the neurological department is using and experimenting with red light therapy. They're using something called like a helmet, which is kind of similar to what you're doing with the headband. Explain the difference between what you're doing with the headband versus the helmet. What's the difference?

Sarah Turner:
Yeah, it's a good question. I mean, all of this research is valid, and it's incredibly interesting, and we're seeing results. I want something that's more for, like, mass adoption. So people can have this, they can use it at home. Anyone can use it. The thing with the helmets is it does go over the hair, and the hair can change the absorption of light. So you would have to adjust the light depending on how much hair you've got. And I know even in some of the studies, they shave the hair in order to standardize and get a good result. Well, that's obviously not something that people want to do at home. So my idea is, if you go through the forehead, you're going through the frontal cortex.

It's a very good place to shine the light. A lot of the deeper brain projects out onto that area of the frontal cortex. So you're getting a lot of target sites, and it's just easy for people. You don't have to shave the hair. You don't have to take into account different hair types, and people see results just using, in very simple ways across the forehead here.

I also do have one little light cluster that goes on cerebellum, because there is such effect on the movement centers and emotionality. And that's something that I'm looking to see whether that does have this enhanced effect that I'm hoping it does. But certainly all of these different transcranial devices, they all have slightly different deliveries, but we're seeing results with such a wide range of devices, it seems at the moment, it's just getting the light to the brain that's important. And the target site is kind of a little bit icing on the cake, and it's not totally elucidated in research. Exactly where is the optimum target site, and does it change for specific conditions?

Jim Puplava:
I know Dr. Bresnan has written a book on reversing the effects of Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's, and he's talking about a special diet, basically a keto flex diet. But he also talks about therapies such as red light that they're using in combination with diet, and they're actually healing people, especially if they can catch dementia or Alzheimer's in the early stages, or if it's in the latter stages, they can at least reverse the progression of the disease. Do you think as more and more of this catches on, that this will become more mainstream? I know a lot of universities from Harvard and others are doing research in this area. You've got a lot of doctors like Bresnan, who is healing people from this. Do you think this goes mainstream? Because certainly you're hearing more about it.

Sarah Turner:
I certainly hope so. It's something that is effective. We don't currently have any pharmaceutical interventions that are effective for any of these conditions, and it does seem to be something that people respond to very well. It's a natural thing. It's kind of mimicking sunrise and sunset. So it's something that the body does readily respond to. I think the limiting step at the moment is that the FDA doesn't have a classification for brain health using red and near infrared light. So really we just need to get to the stage where the clinical data becomes so overwhelming that it becomes accepted as a category. And when that happens, yes, I see mass adoption happening because it's easy, it's nontoxic, it's non invasive, and it works. So I think really is just a matter of time.

It's just these things don't happen overnight. There's a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled in, there's a lot of data that needs to be crunched. But as more and more doctors take it up, and I go to a lot of events, I go to biohacking events, I also go to functional medicine conferences, I also go to big consumer shows. And there is so much interest now, really, I think it is just a matter of time for when these things become mass adopted, really.

Jim Puplava:
And, you know, when you think about it, you take individuals that may have dementia or Alzheimer's, the cost of the drugs that they take, which, if anything, it probably just delays, it doesn't really improve the individual. Where you're talking about photobiomodulation, it's less expensive, and it's looking like it's been turning out to be more effective, at least from the things that I'm reading now on your website, you have something called the gut brain axis, and we're going to put links to this on our website so they can see the illustrations here. Let's talk about that. You talk about inflammation, dysmobility, and is it dysbiosis?

Sarah Turner:
Dysbiosis. Yeah. Dysbiosis is a word that means that you have more bad bacteria than good bacteria, or you have an imbalance in the species of bacteria in your gut. And I think, again, this whole thing about the microbiome having an effect on brain health is something that people are starting to pick up on. And certainly there are so many papers being published every day about this connection that I think the whole gut brain connection thing, the gut microbiome, it's another huge topic that people are only just being able to understand the incredible job that our gut bacteria does for us and what happens when that becomes dysregulated.

And the beauty is that bacteria, our composition of gut bacteria, seems to be influenced by red light therapy, which makes perfect sense, of course, because bacteria are very similar instructor to mitochondria, which we were talking about as the main light receiver of light in the body. So that's why, really, the gut brain connection is so important. And like I say, it's relatively easy to get a lot of light into the gut because you haven't got to get through a cranium or anything. There's a lot of soft tissue there. And for most people, you can target a good range of.

You can get to the blood, you can get to the actual intestines, and potentially you can get to the microbiome. And also the vagus nerve kind of takes information from the gut to the brain. You can also target all of that using a very simple red light panel. So there are a lot of animal studies on this showing that if you shine light on the head, you get an effect on these brain conditions. If you shine light on the gut, you get an effect on brain conditions.

If you do both at the same time, you have this enhanced or synergistic effect. So, yeah, I think the gut brain connection is incredibly important, not really just for neurodegeneration, but for all kinds of things. We know brain fog with COVID is now linked to how the gut is functioning. We know Asperger's and autistic spectrum disorder is associated with how the gut is functioning. Even things like addictive personality are now linked to this kind of gut brain connection. So I think, yes, that is a very interesting topic, and we could really talk all day about how that works and what is that connection and all the different components of what is going on when the gut is talking to the brain and vice versa.

Jim Puplava:
I have a client who's a dermatologist, and he's using red light therapy devices to reverse aging lines and wrinkles. So it's not just that people are using it as we've been talking about for brain health. But then also, I guess you would say for beauty instead of Botox, they're using red light.

Sarah Turner:
They are. And actually, with regards to your skin, your skin is also a direct reflection of how your gut is doing. If you are suffering from dysbiosis or if you're suffering from a disturbed microbiome that often is reflected on the skin. So you can kind of treat the skin from the inside out, you can treat the gut in order to have a better skin chemistry and a better appearance. And then, yes, you're right, there is a whole cosmetic industry that is geared up around using red light therapy, because in addition to producing ATP, it also causes production of fibrinogen and collagen, which are the molecules that give your face a plumped out appearance and you lose the wrinkles and things.

So I think it's incredibly interesting, and I'm totally all for this cosmetic application because I think potentially people who are doing it for that fairly superficial wrinkles and fine lines, they're still getting that good healing red light therapy in raising their wellness generally. So it's not even comparable to a kind of botox where you're injecting something toxic into your body. Your body's got to deal with. This is using light to actually build up collagen in your skin at the same time as increasing your level of general wellness, which, long term that's only going to help you stay more youthful if you keep your level of wellness elevated.

Jim Puplava:
Can you explain the difference in your device and other red light therapies? There's red light and near infrared light. What's the difference between the two and what effect does either have?

Sarah Turner:
The difference between them is really just the length of the wave, the wavelength. So the longer the wave, the deeper the light will penetrate into the body, as a rule of thumb. So red light, which is normally the red light that most people use, is around about 630 nm long, is a fairly superficial light. It won't penetrate deep into the body, and it is used for irradiating the skin and the blood vessels near to the skin. Near infrared light can go from anything from like 700 nm right up to 1200 nm.

So it's a longer wave, it becomes invisible to the eye. So it's near infrared light, but we can't see it as red. It appears as invisible, but that will penetrate deeper into the body. So people tend to use near infrared light for deeper tissue applications, of course, for a brain function, because you need to penetrate through the skull. So really that's the difference between red and near infrared light, it's just the length of the wave.

Now, there are places where the body doesn't absorb as well. So when you see red light devices, they tend to have similar wavelengths. So like 636 50, and then in the near infrared, 859 40, because these are places where we know that there are certain molecules that will absorb the light at those specific wavelengths.

Jim Puplava:
I know on my red light panels, I have red light and I have near infrared light. And then I have one button that I press that's both. So explain when you're using both, but also there's distance. They recommend, like if you want to do skin, you stay back about twelve to 18 inches from the panels. If you want body penetration to go deeper inside your body, it's probably six inches. Can you explain what's the reason behind that?

Sarah Turner:
So there was two questions there. One is when would you combine the wavelengths? And the answer to that is, it's always to get the most bang for your buck. If you haven't got much time and you want to do a good therapy, it's always best to combine the wavelengths because then you're hitting the surface and the blood and the skin as well as the deeper tissues. So if you have the option to do red and near infrared light together, it's a very good combination with regard to the distance.

The amount of light that's going to reach you falls off exponentially according to distance. So the further you are away from a light source, the less photons you're going to get. And it's very significantly less. So if you're kind of standing halfway across the room, but you can still see the red light, you're not really getting any effect of that device. Also, you need to think about how light travels.

Light only travels in a straight line, but our bodies aren't flat. So if you have light that's coming at you in a straight line and it hits a curvature of your body, the light will bounce. Think of it almost like arrows or maybe marbles or something coming at you. To get the most of the light, you need to have something that curves to the body to get all of the light that you're putting out. So for a red light panel, the further you are away, the less light you get.

And also you lose quite a lot of the light because the light has a different angle of penetration. Light really only wants to go in a straight line. So in order to kind of really get maximum, to get all of the light dose that you're putting out from a unit, you need to stand very close, and it's best if you have something that contours to your body so that the light angle is correct.

Jim Puplava:
Now, I know in your device you have different protocols. Explain their use and their function. So you could have one for sleep, you could have one for healing inflammation. Explain that.

Sarah Turner:
Yes. So mainly getting light into the body is the first thing. And we know that that does all the good things that you mentioned before, making ATP and blood flow and all of that good stuff. But we can also pulse light at different pulsed frequencies in order to have different effects on the body, especially if we're using it on the brain. So, for example, we can pulse the light at a very low frequency, we can pulse the light at 10, have a more calming effect on the body, and we can then kind of almost encourage the brain to slow down a little bit before we want to go to sleep.

Or if we have anxiety, and then for things like depression or lack of motivation, we can do just the opposite. We can use a higher frequency and we can pulse the light. And when I mean pulse the light, I just mean turning the light off and on like an oscillation. We can oscillate the light at a higher oscillation to encourage the brain to kind of come into that more alert, aware, active stage. So that's why in the CeraThrive unit you can choose which of the functions you want to do, and that will change.

One, it will change the pulsing, and two, it will change whereabouts on that headband the light is coming in, because there's now a lot of evidence to show things like sleep is greatly improved with the red light. If we then oscillate that light at a calming frequency, you're ready to have that sleep, and then you have that additional effect of the light in the brain and other things that may come from that. The brain is actually part of a glymphatic system where the brain is flushed overnight. And there's a lot of evidence now to suggest that using retina infrared light during the day helps with this brain flushing and again, helps with sleep. So that's really how you can change a little bit. The functionality of devices is to oscillate the light at certain frequencies.

Jim Puplava:
And what about in terms of use? I have read that you can sort of overdo red light, which reduces its effectiveness. How do you know the right combination?

Sarah Turner:
Yes. Do you know what? There isn't like a standard where someone can go and look up, you can't put in your body weight and then it tells you exactly the dose. And I think it's because at the moment, we're still understanding how dose works and we're understanding how to actually measure dose to start with. So a lot of how to dose or gauge dose for yourself now is based on.

You need to very carefully read the manufacturer's recommendations, because most responsible manufacturers have looked at the research and given advice on dose that's based on that. And you do also kind of have to take a little bit of self responsibility and be kind of mindful when you're using these devices of how do I feel? If you've been using a device for 20 minutes and you feel like, a little bit lightheaded or you feel over tired, you've probably overdone it. And I think that there's not really a one size fits all approach to this. It's best to always start to build up slowly because the body needs to condition to light.

It's a bit like exercise. You can't just go to the gym and hit it all in one day and expect to feel great. Your body needs to adjust to what's going on. It's kind of like a low level stress. They call it hormesis. It means, like, a little bit of low level stress helps the body function better, but if you overdo it, you can negate the effect. So for most of these devices that are putting out a reasonable output, it's ten minutes, four or five times a day. But it's always better to err on the side of caution and build up slowly.

Jim Puplava:
Now, what about, is this something like, you start using it, you're starting to see the benefits. Clarity. I know I was using a helmet for a while, and one of the things I noticed after two weeks of use, when you ever get in a situation, you're trying to think of somebody's name or something, and I noticed that within ten to 30 seconds, it came to me. And so that was one of the, I guess, practical things I noticed right up front from its use. But is this something that you kind of use, like, the rest of your life? It's kind of like exercise. You start exercising, you go to the gym, you start feeling good, you're losing weight, you're getting muscle toned. But then we all know what happens if you stop. So is this something you do the rest of your life?

Sarah Turner:
Yeah. Again, it's an interesting question, and we just don't have enough long term data on people that have been using these devices and then stopping using them. Certainly from my own experience, I use a red light regularly now, and I do notice the difference, and I think that I can tell when I haven't used it for a while. So that would kind of go to your point in that it's something you need to keep up. However, I did see an interesting talk by one of the leaders in our field, Dr.

Ann Liebert, who was doing some research also on Parkinson's. And she found that the results that she obtained were still present after a year of not using the system, using her device. So, yeah, I'm really not so sure about that. I think it is something that really does need to be integrated into your daily routine, and then you keep it up a bit. Like, know, if you don't go to the gym for a couple of years, you can't expect to be as toned and sharp as you are if you make it a daily practice.

Jim Puplava:
So when we're talking about red light therapy, Sarah, is there a book or articles that people can read that if they're not familiar with? You know, I have a great group of doctors as clients, and one of them, as I mentioned, is working with aging individuals dealing with dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and he's using red light to great success. I have a dermatologist who's using it in terms of removing lines and wrinkles rather than injecting botox. Is there a place or a book that you would recommend?

Sarah Turner:
There are a number of books, depending on the level that you're at. A good intro book is Ari Whitten who wrote a book. I think it's just called red light therapy. And that's a very nice, simple book for kind of doctors. I'm just about to put a course up on my website, which is by one of the leaders in the brain photobiomodulation called Dr. Farzad Salehpour​. And he also has a book, but it's very academic but also incredibly informative. So it really depends on how far people want to dive in. There are also lots of more kind of esoteric books about light, which are also incredibly interesting. And, you know, some of this stuff is not new.

One of the most interesting books I've read is by a guy called Ott (O-T-T). I think his name was John Ott. I need to double check on that. Maybe we can put it in the notes. [Editor's note: see book by John Ott: Health and Light: The extraordinary Study that Shows How light Affects Your Health and emotional well being]

But that's very interesting about experiments that were done in the 1970s looking at light. So, yes, there are lots of different books, and it just depends what your interest is in light. I mean, certainly the whole field of circadian biology and light is an incredibly interesting one and people have been writing about it for a long time.

Jim Puplava:
And Sarah, you said you're going to be putting this course on your site.

Sarah Turner:
Yes, it's going up this week. Actually it's a professional course that gets credits from a university in Germany. And it's Dr. Farzad Salehpour​. And it's a modular course that takes people through brain photobiomodulation.

Jim Puplava:
Fantastic. Well, as we close, I know I ordered your device and I'm looking forward to it because as I did more and more research, the thing that really hit me was the connection between the gut and the brain. Because everything they say, all disease is a function of inside your body and your gut. And that's what attracted me. Sarah, why don't you give out your website and tell our listeners what they're going to find there?

Sarah Turner:
Sure. So the website is CeraThrive and I'm Sarah, but it's spelt a different way to normal Sarah. So it's CeraThrive.com and all of the socials is exactly the same CeraThrive or CeraSystem. And that's where you can see the system there, which like we've talked about, it's the headband and the body panel together. It's app controlled, which gives you these programs that we mentioned with the different pulse frequencies.

I also have some other products that I recommend because like you say, once you get going down this rabbit hole, you realize there's a whole world out there of how you can actually take control of your own health. And lots of other things you can do from supplements and reading and courses and grounding mats and all kinds of interesting things. So that's all on my website too. I recommend certain products and the education courses are going up. So Fazad, Dr. Salehpour's course will be on there and then I will be doing my own course shortly. Just a short brain coaching program to talk people through how to use red light therapy for general wellness and for a brain wellness application, and then other things that people can do alongside this to kind of raise their wellness generally.

Jim Puplava:
Well, this is really exciting. Dr. Attia's book. I've read Ari Whitten's book. I started out, Sarah, about four or five years ago doing oxygen therapy.
So when I'm on my treadmill, I'm taking in oxygen, and the benefits that I've seen from that is just absolutely remarkable. And it's nice to see this progress as Attia is talking about when we talk about Medicine 3.0. The name of the site is CeraThrive, cerathrive.com, and we've been talking with its founder, Sarah Turner. Sarah, thanks so much for joining us on the program. Much, much success.

Jim Puplava:
And keep up the great work. It's fabulous to see things like this come about.

Sarah Turner:
Thank you, Jim. Thank you for your support. Really appreciate that.

To speak with any of our advisors or wealth managers, feel free to Contact Us online or give us a call at (888) 486-3939.

Stay ahead of the market! Subscribe to our premium weekday podcast

Financial Sense Wealth Management: Invest With Us
.
apple podcast
google podcast
spotify
randomness