Dr. Gundry: 00:04 So welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. Over 20 years ago, scientists began experimenting with this technique to see if they could actually grow plants in outer space, and it worked, which got scientists thinking maybe, just maybe, the same method could increase energy inside our cells. It’s called red light therapy, and it’s currently being used by thousands of elite athletes and other high performers to improve their energy and recovery. And there’s emerging evidence that it could actually help you improve the complexion of your skin, diminish wrinkles, reduce morning stiffness and soreness, improve joint health, and even regrow hair. Whoa.
So my guest today is Scott Nelson, the co-founder of Joovv, a company at the forefront of red light therapy. We’re going to talk about the science behind red light therapy, how it works, and how you can use red light therapy to improve your energy. Scott, so glad to have you on the Dr. Gundry podcast.
Scott Nelson: 01:10 It’s a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Gundry: 01:11 This is great. So let’s start with red light therapy. What the heck is it so our listeners at home can understand it? And I know you brought a little baby red light therapy with you, and you’re going to have to describe all about this for the people who are listening rather than viewing. How does it work?
Scott Nelson: 01:30 So we’ll start high level and then maybe have the opportunity to go a little bit deeper into the science, as I’m sure you’ll want to. But the best analogy that I can use for red light therapy, or in the world of academia it’s referred to as photobiomodulation, is to use food as a parallel. Most people that are watching or listening to the show are familiar with how our bodies metabolize or respond physiologically to different macronutrients, right? Proteins, carbs, fats.
Well, the same sort of concept holds true when it comes to different wavelengths of light, so UV light versus bright white light versus these types of wavelengths of light, red and near infrared light, and so those specific wavelengths of light actually help stimulate the mitochondria in our cells to produce more energy. And because of that core mechanism of action, you get a wide range of clinically proven benefits that come with this type of treatment.
Dr. Gundry: 02:24 So help me out here. So most of my listeners know about mitochondria, but are you trying to tell me that the mitochondria eat this light and produce energy? Or come on. Help me out.
Scott Nelson: 02:36 Yeah. So not necessarily per se. It’s definitely more of a stimulation. So this is a relatively new field, photobiomodulation or light therapy, so researchers as well as us on the industry side are still continuing to learn more about the mechanisms of action that are at play, and they seem to be wide ranging. But at the core is during the cellular respiration process, which is the process that our cells go through to produce this energy, there’s certain enzymes that are activated or stimulated by these wavelengths of light in a very healthy way, and because of that, our cells actually being to work more efficiently to produce more energy. So that’s going a little bit deeper at a cellular level.
Dr. Gundry: 03:17 Okay. So this is a new field, pretty new, so what are the benefits of red light therapy that are proven? Let’s start with that, and then maybe you can fantasize about things that aren’t perfectly proven yet.
Scott Nelson: 03:35 Sure. So again, this is a relatively new field. You started the show off with kind of hinting at NASA’s early involvement, which helped actually spur on a lot of additional clinical research in this field. But I would say there’s probably some core benefit areas that are very well proven. Some of those would include skin health. Very, very clear that these wavelengths of light, primarily red light because it’s absorbed in the superficial layers of your skin, your dermis and epidermis. Very clear that these wavelengths of light help stimulate healthy skin or help produce those types of results.
Another big benefit area would be the reduction of pain and inflammation, primarily participant groups that are suffering from arthritis, as an example. Very clear evidence that’s peer reviewed and published that showcases that near infrared light, probably more specifically, helps reduce inflammation.
Another big benefit category that’s really well documented would be kind of athletic performance and muscle recovery, and you mentioned that it’s one of the reasons that a lot of elite athletes and people, fitness enthusiasts, et cetera, are seeing really good results is because they can get on the field that much quicker, whether it’s recovering from an injury or just recovering from a workout faster, and so there’s … Those are probably three big benefit areas, but there’s a lot of emerging research as well.
Dr. Gundry: 04:56 So are you saying that this is going to be in a training room in the NFL or the NBA, just to use an example?
Scott Nelson: 05:03 No, that’s happening right now with our systems as well as others, but teams like the San Francisco 49ers, as an example, are using our big full-body systems as part of their recovery regimen. There’s several other teams, some I can say, some I can’t. But yeah, it’s definitely a therapy that’s picking up steam, and I’d say it’s for two primary reasons.
One is because the science is there, right? If someone just does a little bit of diligence and looks into it … Just do simple searches on PubMed, as an example. It’s pretty overwhelming that this … there’s proof to this. There’s proof to the pudding, so to speak.
And then the other kind of probably core reason why it’s beginning to really pick up steam kind of within those circles is it works, right? If you give this a shot and use it consistently, there’s pretty resounding benefits that most athletes, specifically, will notice right away, primarily because they’re that in tune with their bodies. They know after a certain work out this … how they normally feel, but after the use of consistent full-body therapy, they’re noticing a difference with their responses. So that would be probably two major reasons why we’re seeing the demand really increase there.
Dr. Gundry: 06:19 Interesting. Now, I know Ben Greenfield, who many of my listeners know, is a big fan, and he’s certainly talked about it, and I think he appears on your website.
Scott Nelson: 06:33 He does.
Dr. Gundry: 06:34 Very good. So help our listeners understand, if you’re going to do … Can you do a double-blind study with this device? If you’re shining red light on somebody, wouldn’t they know it?
Scott Nelson: 06:51 That’s a great question, and kind of going back to your point of Ben, I think he’s actually … He’s been a great partner of ours, which we’re very thankful of, but he’s a great example. He’s so in tune with how his body typically responds to different modalities, treatments, et cetera, and that’s one of the things he noticed right away when first using light therapy, so I think that’s a great example that you brought up.
But kind of come back to your question is how do you effectively study something that delivers bright red light? I think using red light specifically would be very tough to accomplish that. In fact, I think you’d probably have to get pretty creative.
Dr. Gundry: 07:22 Very creative.
Scott Nelson: 07:23 But near infrared light, on the other hand, near infrared light is invisible to the naked eye, and so that’s very easy to actually accomplish a double-blind type of study. In fact, we … we’re actually enrolling participants right now in those types of studies where you’re using a sham treatment that’s technically on, but the user, the participant, doesn’t notice because, again, near infrared light is invisible. So fairly easy to kind of study that for sure.
Dr. Gundry: 07:48 Okay. So I know your big boxes, and we’re actually … For those of you listening, you brought in your little portable box, which I actually have, and I’ll describe maybe later what I’ve used it for. You have a portable box that can be either a red light box, but you also have a near infrared light box.
Scott Nelson: 08:13 You got it.
Dr. Gundry: 08:13 Correct?
Scott Nelson: 08:14 Yep.
Dr. Gundry: 08:14 But your big ones have both, both the red light and the infrared. Is that correct?
Scott Nelson: 08:20 That’s correct. This one is … We call it the Joovv Go, and it’s our handheld kind of convenient portable option, and it delivers either or, right? Either red or near infrared light. But our larger systems are … The modular systems, as we like to call them, that allow you to kind of build out this full-body system, yeah, those give the user the ability to switch between the wavelengths, red or near infrared, or deliver both at the same time.
And I would say 95 percent or more of our customers use both at the same time because there are benefits to using both, and really the only difference between the two wavelengths is depth of penetration. Very similar mechanisms of action, but … And I mentioned this before with respect to skin health. Red light is absorbed in the superficial layers of our tissue, where near infrared, on the other hand, has the unique ability to penetrate a lot deeper into our bodies. In fact, it does penetrate through bone even.
A lot of the energy dissipates as it travels through bone, but it does have the unique ability to penetrate into deeper levels in our body, which is why a lot of the times when we look at clinical studies that are involving enhanced cognitive function or reduced symptoms from people that have suffered from some type of brain or traumatic brain injury, typically near infrared light is used because it has the ability to penetrate deeper.
Dr. Gundry: 09:35 Okay, so a lot of people are hearing this, and they’re going, “Wavelength and deep penetration, and I hear that we got to be really worried about 5G with all that sort of frequency.” Help me with this. How is this different than all those scary radiofrequency things we’re hearing about?
Scott Nelson: 10:00 Yeah, it can be kind of abstract, and it’s interesting that you mention that. We’re in the process of doing a customer survey with our customer base trying to learn a little bit more about what … How did you first learn about light therapy? What did you think of it? And that’s one of the things that has sort of popped up is, “When you first heard about this, what did you think? Was it abstract? Was it hard to understand? Were you all in?” et cetera, and that’s kind of the general consensus is like, “I keep hearing people talk about it, but I don’t … I can’t quite get my head around it.”
And it’s tough because it’s wavelengths of light. It’s a lot of physics, and I’m a biology guy myself, but physics is always kind of tough I think. Not just me, but maybe for a lot of people, but again, the … I used the kind of the food analogy before, but another good kind of analogy is that … We’re here in Southern California. You see a ton of houses with solar panels on the roof. It’s harder to find a house that doesn’t have a solar panel, and we all kind of understand the concept that solar panels on houses are able to capture energy, light energy, from the sun and repurpose it elsewhere.
Again, that same parallel or that same concept holds true within our bodies. We have chromophores throughout all of our bodies. In fact, nearly every cell in our body has some type of chromophore that responds to these wavelengths of light, and in essence they’re … When I say responding, they’re almost … they’re capturing it, right? We can get deeper into the mechanism like we kind of chatted about previously, but they’re capturing it and repurposing it elsewhere so our bodies have more energy to heal, to recover, to kind of function the way we’re intended to function.
Dr. Gundry: 11:37 Now, wait a minute, Scott. You say we have chromophores in our body? Is that kind of like a chromosome? No.
Scott Nelson: 11:45 Not really. Yeah. That’s kind of a nerdy type of description, but one of the mechanisms that I sort of alluded to earlier is there’s … Within the world of photobiomodulation, one of kind of the more well understood mechanisms, although it’s not entirely clear, but it’s fairly well understood or well appreciated, is that there’s an enzyme during the cellular respiration process called cytochrome C oxidase, and that’s a chromophore that actually responds very favorably, it resonates, with red and near infrared light. So that’s an example of a chromophore, and because we’re stimulating cytochrome C oxidase, it allows more natural or more efficient cellular respiration, particularly during the fourth phase of cellular respiration.
So yeah, so there’s just different proteins and enzymes that respond differently to these wavelengths of light that at the end of the day our … the mitochondria in our cells are just functioning more efficiently. They’re producing more energy at a peak level.
Dr. Gundry: 12:48 So are you saying at a basic level we’re basically a light-seeking and light-sensing organism?
Scott Nelson: 12:56 Yeah. I think that’s a great example, and most people understand that our bodies respond to UVB wavelengths, right? From the sun. Both good and bad. Excess UV wavelengths of light can be harmful, right? Our skin responds and burns, and we get sort of a inflammatory response, but in turn, our bodies actually respond to UVB wavelengths and produce more vitamin D, right? So that’s kind of a well understood concept.
It’s the same kind of thing that’s going on with red and near infrared light. Our bodies are responding very favorably to these wavelengths of light, and then the positive ramifications are increased energy systemically throughout all of our bodies.
Dr. Gundry: 13:34 Are we not getting enough anymore?
Scott Nelson: 13:36 That’s a very good point, and I would say affirmatively yes. In fact, there’s pretty well documented evidence that, at least here in America, we spend over 93 percent of our lives indoors now under artificial light, and I … Before moving to Southern California, we were from the Midwest, Minneapolis specifically, and that stat may seem kind of alarming at first, 93 percent of our lives indoors, but for me personally, that was true. In fact, it probably was worse in terms of my exposure to natural light, and that’s so drastically different than how our grandparents, our great grandparents lived, and because of that difference, I think it speaks to the fact that we are sort of light deprived in a way. And so yes, to answer your question, I’d say we don’t get enough of these healthy wavelengths of light.
Dr. Gundry: 14:26 Okay. So if this stuff is so great, a lot of the skeptical listeners are saying, “Scott, okay. This is amazing stuff. If this is so great, why aren’t people using this?”
Scott Nelson: 14:39 That’s a great question. I’ve thought a lot about that, and unfortunately I don’t … I probably don’t have a definitive answer as to why now, why is this now seemingly taking off. And I would say it’s not necessarily taking off. I would say yeah, I mean, I think we’re still very early.
But just like any sort of field of medicine, there’s a significant uphill climb, right? To any sort of treatment. I know you’re a cardiac surgeon and you’re … that’s your warehouse. I actually came from the cardiovascular space on the medical device side. To see a therapy or new modality adopted, it’s … we’re talking years, 10 years at a minimum, at a very minimum, and so I think … When it comes to light therapy, I think there’s an interesting blend of it’s still a very niche community in terms of on the practitioner side, the researcher and practitioner side. It’s a very small community. It’s not well understood nor covered or reimbursed by traditional payers or insurance companies, which makes a big difference there too.
I would say there’s not … And I’ll give us, our company, a plug here. There hasn’t really been any sort of company to try to raise more awareness for the science of light therapy and the proven benefits of it either. I think we’re seeing more and more maybe companies kind of come to the forefront, but we were one of the first companies to really bring a lot of awareness and education around the benefits of light therapy to a wider audience, and so I think there’s probably a number of different ways to probably explain that, but that’s sort of my mediocre answer to that question.
Dr. Gundry: 16:10 All right. Well, so another … a skeptic would say, “Well, so the sunlight obviously has red component and it has near infrared, so couldn’t I just spend four hours outdoors every day and accomplish the same thing?”
Scott Nelson: 16:30 That’s a great … I would say you’re exactly right, Joe Skeptic, that … In fact, with people that come to us, whether it’s through … would-be customers that come to us through email or online chat or some sort of … regardless of the channel, that maybe don’t want to go all in with a light therapy device, one of the first things we say is just try to get more natural sunlight on a daily basis. Maybe 10, 15, 20 minutes even. That’s going to be a lot. You’re going to be in a lot healthier environment doing that versus not doing that. So I mean, that’s an easy … it’s a free step, et cetera.
But I think really the question is, do we have enough time? Do our modern lifestyles allow us to get outside on that sort of a consistent basis? And in some scenarios, we don’t really deal with this in Southern California per se, but there’s a lot of areas throughout the world that just don’t get a lot of natural sunlight either. Minneapolis that I mentioned, where we come from, is a great example of that. Not a lot of natural sunlight, and so I’d say to kind of answer that question come full circle is that I could say the same thing about whole foods.
You don’t maybe necessarily need to buy a ton of supplements. Just get it from whole foods. But some people just don’t have the time. They have busy lifestyles. They have kids. They have work commitments, et cetera. It’s just hard to do, and so using a high quality light therapy device is an easy way to sort of supplement that into your lifestyle if you can’t afford to get out and expose yourself to natural sunlight on a consistent basis.
Dr. Gundry: 18:00 Got it. So now, my good friend, Joseph Mercola, we’ve had debates about vitamin D supplements, and he said, “Well, you can get all the vitamin D you want by spending two hours every day out in natural sunlight,” and I said, “Not too many people,” I know him, “spend two hours in a Speedo walking on beaches in Fort Lauderdale every day of your life, so that’s an impractical recommendation,” and I think you’re saying the same thing.
Scott Nelson: 18:30 You’re exactly right, yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 18:31 Speaking of Joseph Mercola, he would say, “Just go to your hardware store and buy an infrared light and just don’t burn yourself with it.” Is there a difference between buying a heat lamp at a hardware store?
Scott Nelson: 18:47 Yeah. You’re hitting on some great questions, Dr. Gundry, I can tell you.
Dr. Gundry: 18:50 Sorry.
Scott Nelson: 18:50 No. You’ve done your research. No. It’s another one that really comes up quite a bit. What’s the difference between something like this and an infrared heat lamp that you can pick up at a Lowe’s or a Home Depot? Great question, and there is quite a bit of difference, in short. But to get a little bit more granular, our … I’ve referenced these red and near infrared wavelengths of light throughout our conversation so far, and clinical research has shown that it’s actually very specific wavelengths of light that actually help us the most or help us to the greatest degree.
Namely, red light, visible red light, in kind of the low to mid 600 nanometer range as well as the wavelengths of near infrared light in the low to 800 nanometer range. And so when you look at that, sort of that window, there’s also clinical studies that showcase that wavelengths of light in the 700 nanometer range really don’t have any sort of biological impact on our bodies at all, and it kind of all goes back to how do our cells respond to different wavelengths of light.
And so our cells … It’s very, very clear based on thousands, literally thousands, of published, peer-reviewed evidence that our … you need very specific wavelengths of light, and if you use … If you take a heat lamp example, most of the wavelengths from a heat lamp are actually not near infrared light, but actually mid and far infrared light. That’s why they produce more heat. And so in essence, if … by using infrared heat lamp, you’re not really getting those clinically proven wavelengths of light, and most of that energy is dissipated as heat because it’s mid and far infrared. So it’s just a different biological response and really quite not … very different than a light therapy or photobiomodulation device.
Dr. Gundry: 20:32 Let’s talk about Joovv and how that came about. How did you actually … First of all, why’d you form the company, and how did you figure out the … how to make these wavelengths of light?
Scott Nelson: 20:48 I mentioned this before. I’ve spent most of my professional career in the traditional medical device space. In fact, that’s why we were based in Minneapolis. I was with Medtronic at the time, primarily the peripheral vascular space, so probably interacted with some-
Dr. Gundry: 21:00 They make all of my catheters.
Scott Nelson: 21:01 Yeah, some of your peers.
Dr. Gundry: 21:03 God bless them.
Scott Nelson: 21:03 Yeah. I think it’s a nice transition kind of going from this idea of a skeptic to kind of our story because I was that skeptic. I was in what I thought was real [crosstalk 00:21:17]
Dr. Gundry: 21:16 Real science.
Scott Nelson: 21:17 Yeah, real stuff, helping … doing real things, and so when my wife and her sister, Melissa, bought or purchased a quote unquote red light therapy package at a local spa in Minneapolis, I was … They’re more accepting of newer things than I am, and so I was completely skeptical. I thought, “Red light therapy? That’s kind of,” … Everyone knows the natural chuck of, “That can’t be real. Totally woo-woo.” I had the same type of response, but they had really good results. They went consistently for about eight to ten weeks to this spa four to five times a week and saw really good benefits primarily related to their skin health, reduction of eczema, age spots, stretch marks from pregnancies, et cetera, and so I thought …
They were really into it, and I thought, “Okay. Well, maybe there is something to this,” and so I went right to PubMed. I did the same thing that Joe Skeptic is going to do. Go to PubMed, search for red light therapy or photobiomodulation, another popular acronym is LLLT or low-level light therapy or low-level laser therapy, and you will find endless numbers of studies. In fact, there’s over 3,000 published manuscripts on light therapy. So I was quickly blown away by that, by the sheer amount of data.
And so the next step for me was like, “Who makes these devices? Where can you get them?” et cetera, and what we found is that at the time … This was back in 2015. At the time, there was very small, underpowered devices available on the market or super expensive laser-based devices, and there was this kind of gap in the middle of like, “Why isn’t anyone producing kind of a device that you can use at home,” because that’s really ideally where most of us should be using the therapy, at home, “that delivers clinical-grade power and ideally over a broader surface area?” Our kind of core thesis as a company is that full-body light therapy would be ideal. If it works for small areas, it’s got to work for your entire body too.
And so we didn’t intend to start a company. We just thought, “Huh? There’s no one really talking about it. There seems to be kind of a product gap here,” and so we started doing some early prototyping. My brother-in-law is an engineer, so he started kind of messing around with some prototypes, and kind of we were off to the races in early 2016. So it’s really kind of a combination of kind of quote unquote stumbling into sort of a therapy that was based on a lot of science but yet no one was really talking about, and the fact that there wasn’t really devices that you could use at home that treated large areas of your body.
Dr. Gundry: 23:42 So I hope you didn’t quit your day job.
Scott Nelson: 23:46 I had a pretty good job. It took me a while. It took me probably a lot longer to quit, but we … Just like most startups, we launched our product, tried to really identify whether there was product market fit, and we were fortunately … did that fairly quickly, and so we saw some early traction in the marketplace, particularly in the kind of the natural health kind of longevity communities, people that listen to this type of show and are interested in optimizing their health in the most natural way possible. And yeah, we saw pretty strong early traction, and it’s been kind of a nice ride ever since.
Dr. Gundry: 24:26 How did you break into athletics? I mean, trying to convince 300-pound linemen to sit in a box of red lights, was that an easy sell?
Scott Nelson: 24:38 No. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s an easy sell. That’s definitely a harder … a much more difficult community to convince, but there’s a guy on our team who’s here in the audience actually, Wes, who’s been pretty interested in kind of trying to cross the chasm from a therapy that’s supported by science and very quickly being adopted in kind of the natural health community to this … to elite athletes, and it’s interesting. A lot of those elite athletes, whether they’re with the San Francisco 49ers or the Chicago Blackhawks are actually listening to a lot of shows like yours. They’re listening to your show. They’re listening to Ben Greenfield’s podcast, Dave Asprey’s podcast, who I know you’ve had on recently.
So there’s an interesting kind of overlap between these two communities, and so we started to see some interest from those types of people in the professional sports world that would listen to these … your type of show, and we’ve seen kind of a slower kind of traction that’s really begun to build over the past probably six to nine months within those types of circles.
Dr. Gundry: 25:43 Okay, so you’ve got a box that everybody needs. So what are the challenges of convincing everybody that they need this?
Scott Nelson: 25:52 Yeah. So we talked a little bit about this. There’s a lot of people thinking about or talking about red light therapy as of late, but I think we’re still very early, right? And so this challenge of convincing a much broader audience that light is actually a healthy thing, that they should consider light maybe equally as important as food in kind of their daily routines, that’s not an easy conversation, especially when we’re trying to do that sort of in a virtual kind of digital environment.
So it’s definitely a challenge, and I think just the … One of the core reasons is because light is sort of, like we talked about earlier, is kind of an abstract. Most people just naturally think of it as, “I turn on the light to illuminate a room,” and have no idea that it could actually be pretty beneficial for our overall health. I think we’re making progress, and as a company we allocate a lot of our … a lot of resources towards education, so I think we’re making some progress, but we just got to … we’ve got to stay after it.
And if you’re still kind of skeptical after listening to this conversation, I would say don’t listen to us. Don’t listen to me. Go right to PubMed. There’s a lot of science that supports this type of therapy, and if you go into it with a even a little of an open mind, I think you’ll be pretty impressed just like I was.
Dr. Gundry: 27:08 Great. All right. With that note, we’re going to take a quick break, and we’ll come right back and talk with Scott Nelson, our guest from Joovv. Stay tuned.
If you’re listening to this podcast through your favorite podcast app, I’ve got some great news. You can also watch every episode of this podcast plus hundreds more special videos on my YouTube page. Just go to YouTube.com/drgundry, and be sure to click the subscribe button.
And we’re back on the Dr. Gundry Podcast, and today we’re having the pleasure of talking with Scott Nelson of Joovv, red light and near infrared light therapy. The athletes are using it, and the super performers are using it, and Ben Greenfield is kicking ass and taking names, so what … How do you get Joe Blow, every-day consumer, to say, “I’m not going to run a marathon. I’m not going to kick ass. Why should I use this?”
Scott Nelson: 28:13 Yeah. So I think there’s more and more awareness thanks to people like yourself, people like Ben and Dave Asprey and other, I’m going to use air quotes here, influencers, health influencers from a wide variety of sort of arenas that are beginning to help us raise more awareness about light in general. We started to see some early signs, and I think it’s semi well understood that excess blue light at night, as an example, can impact our circadian rhythm because it tells our bodies that we should be wide awake, when in reality we should be beginning to rest for sleep, and in fact, you’ve seen even big brands like Apple begin to implement some certain things with even iPhones around screen time and adjust … allowing you to easily adjust the brightness of the screen at night, et cetera.
So I think there is this kind of burgeoning sort of interest in light, but blue light is very different than healthy wavelengths of light, and so what we’re trying to do is help people understand that … Similar to food, right? Similar to how they think about whole foods and macronutrients and how to maybe reduce lectins in their diet, as an example, they need to be thinking about light as well. That should be part of that equation. Sleep, fitness and training, food, and light. Light should be in that equation.
And so how we’re doing that, like I said earlier, we allocate a lot of our … a lot of resource towards education, and at the end of the day, whether someone purchases a device from us, hopefully they will, or someone else, they’re … that’s one more person that understands the importance of light. And so I think we’re demonstrating it there, and as well as just kind of at a grassroots level, we have a lot of people that purchase even our small device, like this, and want to go bigger. In fact, I mentioned some survey data recently. There’s pretty strong evidence that they’re not only telling their friends and family about the impact that light’s had on their health, but also they want to go bigger. They want to go with a larger device. So I think the combination of those two things is allowing us to kind of slowly push this … push the boulder up the hill when it comes to raising more awareness about the benefits of red and near infrared light.
Dr. Gundry: 30:20 So are you saying go big or go home? So what we’re talking about, this box … What’s the dimensions of this box?
Scott Nelson: 30:28 Yeah. It’s a little bit bigger than an iPhone. Slightly bigger than that. Maybe a little bit thicker, obviously, but that … The Joovv Go is a really nice option. Delivers you the red or near infrared light. Completely wireless and rechargeable, and in fact, delivers the same type of power as our larger systems.
Dr. Gundry: 30:45 So this little guy will do both red or near infrared?
Scott Nelson: 30:50 Not at the same time. You have to purchase one or the other. In the future, I think we’ll probably allow for that type of functionality, but for now, it’s either red or near infrared. But with our larger systems, the modular systems, those do allow you to use either red or near infrared or both at the same time.
And really, the cool thing about that modular system is that … I mentioned earlier our core thesis as a company is that full-body light therapy is ideal, and what’s interesting about those modular systems is you can buy a smaller device, something like the Joovv Mini that we call that’s probably about, I don’t know, four times the size of that, and you can start with that one and then add to it over time. And the devices connect together both physically and electronically, and so one device controls the whole system, so it’s kind of like Lego blocks.
So you can start small, try it out. If you don’t like it, you can return it through our free return trial period. But if you do, you can add other devices onto it and build out this full-body system over time, which is kind of a really cool feature.
Dr. Gundry: 31:52 Cool. Well, the reason I wanted to have you on is, I don’t know, probably a year ago you guys said, “Hey. Why don’t you try out our device,” and I’ve actually had done a lot of research on red light therapy and near infrared light therapy with a company that I was advising, and we won’t mention their name. It’s not a competitor of yours, so that’s okay. And I set it up. My wife really kind of poo-pooed. She said, “What is this going to do?” and I said, “Well, there’s actually huge amounts of benefits with this.”
At about the same time, it was actually this time last fall, I was participating in a exercise of resistance stretching, and I had an old knee injury. I had a meniscus tear 20 years ago that healed without surgery, but I actually couldn’t even walk because of my left knee. And I actually had to walk to another appointment, and by the end, my leg was pretty much stiff, and it remained that way. No matter what I did, stretching, heat, you name it, didn’t try NSAIDs but took all sorts of other temps, and it wasn’t getting any better, and I’m going, “This,” … My dogs hated it because I couldn’t run with them. And this thing arrived almost simultaneously with it, and I said, “You know, what the heck?” So I started focusing actually on my left leg and knee, and within about a week or two weeks, I’ve forgotten, this thing started getting better and it completely resolved, and the only thing I changed was your stupid box. And I’m going, “Wow. This is pretty interesting,” and so I became a fan just because of that.
And then a few weeks ago, we were hiking in Deer Valley at Park City, Utah at about 10,000 feet. We do a lot of hiking, but not consistently at high elevation, and we would hike for about four hours. And usually after that sort of workout, my wife’s pretty aggressive on these hills, my quads would be achy the next day. So the first night out, knowing that my quads were going to be achy, I had actually taken your little Joovv Mini, and I just sat around afterwards, and I just spent 10 minutes on each thigh literally just sitting there. My wife said, “What are you doing?” and I said, “You know, I’m just going to do a little experiment here. Leave me alone.”
And so the next day, and I would have sore quads I can guarantee you, my quads weren’t sore. And again, is it a placebo effect? Well, I should have done one and not the other, but … to be a true scientist, but I was actually impressed, and so I did it … We did four days of hiking, about four hours every days, and I did it every night. So I’m with the athletes. I’m not a super marathoner, thank you very much.
Scott Nelson: 35:06 My wife will routinely hold our near infrared Go at night on her forehead, the same thing that Dr. Hamblin, who’s on our scientific advisory board … He’s a pretty well known photomedicine researcher. He does the same thing. If he ever struggles at night, he holds the near infrared device right on his forehead. So my wife is doing the same thing, and I … You’d think I wouldn’t be skeptical at this point, right? But I’m like, “Really? Is that really doing it, doing anything?” And sure enough, I’ve started to do it now, and my sleep scores are better at night. So it’s kind of one of those things where it can seem so hard to kind of grasp, and-
Dr. Gundry: 35:41 Are you saying that I can increase my heart rate variability by holding your near infrared device near my forehead?
Scott Nelson: 35:48 I think there’s pretty strong evidence that maybe suggests that, and so I think … I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if … You could be skeptical for a wide variety of reasons, right? But look at the science, and then give it a shot, and I think you’d be hard pressed not to find some benefits, whether it’s something related to recovery or even sleep, as an example, which is another very common kind of result that we hear back from customers is improved sleep as well.
Dr. Gundry: 36:14 All right. So I’ve got my Oura Ring, and I’ve got my WHOOP band. We’re testing them out, so-
Scott Nelson: 36:20 You’re not double fisting it per se. Double handing it?
Dr. Gundry: 36:22 Yeah, double handing it, so yeah. I’ll check that out. Now, tell me about this crazy idea that guys are increasing their testosterone by shining light on certain areas of their body.
Scott Nelson: 36:38 That’s true. Certain areas indeed, and I think-
Dr. Gundry: 36:38 Come on.
Scott Nelson: 36:41 I think Ben Greenfield sort of popularized that treatment. That’s still very popular today. In fact, we see some pretty interesting images on social media, as you can probably imagine, but when you look at the … That’s one of those emerging categories that I mentioned earlier where there’s not maybe as robust science to support it now, but there is some. There is some that’s pretty promising, and what it tends to showcase is that red light and near infrared light can be both beneficial for testosterone increases as well as sperm mobility for those that maybe struggle with infertility too.
So it’s interesting evidence, but anecdotally what I think is probably even more compelling is that we have a lot of … We work with a lot of health influencer partners, whether it’s someone like Ben Greenfield, yourself, Mike Mutzel, or Luke Storey, people that are already pretty healthy. I mean, they’re doing all of the right things, and some of them have gotten their blood work done, or at least quite a few of them have gotten their blood work done before introducing full-body light therapy, and then after, after anywhere from 60 to 90 days, and the results are pretty dramatic. They’re showing increases in not only free … in both categories of testosterone.
Dr. Gundry: 37:49 Free, yeah.
Scott Nelson: 37:50 Yeah. Free and total, and so it’s pretty compelling that this … It does work. It does work for those areas, and we’re … That’s a category that we’re beginning to study more and more in clinical studies. We’re enrolling participants right now with a group in Minneapolis studying both hormonal benefit … or hormonal results or hormonal markers in women and men, and the results are pretty staggering. We’ll hope to release those in the near future, but it’s pretty overwhelming that light therapy has a pretty interesting positive impact on hormonal health.
Dr. Gundry: 38:25 Now, what about mood? Can this stuff help mood? Coming from Minneapolis where everybody’s ready to kill themselves in the winter.
Scott Nelson: 38:34 Yeah, and I think probably a good portion of your audience is probably familiar with the happy lamps, right?
Dr. Gundry: 38:34 Right. Exactly.
Scott Nelson: 38:39 The sad lamps. The seasonal affective disorder lamps. I think there’s some pretty … there’s some decent evidence that suggests those do work for types of depressive disorders, but I think what’s even more interesting is that near … red and near infrared light is beginning … We’re beginning to learn more about its benefits for those areas as well, whether it’s just kind of mood in general or if it’s a more symptomatic depressive disorder. In fact, there’s some really interesting evidence over the past two or three years that’s been published that really does showcase the use of near infrared light significantly helping people with symptomatic depressive disorders.
And I like Dr. Hamblin’s quote, who I referenced earlier, and he said he thinks you get a little bit more bang for your buck with a red or near infrared light device versus something like a happy lamp because you get a lot more wide-ranging benefits with a device like that, mood being one of those, but also muscle recovery, reduction of inflammation, sleep benefits, et cetera.
Dr. Gundry: 39:36 Well, Scott, thanks so much for coming on the program. Where can people find out about Joovv?
Scott Nelson: 39:45 The best place is probably our website, Joovv.com. So J, two Os, two Vs. Joovv.com. If you want to check out reviews, we publish all of them, even the negative ones. Check out our reviews. That’s actually really, really interesting to see. There’s thousands of them now that really tell a pretty interesting story about the wide-ranging kind of benefits that people get from this type of therapy. But if you’re more into the science and kind of want to nerd out on that, we do have a lot of educational articles on the learn sort of library on our website as well, so check that out.
So those would probably be the two main areas, and then we’re @joovvsocial on social media. So Instagram, we’re pretty active there. So @joovvsocial.
Dr. Gundry: 40:23 Because I’m sure you’re misspelled all the time. Why two Os and two Vs?
Scott Nelson: 40:28 Two Os, two Vs. So this was back in 2015, kind of an interesting story. We were looking for a short .com. We wanted a .com. We wanted it to be kind of short and catchy, and so we were trying to … Joovv is a play on rejuvenate because that’s what really what these wavelengths of light are doing. So it gets misspelled sometimes, but I think there’s a lot of people that kind of like to Joovv now, or they find themselves Joovving on a daily basis, so it’s kind of caught on.
Dr. Gundry: 40:55 Very good. Thanks again for being with us. And now it’s time for audience question. Jonas Tack on YouTube asks, “Wouldn’t you have to drink a lot of wine to get any of the polyphenol benefits?” That’s a great question, Jonas. It turns out that if you wanted to get about 100 milligrams of resveratrol, which is one of the polyphenols in red wine, you would probably have to drink 150 bottles of red wine to get that much resveratrol. But there are also lots of other polyphenols in red wine besides resveratrol, and one of them is another small molecule called quercetin, or quercetin depending on how you like to do it. So it’s the combination of all these ingredients.
Now, no one would suggest that you should be drinking 150 bottles of red wine to get the health benefits of resveratrol, and that’s why there are some pretty doggone good resveratrol combinations out there. But just because you’re not going to get 100 milligrams of resveratrol every day from your red wine doesn’t mean that if you do drink, red wine is probably the best source of polyphenols in alcohol. And like I always say, if you don’t drink, don’t start.
And thanks again for joining us on the Dr. Gundry Podcast. We’ll see you next week.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at YouTube.com/drgundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.