AS Seen On

By: Stephan Spencer


Of all the organs in the human body, the brain is arguably the most important, yet we still don’t understand exactly how it works. When it comes to diseases of the brain, like Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia, there are no cures and oftentimes, treatments focus on managing symptoms rather than stopping or slowing the disease. Dr. Joe DiDuro has treated many patients with neurodegenerative diseases and has seen firsthand just how devastating they can be to every aspect of a person’s life. As a chiropractic neurologist and founder and president of the Neuropathy Treatment Centers of America, Dr. DiDuro has made it his life’s work to end the suffering of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. 

Dr. Joe DiDuro
“The brain-heart activity is a sign of every human’s resiliency. Not only can it adapt or survive, but with the proper care, it also thrives.”
Dr. Joe DiDuro

This has led him to develop a new treatment called Photobiomodulation, which uses light to stimulate neuro tissue and regenerate neural activity. Early testing has shown promise that the treatment may be able to reverse the effects of neurodegeneration. On this episode number 222, will be talking about Dr. DiDuro’s amazing discovery and he’ll be providing plenty of practical advice on brain health and overall health and longevity, including how to have an incredible HRV or heart rate variability score. This is an episode every biohacker and anti-aging aficionado needs to listen to. Join us.

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Joe, it’s so great to have you on the show.

Stephan, it’s great to be here.

I’m so excited to have you here because we’ve been talking for a number of months about stuff like infrared. We’ve been talking for a while about red light therapy, gut health, mitochondrial health, and all sorts of fun and important stuff relating to longevity and quality of life and health. Let’s start with the thing that I think you’re most passionate about, I’m going to guess is HRV right now, but I don’t know, you could correct me and say, “No, it’s the red light therapy.” I don’t know. What is the most important thing that you’re so excited about right now?

Stephan, you sound like my wife. They said, “What is your favorite meal?” She always said, “Well, whatever is in front of him.” It’s amazing that you would pick out what am I excited about now. The point is I am a passionate visionary. That’s what I’ve come to understand. I look around, I see the things, and I’m sort of like a matchmaker, pull the things together. Right now, in the summertime, I think I’m focused on something that was always close to you, optimization, and been doing personal healing and personal growth work just to heal, get better, and be prepared for the challenges that come our way. The cognitive coach type of thing is what it comes out to be.

You’re a cognitive coach. That’s the thing that lights you up the most, but is there something right now that you’re trying to address, that you want to optimize specifically within your own biology? I just saw Dave Asprey a couple of days ago. He reiterated that his goal for longevity is to live to at least 180. Not just to survive to 180, but to be vital, be able to get around on his own without wheelchairs or whatever and to not be hooked up to a bunch of tubes and everything. What’s your big why personally for your health?

I think that’s an excellent point. I don’t know if you recall the author and medical doctor, Bernie Siegel. Bernie Siegel is one of the first mainstream medical doctors to come out and talked about healing cancer naturally or healing anything naturally. He’s like the next Norman Cousins, but with a medical degree. His question to patients who came to his office was very simple, “Do you want to live to be 100?” He said, “You could decide.” I guess you could say the external control person because they would say, “Well, if I could be healthy,” versus an internal control person would say, “Yes, I would like to live to be 100,” because they have set in their mind a plan.

They have a sense of agency of their own destiny.

That’s right. That’s an important behavioral characteristic but I think for me, you look at the capabilities and capacity. What is your capacity? Talk about moving properly. So I’m not in a wheelchair. Well, at the moment, we take responsibility for our health and our healing. We’ve had a whole history behind us. Guys that do CrossFit and everything like that, it’s going to be a hoorah and everything like that, but you don’t know. This person might have had a car accident, may have suffered a broken leg, may have had surgery or trauma so you have certain capacity and capabilities. That’s what we’re talking about, being optimal, just shooting for it. As I said, pulling together a lot of things right now.

The brain-heart activity is a sign of every human's resiliency. Not only can it adapt or survive, but with the proper care, it also thrives. Share on X

Last July, I got my WHOOP, it’s like a Fitbit on steroids. It was a biomarker. It’s a bio thing that tells you your sleep, your heart rate variability, your resting heart rate, and all of that stuff. I was like, “I’m going to be indestructible.” That’s the word I used for it because you’re not going to beat yourself up, you’re not going to overwork, or overtrain, or over anything. The other side is you have it right in front of you, what you’re responsible for. That was part of the whole scenario because you’re looking for something. 

My road has been self-care and empowering patients when I was practicing chiropractor. We treated neuropathy patients. I was like, “Man, this is such a waste. People drive 100 miles because there is nobody around to come to the doctor to do a therapy for 20 minutes and then go home. This is ridiculous. They’re going to have diabetes. They’re going to have these problems.” So first, I focus on how can I get this information out to doctors so that they can help more patients get better and then I realized you know what, the patient’s probably caring more about getting better than the doctor so how can I empower the patients?

When I found this little device that gave me my heart rate variability and I had an idea of how important heart rate variability was, I was like, “Hey, this is going to be fun.” I realized that there are challenges involved. So here I am, 58 years old. My father had a massive heart attack when he was 57 so I had to make it through 57, I thought. So then, what better way than to monitor my heart rate variability because it is connected to all mortality, low heart rate variability is connected to all mortality, sudden cardiac death, survival after myocardial infarction, levels of depression, levels of happiness and joy. Well, that’s a pretty good marker that I can wear on my wrist. Would you agree?

For sure. I track my HRV with my Oura ring.

I said, “Let’s see how that goes.” Again, my other research at the time, when we first talked, was doing the Rapid Reversal of Cognitive Decline, which is one of the research projects that we completed and was published in March. Taking a person with dementia, 64-year old woman, and within 28 days, returning her brain function really to normal. That was the thing that I was working on when we were first talking.

And then, my mother’s primary caregiver of 25 years fell down the stairs and died. I had to become the primary caregiver for my severely demented mother. I understood that all the science, all the mechanisms, and then poof, I had to put them into play. Not only did I understand it to a deeply personal level, but I was able to see the joys of caregiving also. The whole ramifications of what sort of life stress can put on you. 

Again, the insights are how wonderful to be able to take care of the patient, the loved one with cognitive decline and the caregiver so that they could both get better because the caregiver is a diagnosis but there is no treatment. You’re just out there doing the work of five people and suffering all these stresses. I have to say that my support team was my WHOOP, my ability to see if I am getting enough rest and taking care of myself as I’m putting these massive projects into play.

That’s quite a commitment to be the caregiver for somebody with dementia and somebody who is significantly affected by it. Are you seeing a decline in your different scores on the WHOOP because of all of these additional stress or is it steady?

I think, Stephan, what we’re working on is the human potential, the human-machine here. You have to not shoot for trying to get more normal, but to get optimal. You want to be the best that you can be. One of the things that was striking to me is that as I looked at this WHOOP data and I was like, “I am less than optimal. I am not taking care of myself the way I should.” Guess what I did?

What did you do?

You told me, “You’re like a serial seminar. You like to get the information in.”

Serial seminar junkie, yes.

I’m an application junkie. If I like it, I’m going to do it. I put together a system that I not only used to help optimize the brain of my patients and people that I’m coaching with cognitive decline, but I used HRV as a measure of how things were going. Within the WHOOP athletic group, which I think that there is on Facebook, there are like 2500 people and with all the WHOOPs that have been sold around the world and people who are putting in their data.

My HRV is 260% higher than any person my age. The highest that actually goes to on their meter was 106%. My average was over 126%. At 58 years old, I’m not an athlete, I’m just a guy who likes to put everything in balance, so this is part of it—all the muscular, skeletal stuff—but I was like, “Hey, I think I’m onto something here.” At my age, I should have about 1/3 HRV of a 30-year old.

The brain is the most important organ in the body, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know about it.

You’re a total outlier.

I’m not your average Joe, Stephan.

I knew that.

I keep coming around to that. My brother has taken on the primary caregiver role and I’ve given him a WHOOP so that he can get organized because I can see how the stress is affecting him so that we can get this feedback and help the caregivers. My brother has taken on the primary caregiver role and I’m being able to move on with my other studies and projects.

The point is not only did I recognize that whatever I’m doing is working, and it’s working at a very high level. Now, I’m just saying, “There’s got to be somebody that’s interested in this.” So here we go. I have you and I have other groups that I’ve been working with to make this stuff come true.

And you have a community of people that are working to improve their HRV and using that as the metric to gauge their success.

Right. As you know and I guess our listeners can know, I have a company and one of the things that we produce is red and infrared light therapy. Since 2015, they call it photobiomodulation. Photo, photons with light energy; bio, the cell of tissue; modulation, change. So, light energy coming into the body to change it. This is a very new field also. My research and the work that I’ve been doing for the past decade is on neuroregeneration. Here we are, a company that helps the brain work better and know we’re producing evidence that shows yes, it does work better. The funny thing is when you’re an outlier and you have products that have never been seen before, you developed them, invented them, and discovered them, you’re sort of not within the spotlight. Would you agree?


The usual biohacks, the things that you usually do, the personal biohacks are well and good and people to use them to a greater or lesser degree, but what I added is the transcranial photobiomodulation. The light therapy on the head, the brain, and the blood. We have a series of devices and the stuff that we had already researched two years ago was a Light Helmet, which was red and infrared light, which is the strongest helmet really on the market—there are only about two of them that you can really buy—and an intranasal photobiomodulation therapy. These are LED diodes of red and infrared lights that you put into your nostrils. One side is infrared, which we have a tendency to think it’s going to go deeper, up into the tissue, maybe to the prefrontal cortex. The red light has lower penetration. That seems to be able to affect the blood in the capillaries, in the vascular beds of your nose and maybe sub nostril area.

Within five minutes, all the blood in your body will pass through your nose. If you do the therapy for 20 minutes, you have radiated all of your blood 4 times. The positive benefits of this are not really well understood in America, and what that does to your body.

So what does it do to your body?

Remember we have two different light sources. The red light seems to have an incredible effect on the red blood cells and also the plasma thing. There are just so much stuff in blood, exosomes, just neural exosomes, and just stuff that we don’t really understand completely.

Can you define exosomes? Because this is something that I got to know about from doing stem cell therapy with Dr. Harry Adelson and the exosomes are these factors that you can add to the treatment. They don’t even come from you, they come from cord blood, or placental cells, or things like that. They’re kind of growth factors or something, but I didn’t end up using anything other than my own stem cells. Dr. Harry was a guest on this show, by the way. Listeners, you definitely should listen to that episode with Dr. Harry and his colleague, Amy Killen was also on this show. Both episodes are fantastic if you’re at all interested in stem cell therapy. This is really good stuff. Exosomes are something that they’re very excited about incorporating into the stem cell therapy procedure.

You get the stem cells harvested from your bone marrow and/or your adipose tissue, which they did with me and my wife, Orion. Then you get those stem cells reinjected into joints or your bloodstream through IV, even into your privates if you want. Yes, I had that done. So did my wife. It works, apparently. I mean I was good before, but the idea here is that this helps you to stay vital and young, biologically speaking. It’s called the P-Shot for men and the O-Shot for women. I had that done. I just basically said, “Anything that Dave Asprey did,” who’s another guest on the show, kind of the original biohacker. “Whatever Dave did with Dr. Harry, I want you to do to me.” I want stem cells in my brain so he lowered the blood-brain barrier with mannitol so the stem cells that were fed into my bloodstream through IV made it up into my brain and all sorts of crazy stuff. That’s how I know about exosomes. Let’s tell our listeners more about exosomes, why you’re excited about exosomes.

Let me put it this way. We are coming out with, it’s in review right now, an entire narrative review paper on what intranasal, transcranial photobiomodulation does. We’ve uncovered some of the research from China, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Japan. All of this stuff has been translated because the device is made in eastern Europe, the device that we use, or it’s manufactured and the science comes from there.

Let’s just go back for one second to talk about what it does to the blood and how important the blood is. Then, we’ll speak very easily about what it does for your own mesenchymal or your own stem cells and things like that. We can touch on that at the end. Just to tie this together. Stem cell therapy is about introducing newness to the body but the problem that they find is stem cell survivability is kind of hit or miss. So even if they take stem cells from Stephan, let’s say it’s a 50-year-old cell, does it really matter? But if you take it from a placenta, it’s zero age. That aids the survivability or its ability to change and replicate and gives you youth.

The human body is amazing. It's so counterintuitive. You think regularity is the key, but actually, diversity is the key. Share on X

The thing is light therapy brings life to the cells. You already have your own stem cells and even in the extracorporeal, when they inject them in there, if you put the light therapy or the photobiomodulation onto the cells, it kind of turns them on, and then you put them in the body, they have more vitality just like spermatozoa. That’s an idea of what a stem cell would be. It’s just, now it’s alive and has its life and look at it go. It helps in cell function.

After it’s in you, it has to know. You put your shot in your knee. Well, that’s just the cell. It doesn’t know that it’s in a knee. It could be in your leg, or your butt, or any place so there has to be an intelligence that tells that cell, “Hey, you have to be a cartilage cell otherwise, you’re just fluid.” They also found that laser therapy and light therapy kind of makes everybody talk to each other and say, “Okay, now I can become a brain cell, or a liver cell, or whatever the heck you want.” There’s a whole thing about light and the communication in cells and everything like that that we can get into.

Also, in the intranasal light therapy, there are the endomysial cells, which are on the bone of your nose. Because it’s the nose, we know that they’re using a drug sent through the brain, kick right in there, and introduced in the other nose. There are a lot of mesenchymal stem cells and it has a lot of ability to reproduce very quickly. We were smart enough when we did our research project done on patient zero, the first patient that we ever treated. She was able to restore her smell, which was never really documented in the literature but there is a whole connection between the hippocampus, and smell, and brain damage. As you become less aware of your environment, like loss of hearing or loss of smell is connected to cognitive decline because you have less brain.

It could be the canary in a coal mine. If you have impotence, then you’re probably suffering from heart disease. You’ve got a lot of clogged arteries and that’s why you’re not getting the same level of whatever that you did when you were 20.

Well, here’s the thing and I had a whole post on this in the private Facebook group to people who want to boost themselves. A man’s erection is the regulator of his health. You really don’t need the Oura ring to tell you if you’re feeling good because it’s a parasympathetic drop. You have to have that drop from parasympathetic into sympathetic for the erection. It is a measure of your physiology and how you’re doing. A man is supposed to get three erections a night. All connected with their sleep cycles. If you’re not feeling vital, guess what? You’re not vital. It’s all one human.

Before you go on more about the intranasal and the transcranial, the parasympathetic-sympathetic relationship, the listener may not be that familiar with that. If you can explain the significance, which one is for what?

That’s a good point, Stephan. What you’re reading with heart rate variability, I’m by no means an expert in these things, but what you’re reading is the level of your vagal tone and your parasympathetic tone. It’s actually looking at a state of calm. It’s like, what do they say, they call it rest and relax versus the sympathetic. Is it a fight or flight?

You have these things within your body obviously. We’re doing a podcast. I’m excited. These are great topics. We’re both using our brains and reacting. These are exciting things and it takes the cognitive function and it has to have a nervous system that can adapt to it. Just like if you’re running across the street, then you hear a screeching car, you have to adapt and run away or be aware. That’s more of agitation or arousal. But in order to be healthy, you have to have that balance with a parasympathetic tone, which is recovery, rest and digestion so that you’re getting the nutrients that you put in your body.

Feed and breed.

Feed and breed. I like that. We are predominantly a sympathetic dominant society. We’re just blessed all the time and we need to be able to touch. They used to say that all healing has to happen in a parasympathetic zone. You have to get the body to heal itself and you’re really not going to do that when you’re stepping on the gas all the time.

Chronically on high alert.

Fear and all this other stuff. What we’re trying to do is they give us a measure. The WHOOP and these other devices that give you a measure of your heart rate variability, which is the beat-to-beat change in your heart. I started with the HeartMath, breed it to my breathing exercises and try to make the ball go up or whatever it was. I was like, “Man, this is hard.” It’s not really hard. It’s just that you need to train it and you don’t really know all the things that can influence it. I realized that it was important. I just never knew how important it was to me.

There are several brain disorders and diseases that still don’t have cures. Examples of this are Alzheimer’s and dementia.

When you say it’s important, HRV, if your variability between the beats, when you’re taking in the breath versus expelling the breath, if they’re the same, you’ll be dead within minutes or hours at the latest.

Wow. I didn’t know that. The body loves gas. It’s a chaotic system.

So your HRV, there has to be variability because if there isn’t, you’re a dead man walking.

This is what I love about the body. It’s just so counterintuitive. You think regularity is the key but actually, diversity is the key. Chaos is how it runs. Because for us, if it was simple, beat, beat, beat, one, two, three, we could follow it in a linear fashion. But the brain and the body, they want to have all the input, they want it all. It just takes it all in. If it was too regular, maybe they wouldn’t hear it. I don’t know. It’s kind of theoretical. The point is it is a sign of your resiliency, how you adapt, or how you overcome. Survivorship is one level and striving on another.

That reminds me of this distinction I learned a while ago, that it’s not survival of the fittest, that’s a misnomer. It is actually the survival of the most adaptable.

Resiliency. They talk about grit, your ability to persevere and on the other side is stoicism, the John Henry effect, which isn’t good. You’d think if I put myself to a task and I work hard at it, I’m going to be successful. But in reality, that creates more heart diseases and heart attacks than stoicism versus adaptability. People miss that because you can say, “Look what I’ve accumulated via stoicism, by working hard and all this stuff, and overcoming.” But the point is that you’re going to go there with maybe less function of your heart.

You’re saying that the diehard stoic might be on their way to an early death.

Right. You consult with them. Either type A, push the button type of people because they’re going to get where they want to go. One of my earlier consultants once told me it doesn’t matter who wins the rat race, you’re all still rats. That’s something to think about, I guess.

Adaptability or being able to have vitality—these are the buzzwords—what does it really mean on a physiologic level? On a neurological level? On a chemical level? That’s what you really have to do because, in order to take a sick brain and make it into a healthy brain, you have to work at it. I talk about the brain but our whole discussion is about heart rate variability. What’s the connection there?

Well, if you don’t have a good brain, you don’t have a good heart and if you don’t have a good heart, you don’t have a good brain. If you have low heart rate variability, you usually have higher blood pressure, which can create problems for circulation in the brain and the heart, and then the brain can’t really regulate the heart’s action because it’s a nervous system function. The heart doesn’t beat by itself. You can take the heart out and it will beat. That’s the famous experiment. The heart has a brain of its own.

There are neural cells in the heart.

That’s right. The pacemaker nodes, the SA nodes, and all of this stuff. But they are really looking for signals from your senses. What is the world doing out there? How do I respond? I heard a great guy say yesterday, “It’s dark inside your body. It doesn’t really know what’s going on in the external world. The only thing it gets is from your senses.” Your body has taken all of this information and all of this stuff into your senses, and then it’s trying to calculate it, and then it’s saying, “How am I supposed to react in this world?” I guess when they say the black box, that’s actually what they’re talking about.

That’s funny. You have these really impressive HRV scores. What was the thing that moved the needle the most for you to become such an outlier? Was it intranasal or transcranial photobiomodulation or was it a combination of multiple things? What was it that moved the needle the most?

Just for a little bit of background, I’m a chiropractor. A chiropractic neurologist and I have a master’s degree in clinical research. I got 20 years after I graduated from a chiropractic college. I’ve been a clinical researcher for most of my life and that’s the thing that we look at, we answer important questions.

The question that I answered was how are you going to get people better and then, how am I going to get me better? Dealing with stress and dealing with injuries. The big thing, “Doctor, heal thyself.” The only way you can actually be a healer is to be healed. You have to go through the process yourself. Consulting with various companies that are doing laser therapy, light therapy, and things like that, I came to the wonderful conclusion that the multiple concussions I suffered throughout my life probably had an impact. Would you guess?

The more we’re working on this project, the more you’re like, “I don’t want to be that guy that goes to medical school and everything he has he goes, “Oh my God, I have that worm,” “Oh my God, I have this parasite,” “Oh my God, I’m going bald.” You know that hypochondria disease that happens when you go through chiropractic college or any kind of medical school. But I was like, “You know this traumatic brain injury thing, it kind of sounds like me.”

I interviewed Dr. Daniel Amen, he’s a brain expert who does these SPECT scans. I went to his clinic, the Amen Clinics, in Orange County and got my brain scanned. You can see where there is less blood flow or where you have overactivity. It’s fascinating. When you have traumatic brain injury like concussions when you were younger, that shows up on the SPECT scan. It has less blood flow. Did you have a SPECT scan and you saw that sort of thing?

Well, let’s just put it this way. The amount of research on the brain’s activation through transcranial photobiomodulation and intranasal transcranial photobiomodulation, you could probably count them on two hands. I participated in there so you kind of figure I know what I’m talking about. But the other thing is one of the original studies was looking at SPECT scans after putting the light therapy on there and they see this nice change. So yes, it does increase the circulation, it does increase the function of these brains based on these source scans. 

The body has wisdom. If you remove the interference, it should be alright by itself. Share on X

But you can also use something that you’re familiar with also, the quantitative EEG or EEG studies and also what they call evoked response potential like how is the brain doing. You can go in and get your brain mapped and actually, it’s like brain imaging so you can consider it to be a low-cost SPECT scan of how your brain is doing because if you don’t have neurologic firing, there’s going to be not the same amount of blood flow and everything has more neurologic functioning. That’s the whole thing. 

The research that I’ve been doing in the last year is trying to measure that change, how is putting light or laser on the brain change blood flow, EEG, or brain function. But you know, $40,000 for this machine, $80,000 for this machine, collaboration, and everything like that, guess what? I got an HRV that I wear on my risk just telling me how my prefrontal cortex is basically doing. That’s a pretty good deal.

Great. You don’t have to spend $10,000 on a SPECT scan at Amen Clinics.

Preimposed because it’s all there. The science is all there. Based on my history, your capabilities and your capacity, if you’ve got a brain that’s been beaten around and had multiple concussions, you may not have the same capacity as someone who never had a boo-boo. They were a violin player and they did everything great and so, their brain is developed in a different way. We have the cards that we’re dealt with. 

In doing my qEEG, the guy does it, he runs his algorithm, and he goes, “You have a 95% chance that you suffered a traumatic brain injury right here.” I was like, “Oh, yeah. I know. That’s probably true. I remember when I hit right there and all the rest of them.” Again, being a serial doer. I put it into effect. I say, “We’ll see if we can fix this thing about my brain.”

What we’re doing is a school of thought to say that light therapy or lasers and stuff can change the brain, so we can use the brain scan as a map to say, “Okay, here’s where your brain is bad.” Instead of training it and doing it this way, we can go passively, juice up that area, boost that area, boost the metabolism or the function of that area, give it a blast, and now see what happens, now see how you do on your reactivity, on your ability to think, to remember, to have more blood flow in your brain. No matter how you measure it, we’re showing changes in the brain that comes out of functional things, what you can do for yourself.

Just to clarify here, the one scan that won’t reflect the positive changes would be an MRI scan because that’s just looking at the structures, the physical structures. You’re not going to see the increased blood flow, you’re not going to see the additional electrical activity on an MRI.

Let’s talk about that.

I’m going to go from one side to the other side now. The way that the qEEG works—I heard a very good description of it—is you have all these cells in your brain, in your cortex, the little outer layer of your brain, it’s like all the fans sitting inside of AT&T Stadium in Dallas, you’re watching a football game. You’ve got 100,000 people in there. The qEEG is like putting microphones around the stadium and listening to the roar and where does it move. It moved from the left to the right. This part is very active and this part is very quiet. But now, they seem to have the algorithms to be able to listen to what one person says to the person next to him. That’s pretty amazing. I’m still a little bit doubtful but I think it’s a great analogy. Listening to how the brain is talking and communicating. That can also be seen as imaging. It’s not here’s a new connection, or here’s a new conversation going this way and that way. 

Taking it to the level of MRI, they can do functional MRI and they can see these connections, and they can see the blood flow, and they can see these sort of things if you do a functional MRI. The next level, if you regenerate the brain, you will be able to see the volumetric changes in the brain. The brain will grow back. There are clinicians doing functional medicine. Most of them, unfortunately, without the use of the technology, there’s been shown to increase wound healing, new tissue growth, neogenesis, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, growth factor, everything. They’re not even using these techniques that show rapid change and they’re still being able to show volumetric changes in the brain dealing with people with cognitive decline. It is just a matter of looking and doing the right data. But yes, you can see changes in the brain in the MRI.

In the structure with MRI.


But fMRI, the functional MRI is going to give you more insight, which takes not just a snapshot in time, it is a movie showing how things are happening in the brain over multiple time periods. Is that a good analogy for functional MRI?

Probably. They say an MRI or an X-ray is a snapshot. That’s what they say when they look at the astronomy. They would take a picture of it and then they would stare at it and then, a week later, they would take a picture, they would stare at it, and they would see the changes in the movement. That’s sort of what those static MRIs and X-rays do.

Photobiomodulation is a brain disorder treatment that uses light to stimulate neuro tissue and regenerate neural activity.

The functional MRI, it’s kind of the same thing. What you’re doing is you’re looking at the brain live, you’re looking at the brain change. You’re looking at the brain as you introduce a thought or a sign into it. That’s actually what we’re measuring when we’re doing these evoked related potentials or the ability to ask the brain, “Do you hear me?” That’s a hearing test. Instead of waiting for the patient to raise their hand and say, “Beep, I hear a sound,” we’re measuring how long did it take that sound to register in the brain. That’s some of the background that I used to do in my chiropractic days, it was measure these changes. Give someone pain and figure out how long did it take to get to their brain and then I got my master’s degree really in giving these simulations and being able to reproduce the pain stimulation in the brain repeatedly so it’s going to be the same time every time. I sort of studied the black box a little bit on how you react to these things.

One of your go-to devices is the qEEG, the quantitative EEG because it is inexpensive compared to an MRI machine and a SPECT scan machine. It gives you these insights that you can extrapolate and actually, with the right algorithms, get to the point to listen in to the conversation happening between nearby parts of the brain, kind of like nearby people in the seats in the stadium.

You need something, that’s what we’ve been working as a group. I’m a part of the Transcranial Photobiomodulation Brain Consortium, which is a group of people around the world that are studying these sort of thing, scientist and stuff. That seems to be what everybody is leaning towards. I think I’m probably the first one that brought the HRV aspect into it as a go-to because of the way I think things clinically. It is a little bit different than come to the office three times a week and get this therapy and then how are you doing? There is so much variable when you’re not in the office. Things that you have to take care of. That’s why I think that I have a good mirror for it also. But yes, we do need a map because there are a lot of questions about how do you actually do this.

To get back to your question, what did I do to get better? The point is I used my own stuff and the stuff that I have been experimenting with before would be the Light Helmet that I have that puts light on the brain and the intranasal stuff. I’m on Instagram, @my_brain_matters.

I will.

But there are people out there, they stand in front of a light, they stand in front of a sauna and they put this thing up in front of them and they’re like, “Oh, I’m feeling so much better.” But it’s kind of a fallacy in reality because the light doesn’t really penetrate. The farther away you get it, you have less penetration on you. We put it right on you, right next to the blood vessels, right next to the tissues, as close as possible. So yes, there is some benefit to a light shower, if you will. But being more specific and being more targeted and dialing in all the parameters is much better. The bottomline, if it contacts your skin and presses in, you’re getting more light energy into your body than if it’s at a distance. I just wanted to make that clarification.

That’s an important point. I’ve had Luke Storey, a biohacker, on the show several times and he’s a big fan of the Joovv red light therapy machine, which is giving you that shower of the red light. It’s like a red light charger, but for your whole body. You’re saying that if you direct the red light and the infrared more specifically and get it closer to the regions that you’re trying to affect, like closer to the brain, that’s going to be way more impactful.

I think that’s just physics. The research has been done and recently, the clinician that put out the research, I had a discussion with her, because I’m like, “Hey, I don’t want to be outside the park because my literature on that was a couple of years old,” but she showed that sex, and not skin pigmentation influenced how much the light went in. That was different because they used to say the darker your skin, the more you will reflect the light. The light won’t penetrate a blacker person or more melanin, which melanin is an important photoreceptor in the body anyway. But having it away from the skin, touching the skin, or pressing against the skin increased its penetration, which is kind of what it’s about. That’s what we’re working out.

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Let’s just talk about the brain. Different intensity, if you will, of the light has different penetration. We are really talking about, at the level that we’re working at, at least the products that I have, 0.01% of the photons are going to actually possibly reach the cortex, where most of the emotional and regulatory stuff is deep within the brain. So we have to answer this question like, “How the heck does that happen then?” If you’re just getting just a touch, how is it having these deep effects on the brain? That’s where we’re at. That’s a chasm to overcome there. That’s the questions that we’re trying to answer in our research too.

Right. So you might be triggering some biochemical cascade and that is what reaches deep in the recesses of your brain.

Let’s just talk about that for a second because we’re back to the blood. What does it do to the blood? We went on exosomes and around the corner. I’m just trying to point out exosomes because there is so much stuff in the blood—white blood cell, T cells. Just a lot of stuff and that’s really not my field. When we were investigating this, we got Tomasz Walski from Poland, who is a genius scholar in Ireland. He and his predecessors did research on what does red light or light therapy do to the blood. 

My colleagues in eastern Europe have done work on live blood cell analysis. What happens is blood will get sticky, the viscosity, it will get sticky so the red blood cells will stack up like poker chips and then it makes it harder to flow through the body. Sticky, you can basically say. We need good blood flow to make everything work. Almost every literature that has put light onto the blood shows that its viscosity changes. It flows easier. That’s pretty wild, isn’t it?

Right. It’s less sticky.

Less sticky, we can say that. Blood pressure is going to really go down and these things that affect the coagulation of your blood, you have nature, nurture, capacity, capability, what can you get better, some of these things are even influenced. You can have a genetic predisposition to having thicker blood and that happens in a lot of cases. Dehydration, if you will, also. Just natural things. The blood will become thicker and this light hitting that blood will have this reaction, which is pretty interesting. You’re going to have better flow and then the blood is going to move better. It seems that it’s going to increase the circulation to the area; that’s a very common thing. It reduces inflammation. That’s a very commonly found thing with light therapy.

One of the other things that we’re investigating, sort of hypothesized is this bioluminescence. You take a bacteria and you blast them with a little bit of light, no matter how little bit of light, if they can absorb that light, they can go to a higher level of energy but then at some point, it has to dissipate, it has to go away. What happens is these bacterias, you blast them with a little bit of light then you watch it for a little bit. After you turn off all the lights, you know what happens? They glow. Bioluminescence. You give them red light, they’ll give off blue light. Something like that. Very fascinating work. That’s how you kill the bacteria in these colonies. 

This is some of the research done on MRSA. How to kill MRSA? You put light on MRSA and you kill it basically because it illuminates itself. This is what they’re talking with gut health and with oral health. Using lasers to help the body. The body will give these peroxide bursts to super burst and kill everything around it. That’s immune function.

Energizing the blood is not such a far off thing. That you’re giving the light energy to what cell? Well, to whatever is passing underneath it. Well, underneath you are white blood cells, red blood cells, plasmacytes, all the stuff that’s in there. They’re all getting a blast of light energy that, from what we understand, makes them happier. You’re giving your own revitalization to the rest of your body. This is passed off to other tissues, similar to what you were talking about, Stephan.

Just to clarify for our listeners who are not familiar with MRSA, that’s MRSA which stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. That’s very hard to kill bacterium that you can catch in hospitals, unfortunately. We’ve just gone through so many different antibiotics that don’t work and we’re treating the cattle en masse with antibiotics and so forth, that it’s creating a lot of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. This is one of them that’s very deadly, right?

Yup. That’s the kind of thing that we were talking about back to live to be 180. You have to be very adaptive. How much this world changes so quickly, that’s the problem. I have a long white beard now, growing long white beard like the predecessors of the early 19th century. Have you seen the movie The Professor and the Madman?

No, I haven’t. 

That’s Sean Penn and Mel Gibson. It’s the true story of the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary. I watched the preview and I watched a little bit of the movie. These are two wild men and they have this huge this huge white beard. So I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to grow a beard, a big white beard.” The founder of Chiropractic, old, dead chiro, D.D. Palmer, my classmates reminded me the other day, he had a big white beard. What I’m trying to point out is at the turn of the century, there was a huge movement of knowledge and information about how the body works. A lot of change was experienced.

If you were alive in the 1900s and you lived to be 120, you’d still be alive because it’s 2019. But you know what? We don’t have the same environment that we had 120 years ago. I, myself, am quite fearful of what’s going to happen in February when 5G hits. Your body’s ability to adapt is going to be banned with larger than any human that’s ever been on this planet before. I always say kudos to everybody that takes that responsibility. From the superbugs we have to fight to the super this and the super that and everything.

The EMF exposure we were going to get bombarded with. In fact, I have two episodes all about EMF exposure and how to mitigate that. Jason Bawden-Smith episode and the other one is Brian Hoyer. Those two episodes are must listen because we got to guard ourselves against the onslaught of EMF exposure radiation that going to wreak havoc on ourselves. I know that we’re running out of time here and I’m hoping that we can do a little lightning round for maybe five minutes or so and then wrap up the episode. Are you game for that?


Just rapid-fire answers. I’ll give rapid-fire questions. Here you go. Adrenal fatigue, what’s the most important thing that somebody needs to do who’s suffering from adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is about recovering and pushing yourself. Most likely, the question is why are your adrenals failing? It’s because you’re not giving the proper nutrition or you’re pushing them too hard. You look at all the middle organs—testes, adrenals, thymus, pituitary, thyroid—all the stuff that’s in the midline has to be addressed.

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Okay, so how do you address, let’s say, your thyroid levels are really not good? What’s one powerful next action that you could take?

It’s probably sleep and your core temperature regulation. Also, get some supplementation hormones. That’s what I’m trying to say. The hormone thing is all messed up right now because we’re toxifying our maleness so our testosterone levels are down. Any functional medicine guide that can fix the gut will fix the thyroid, will fix that sort of stuff, just to kind of give you a baseline so you at least have some of that capacity to heal.

Men, eat lots more soya, right?

Absolutely not. Watch out.

Absolutely not. Okay, neurofeedback. I’m a big fan. In fact, I’ve had Dr. Andrew Hill on this show talking about it, had Chris Keane, CTO of 40 Years of Zen, talking about neurofeedback. That’s more of a full immersion experience of a week of neurofeedback. Are you a big fan or not? I know that you use qEEGs to measure success, impact, and also see if your brain is in synchrony and if you’re producing a lot more alpha or more theta waves, etc.

qEEG and neurofeedback training is excellent. I think that it’s the basis of a lot of what’s driving a lot of the current processes, but I step back a little it and say, “The body has a wisdom, if you just remove the interference, it should be okay.” That’s why we’re just going to say, “Let’s let the brain get better and let the brain heal itself,” instead of me figuring out you have to connect these two together to be healthy. That’s one philosophical question.

The other thing is it’s very time and money intensive. I’m trying to get self-care above all, Stephan. How can you do this at home? It’s hard and it’s expensive to do neurofeedback at home, but if you can get the right parameters and then monitor them, you could do it with breathwork, you could probably do it with those light therapy or transcranial photobiomodulation. We can set certain frequencies of the devices and train certain parts of the brain or the brain as a whole. Do we have to do it as a whole? Do we have to do it individually? Do we have to do these things? The bottomline is you only have that capacity. Playing piano is great rehabilitation for the brain, but if you have a stroke and your hands don’t work, it’s going to be too much. That’s the other thing that we think of. Transcranial photobiomodulation will allow the brain to a greater capacity to work, to metabolize, to function, to be able to handle the stresses of learning and neurorehabilitation.

So you’re saying the photobiomodulation is more the next step and then if you’ve got the budget and you’ve got the capacity, then neurofeedback is a great next step after that.

Yes, sir.

Okay, perfect. Next, heavy metal toxicity or heavy metal exposure, how do you deal with that?

Wow. Man, that’s a big one. I was blessed enough to find a biological dentist that took all of the mercury out of me. I didn’t have any baseline, but I guess it’s good for me. I’m going to see one next week. My appointment to get everything checked out.

A biodentist is somebody who is not just a dentist with a traditional approach to removing the amalgam fillings but has a very holistic and thoughtful approach to removing the amalgam so you’re minimizing the exposure to heavy metals as it’s being removed.

Just a quick side, biological dentistry. We went to the Association of Laser Dentistry. We had that meeting on a plane in April. They’re going very much forward. The reality of it is when you look at it from the brain, a dentist is doing brain surgery on you. Did the detrimental effects of a root canal are going to be catastrophic for the brain? This is the whole thing. Much less heavy metal. 

You’re doing brain surgery and your daily oral care is so fundamentally important because whatever they find in the mouth, in the nose, they find it in the brain. We talked about the blood-brain barrier. 

In fact, gingivitis has been linked with Alzheimer’s. I just read about it.

Here’s the thing, leaky gut—I got the whole thing—and leaky brain. If you don’t have the energy, you can’t keep your systems together. That’s what happens. The blood-brain barrier gets weakened just like the intestinal gut barrier gets weakened, and all this stuff makes a run to the brain. You got an inflammation. You got to beat back the inflammation and restore energy into the system.

The chronic inflammation is the real killer. That’s what puts many of us in a coffin. We need to mitigate that. The inflammation is not the devil. Acute inflammation can save your life but the chronic inflammation that’s caused by poor diet choices and so forth is what’s slowly killing us.

Remember, as you know, any injury that you have, any information—you hurt your knee, you twist your elbow, you’ve got a pain—your HRV goes out of whack, too. You can monitor how you’re feeling. You can look at your inflammation level by looking at your HRV.

With heavy metal toxicity, you’ve mentioned on a previous call that we had, something like a Minich whole body detox? Something like that?

Minich. When we talked about the detox, I think her name is Deanna Minich, it’s a whole body detox. That’s the one that I liked because she’s into the chakras. You know the seven colors of seven things. Very holistic. She talked about detoxing your thoughts, detoxing your water. It gave you a whole gamut of things to work on, not just kale. I think Minich is the whole body detox. She’s got a good podcast and stuff like that.

Okay. Deanna Minich. There it is. Next up, what do you do? What products do you take or recommend for gut health? That’s a very important part of our maintenance and longevity, right?

Right. I say there’s tons of stuff out there. You can do a lot of things. I think that the number one product that I go to is the microbiome. We’re going to have to get that. You’re going to have to say which one is it because I don’t have it in front of me. Remember the one I sent you? Superbiotic? What is the name of it?

Microbiome Labs’ MegaSporeBiotic?

Yup. That’s the one. Their whole product thing.

MegaSporeBiotic, you like that one? From Microbiome Labs.

That’s right. Do you want me to say it? Do you want me to say it?

You can say it.

MegaSporeBiotic, I got it. What I recommend which I think is at the top of the field is the MegaSporeBiotic by Microbiome Labs. They recondition the gut. They have a whole thing. Their science is incredible that they’re coming out with. They have a private method that they do to deliver live cells into the gut which is the main thing. They do a whole host of things. 

There’s another product that’s been tested that had a lot of research. It just came out in April at the Association of Laser Dentistry. It’s a lozenge that you put in your mouth. It restores the microbiome of the mouth because the mouth has a different acidity, function, temperature, and everything as the gut. The gut needs its own microenvironment. Probably, so does the lungs and everything. Also, the mouth. There’s a special lozenge.

Awesome. Let’s talk about mitochondria. What’s the most important thing that we can do to boost our mitochondrial health?

Intermittent fasting. 

Eat within a six or eight-hour window, maximum 10 hours, and then take the rest of the 24 hours off. No food and then back again. Keep doing that for a week. Then, do a 24 hour fast, something like that? I think that’s what Dave Asprey recommends. What would you say?

Just keep your mouth shut. It’s terrible stress. Eating is terrible stress to the body. It’s just tough to do. You have a better chance of not eating the wrong stuff. Overall, you’re going to do good if you just eat less. The bottom line is that its vitality. Vitality is the mitochondria. Vitality is how well you grow and how well you die. The intermittent fasting tends to increase the ability at apoptosis to kill the sick cells so it’s only the strong survive, the ones that can adapt. You give it stress and you let the body think.

That’s autophagia.

Autophagia, yeah. The light therapy’s main purpose—it’s existence—is to turn on the mitochondria. Without getting into too much detail, the best thing you can do is to diet. That’s what people get into ketosis. The second best thing you can do is put light on to yourselves and let your mitochondria get going. 

Or both.

If you can.

Okay. How do you feel about megadoses of vitamin C?

I think it’s good. Probably, think about it. If you think of vitamin C, you think of the orange juice. It’s probably liquid sunlight. Who knows? It’s probably light that you put in your body. Who knows? Chemically, who knows? It seems to be good for you. We talked about that for chelation for getting rid of the heavy metals. High doses, it’s a huge anti-inflammatory also. The huge anti-inflammatory process to high dose in vitamin C.

I think Linus Pauling, the laureate, was a huge proponent of megadoses of vitamin C. He took tons. How about PTSD? What do you suggest as a powerful thing to address PTSD?

In all circles back, HRV will show that you’re depressed. A low HRV will show that you have bad social abilities. Whatever it takes to get your HRV up is going to make your mood better. It’s going to make you be able to function. 

Think of it this way. Poor Dave, he wants to live to be 180 years old. Life is suffering. Where are you going to go with that? You want to, let’s say, “I’d like to go back to when I was 20.” Jesus, that’s going to be a lot of pain. That’s a lot of trauma and pain. That’s part of the things. You’re under 35 years of age, you’re going to die from an accident. If you survive, you’re still traumatized. It’s something that we have to overcome. I would say, be resilient. Be strong. Do what you have to do to be strong.

Okay. Hyperbaric oxygen?

It seems to work on an increasing O2 function and probably some hydrogen peroxide type of aspects. I think you have the same benefits as the photobiomodulation therapy placed on the same local issue, local areas. Trying to force oxygen into the body is a little bit harder than light penetrates. Oxygen kind of just sits on the surface, I have to say. Maybe breathing is good for you.

Okay. Grounding or earthing?

I think that’s a strong thing. Thanks for bringing it up but it’s all about vibration. You have to be in touch with the earth. The farther away we get from that, the farther we get from our ability to be the humans that we are. You’re a product of your environment. If you sit in a square box with fake light, you’re going to be fake. You’re not going to be able to move. Being outside, touching the earth at least 10 minutes a day, with your bare feet on the grass, is very important. 

Talk about mindfulness. How do you keep the human mind in a manmade environment? You should be human-made.

You need to be natural.

I think so. That’s chiropractic.

Grounding or earthing means taking your shoes off, getting on the grass in your bare feet, and doing that for more than just a minute, to having 10-20 minutes?

At least 10 minutes. I think if you look at this whole thing, the mitochondria is another one. Stephen Sinatra is a metabolic cardiologist. He’s done most of the research on this earthing. How weird it is that if you tell somebody to stand on the earth with their bare feet? Which is what humans have always done, they’ll think, “Oh, that’s weird.” 

Just make sure you’re getting enough sunlight hitting your skin everyday. If you’re a guy, take your shirt off, and let the upper half of your body get sun exposure. 

I interviewed James Swanwick about sleep. He’s talking about how important that sunlight exposure is. If you’re a guy, you actually want to expose your scrotum. Direct sunlight makes a big difference.

I agree.

End of lighting round. Where do folks go to buy your products? To get, for example, the Transcranial Photobiomodulation helmet from you? The intranasal device? The other products that you sell that people should check out. Where do they go? How do they get the stuff?

I think that you can get me on my social media @my_brain_matters and also Dr. Joe DiDuro on Facebook. My email will be in the show notes. You can send me a note. We are coaching and working with clients to get this thing straightened around. We need a little bit more of a process. It’s not like I’m going to let people lose like, “Oh, I’m going to do this.” It’s a system as we talked about, Stephan. The research backs up application. I just don’t spout out research. We actually apply it, do it, and get people better.

Awesome. If I wanted my listeners to be able to get special pricing, discount code, or something like that, can we arrange that?

Definitely. We can do that for the people who are on the cutting edge and are members of your group and your podcast. Sure, we like to offer it to them at a discounted rate.

Okay. to get the discount code and the links to all the different things that we talked about in this episode. 

Joe, this was fabulous, hugely valuable. You’re very giving and very passionate about all those stuff. It’s fantastic. Thank you so much. Thank you for all that you do in the world.

Thank you. Thank you, Stephan. It was great being here. Great sharing with you.

All right. We’ll catch you, listener, on the next episode of Get Yourself Optimized. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off. 

If you liked this episode and want to learn more about biohacking, a great place to start is my episodes with Luke Storey episodes 126 and 128. It’s a two-parter and it will blow your mind.

Important Links

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways

?Check my vital statistics at least once a year. It’s essential to keep track of my health to catch any problems that develop early.

?Don’t neglect my mental health. Ensure that I am well rested and embrace activities like meditation that will help reduce stress.

?Mental health is vital, but it’s also important to have my brain’s physical condition checked as well. Check out this episode’s show notes for some of Dr. DiDuro’s brain test recommendations.

?Get enough natural or red light exposure. This will help my brain function more actively.

?Consider red or infrared light therapy to see if this is something that could help me. Consult a medical expert before proceeding.

?Do regular blood tests to learn more about what’s happening inside my body. My blood test results can reveal a lot about imbalances and deficiencies.

?Keep up to date with the latest research in medicine and health. Listen to podcasts and read credible content to improve my knowledge of the future of healthcare and biohacking.

?Trust my body more and be in tune with it. Our bodies are a lot stronger than we think they are. We just have to listen to them more.

?Be sure not to wear myself out. Life shouldn’t be all about work. Eventually, lack of rest will start to affect my brain function.

?Monitor my heart activity. My brain relies significantly on my heart and vice versa.

?Check out Joe DiDuro’s Instagram for more amazing content on Photobiomodulation Therapy.

About Dr. Joe DiDuro

Dr. DiDuro is dedicated to helping people live a more fulfilling life. His passion is to help people by teaching them how they can create neuroregeneration and healing in their own lives. He is the Founder and President of the Neuropathy Treatment Centers of America, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. He is president of ProNeuroLIGHT a medical technologies company.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.


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