Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose, either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.
Diabetes of both type 1 and type 2 are characterized by high glucose levels. In advanced cases, the patient can experience peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy. The following published studies are based on the improvement of these conditions through the use of low level light therapy (photobiomodulation).
Diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) can be treated by regularizing blood sugar.
Yang et al investigated the effects of intravenous low level light therapy on 8 patients. They measured blood glucose levels before and after each treatment, as well as blood rheology. The postpandrial blood glucose decreased by various degrees after a single treatment. They also found different levels of improvements in the symptoms, improvements in microcirculation and improvements in the concentration of molecular substances.
Under controlled conditions, intense low level light therapy resulted in an improvement in the following outcomes: negative sensations in the lower limbs such as pain, sensitivity to cold, pain while walking, and conjunctival conditions. Diabetic angiopathy (disease of blood vessels) of pelvic limbs improved after 2-3 sessions of treatment. Patients showed decrease or disappearance of pain, cramps and paresthesia (tingling and prickling sensation) and “warming” of limbs. By the end of the 9-month test period, symptoms of diabetic encephalopathy (disorder of the brain) and asthenia (loss of strength and energy) disappeared in all patients. Mood and sleep also improved.
A study found that with the low level laser irradiation of the blood, “figures of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decreased to their norm or its upper limits with simultaneous increase of alpha-lipoprotein. Sugar concentration in blood also decreased”. The researchers concluded that laser (light) therapy is an important component in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
Improvement in peripheral neuropathy
There are at least 40 studies on the effect of intravenous blood irradiation therapy on peripheral neuropathy – a common symptom of advanced diabetes.
One of these, conducted in June 2002 to 2004, was to observe the low level laser treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in 120 patients. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: a group to be treated with low level laser and the others in a control group. The patients in both groups continued with their prescribed medication.
After 6 weeks of treatment, the group treated with low level laser therapy improved, with effective rate significantly higher than the control group. The ulnar nerve, peroneal nerve, MCV motor nerve and sensory nerve conduction velocity were measurably faster. The motor nerves, MCV, SCV sensory nerve conduction velocity returned to normal. In a large number of cases, efficiency was measured to be significantly higher. These findings show that intranasal light therapy significantly improves diabetic conditions.
Improvement in retinopathy
Progressive blurred vision is another diabetic complication and it can lead to blindness. It could be due to diabetic retinopathy (damage to a blood vessel in the retina), cataract (clouding of the eye’s lens) or glaucoma (increase in fluid pressure). As discussed earlier, light therapy applied to the blood has a positive impact on diabetic related diseases such as these through improved microcirculation. A study that applied intravenous blood irradiation with low level laser on diabetic patients demonstrated improved retinal blood flow in patients with diabetic retinopathy.
Why Intranasal Light Therapy works for diabetes
Several theories on the mechanisms behind how this therapy works for diabetes can be extracted from published evidence:
Diabetes is a case of an imbalance in homeostasis, in this case, the blood sugar level. There are compelling arguments supporting Intranasal Light Therapy as credible source to stimulate systemic homeostasis.
Moderating the factors that cause red blood cell aggregation
For decades, it has been known that red blood cell (RBC) aggregation is elevated in blood from diabetic patients. Intranasal Light Therapy has been consistently found to be able to remove the causes of RBC aggregation (likely to be elevated fibrinogen levels from diabetic conditions).
Improving blood flow dynamics and circulation
The cause of diabetes is not just a straight forward issue of insulin production, balance and resistance. Many complications of diabetes stem from damage to the microcirculation system, and evidence is emerging postulating that the manipulation of microvascular hemodynamics (blood flow dynamics and circulation in the blood capillary system) as the Intransal Light Therapy device does, may have therapeutic potential.
Release of nitric oxide from red light
The findings in a study by Corbett et al indicate that nitric oxide (NO) mediates diabetic condition and aid the release of insulin.
Several studies support the expectation that light of the red spectrum as generated by Intranasal Light Therapy, stimulate the release of nitric oxide. So a device that does this should help in mediating diabetic conditions.
Light therapy inhibits MPO production
Type 2 diabetes results when cellular receptor sites have been altered and will not allow insulin to attach. A report by type 2 diabetes researcher Makela, presents the biochemical details of the occurrence of diabetes and consequential complications.8 One factor that amplifies the toxicity of a diabetic condition is the elevated production of an enzyme, myeloperoxidase (MPO) due to various reasons. Irradiation of light at around 660nm (which is around that generated by Intranasal Light Therapy devices) has the effect of inhibiting the production of MPO.
Light therapy stimulates the release of SOD
Diabetes has been identified with excessive oxidative activity and toxins. To help counter this, irradiation of this light also stimulates macrophages (white blood cells in tissues) to release the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD – an anti-oxidative enzyme) which have the effect of improving diabetic conditions. The activity of cytochrome P450 (enzyme that breaks down toxins) and many other substrates are regulated, enabling the control of glucose and the breakdown of glycation end products (AGEs) to prevent the development of complications that arise out of diabetes.
Improvement in systemic homeostasis, blood properties (such as viscosity) and microcirculation from Intranasal Light Therapy directly impact diabetic conditions and symptoms. The effects go beyond these. The regular stimulation of the immune and homeostatic factors should help prevent not only the onset of diabetes but also improves other conditions that may have already set in because of diabetes, particularly cardiovascular diseases. These are discussed on the other pages of this website.
 Dou Z, Hu X, Zhu H (2003). The effects of two kinds of laser irradiation on patients with brain lesion. Chin J Phys Med Rehabil. 25(2): 86-88 (in Chinese).
Yang YZ, Zhang L and Xu S (2001). He – Ne laser intravascular irradiation therapy of diabetes. Modern Rehabilitation. 5(7). (in Chinese).
Kovalyova TV, Farvayeva AV, Pimenov LT, Denisov SM. Dynamics of hyperlipidemia and peripheral blood flow in patients with diabetes mellitus after the course of combined laser therapy in ambulatory polyclinic conditions. Medical Academy, 2nd Municipal Out-Patient Department, Izhevsk, RF Russian Medical University, 13th State Clinic Hospital, Moscow, RF.
Cheng Y, Liu H, Yin T and Long T (2005). He-Ne laser treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy observed. Chinese Rehabiliation Medicine 20(4). ISSN: 1001-1242 (2005) -04-0286-02 (in Chinese).
Kovalyova TV (2002). Ambulatory application of combined laser therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia. Laser Partner, 17.5.2002. Out-patient Department of the 2nd Municipal Clinical Hospital, Izhevsk, Russia. Online: http://www.laserpartner.org/lasp/web/en/2002/0046.htm.
Marieb, Elaine N. & Hoehn, Katja (2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology (Seventh ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
Bauersachs RM, Shaw SJ, Zeidler A, Meiselman HJ (1989). Red Blood Cell Aggregation and Blood Viscoeleasticity in Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Clinical Hemorheology 9: 935-952.
Tooke JE, “Microcirculation and diabetes”, British Medical Bulletin 45 (1989): 206-223.
Corbett JA, Sweetland MA, Wang JL, Lancaster JR, McDaniel ML (1993). Nitric oxide mediates cytokine-induced inhibition of insulin secretion by human islets of Langerhans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). 90(5): pp 1731-1735.
Lindgård A, Hultén LM, Svensson L, B Soussi B (2007). Irradiation at 634 nm releases nitric oxide from human monocytes. Lasers in Medical Science. 27(1): pp 30-36.
Makela AM (2004). Theoretical backgrounds for light applications in diabetes. Paper presented at Laser Florence 2004. Full paper is available here.
Updated: October 16, 2013