A major concern for women of advanced maternal age is the ability to get pregnant and maintain a pregnancy. For women over 35 years old, pregnancy and birth rates decrease while miscarriage rates increase. As struggles with fertility mount, women look for sound solutions to improve their chances for pregnancy. Women may research nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, yoga, or other options to improve egg quality and fertility, However, there is another tool, low-level laser therapy, that can be included as part of a holistic approach to improve reproductive health in women of advanced maternal age.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is also known as photobiomodulation or cold laser therapy. LLLT is light therapy that provides therapeutic effects to the body, at the cellular and mitochondrial level. Low level laser does not cause pain, heat up, burn, or cut the tissues of the body. It is not a high-powered laser used for surgery.
The light energy from the low level laser penetrates through the tissues of the body into the cells and mitochondria. The light energy provides the fuel for the cells and mitochondria to function optimally. The laser light supports mitochondrial function and ATP production to provide the required energy for cellular function and for the body to heal.
The mitochondria are the powerhouses of every cell in the body. Mitochondrial health is central to egg quality. The eggs have 200-300 times more mitochondria than any other cells in the body. Generally, the cells of the body have about 2,000 mitochondria while the eggs have up to 600,000. As women age, mitochondrial function wanes with fewer mitochondria and less ATP production. Without enough ATP production or energy, the egg may not mature optimally and even with fertilization, the embryo may not have enough energy to develop or implant. Every stage of fertility requires an immense amount of energy.
It is important to consider mitochondrial health in women over 35 who are struggling with fertility. As fertility decreases in women over 35, with reduced egg quality, the mitochondrial health also decreases. It is possible that one of the reasons for reduced egg quality as women age is this decline in mitochondrial health with reduced ATP production in the eggs. LLLT increases the ATP production in cells, including the eggs. Ultimately this increases the egg quality, fertility, and pregnancy rates as confirmed by studies in Japan and Denmark.
In Japan, Dr. Toshio Oshiro conducted two trials with women who were not able to get pregnant naturally or with ART. The results of the second trial were published in 2012. This trial included 701 women who were treated with a course of 3-6 months of treatment. The women received 6 treatments of LLLT during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycles for 3-6 months. To improve egg quality, Dr. Oshiro used the LLLT during the follicular phase when the follicles are maturing and preparing for ovulation. This is the best time to influence and improve the egg quality. Of these women, 156 (22.3%) became pregnant and 50% of these women went on to have a live birth.
Then in 2019, a summary of empirical data collected from clinics in Denmark and Norway was published. These clinics started using LLLT to improve fertility in 2012. The women in this summary ranged from age 34 to 50. Roughly 400 women were treated and 260 of them, or 65% got pregnant after using LLLT. The treatment was similar to Dr. Oshiro with 6 treatments in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.
These studies conducted in Japan, Denmark, and Norway are very encouraging for women of advanced maternal age who may have been struggling with getting pregnant naturally or with ART. LLLT may be an important part of a holistic approach to improving egg quality and fertility. LLLT offers a safe, non-invasive way to improve egg quality, fertility, pregnancy, and birth for women over 35 years old.
At Health Blossoms, Dr. McKenzie follows the protocol used by Dr. Oshiro and the clinics in Denmark and Norway. She combines LLLT with acupuncture, infrared heat, a simple breathing exercise, and Mayan abdominal massage to support fertility and hormonal balance. Dr. McKenzie is a licensed acupuncturist and certified in LLLT.
Dr. Toshio Ohshiro research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24610987/
Denmark and Norway case studies: https://www.ecronicon.com/ecgy/pdf/ECGY-08-00402.pdf