A few years ago, I hosted a television documentary on food. One of the episodes focused on milk and so we visited many different farms and witnessed countless herds of cows actually being milked. But not once did I see the milking being done by a half-naked man. I was, however, treated to such a thrilling spectacle when watching the trailer for Season 2 of Tucker Carlson’s Fox “documentary,” bizarrely titled “The End of Men.” Before going further, let me offer my opinion on Carlson, Fox’s premier on-air personality. Basically, I think he is a rather clever actor playing a role he knows endears him to his mostly male, ultra-right-wing audience. I don’t think he believes for a minute the ultra-ridiculous waffle that gushes from his mouth, but it does pay the bills. Tucker’s salary is estimated to be around $35 million a year.
It seems that the premise of “The End of Men” is that manhood is not what it used to be. Sperm counts are falling, testosterone levels are crashing, and men are becoming physically and mentally weaker. In the past, Carlson has suggested that eating lots of soy products and not enough meat has been a factor, with his solution being a “carnivore diet.”
The trailer for the upcoming pseudo-documentary expands on the notion that the softening of men will lead to the collapse of society and a hardening is in order. This apparently involves blasting away at bottles with a machine gun, chopping down trees with a giant ax, flipping truck tires, guzzling raw eggs, immersing oneself in cold water, milking cows, grilling meat, and grappling with other men. All of this apparently has to be done naked from the waist up. Except for the lighting of the testicles, which requires the shedding of all clothing. No, we are not talking about the grilling of the testicles, but the involvement of actual light. Red light. Why? Because this is supposed to increase testosterone production, making men “manlier”, more “resourceful, making them strong enough to survive,” supposedly in face of a feminizing liberal onslaught.
Can there be something to this red-light therapy? Can “toasting the testicles,” as Tucker phrases the procedure, really have some benefit?
Time to try to shed some light on Red light therapy.
It was back in 1967 that Hungarian physician Endre Mester tried to repeat an experiment by American Paul McGuff, who had used a red laser beam to destroy a cancerous tumour implanted in a laboratory rat. Unbeknownst to him, Mester’s laser was much weaker and had no effect on the tumour, but to his surprise caused rapid healing of the wound where the tumour had been implanted! Furthermore, the light stimulated the regrowth of hair at the site! Mester coined the term “photobiostimulation” for this low-level red-light therapy.
Since then, numerous researchers have explored the potential of red light as a healing agent. That includes NASA scientists who found that red light boosts plant growth on the Space Station and allows astronauts’ injuries to heal faster. Other studies have shown possible benefits in pain relief, acne treatment, blood circulation, asthma, inflammatory conditions, stroke, and even hair growth. Light-emitting diodes implanted in special helmets, or attached directly to the forehead, have shown some tantalizing benefits in depression, Parkinson’s Disease, and cognitive enhancement. Finally, the effect of light on COVID has been studied. The violet/blue end of the spectrum has been shown to inactivate bacteria and some viruses, and at least in experimental animals, red and near-infrared light reduce respiratory disorders similar to complications associated with coronavirus infection.
The mechanism of action of red light has been explored with the prevailing theory being that damaged cells produce nitric oxide which binds to and inactivates cytochrome oxidase, an enzyme that is required to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that releases energy to fuel cellular processes. Light in the red (600-700 nm wavelength) and near-infrared (760-940 nm) regions of the spectrum liberates nitric oxide from the enzyme allowing more ATP to be produced, normalizing cell function. Furthermore, the nitric oxide released is a messenger molecule that has beneficial effects on the immune system, on blood vessel dilation, and on blood clotting.
As is often the case, inventive marketers and pseudo-experts are prone to hyping research results beyond what the data actually shows. According to some promoters, red light therapy is a cure for whatever ails you, including low testosterone levels. There is no evidence for this and the claim should raise a red flag of alarm.
How did Tucker Carlson get connected to red light therapy? It seems to have come from his introduction to “bromeopathy,” a new term for me. Don’t trust mainstream science, instead trust your “bro,” those muscular, tree-chopping, machine gun-toting, testicle tanning examples of manliness who are set to teach the testosterone-deprived weaklings what they can do to save society. Of course, I don’t think Tucker actually believes in “bromeopathy,” but it is a catchy term, playing upon “homeopathy,” the absurd “alternative” therapy that is often embraced by Fox viewers who grip anything that opposes mainstream.
While Carlson’s prattle borders on lunacy, it is true that there is concern about declining sperm counts and possibly testosterone levels. Environmental factors such as exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may play a role, but obesity is a more likely candidate. Carlson does refer to the problem of excessive weight and references President Kennedy’s campaign against childhood obesity. But that may be pretty much the only tiny glimmer of light in this dark drivel that claims society is set to collapse unless men shed their clothes and take charge by chopping, grilling, milking and red-lighting their testicles.