In Summary the TL;DR:
BIXEPS is a fitness and wellness device that uses the principle of pulsed electromagnetic fields to create magnetic mitohormesis – ‘healthy stress’ on our mitochondria to improve their function in our body. This is important because all cells need mitochondria to generate energy, move, grow, and prevent excessive oxidative stress which leads to accelerated degeneration.
Backed by research, it has been shown to stimulate growth of new mitochondria, increase myokine production, and encourage higher production of ATP/energy in our cells. This results in increased muscle mass, better regulated inflammation for pain, improved recovery times, and better muscle energetics in both elderly and active people.
BIXEPS is a patented technology by Singapore’s NUS and Switzerland’s ETH Zurich, after years of scientific research into how electromagnetic fields can successfully activate mitochondria in our bodies. We might remember from a distant memory of studying Biology or Science in our youth that mitochondria are known as ‘the powerhouse of the cell’ – but what implications does it have in pain and muscle recovery? Here’s the science behind how BIXEPS works:
Mitochondria are cell organelles that generate chemical energy needed for all parts of our bodies to function. Without oxygen, our lungs and brains would not be able to survive. Without mitochondria generating energy in our bodies, we would not be able to grow, move, and maintain our body functions. These mitochondria are present in nearly ALL cells of our body (with the exception of red blood cells).
In our muscles, mitochondria play an important function of maintaining our muscle mass and strength. Declines in skeletal muscle mitochondria play a role in progressive loss of muscle mass and muscle strength as we age, as something called ‘mitochondrial dysfunction’ happens (1).
Studies have found that through an external provision of magnetic fields, mitochondrial activity can be stimulated to aid in recovery (2, 3). These magnetic fields upregulate mitochondrial respiration to create optimal levels of oxidative stress – not all stress is bad stress! – that encourages positive adaptations in mitochondria, improving energy efficiency and future resistance to oxidative damage. Excessive oxidative damage is the main process implicated in aging poorly, degeneration, and basically things breaking down where they shouldn’t yet. This is why supplementary antioxidants (like eating blueberries and kale smoothies) have become so popular in recent years.
Adaptations of Muscles
When these mitochondria are activated in our body, their aerobic energy production is enhanced. This increases efficiency of the electron transport chain (which helps to regulate proton exchanges in the cell membrane, important for ATP production), stimulates mitochondriogenesis (cellular regeneration of new mitochondria), and improves long-term muscle energetics (how well our muscle cells maintain energy during demands like muscle contractions, i.e. walking or getting up from a chair).
In short, BIXEPS stimulates muscle growth & recovery through increasing the efficiency of the processes involved in creating new mitochondria and regulating ATP (energy) production.
In 2022, QuantumTX conducted a study to investigate the effects of QuantumTX’s proprietary BIXEPS technology on each user’s Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM). 35 users attended BIXEPS sessions either once or twice a week, for 10-minutes each session. [Read the study here]. Why 10 minutes?
Studies also show that a 10-minute BIXEPS session is the most effective in producing cellular changes over a period of ideally 12 weeks (4).
Upregulation of Myokines
The upregulation of myokines is what gives BIXEPS an advantage in the rehabilitation scene. What are myokines? By definition, they are a protein that is released by skeletal muscle cells. Muscle contractions, such as during exercise, are what usually causes myokine release. They are principal in our health because in general, myokines help to regulate your metabolism, fat tissue, liver function, brain and gut health – the research is still vast and ongoing on how myokines affect our health, but one thing is certain: They are important (5).
Among some of the additional myokine benefits that BIXEPS can help in are:
- Regulation of inflammation for muscle & joint recovery
The recommended levels of exercise by the American Heart Association are 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (running/brisk walking), with ideally 2 strength training sessions involved. These activities increase the activity of our white blood cells that fight infections and diseases, and encourage muscular release of anti-inflammatory hormones like Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and Interleukin-10.
These myokines help to keep our inflammatory immune response from going overboard. Scientific studies have shown that BIXEPS magnetic mitohormesis up-regulates these anti-inflammatory myokine levels and suggest the possibility for BIXEPS to be used to manage inflammation, which are indicated in increased pain and fatigue conditions (6).
- Enhanced training effects and muscle energetics
When we exercise, our muscles contract and myokines are released to both encourage muscle regeneration and to prevent degeneration. Myokines associated with muscle mass regulation include Myostatin, Irisin, Interleukin-15 and Decorin, which have been observed to promote muscle growth and reduce muscle wastage. Other myokines like Myonectin and Fibroblast GF-21 regulate muscle mass and also influence mitochondrial health and the energy available for performance and regeneration.
Pilot research studying how BIXEPS works show that alongside standard rehabilitation, 18 post-surgical ACL-repair patients measured more ATP and PCr in muscles after 16 weeks of one 10-minute BIXEPS session applied to the operated legs each week; and twice-a-week BIXEPS sessions in elite cyclists over 14 weeks improved fatigue resistance, reversed overtraining effects, and improved sustained power output (3%-5% improvement). Athletes and coaches both reported these improvements in recovery between daily training sessions and higher fatigue-resistance during training itself.
- Słodki, S., & Bogucka, J. (2019) Mitochondrial Theory of Skeletal Muscle Ageing – New Facts, New Doubts. Journal of veterinary research, 63(1), 149–160.
- Yap, J. L. Y. et al. (2019) Ambient and supplemental magnetic fields promote myogenesis via a TRPC1-mitochondrial axis: evidence of a magnetic mitohormetic mechanism. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 33(11), 12853–12872.
- Stephenson, M. C. et al. (2022) Magnetic field therapy enhances muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics and attenuates systemic ceramide levels following ACL reconstruction: Southeast Asian randomized-controlled pilot trial. Journal of orthopaedic translation, 35, 99–112.
- Parate, D. et al. (2017) Enhancement of mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis with short-term low intensity pulsed electromagnetic fields. Scientific reports, 7(1), 9421.
- Severinsen, M. C. K., & Pedersen, B. K. (2020) Muscle-Organ Crosstalk: The Emerging Roles of Myokines. Endocrine reviews, 41(4), 594–609.
- Franco-Ovregon, A. (2022) Magnetic mitohormesis: A non-invasive therapy for inflammatory disorders? Biocell.