- Red and near-infrared light are a subset of natural sunlight, which actually acts and has value as a nutrient
- Red light and near-infrared light therapies are ways to get some of the benefits of natural sunlight. These therapies may be particularly beneficial for people who aren’t getting enough natural sunlight exposure
- Cytochrome c oxidase, photo receptors on your mitochondria, capture photons of red and near-infrared light. The most effective wavelengths that activate this system are in the 600 to 700 nanometer and the 800 to 1,000 nanometer ranges. In response to light photons, your mitochondria will produce energy more efficiently
- Another mechanism of action is related to the benefits of hormesis and the transient spike in reactive oxygen species. That burst of reactive oxygen species creates a cascade of signaling effects that stimulate the NRF2 pathway and heat shock proteins
- A third mechanism of action involves retrograde signaling and the modulation of gene expression. Red and near-infrared light therapy activates genes involved in cell repair, cell regeneration and cellular growth, depending on the tissue …
Light as Nutrition
Red and near-infrared light are, of course, a subset of natural sunlight, which actually acts and has value as a nutrient. Red light and near-infrared light therapies are ways to get some of those benefits. It may be particularly valuable and beneficial for people who aren’t getting enough natural sunlight exposure, and that’s a majority of people. As noted by Whitten:
“There’s a mountain of literature showing that regular sun exposure is one of the most powerful and important things you can do for your health and to prevent disease. Simultaneously, we have a general public that is afraid of sunlight.
Even the subject of melanoma is rife with misunderstanding because there is research showing, mechanistically, that if you expose cells in a Petri dish to lots of UV light, you can absolutely induce DNA damage and induce cancer formation.
You can take rats and expose them to tons of isolated UV light and induce cancer. You can even find an association between sun burns and increased melanoma risk.
Despite all of those things, it is also the case that when you compare people with regular sun exposure to people with much less sun exposure, they do not have higher rates of melanoma.
In fact, there’s a bunch of studies comparing outdoor workers to indoor workers, showing that outdoor workers have lower rates of melanoma despite three to nine times more sun exposure.” …
Not surprisingly, sunshine is good for happiness itself.