04 Aug MITOCHONDRIA & LIGHT
If you are able to harness and nurture this process – you can have more energy, optimise your performance and increase your longevity. For those of you who want to deep dive into Holistic Health – this one is for you.
Understanding, exploring and furthering your knowledge about your body, empowers you to make better choices.
While the Mitochondria perform a range of important tasks, the three categories I’m going to focus on are;
~ circadian rhythm
What are Mitochondria?
Second to the nucleus found in your cells, your mitochondria are the most important organelle – they provide the energy of all cells.
They also have their own DNA (mtDNA) which is exclusively inherited by you from your mother. Unlike nuclear DNA which is linear, mtDNA is circular and provides the coding for 13 proteins, 22tRNAs and 2 rRNAs.
Our mitochondria are the powerhouses in each of our cells, creating 90% of the chemical energy cells need in order to function.
They primarily produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the basic molecular energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. ATP captures chemical energy obtained from the breakdown of food molecules and releases it to fuel other cellular processes.
In short – the more efficiently your cells create ATP energy through cellular respiration, the better your body feels and performs.
Light is essential to this process. humans need light to exist, we can not possibly survive or function without it.
Light can either assist in producing more ATP or hinder energy levels in our cells.
Hindered levels of ATP leads to disease, oxidative stress, aging and chronic fatigue.
Red and near infrared light stimulates mitochondria, increases ATP and works against nitric oxide & oxidative stress that weakens our cells and slows us down.
Where can I get red or near infra red light?
Sunrise and sunset is the time of day when we receive the most red and near-infrared light from the natural sun.
We now also have red light therapy treatments through specialised clinics and at home devices.
Short-wave visible blue light has adverse effects on mitochondrial function particularly in the eye.
Researchers have now shown that blue light causes oxidative stress and decreases cell survival and blue light exposure damages mitochondria in the retinal cells of the eye.
Blue light is part of the visual spectrum and is part of sunlight.
So, why is there a problem with blue light and digital devices?
Unfortunately, the amount of blue light emitted from a digital device is roughly four times that found in sunlight where blue is balanced with all of the other colors of the visual spectrum in equal amounts.
Because we spend more time looking at digital device screens than ever before in human history and because of the light from a digital screen being tilted toward the high-energy blue end of the spectrum, cells in the eye get more damaging light. The mitochondria which are so important to cell function and cell life are damaged.
What can you do?
Many of the effects of blue light can be easily reversed such as avoiding digital device games right before bedtime or taking “eye breaks” when working at a computer all day long.
But, the mitochondrial damage from cumulative blue light exposure is insidious and the damage may not be apparent for years. Thus, it is really important to be aware of this risk and to take preventative measures. It is highly unlikely that computers, smartphones, tablets, and the rest are going away. They have become integral parts of our lives whether for work, communication, or recreation.
The best approach may be to use eye protection in the form of lenses that block excessive amounts of potentially harmful blue light from reaching the retina in the back of the eye.
Blue light exposure can impair retinal mitochondrial function, and subsequently may increase the risk of eye damage.
For those conscious of weight gain – Blue light at night can increase the production of new fat cells. So perhaps something to think about.
Blue light can also increase the chances of developing glaucoma, especially when mitochondria are damaged in the eye
Message – the more blue light obtained through artificial means – the greater damage to the mitochondria and the potentially greater the risk for disease.