Nitric Oxide - Wait, what is that? Reading those two words makes me want to pull out the chart of elements and take a step into biochemistry…or maybe not. I would rather put my energy into playing with my grand baby. But today it’s important to explore what Nitric Oxide is and to look at the ways in which your body is engaging with it while your body goes under the different light wavelengths of light therapy.
First of all, that sounds intense…how can Nitric Oxide be good for you?
Well one of the beautiful things that I’ve learned is that the intermingling of life and science leads to some profound awareness that is often explained under names that feel intimidating. But here’s a simple way to understand it.
Nitric Oxide is simply one atom of Nitrogen that is bonded with one atom of Oxygen. This molecule is used by your body to dilate blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure. (You can check out last week's newsletter if you have questions about what this means!) Your body also uses it to transmit information between cells in your body and triggers healing processes in the body.
Dr. Jonathan S. Stamler, Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, states about Nitric Oxide:
"It does everything, everywhere. You cannot name a major cellular response or physiological effect in which (nitric oxide) is not implicated today. It's involved in complex behavioral changes in the brain, airway relaxation, beating of the heart, dilation of blood vessels, regulation of intestinal movement, the function of blood cells, the immune system, even how fingers and arms move." (Referenced from Link 1.)
As with all things, too much is bad for anyone, but with Nitric Oxide there are good and healthy levels of it already present in your blood. So how does that relate to what light therapy does? Here’s what I’ve learned.
How does low level light therapy (aka photo modulation) interact with Nitric Oxide?
All three of the lights used in Light therapy interact with Nitric Oxide. Specifically, red light and infrared light releases Nitric Oxide deeper into the body on a subcutaneous level (under the skin). While blue light releases Nitric Oxide within the skin which increases blood flow overall. This increase in blood flow under the lights allows for healing to occur at faster rates and alleviates inflammation and pain in your body. (Article 2.)
If you want to learn more about the different light wavelengths, you can read my article on them here.
What are some big highlights that you can take away from this?
Referenced from Article 3 & 4.
•Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule in your body.
•Nitric oxide’s availability within your body decreases with aging, especially in sedentary individuals. Boosting Nitric oxide’s availability within your body could offset age-related changes in exercise capacity.
•Consuming dietary nitrate and other compounds can also help boost Nitric oxide availability within your body.
More Science Behind Nitric Oxide
There is a lot of science in relation to light therapy and Nitric Oxide. This specific study stands out to me.
They “conducted a single-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial to measure Nitric Oxide.” They tested this on fifteen healthy subjects by testing the levels of Nitric Oxide in their blood before and after they received Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT.) They tested this after one minute, five minutes, and thirty minutes of LLLT.
What they discovered was that Nitric Oxide levels did in fact increase in a healthy subject, “which means that LLLT does in fact increase the levels of Nitric Oxide in the bloodstream to allow for the body to naturally heal.” (Article 2.)
So what does all of this fancy science really mean? That your body has natural processes at play, and the things that are causing disease and pain are impacting those processes. Part of the natural power of LLLT (light therapy) is that it alleviates your body's stressors and allows your body to engage in the natural healing work that it already knows how to do. In this case, letting your body naturally release Nitric Oxide to heal internal processes.
But there’s something else here that’s important to note - as we get older there are reductions in availability and integration of Nitric Oxide due to age-related differences in your body's existing microbiome. As we age, we lose the ability to use Nitric Oxide efficiently. Light therapy is a beneficial way to boost your body's natural production of Nitric Oxide.
If you have any more questions or want to explore what light therapy can help you with, please reach out to me at (720) 219-2990 anytime!
If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at Lisa@lightmattersinfo.com - thank you for reading!
Here are the articles referenced above:
Article 1: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23334615/
Article 4. https://www.prohealth.com/blogs/control-how-you-age/is-nitric-oxide-the-key-to-healthy-aging-a-look-at-nitric-oxide-aerobic-capacity-and-strategies-to-boost-nitric-oxide-production#:~:text=Older%20adults%20may%20have%20reductions,oxide%20in%20this%20way%20efficiently
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