Did you know that red light therapy affects the DNA?
Red light therapy prices are coming down, and so devices are getting popular. Red light therapy is a non-invasive and effective treatment for various health conditions. Use it to improve skin health, and aid in muscle recovery after exercise. One of the lesser-known benefits of red light therapy is its effect on DNA.
The Purpose of DNA
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the genetic material that contains the instructions for the development, function, and reproduction of all living organisms.
The roles of DNA are:
- to store and provide genetic instructions allowing the organism to create and to repair at the cellular, molecular, and tissue levels
- to transmit genetic information to daughter cells
- to express genetic information when building proteins
- to transmit genetic information when reproducing
DNA Stores Instructions
DNA serves as the storage medium for genetic information in all living organisms.
The specific sequence of nucleotide bases along the DNA molecule contains the instructions. The instructions are encoded in just four nucleotide bases.
DNA is composed of four nucleotide bases:
- adenine (A)
- thymine (T)
- cytosine (C)
- guanine (G)
These bases pair with each other in specific ways:
- A always pairs with T
- C always pairs with G
The specific sequence of these bases along the DNA molecule determines the genetic code that instructs the cell on how to build and maintain an organism.
DNA’s Role in Creation and Repair
One of the key roles of DNA is to provide the genetic information necessary for the creation and repair of cells, molecules, and tissues in the body.
At the cellular level, DNA contains the instructions for protein synthesis. Proteins are the building blocks of all living organisms. They are responsible for structural support, for breaking down molecules (enzymatic activity), and transport of molecules.
At the molecular level, DNA is involved in the creation and repair of macromolecules. These include nucleic acids, fats (lipids), and carbohydrates.
At the tissue level, DNA is critical for the development and maintenance of healthy tissues and organs. As cells divide and differentiate, they rely on the genetic information contained within DNA to direct their development and specialization. When tissues are damaged or injured, DNA is used to direct the repair process and restore normal tissue function.
DNA Transmits Instructions
DNA encodes genetic information in its nucleotides. The sequence of the AT, TA, CG, and GC nucleotides determines the genetic code that is transmitted. Each sequence of nucleotides is a gene. Genes are the instructions for making proteins.
The process of transmitting genetic information begins with the replication of DNA. When a cell divides, the DNA in the parent cell is replicated, and each new daughter cell receives a complete copy of the DNA.
The DNA ribosomes are the cellular structures that synthesize proteins. Gene expression occurs when the DNA is transcribed into a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule. The mRNA carries the genetic information from the DNA to the ribosomes. The ribosomes read the sequence of nucleotides in the mRNA and use it as a template to assemble a specific sequence of amino acids, which make up the protein encoded by the gene.
DNA synthesis is a tightly regulated and complex process that occurs specifically to ensure accurate duplication of the genetic material in preparation for cell division. If a cell is not preparing to divide, DNA synthesis does not occur.
DNA’s Role in Reproduction
Reproduction allows DNA to transmit genetic information from one generation to the next.
DNA is transmitted in reproduction through the process of inheritance. In most organisms, including humans, the transmission of DNA occurs through sexual reproduction, which involves the fusion of two specialized cells, or gametes, called sperm and egg.
During sexual reproduction, the male parent produces millions of sperm cells, each containing a copy of their DNA. The female parent produces a smaller number of larger egg cells, also containing a copy of their DNA. When the sperm and egg cells meet during fertilization, their genetic material combines to form a new individual with a unique combination of genes.
Through this process of sexual reproduction, DNA is transmitted from one generation to the next, allowing for the development and diversity of new individuals with unique combinations of genetic material.
How DNA Synthesis Promotes Health
Cell replication is necessary for the production of new cells and tissues. Sexual reproduction combines genetic material from two individuals. Whether to maintain the health of your skin or the health of your baby, DNA integrity is vital. If DNA is damaged or mutates, the organism breaks down.
The replication of DNA is necessary for the production of new cells that make up various tissues and organs in the body. For instance, DNA synthesis allows cells to divide and produce new cells that make up the skin, muscles, bones, and other organs. This process is crucial in maintaining tissue health and repairing damaged tissue.
In the brain, DNA synthesis is important for the growth and maintenance of neurons, the cells responsible for transmitting signals and information in the brain. Neurogenesis, the process of generating new neurons, is critical for brain plasticity, learning, and memory. DNA synthesis allows the brain to generate new neurons, ensuring that the brain can adapt to new experiences and challenges.
DNA synthesis ensures that the genetic information is accurately passed to daughter cells. Accurate replication of DNA is crucial to maintain the integrity of the genetic information, which is essential for the proper functioning of cells and the body.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a form of low-level light therapy. It uses red and infrared light to work to help the body and brain heal themselves.
Specific red and infrared wavelengths of light penetrate the skin and stimulate the mitochondria. A mitochondrion produces biological batteries.
The body and brain use the batteries (called “ATP”) to repair and heal.
How Red Light Therapy Protects DNA
One of the first observations made about photobiomodulation (red light therapy) is that it increases DNA and RNA synthesis. Initial experiments by Dr. Tiina Karu in the 1980s and 1990s were based on this observation. To find the photoreceptor that absorbed the infrared light, she looked for the chromophore that accepted red light and could trigger DNA synthesis.
DNA mutations can occur due to a variety of factors, including exposure to ionizing radiation, environmental toxins, and errors in DNA replication. These mutations can lead to a range of health problems, including cancer and genetic disorders.
Red light therapy protects DNA by:
- decreasing inflammation
- decreasing oxidative stress
- increasing ATP
- producing heat shock proteins
- directly affecting DNA repair proteins
Inflammation and oxidative stress are major causes of DNA damage. The science is well-established that red light therapy lowers inflammation, and has anti-oxidant effects. Lowering oxidative stress reduces free radical damage that triggers inflammation. By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, red light therapy prevents DNA damage and reduces the risk of mutations.
Red light therapy has been found to improve the body’s ability to repair DNA damage by increasing the production of ATP, which is necessary for DNA repair. ATP are biological batteries used to do work at a cellular level. Inflammation and oxidation damage mitochondria that produce ATP. When ATP is low, the DNA repair processes fail because they are underpowered. Red light therapy donates energy to the ATP factories that support DNA repair work.
Another way that red light therapy affects DNA is through the production of heat shock proteins. These proteins are produced in response to stress and help protect cells from damage. Red light therapy has been shown to increase the production of heat shock proteins, which can help protect cells from DNA damage and improve overall cellular health.
some studies have suggested that red light therapy may have indirect effects on DNA repair processes, which could potentially reduce the risk of DNA mutations. For example, some studies have found that red light therapy can increase the expression of DNA repair enzymes, such as photolyase and base excision repair enzymes, which are involved in repairing DNA damage. By enhancing these repair processes, red light therapy may help to reduce the accumulation of DNA damage and prevent mutations.
Overall, while red light therapy is not known to directly prevent DNA mutations, it may have indirect effects on DNA repair and oxidative stress that could potentially reduce the risk of mutations.