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How Can Red Light Impact Health?

MedCram reviews how red light therapy impacts mitochondrial health, reduces blood glucose, and enhances basal metabolic rate.**

**BMR Definition: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories you burn as your body performs basic (basal) life-sustaining functions. It is commonly called Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which is the calories burned if you stay in bed all day.

What is curious to me is that red light, and most light, for that matter, does not penetrate deeply into the body. Thus, it does NOT get into cells that are more than an inch deep. Light does have a positive impact on cells thus, the greatest impact is on cells in circulation. This means your red blood cells and other components of blood plasma.

"Red blood cells (RBCs) take about 60 seconds, or one minute, to circulate through the body. This includes traveling from the heart, through the body, and back to the heart. The process depends on the individual's heart rate."

This is why we use a red light source placed under the wrist when performing methylene blue therapy. That is where blood vessels are closest to your skin surface, regardless of your BMI.

In this MedCram video, Dr. Seheult indicates that the researchers show red light reduces the fluid's viscosity in the electron transport pump. However, if the light only penetrates, at most, 1 inch, it clearly cannot do this in every cell. Maybe it is also reducing the plasma's viscosity, thus improving circulation. If red light can reduce fluid viscosity inside a cell, why not outside? This would explain a more systemic effect of the red light compared to just cells reachable by the light. Maybe this study has not been performed. A feather falls as quickly as a chunk of lead in a vacuum. Thus, the viscosity and density of the "fluid" matter regarding the rate of movement.

The relationship between temperature and fluid viscosity is well studied. Here is an example reference and summary.

"Temperature has a huge impact on viscosity. Your sample at higher temperatures may have a totally different viscosity compared to the same sample at lower temperatures. Viscosity reflects the molecular behavior of your samples (size, shape, interactions, microstructure), and therefore varying temperature during viscosity measurements can be very revealing and provide information about the fluid microstructure."

"So, we understand that viscosity changes with temperature, but why does viscosity change with temperature? Viscosity reflects what is happening on the molecular level, and according to the kinetic theory of matter: molecules/ particles are in continual motion. The motion of these particles is dependent on temperature (among other factors) in the form of thermal and kinetic energy, which determines velocity particle travels. Increasing temperature will increase energy, and therefore the velocity of the particles. Viscosity will decrease with increased temperature because as particles move more quickly, they interact for shorter time (shorter interactions) reducing internal friction or stress and therefore decreasing viscosity."

This is an interesting chart.

There is a substantial difference in viscosity changes depending upon the liquid. Gasoline is a "non-polar" substance, and the attraction between separate gasoline molecules is weak. As a result, increasing temperature has little impact on viscosity because its viscosity is already low because of the weak attractive forces.

Ethanol is polar with the "alcohol" groups on the molecules, attracting strongly to each other. As the temperature rises, this attractive force is overcome by the extra kinetic energy; the molecules become more separated, and the viscosity goes down.

The water viscosity/temperature curve is even steeper than that of ethanol because the smaller water molecule has a strong polarity, thus a stronger intermolecular attraction.

So, how does red light warm the blood and decrease plasma viscosity? Let's look at Dr. Seheult's definition of red light - this is important - as I will explain momentarily.

"Red light is visible to the human eye, while near-infrared light is not. Red light has wavelengths between 620–700 nanometers (nm), while near-infrared light has wavelengths between 700–1,400 nm. Thus, the red light used in the study (and probably in most studies) was NOT JUST RED LIGHT!


In this figure, I indicate that red light can "excite" an electron to an elevated state of energy, but it can also create heat through vibrational excitation. Also, near-infrared light can probably create electron "excitation" in some molecules but mainly creates heat through vibrational excitation.

IMPORTANTLY - the light used in the study on mitochondrial viscosity in the MedCram video included near-infrared light anyway, and it is the TEMPERATURE effect, NOT the ELECTRONIC EFFECT on the molecules in plasma, that leads to the temperature increase and the reduction in viscosity - which means better blood flow.

Anybody who cooks food or works with any fluid at different temperatures, like changing your oil, understands this basic concept of temperature "thinning" the fluid and allowing it to flow more rapidly. If you live in cold climates, your car battery certainly understands this concept.

What is a good biomarker for the flow of blood cells through your whole blood. Why, nothing short of my favorite biomarker, the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate). In essence, this is a marker of "lost electrons" and "thick blood" and is highly connected to disease. When ESR is elevated, the red blood cells stack in a formation called rouleaux. These stacks are like an 18-wheeler, compared to an automobile when it comes to fluid movement.

Viscosity reduction will have a greater impact of the flow of the "coin-stacking" formation compared to the individual blood cells, just like increasing temperature has a greater impact on ethanol compared to gasoline. The "hydrogen bonding" between water molecules and ethanol molecules more reflects the "rouleaux" formation.

Here is an example as to how red/near infrared therapy can help with disease. Of course, it is best to get your a.... outside, especially if you are unhealthy.

"Microcirculation plays a substantial role in regulating blood flows and exchanging substances (gases, nutrients, and waste) between blood samples and peripheral tissues. Impaired microcirculation commonly leads to organ failures or mortality [1].

There is a need for comprehensive research that offers an insight that intrinsic properties and flow characteristics of blood samples share with microcirculatory disorders such as hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes [2].

A previous study reported that the biophysical properties of blood samples (hematocrit (Hct), viscosity, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)) are strongly correlated with coronary heart disease [3]. Thereafter, the biophysical properties of the blood sample have been studied extensively for the effective monitoring of circulatory disorders [4,5,6,7,8,9].

Here is another one showing the relationship between ESR and plasma viscosity.

"The Westergren erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma viscosity were compared in 114 patients, and their correlations with total and differential plasma protein fractions were analyzed. There is a linear correlation between these two screening tests."

And another...

Plasma Viscosity

The ESR and plasma viscosity generally increase in parallel with each other.1

If red light / near-infrared light can lower plasma viscosity and ESR, this may stave off disease and early death while your integrative doctors get to the root of the "high plasma viscosity" issue and fix it.



Jonathan Otto's team has asked me to present on red light as a cancer therapy.

Let me state that I believe that interacting with red light is beneficial. I more firmly believe that interacting with full-spectrum light is much more beneficial—those who advocate for red light therapy reason that it "activates" cytochrome C oxidase. When high-energy light interacts with a molecule that can absorb the light - an electron is "excited" into a higher-energy state. However, a "hole" is left behind, and this gives the molecule that interacted with the light both:

Oxidizing capability occurs when the molecule grabs an electron from something else, such as a pathogen's structure.

Reducing capability - the electron can be used to "heal" tissue or return an oxidized version of a molecule back to the "ground state" or stable state of the molecule.

The Absorption spectrum of cytochrome C oxidase

Hmmm - cytochrome C oxidase does NOT absorb red light! It DOES absorb higher energy yellow/orange light! Oops!

Where do we get yellow and orange light? Sunlight!

"According to the mainstream theory, the root cause for mitochondrial ATP upregulation in response to irradiation of cells with red-to-near infrared (R-NIR) light is the absorption of R-NIR photons by cytochrome c oxidase (CCO). Here, I show that this theory is inadequate for explaining the experimental results obtained in low-level light therapy (LLLT)."

The author of this study states, "This means the currently accepted theory used to explain ATP upregulation by R-NIR light is based on data which cannot be considered as ascertained. If CCO is the principal absorber for the photons that eventually drive the ATP synthase, ATP upregulation must depend on the absorbance profile of CCO.

Thus, irradiation with 415 nm light [maximum absorbance of both reduced CCO (17) and reduced cytochrome c (22) at 415 nm] is expected to result in an ATP output that is superior to that induced by R-NIR light. This expectation receives justification from the currently accepted mechanism of LLLT, in which the absorption of photons by CCO is the precondition for an upregulation in ATP levels (14-16).

Lewis's comment: This is not to say red light therapy is not beneficial. It simply means that the presumed mechanism - involving CCO - is not a complete picture. It also points to broad-spectrum light being the most advantageous.


Light is the source of essentially all energy. We get the benefits of light energy through food, which results from photosynthesis. We can look upon food as concentrated light therapy.

When you go out into the sun, do you suddenly experience a 1600% increase in energy? Biologist Gary Brecka implied that on Joe Rogan. Watch this.


What is the truth?

Our modern industrialized society largely eschews sunlight. I have written quite a bit on this topic, most of which is published in blogs. This link brings you to most of my content.

An important concept is that of a chromophore. Here is a definition.

Electronic transitions occur when the substance interacts with visible (including red light - but also all other visible light wavelengths (colors)) AND ultraviolet light. For example, certain molecules in our skin interact with UV light to produce vitamin D.

Vibrational transitions occur when the substance interacts with infrared light. This is a lower-energy process compared to those that create electronic transitions. Vibrational transitions result in heat. Microwaves, which are LOWER ENERGY compared to infrared energy, cause rotation, similar to vibrations, resulting in heat.

How many different chromophore substances are there in our body? To quote Carl Sagan - billions and billions of different ones!


Here are examples of 2 different photodynamic substances used in cancer therapy. One is the well-known methylene blue, one is much lesser known - called sonnelux - developed by a team that included me and is quietly used around the globe.

The main peak for methylene blue is at 664 nm, which is red light.

The red light absorption in sonnelux is at 636 nm. See below. That means, when red light is used to "activate" methylene blue, it is of LOWER ENERGY compared to sonnelux. Remember, E (energy) = h (a constant) time the frequency.

The smaller the wavelength number, the higher the frequency - thus, the higher the energy. However, if orange light is used to activate methylene blue, the activated form has MORE ENERGY compared to sonnelux, and could be a better anti-cancer agent.

Confusing? Maybe - but if you listen to me teach on electromotive potential, you will fully understand this concept.

I treat myself with both molecules, and I DO NOT USE RED LIGHT. I use high-intensity, full-spectrum light equivalent to what the sun puts out. Thus, when I take methylene blue sublingually, I get the form activated at 664 AND 613nm, with the 613nm form being the most energetic.

Here are some references on sonnelux anti-cancer treatment.


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