In the last blog post, I told you about an excellent article called How and why does photobiomodulation change brain activity.
An ardent reader would know that I tend to wax lyrical about the way that red and near infrared light works directly and indirectly on the cell batteries, the mitochondria. The mitochondria contain special proteins that are able to respond to the light pulse. Some of these proteins are quite famous, like cytochrome c oxidase, which has been well studied and probably has its own fan club.
But guess what. Even if there is no cytochrome c oxidase present, mitochondria still respond to light.
Obviously there is something else in the mitochondria that has the capacity to recognise and react when a pulse of red and near infrared light appears.
Crazy though it may sound, it is water.
Water is quite a creative molecule. It seems that when tiny amounts of water are squished into microscopically small spaces, the compressed water becomes more gloopy or viscous. When red or near infrared light lands on the compressed water it makes the water less gloopy. This change in viscosity – plus the extra volume that the more runny water needs – set off chemical reactions that lead to the mitochondria generating more energy.
That water molecules react to light has been known for a few years, and I put a link to the original and very elegant article way back when I first started writing this blog. I hadn’t realised, though, that plain old every-day water can itself be the mechanism by which mitochondrial batteries can recharge.
Water and light are pretty fundamental things. They were both around long before life started on earth.
Makes you think, doesn’t it!