Red and near-infrared light impacts athletic performance because it spurs the production of two universal drivers of health and performance - cellular energy & collagen.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the “cellular energy” that powers our bodies, and is produced within the "power plants" of the cells known as mitochondria.
Scientists have determined these mitochondria “power plants” are in fact dual power plants, capable of using both chemical energy (glucose) and light energy to produce ATP. Specifically, scientists have observed that during the Electron Transport Chain (the chemical chain of events that creates ATP), the 4th and last step of the chain generates additional ATP when exposed to light energy (especially in the form of red an near-infrared light). As one can imagine, this “light energized” ATP provides additional energy to the body for optimal performance.
Separately, red and near-infrared wavelengths of light break the bond between nitric oxide and cytochrome c oxidase (COX), which increases blood oxygenation. More ATP and increased blood oxygenation result in better physical performance and faster recovery from pain and discomforts related to heavy exercise.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, comprising almost 30% of whole-body protein. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity of muscles, ligaments and skin, and the healthy lubrication of joints. Red and near-infrared light increases the production of collagen, which serves the health of tissues, joints, muscles and bones that are essential for better performance.
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