How does RLT help?
Currently, red/NIR light seems to offer the most cardioprotection from ischemia-reperfusion injury, which is a real concern, as it can induce further cardiomyocyte (heart muscle) death and contribute to adverse cardiovascular outcomes after myocardial ischemia, cardiac surgery, or circulatory arrest.
Red/NIR light may have a therapeutic role in reducing inflammation, assisting in the recovery of and reducing further damage to the heart after a heart attack or heart failure.
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A persistent myocardial blood reduction may result in myocardial infarction (MI). The ischemic myocardium has irreversible injury, which generates cardiac remodeling to maintain blood supply. Unfortunately, this adaptive process is limited and cardiac function, heart failure & sudden death.
The cardiac remodeling after MI is a complex condition, and different therapies can prevent or prolong the development of heart failure. Current therapies are marked by modest results in survival and potential adverse effects.
So far there have only been animal studies on red light therapy's effect on heart health and heart repair after cardiac events and post-surgery.
However, the research that is available consistently demonstrates that red light therapy (RLT) is effective at reducing inflammation wherever mitochondria are present, which is EVERYWHERE! Not surprisingly, mitochondria are most dense in area where the most energy is required, such as the brain, heart & muscles.
Studies have reported a significant reduction in mitochondrial injury and increased ATP (energy) in the infarcted area of the heart. Thus, these findings are suggestive that RLT can reduce myocardial injury by increasing energy supply.
What does the research show?
"The results of our study indicate an important systemic immunomodulatory effect of LLLT... There was a systemic 61.3 % reduction in IL-6 levels (measurement of inflammation).” (1)
"Infarcted rats showed less myocardial necrosis with phototherapy." (2)
"Considering the importance of inflammatory activation and its systemic and local impact on skeletal muscles in HF, a safe, simple and inexpensive strategy such as LLLT could be used as a new non-pharmacological form of treatment for the pro-inflammatory state in HF (heart failure) syndrome." (3)
"Considering the data presented herein and the current state of knowledge regarding the anti-inflammatory efficacy of LLLT, we conclude that LLLT may exert beneficial effects to the myocardium after MI (myocardial infarction)." (4)
**While the current scientific research seems to indicate many positive benefits of RLT in relation to heart health, there is still an appreciable necessity for more extensive research to be conducted in this area, including double-blind RCT (randomized controlled trials), to provide a more comprehensive, robust overview that will further elucidate the optimal parameters and appropriate uses of RLT, which will ultimately lead the most safe and efficacious uses for individuals dealing with heart disorders.