Information on quantum and circadian biology to help you improve your health.

Mitochondrial Melatonin Production

melatonin mitochondria nir May 25, 2022
A warm orange and pink-ish sunset over a body of water, where a crop of trees with no leaves sit in the middle.

Here's yet another reason why being in nature is beneficial for health.

Near-infrared radiation (NIR) has many health benefits, but the one I want to highlight today is the production of melatonin inside our mitochondria. 

In response to NIR, the 4th step of the mitochondrial ETC makes melatonin (and water!). This melatonin acts as a free radical scavenger, meaning that all the natural metabolic free radicals, along with those induced by things like nnEMFs, can get cleared from the cell throughout the day in order to prevent excessive damage.

It's akin to tidying your house all day long versus waiting until the end of the day to clean it all.

This keeps mitochondrial/cellular processes optimized.

Mitochondrial melatonin (also called subcellular or extrapineal melatonin) makes up 95% of the melatonin our body makes daily.

So where do we get NIR from?

Sunlight always contains NIR (at least 40% of its wavelengths). Red light therapy panels typically contain 1 or 2 wavelengths of NIR as well.

But what I found most interesting in reading a groundbreaking study by Zimmerman and Reiter was that leaves from trees and other greenery actually reflect a massive amount of NIR, meaning we do not have to be in direct sunlight to receive the NIR/melatonin benefits of near-infrared radiation as long as we are in nature or a green space. 

I must also highlight that most people in the modern world spend over 93% of their time indoors, and indoor environments are extremely lacking in NIR, especially since eliminating incandescent bulbs and placing infrared-blocking films on window glass.

Instead, ideally, we should be going outside with skin exposed to the sun or have exposed skin while sitting in a green space in order to support mitochondrial melatonin production and get its many benefits.

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Carrie B. Wellness

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