In recent years, the term “gut-brain connection" has been coined as a way to describe how your gut microbiome impacts the other areas of your health, including your mental well-being.
It has become increasingly clear that there is a very important link between your gut health and the way you think, feel and function.
In this article you'll see the groundbreaking science of how red light therapy can be used as a tool to improve digestive health.
What is the digestive tract?
The digestive system plays a pivotal role in breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste, ensuring that our bodies function efficiently.
However, modern lifestyles and dietary choices can disrupt the delicate balance of our digestive systems, leading to discomfort, low energy levels, and a weakened immune system.
The key functions of the digestive system include:
• Ingestion: The process of taking in food and fluids.
• Digestion: The breakdown of food into smaller, absorbable components.
• Absorption: The uptake of nutrients and water into the bloodstream.
• Elimination: The removal of waste and undigested materials from the body.
The digestive process is finely tuned by various factors, such as the balance of gut bacteria, hormone regulation, and the function of the gastrointestinal tract's muscular walls.
When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to a range of digestive issues, including indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and more.
Red Light Therapy - a little recap
We already know that red light therapy is a holistic, non-invasive therapy, that can be used for a multitude of functions to improve our daily lives.
This is primarily achieved through the stimulation of ATP production in the cells, leading to more energy available for the body to function more efficiently and effectively.
This leads to a variety of benefits, for example: improved cellular turnover, reduced inflammation, improved muscular recovery and athletic performance, reduced fine lines in skin and acne scarring (to name a few).
Red Light Therapy and Digestive Health
So, how can it be used to improve our digestive health?
Reducing inflammation: bloating, gas and indigestion have been linked to inflammation and slow digestion. With red light exposure, reducing the overall inflammation in the body, will enhance digestion and reduce discomfort.
Gut motility – this refers to the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the gut, which is vital for nutrient absorption and digestion. Red light therapy can stimulate the functioning of the smooth muscles, reducing the chance of constipation.
Supporting gut microbiome – a diverse and healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and well-being. Red light therapy has been investigated for contributing to bacterial maintenance in the digestive system.
Enhanced nutrient absorption – by boosting cellular energy product, red light therapy can improve nutrient absorption in the digestive system. This can be extremely beneficial for those with nutrient deficiencies and malabsorption.
In a landmark study titled, “Can Light, Including Photobiomodulation, Alter the Microbiome?”, researchers did a review of the research on light's affect on the gut microbiome.
What the researchers found was that not all frequencies of light provided benefits. They found that near-infrared light, which penetrates much deeper than visible light, was able to have profound effects on the gut microbiome.
In fact, one study they covered saw a 10,000 fold increase in the ratio of healthy bacteria from using near-infrared light on the belly!
The researchers believe that the primary way that red light therapy is able to improve the gut microbiome is by decreasing inflammation in your cells, which means that they can function better and create a healthier home for the bacteria in your gut.
For digestive health, we recommend targeting the abdominal area, as this is where the digestive organs are concentrated.
Digestive health is a crucial component of overall well-being, and maintaining a healthy digestive system is vital for a high quality of life.
Red light therapy, with its ability to enhance cellular function, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow, shows promise as a complementary treatment for digestive health issues.