Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is present in every cell of the body, and is important to maintain in a healthy balance. Mitochondria are organelles in our cells that are responsible for producing energy in the form of ATP. They are often referred to as the “powerhouses” of the cell. It’s not often talked about but, while the cholesterol content in mitochondria is low compared to other cell membranes, it is still important and it is the precursor for the production of steroid hormones, neurosteroids, and bile acids.
CHOLESTEROL AND MITOCHONDRIA
The key concept to understand is that the accumulation of cholesterol in mitochondria has a negative impact on mitochondrial function. It does this by limiting crucial antioxidant defenses, and increasing the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS)
Understanding the terms is not important. What is important is understanding that the consequence of increased cholesterol in the mitochondria is increased oxidative stress and cell death. It is a contributor that ultimately leads to the development of diverse diseases, including metabolic liver diseases, as well as lysosomal disorders and neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease).
Any therapy that can boost mitochondrial antioxidants is very promising for the treatment of diseases that share mitochondrial cholesterol imbalance as a common hallmark.
It would appear that Photobiomodulation can do this.
Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a non-invasive therapy that uses light in the form of low-level lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to stimulate cellular functions. PBM has been shown to improve mitochondrial health in a number of ways.
Specifically, when it comes to cholesterol and mitochondria, PBM has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the mitochondria. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body’s ability to neutralize them. PBM has been shown to reduce ROS levels, protecting the mitochondria from oxidative stress.
To further show how PBM can help, a randomized, controlled study looked directly at the influence PBM had to lower cholesterol and triglyceride serum levels in intensive care unit patients.
The sessions were done for 55 minutes, twice weekly for two successive weeks with 3 days between sessions. A standard lipid panel was studied before the procedure to establish a baseline and at the end of the second week. The results showed a statistically significant change in total cholesterol and serum triglycerides.
Here is what we know
- High cholesterol in your mitochondria predisposes you to disease by limiting anti-oxidant defences.
- Anti-oxidant therapies are proving to be promising when combating this issue.
- Photobiomodulation works by reducing anti-oxidant stress in the mitochondria and by lowering cholesterol.
This all suggests that if you undergo PBM it will lower cholesterol and increase your anti-oxidant protection. In turn, this should allow for healthy mitochondria and a robust energy producing system where you feel healthy and energetic.
DAILY PBM APPLICATION
There are several ways to apply PBM and with a little research, you will determine what is best for you. Here are some suggestions.
Proper mitochondrial function is critical when it comes to metabolic health and lower cholesterol. We need our “energy factories” to be functioning as close to 100% as possible and it is clear that cholesterol impedes this. The novel and simple treatment called photobiomodulation can help in multiple ways with our metabolic health and is something that needs to continue to be explored in the future.
We care deeply about your metabolic health here at Lifestyle Integration.
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Goicoechea L, Conde de la Rosa L, Torres S, García-Ruiz C, Fernández-Checa JC. Mitochondrial cholesterol: Metabolism and impact on redox biology and disease. Redox Biol. 2023 May;61:102643. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2023.102643. Epub 2023 Feb 24. PMID: 36857930; PMCID: PMC9989693.
Chung H, et al. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012;40(2):516-33.
Keszler A, et al. Photobiomodulation-induced changes in mitochondrial dynamics and cell metabolism. Biomed Eng Online. 2020;19(1):15.
Paolillo FR, Campos TYTB, Alvarez C, Sene-Fiorese M, Bagnato VS, de Oliveira Duarte ACG, Parizotto NA. Synergic effects of ultrasound and laser therapies on mesentery for management of obesity and diabetes in rats. J Biophotonics. 2021 Nov;14(11):e202100109. doi: 10.1002/jbio.202100109. Epub 2021 Aug 13. PMID: 34363327.
Rushdi, Tarek. (2010). Effect of low-level laser therapy on cholesterol and triglyceride serum levels in ICU patients: A controlled, randomized study. EJCTA. 4.