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Vitamin B12 and Red Light Therapy as Allies Against Oxidative Stress

Many treatments work great by themselves to bring about beneficial changes, but they work better in combination with other treatments. Vitamin B12 and red light therapy are two treatments that fight oxidative stress in their own way, for example, but are especially powerful as a team.

Understanding Oxidative Stress

Atoms contain electrons. To stay stable, electrons like to be paired. Unpaired electrons search for other unpaired electrons. Sometimes, these unpaired electrons, known as free radicals, steal electrons from stable pairs. While this provides a temporary fix for the unpaired electron, it creates more free radicals. The process can cause a chain reaction of electrons moving from one pairing to another. This chain reaction can interfere with the way the body tissue functions.

Healthy cells produce oxidative stress as they function. Even exercise or eating certain foods can create free radicals and oxidative stress.

Antioxidants stabilize free radicals by supplying the unstable atoms with the needed electrons without becoming free radicals. Antioxidants also scavenge for free radicals to remove them entirely. The body usually produces enough antioxidants to keep free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), in balance. In some cases, though, the effects of free radicals overcome the body’s natural antioxidants. Healthcare professionals refer to this as oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress can cause a wide variety of health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease.

Oxidative stress can also affect the immune system. Antioxidants can modulate cytokine production and other growth factors, which are proteins that play a role in the cells’ healing, growth, survival, and repair of tissue cells. Growth factors also affect inflammation.

Cytokines are a particular type of growth factor. When released, cytokines tell the immune system to do its job. Free radicals can stimulate pro-inflammatory cytokines to increase oxidative stress.


Vitamin B12 & Its Antioxidant Properties

Vitamin B12 acts as an antioxidant in several ways:

  • Direct scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Indirect stimulation of free radical scavenging
  • Modulation of cytokine and growth factor production to offer protection from immune response-induced oxidative stress


Evidence for Vitamin B12 and Oxidative Stress Reduction

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and several other serious conditions is neurodegeneration, which is the slow and progressive loss of neural cells in certain parts of the brain. Neurodegeneration can cause memory loss, moodiness, depression, anxiety, and agitation. Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe oxidative stress that results in memory problems and other signs of neurodegeneration.

Several studies support the benefits of using vitamin B12 to reduce oxidative stress. One study shows that vitamin B12 may be an effective intervention for a specific process associated with certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease, which are associated with oxidative stress.

Still, other research suggests vitamin B12 can ease myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, a two-stage condition that affects the heart. First, myocardial ischemia is characterized by a lack of blood flow from the coronary arteries to the heart, and the loss of oxygen and nutrients in that blood flow damages the cells and tissues of the heart. Next, the sudden restoration of blood flow (reperfusion) can further damage the heart cells and tissues.

Ultimately, myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury causes inflammation. The research shows that vitamin B12 alleviates myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the condition.


Red Light Therapy as a Potential Adjunct for Oxidative Stress Treatment

Red light therapy is a potential adjunct, or complementary treatment, to vitamin B12 therapy. Because it uses light rather than drugs or surgery, red light therapy causes no side effects that would interfere with the effects of vitamin B12. Together, red light therapy and vitamin B12 therapy can provide an oxidative stress treatment that optimizes your overall health and improves your quality of life.

Also known as photobiomodulation (PBMT), red light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to trigger changes in treated body cells. This light penetrates the surface of the skin to reach the cells below. Once there, the light stimulates the activity of the cells’ mitochondria, known as the powerhouse of cells.

For more information about treating oxidative stress, consult with your TheraLight provider. Many healthcare providers and patients are discovering the advantages of optimizing health with vitamin B12 and red right therapy for oxidative stress treatment.

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