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The Girlfriend Doctor w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dec 9, 2021

Red light therapy is the energy hack we need to support our mitochondria and re-energize our bodies. Ari Whitten goes into the science of the Energy Blueprint system and breaks down the myths around adrenal fatigue. Learn how we can repair our cells, increase our energy, and reduce inflammation with light therapy and by working with our body’s natural hormonal and circadian rhythms.

  • [0:50] Ari Whitten has done his PhD work on energy, is the host of the Energy Blueprint Podcast, and the author of the Energy Blueprint System. He’s on the cutting edge of science when it comes to energy.
  • [2:40] Health science has been Ari’s passion since the age of 12 when he was into fitness and exercise, but he differed from traditional bodybuilders in their pursuit of muscle mass at any cost.
  • [6:15] Ari was always fit and healthy until his early 20’s when he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Virus and was floored for over a year with chronic fatigue. That experience became the seed of his fascination with the body’s energy systems, how they work, and how to optimize them.
  • [8:50] He got so deep into natural and alternative medicine in his effort to treat his adrenal fatigue, that he became very frustrated with traditional medicine’s treatment of the condition. He started his research into the condition and found that there were almost no studies on adrenal fatigue in existence.
  • [10:20] Chronic fatigue syndrome is the wastebasket diagnosis of the conventional medical world. The condition of adrenal fatigue is relatively unknown and unexplored and a catchall term for when the root issue is unknown.
  • [11:25] Ari spent a year researching the topic and found a number of adjacent conditions. He was hoping to find a connection between cortisol and fatigue, but the evidence was pointing in the opposite direction. This put Ari on a quest to understand what is really going on within the energy systems of the body and the proper way to optimize them.
  • [13:55] It turns out that most people’s fatigue has nothing to do with their adrenal glands. Other factors play a much bigger part. Simply being a night owl can result in dramatically different cortisol rhythms throughout the day.
  • [18:15] Medications can cause HPA axis dysfunction, as well mood states like depression and anxiety, being overweight and sedentary, and more. When it comes to the adrenal glands, it’s an issue of light.
  • [19:30] Most people believe they are night owls, but a study done in the journal Nature revealed that simply being in a more natural environment will reset a person’s biological clock. Light and our hormonal rhythms have much more to do with fatigue than most people realize.
  • [22:20] Ari’s paradigm on energy levels involves the mitochondria and the brain. We’re taught that mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, but we’re finding that they are the most sensitive organs in our body when something isn’t right.
  • [25:15] The research of Dr. Robert Naviaux has shown that the mitochondria have two modes depending on the cell danger response. The modes are mutually exclusive, and when the cell shifts into a more defensive mode it shuts down energy production.
  • [26:50] Mitochondria can detect a number of physical and biological signals that are risks to the cell. They will react to elevated stressors in the body and issue orders to the nucleus of the cell to reduce energy production and shift to other more defensive processes.
  • [29:30] Any source of stress in the environment can shift mitochondria out of energy production mode, and light deficiency or toxicity can have the same effect. Most people are suffering from both.
  • [33:20] Light isn’t just one thing. Like nutrition, we need many different parts of the spectrum of light for our bodies to function optimally. Your circadian clock is directly impacted by light photons hitting your eyes and different kinds of light can have both positive and negative effects.
  • [36:40] There is both light deficiency and toxicity. Most people are deficient in blue light during the day when they need it, and overexposed to blue light at night. The differential and timing has a direct impact on your circadian clock, and most people are suffering from both too much and too little blue light.
  • [39:15] UV light from the sun is responsible for the creation of Vitamin D in the body which is related to many different hormonal processes. If we are insufficient in Vitamin D, it prevents a number of other processes from functioning properly.
  • [41:20] Sun exposure increases nitric oxide. Sun exposure has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease in rats even in the absence of vitamin D.
  • [43:10] You can’t replace the benefits of sunlight exposure with a Vitamin D supplement.
  • [44:00] Red and near-infrared light play important roles that differ from other light nutrients. Red and near-infrared light penetrate the skin and interact with cells at the cellular level. When this happens, it stimulates the mitochondria to produce more energy.
  • [47:40] Red and near-infrared light is a critical nutrient for the mitochondria. When a cell is under too much stress, nitric oxide can end up in the wrong place and red light can correct the issue.
  • [48:35] Hormesis is the concept that transient metabolic stress leads to beneficial adaptations at the cellular level. Exercise is a good example of cellular metabolic stress that results in temporary stresses that result in long-term positive benefits.
  • [52:05] Your body interacts with your environment. Things like exercise create a cytokine cascade that builds resilience in your body and makes your immune system stronger. The human body needs those kinds of stressors to express normal health. Without them, your cells become weak and prone to damage.
  • [54:40] Red and near-infrared light switch genes on and off, particularly genes responsible for expression of inflammation and genes responsible for tissue growth and regeneration. Red and near-infrared light are fundamentally stimulating the cells to produce more energy, reduce inflammation, building more resilience, and increasing growth factors to support better healing and regeneration.
  • [56:40] Pairing infrared light with exercise can amplify the effects. It can be used in a preconditioning capacity, or after exercise to decrease soreness and enhance the adaptations.
  • [1:00:00] Another study showed a close relationship between red light therapy and fat loss as well as insulin resistance. Red light positively impacted both measurements with as little as 15 minutes of red light exposure.
  • [1:02:30] There is evidence of a systemic impact, but in the case of exercise the optimal use of red light is to expose the muscles being exercised. The optimal distance is between 8 to 16 inches from the skin.



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