The Role of Mitochondria

Mitochondria are self-contained organelles with their own DNA that live inside cells. Their primary function is to create the energy which cells need to function, called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. They are often called the power plant of the cell. But mitochondria are also essential to regulating the entire lifecycle of cells, and play a crucial role in everything from cell differentiation, to repair, to apoptosis (controlled, safe cell death).

ATP is produced through a process called the electron transport chain. Inside a mitochondrion is a convoluted inner membrane, with a different polar charge on either side. Electrons are passed back and forth across the membrane, and in the last stage, are gathered by the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, which then creates water and ATP.

A byproduct of the ATP process are oxygen-loaded molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). These volatile molecules are a two-edged sword. In low amounts, they have important roles in cell signaling (communication between cells) and maintaining homeostasis. However, when ROS is too high, it can lead to problems such as damaging DNA, extensive cell damage and cell death; ROS is also linked to aging.

When exposed to light energy at the 670nm and 830nm wavelengths, mitochondria are able to absorb the photonic energy and use it as part of its ATP production process. With such an important role to the life and death of cells, mitochondria must remain in perfect balance and healthy to keep an organism alive and well. When an imbalance occurs, or mitochondria are severely damaged, it can lead to a remarkably large number of disorders or degenerative diseases.

This website is intended for healthcare professionals and clinical researchers only. All of the treatments using LED phototherapy devices that are discussed on this website are in various stages of investigation and have not been approved by the FDA except where specifically stated.

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