Biophotons & DMT

As we touched upon in a prior pieced titled, DMT “Hallucinations” or Expansion of the Spectrum… the electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of the range of all known frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. This spectrum is comprised of low frequency (long wavelength) radio waves all the way up to the highest measurable frequencies (short wavelengths) known as gamma rays (rays not waves). A photon is the “quantum” of the electromagnetic field… meaning that it is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction.

​The “visible spectrum” is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is discernible to the naked human eye. This has been classified as “visible light” and has been generally determined to fall between 390 nm and 700 nm. Biophotons are photons of light in the ultraviolet and low visible light range that are produced by a biological system. This low level of light has a much weaker intensity than the visible light produced by bioluminescence, but biophotons are detectable above the background of thermal radiation that is emitted by tissues at their normal temperature.

While the discussion of biophotons as they pertain to human physiology has remained obscure in terms of mainstream scientific discussions, it’s interesting to note that the first observation of biophotons took place nearly 100 years ago in 1923. Professor Alexander G. Gurvich was the first person to observe ultra-weak biological photon emissions initially calling them mitogenetic radiation. Additional researchers would go on to confirm and elaborate upon Gurvich’s findings in the 1970’s in terms of biophoton emmission from human tissues as well as develop postulations to their functional role.

​Traditional biologists have generally been trained to understand the human body from the perspective of genetics, chemicals, enzymes, and ionic parameters. These components of the body are all measurable utilizing specifically developed equipment and over the course of many decades, the scientific community has continued to amass information regarding these sub-fields. While the field of biophoton research is not as well-funded or promoted as say… the field of genetic research, it is nonetheless an aspect of human physiology that could offer important insight into the complex machinery known as “the body”.

It is our perspective that in order to develop some sort of framework with which to observe a specific component of the human body (in this case biophotons) we should observe how it interacts during a wide variation of internal and external environmental changes.


1995 study published in the journal Urological Research would observe the effects of transplanted bladder cancer in “nude” mice (mice with inhibited immune systems) in terms of biophoton emission. The biophoton emission pattern was captured from the right foot, abdomen, tail, and the left foot (where the tumor was located). In comparison to the right foot, the left foot (cancerous) photon count rate was 1.51 to 4.73 times greater.

1998 study published in the journal Cancer Letters would observe the biophoton emission rate from a human cancer cell line in vitro. The researchers would monitor the cancer cell biophoton emission intensity rate for 93 hours. It was observed that as the cancer cell population proliferated, a similar increase in biophoton emission intensity (especially in the 530nm range) occurred.

1999 study in the journal Methods in Enzymology observed increased biophoton emission from older populations compared to younger volunteers appearing to coincide with increased oxidative status of the skin of the elderly.

2004 study published in the journal Cancer Science would study 3 different cancer cell lines (2 human, 1 rodent) implanted into mice regarding their biophoton emission intensities. It was observed that there was a measurable correlation between tumor growth and the intensity of biophoton emission from the tumors.

2015 study in the journal Biomedical Optics Express measured the differences in the biophoton emission of the hands of healthy volunteers versus volunteers with a cold. It was observed that there were significantly greater emissions from the hands of volunteers with colds alluding to the potentiality to utilize biophoton measurements as a diagnostic tool in the future.


In 2017, the journal Scientific Reports would publish a study regarding the biophoton emission fluctuations in 4 different cancer cell lines exposed to 2 stressors: changes in cell culture medium and increased exposure to pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α). The researchers would observe that both stressors induced increases in biophoton emission with changes in magnitude according to specific cell line. It was also observed that exposure to the simultaneous combination of changes in cell culture medium as well as TNF-α potentially initiated adaptive protective mechanisms to suppress biophoton emission.

2018 study in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports would observe the differences in wave-length specific biophoton emissions regarding cancerous versus non-cancerous cells. It was found that biophoton emissions in the ultraviolet wavelength correlated with cancerous cells while emissions in the infrared wavelength correlated with non-cancerous cells.

​While the majority of these biophoton studies are in vitro rather than in vivo, the results appear to indicate a consistency with biophoton emission in the ultraviolet wavelength coinciding with cancer cells. As the properties of cancer/colds are largely deemed negative to the body, let us take a look at the observed changes in biophoton emission based on meditative states which are generally considered as beneficial.

2005 study published in the German-based journal Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkunde would analyze biophoton emission from 5 subjects prior to, during, and following meditation. The measurements would take place at the forehead and hands of each subjects. The results found that a suppression of biophoton emission would take place following meditation.

(Figure 1. from the above study, subject 1 (no regular meditative practice))

2006 study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine would observe the differences in biophoton emission between 10 male long-term transcendental meditation™ practitioners (10 years+) versus 10 male subjects without meditation experience. The study would measure spontaneous emission including 12 anatomical locations of anterior torso, head, and hands. The average photon emission in the TM group was 35% lower than the control group.

These observations of suppressed biophoton emission due to meditative practices is not entirely surprising. Since cancerous growths are classically characterized as coinciding with increased metabolic rates, it seems logical that meditative practices that promote the opposite activity in the body via slowing down one’s metabolic rate coincide with suppressed systemic biophoton emission.

An interesting facet to note is that there potentially seems to be an inverse relationship between melatonin production and biophoton emission in the UV wavelength. A 2005 study in Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkunde  observed the diurnal rhythm of biophoton emission from 29 different anatomical sites in 4 subjects. It was observed that biophoton emission generally increased at all sites for each subject as the day progressed peaking in the later afternoon. A 2009 study in the Public Library of Science would also observe the same diurnal rhythm of biophoton emissions. Virtually every mammalian based melatonin/circadian rhythm study has observed melatonin levels at their lowest in the late afternoon. There are also a handful of studies observing the increase of melatonin production based on altering one’s brain activity (amplifying slow wave) via meditative practices (123). A 2014 review in the Journal of Medicine of Life cited numerous studies observing a deficiency of systemic melatonin levels appearing to coincide with cancer growth/formation.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any 24-hour circadian based measurements that observe any fluctuations in biophoton emissions during the various sleep stages including REM. This would be important information to study as REM sleep is distinctly different than the other sleep stages when it comes to many changes in physiology including but not limited to EEG activity, respiration rhythm/speed, cerebrospinal fluid production, cerebral blood flow, and much more.

The reason why measuring cerebral biophoton emission during the REM sleep state is important is due to the potential capturing of a specific biophoton wavelength that coincides with the dream state and potentially DMT synthesis/activation. If the proper experiments are derived in which a specific wavelength(s) of biophotons are observed to specifically coincide with gamma wave activity and the subsequent experience, it could offer a non-invasive way to measure endogenous DMT activity/synthesis in the body.

As we’ve touched upon regularly at DMT Quest, during REM sleep there appears to be a link between increases in respiration rateelevated cerebral glutamate levelslinear increases in hydroxyl radical formation, and significantly suppressed monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity which has the potentiality to coincide with elevated levels of endogenous DMT coinciding with the dream state.

In regards to glutamate and biophotons… a 2014 study published in the Public Library of Science would observe significant increases in biophotonic activity in rat brain slices via glutamate exposure in vitro. The researchers suggest that “biophotonic transmission along the axons and neural circuits may be a new mechanism for the processing of neural information”. A 2016 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences would also observe increases in biophotonic activity via glutamate exposure in vitro. This study would include brain slices from numerous animals including bullfrogs, mice, chickens, pigs, monkeys, and humans.

It’s difficult to derive much information from these chemically isolated in vitro studies as the first-hand experiential reports coinciding with brain activity measurement is lacking compared to an in vivo study of mammalian brains specifically during REM sleep. While it seems clear that glutamate induces a biophotonic emanation effect, the threshold levels and fluctuations that coincide with altered states of consciousness need much future work to decipher.

Signaling & Autonomic Function
1993 study in the journal Experientia (now named Cellular & Molecular Sciences) measured changes in cellular neurotransmitter release coinciding with biophoton emission exposure. The researchers would shield cells from biophotons of other cells utilizing transparent and non-transparent shielding. It was observed that only the transparent shielding coincided with increases in protein excretion alluding to the signaling potential of cell-to-cell biophoton emission.

2005 review in Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkunde would cite 2 studies in which conscious intent was utilized in an attempt to effect the amount of biophoton emission from the subject’s hand. While these were studies with small sample sizes (4 and 8) it was noted that that one 50 year old qigong practitioner was effectively able to increase his biophoton emanation at will and decrease it during relaxation. Not all subjects had the same ability to effect this process to the same degree.

This leads us to postulate that the conscious control of biophoton emission from a person’s hands might be intimately intertwined with the person’s ability to consciously influence their autonomic nervous system signaling. This is based on what appears to be similar EEG activity from methods that induced altered states of consciousness such as hypnosismeditationWim Hof Method that have been found to enhance conscious influence of the autonomic nervous system… potentially overlapping with the mechanisms of Qigong.

2002 study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine would test the effects of a Qigong practitioner emanating their “bioenergy” towards cultured human lymphoid Jurkat T cells. The practitioner would emanate their “bioenergy” towards the tubes of cells for one 15 minute period. It was observed that intracellular calcium levels increased by 22% as well as downregulating the cellular response to stress compared to cells not exposed to the “bioenergy”.

In 1992, a study in the journal Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research was published regarding the bio-magnetic field strength from the hands of Qi-gong practitioners. The results were as follows: “Only 3 subjects of 37 exhibited strong bio-magnetic field of 2 to 4 mGauss in frequency range of 4 to 10 Hz. This magnetic field strength was greater than that of normal human bio-magnetism by 1,000 times at least.”

Perhaps this “bioenergy” from the 2002 study and the increased bio-magnetic field strength from the 1992 study coincide with biophotonic emanation of a specific wavelength or set of wavelengths that create the subsequent effects?

Cases of “healers” emanating “energy” from their hands via willful intent have been claimed amongst many cultures spanning the globe for thousands of years. This ability has largely been met with a high degree of skepticism amongst western civilization… I suspect mainly because of the lack of exposure to information pertaining to the electrical body. As we’ve incessantly interjected at DMT Quest, we believe Dr. Robert O. Becker’s work in this field in the 1960’s & 70’s provides an important framework with which to perceive this type of occurrences. His research outlines the measurably altered electrical capacity throughout mammalian and amphibian physiology coinciding with measurable changes in brain activity (consciousness if you will). His work is summarized well in the 2 books he authored titled, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life and Cross Currents: The Perils of Electropollution, the Promise of Electromedicine.

When analyzing the general field of biophoton research, there appears to several intriguing factors regarding this “layer” of the body:

  1. Biophotons are measurable via non-invasive methods utilizing camera equipment
  2. Biophotons have the ability to act as communicative particles in cellular and potentially systemic communication
  3. Biophotons have the potentiality to extend past the surface of the skin
  4. Specific biophoton wavelengths have the potential to coincide with specific biochemical activity

Future Experiments

  1. A straight-forward study administering low, mid, & high-dose levels of N,N-DMT, 5-MEO-DMT, or Bufotenin while measuring the entire spectrum of systemic biophoton emissions. This would offer some data into specific wavelength and intensity emanation coinciding with “hallucinatory” experiences alongside the EEG data of these experiences. Ayahuasca or psilocybin could be utilized for a study in observing longer lasting psychedelic experiences.
  2. Measure the biophoton emission spectrum coinciding with stages 1, 2, 3, 4 sleep as well as REM. This would offer some insight as to the biophoton emission frequencies coinciding with dreams and the potentiality of comparing the data with exogenous DMT results.
  3. Expose different types of cells (in vitro) and organisms (in vivo) to different externally produced biophoton wavelengths and measuring any changes in cellular function and biochemical release from the exposure. Example: A 2012 study in the journal Athletic Training observed increased melatonin levels from exposing athletes to “red light treatment” with an average wavelength of 658 nm.
  4. Screen for a select group of individuals (20 or so) who have showcased a high degree of control over their autonomic nervous system via meditative techniques. Provide a short, succinct training program for them to learn how to increase or decrease their biophoton emission from their hands based on conscious control. Measure the specific wavelengths emitted by these subjects and compare it to the wavelengths emitted by non-trained, non-meditators under stress. This might afford some insight as to the biophoton wavelengths emitted from a human’s hands that coincide with “healing” potentials compared to “non-healing” potentials. Additional experiments altering the intent from “healing” to “harmful” also might afford some insights as to biophotonic wavelength changes coinciding with intent.
  5. Measure cerebral and systemic biophoton emission during transcendental experiences such as “Out of Body Experiences” (OBE’s) and “Death Bed Visions” (DBV’s). This would offer a necessary layer of insight as to whether biophotons can provide a gateway towards understanding extensions of consciousness taking place outside of the physical body.

The general field of biophoton research seems to have much potential as an adjunct to the chemical perspective to the body. However, there do seem to be some challenges to understanding the interactions between these biophotons and biochemical reactions within the body based on the speed of the reactions, the number of biophotonic wavelengths, and the complex matrix of biochemical release. Additional challenges are the ability to capture biophoton emission in real-time, real-life settings as laboratory requirements alter the environment which alter the brain activity which appear to measurably alter biophoton and biochemical release. Some researchers claim that biophoton emission is merely a byproduct of biochemical reactions and oxidative stress while others believe biophotons play a primary role in communicative signaling.

2011 study in the journal Developmental Dynamics which took place at Tufts University reported the occurrence of bioelectrical signals as being necessary for normal head and facial formation. Patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlined where the eyes, nose, mouth, and other features later appeared in an embryonic tadpole.

While the focus of this study was regarding cell membrane voltage and pH differences that coincided with tissue variability required for craniofacial morphogenesis… it would seem highly valuable to repeat this study while focusing on biophoton emission that coincides with this phenomena. I would presume that in order to measure the driving catalyst(s) (biophotons vs. cellular pH/voltage changes) for this facial morphogenesis the researchers would need to be able to measure which occurrence takes place first… biophoton release synchronously coinciding with changes in pH/cell voltage & the enzyme/chemical cascade that follows or biophoton release following the changes in pH/cell voltage & enzyme/chemical reaction. This would seem to be an inherently difficult experiment to carry out but a definitively important one nonetheless.

We find it exceedingly interesting that the human perception of the world is based on the visual spectrum between the 390nm to 700nm range and that it appears as though human’s have the innate ability to produce biophotons within this same spectrum (and more). A 2010 write-up in the journal BioSystems hypothesized that biophotonic emanation and communication takes place in the brain during REM sleep coinciding with the visual imagery. This adds more questions to the mix as we further probe the notion of consensus reality coinciding with visual spectrum perception as being externally derived or… internally generated?

Speculations indeed.

Additional Notes:
In 2014, a study published in Biochemical Pharmacology observed the biosynthesis of DMT in a melanoma (skin cancer) cell line. A 2016 write-up in the journal Neural Regeneration Research cited the role of DMT and the sigma-1 receptor in terms of cellular survival in hypoxia (increased levels of ROS) and resistance against oxidative stress. A 2005 study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs would publish results regarding the analyzation of leaves from the Psychotria Viridis tree (the DMT containing plant for Ayahuasca). The author would speculate that DMT fluctuations occurred based on protective properties from solar radiation or DMT’s facilitatory role in the absorption of solar radiation. It was noted that the greatest amount of UV absorbance by DMT would take place between 280 and 315 nm. It appears as though there is the potentiality that certain UV biophotonic emissions coinciding with increased oxidative stress inducing cellular DMT synthesis in an attempt to alleviate this elevated stress.

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DMT Quest is a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to raising awareness and funds for endogenous DMT Research. This specific field of psychedelic research has been underfunded for many decades now. It’s time to take our understanding of human physiology, abilities, and perception to the next level. You can also follow us at FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.