🔑 Key Takeaways
- Light therapies can improve health and treat diseases by harnessing the power of different wavelengths or colors of light. Even just one to three minutes of exposure to red light can offset age-related vision loss.
- Different wavelengths of light have varying effects on our bodies and understanding the physics of light is important in using red light therapy for healing and pain management.
- Different wavelengths of light can penetrate deep into our body and access organelles, making it an important tool to modulate biology. Understanding the impact of different colors and intensities of light can help us improve our overall health.
- Light affects our body through photo receptors, melanin pigments in the skin, and various organs and tissues. It is important to understand that light is a transducer communicating information and individuals have varying degrees of skin pigmentation.
- Light has both immediate and long-term impacts on our biological rhythms, including circannual rhythms that are based on the hormone melatonin. Melatonin levels are influenced by our physical environment, but supplementation is not advised.
- Melatonin has positive effects on bone mass and the immune system, but can also impact testicle volume and egg maturation. Sunlight is crucial for regulating melatonin and ensuring optimal health.
- Avoiding bright light exposure at night and using long wavelength light can help maintain healthy sleep patterns. However, caution should be taken with melatonin supplementation, and it's important to modulate indoor and outdoor time across the year to support natural melatonin production.
- Exposure to UVB light on the skin can increase sex hormones, leading to an increase in desire to mate and mating behavior. Melatonin inhibits hormone production, but skin exposure acts as an accelerator. UVB exposure affects perception and behavior towards others.
- Spending time outdoors in minimal clothing for around 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week can increase fertility, attractiveness, and hormone levels. Vitamin D3, synthesized through sunlight, is essential to the body and improves overall health.
- Sunlight exposure affects vitamin D3 activation, testosterone levels, and romantic desire. It triggers hormone pathways, impacting mating behavior and production of estrogen and testosterone. Sunlight exposure is essential for overall health.
- Regular, safe sunlight exposure to our skin is crucial for activating the P 53 pathway in cells, increasing testosterone and estrogen levels, and resulting in positive physiological outcomes. Prioritize health, avoid sunburn, and limit the use of sunscreen.
- UVB light exposure, particularly from sunlight, can activate pain-relieving pathways in the brain by stimulating the release of endogenous opioids. A safe exposure of 20-30 minutes, two to three times a week, can potentially alleviate chronic pain. Avoid looking at bright, painful light sources indoors or directly.
- Careful consideration of skin and eye protection, clothing choices, and personal circumstances are necessary for safe and effective UVB exposure, especially during the winter months when a sad lamp or LED lighting panel is helpful.
- UVB exposure can enhance immune function and provide other benefits, but those with certain eye or skin conditions should consult a doctor first. Accessing UVB light during winter months can be especially important for boosting the immune system.
- Getting sufficient UVB light exposure can improve hair, skin, and nail health, improve mood and sleep, and activate stem cell regeneration. Careful consideration of treatment and broad skin area exposure is important for maximum benefit.
- UVB light from artificial sources disrupts hormone pathways, reduces dopamine output, and affects mood. Sleeping in a dimly lit room also affects glucose regulation and heart rate variability. Reducing exposure to UVB light improves mental and physical health.
- Light exposure, even during sleep, can disrupt metabolism leading to health issues. Low-level light therapy with red and infrared light is effective for treating skin lesions. Mindful light exposure is crucial for optimal health.
- Red light therapy stimulates cells and enhances their functioning, leading to improved skin quality, removal of lesions and pigmentation, and potential benefits for the eyes and brain.
- Red light and near-infrared light can increase ATP and reduce reactive oxygen species in cells, benefiting aging and neuronal function. Use of red light therapy has demonstrated improved visual function, even in older individuals.
- Just a few minutes of exposure to red light per day could prevent or alleviate age-related vision loss and improve visual acuity by 22%. This non-invasive therapy could also restore the function of neurons responsible for memory and cognitive function.
- Red light therapy may help reduce cholesterol deposits in the eyes, but it's important to use it early in the day and with caution. Consult a professional before beginning extensive protocols, as more data is needed to fully understand its effects.
- Red light is helpful for neuronal function and staying alert without disrupting the body's natural sleep rhythm. Using dim red light during late-night shifts can support productivity without interrupting melatonin production or increasing cortisol levels.
- Researchers have discovered that delivering specific patterns of light flicker at a frequency of 40 Hertz can induce gamma waves in the brain, promoting youthfulness in neurons and clearing away debris associated with aging. This form of phototherapy offers a unique way to enhance brain function.
- Phototherapy has shown promise in mitigating cognitive decline and Alzheimer's by affecting molecular pathways. Its potential benefits like enhancing focus, offsetting neurodegeneration, and transitioning into sleep are robust. However, flickering lights should be avoided by individuals prone to epilepsy.
📝 Podcast Summary
The Power of Light: Its Effects on Biology and Health
Light has powerful effects on different aspects of our biology as it can be translated into electrical and hormonal signals and change gene expression. Quality science emphasizes the use of light therapies for the treatment of various diseases and improving health dating back to more than a century ago. Specific protocols extracted from peer-reviewed literature can be used to modulate health using different wave lanes or colors of light. Light energy travels in wavelengths and can impact other things in its environment. Exposure to red light therapy for just one to three minutes can offset much of the vision loss occurring in people over 40 years of age through improved energy efficiency of metabolic activity in the cells in the back of the eye.
The Impact of Light on Our Bodies
Light is a form of energy that can impact cells in our body, just as it can impact the ripening of fruit. Visible light has many different wavelengths, including those that are not visible to the human eye. Ultraviolet light can both burn our skin and positively impact us by reducing pain. Different wavelengths of light penetrate tissues to different depths, with longer wavelength light like red and near infrared having the ability to penetrate through tissues and skin. Understanding the physics of light is important for understanding the impact of light on our bodies and how different wavelengths can be used in therapies, such as red light therapy.
The Use of Light as a Precise Tool in Modulating Biology
Different wavelengths of light, including red and near infrared light, can penetrate deeper into our body and access specific organelles within cells, such as mitochondria or the nucleus. This makes light an important and precise tool for modulating our biology. The way light is converted into biological signals has to do with the absorbance properties of different surfaces, including cells and compartments within cells. Photo receptors in the back of our eyes, rods and cones, have photo pigment that absorbs light energy of any wavelength. Understanding how different wavelengths of light impact our tissues at different levels helps us better understand how light of different colors and intensities can impact the cells and organs of our body.
How Light Affects Our Body
Light can impact our body in different ways, such as through photo receptors, melanin pigments in the skin, and every cell of our body. Pigments in our photo receptors absorb light of different wavelengths, and melanin in the skin absorbs UV light specifically to create changes in skin pigmentation. Additionally, light can penetrate deep into our body and impact various organs and tissues indirectly through photoreceptors and other cell types. It's important to remember that light is a transducer that communicates information about the environment around us, and that different people have varying degrees of skin pigmentation dependent upon genetics and light exposure.
The Dual Effects of Light on Our Biology
Light has both rapid and slow effects on our biology. The rapid effects include a sudden wake-up signal to the brain and body caused by dropped into very cold water, while the slow integrating effects include circannual rhythms based on the hormone melatonin, which helps us understand where we are in the 365-day calendar year by absorbing light. The arrival of light on the intrinsically photosensitive melanopsin cells communicates to the pineal gland that releases a hormone called melatonin. The environment around us is converted into a signal that changes the environment within us. Melatonin is a transducer, and its levels are based on how much light is present in the physical environment. Supplementation of melatonin is not recommended due to its super physiological levels, although it is known for its role in making us sleepy.
The Role of Melatonin in Our Bodies and Its Impact on Health
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in our bodies that has regulatory and protective effects. It can positively impact bone mass by turning on the production of osteoblasts. However, it tends to reduce testicle volume and suppress the maturation of eggs. Melatonin regulates how awake or asleep we are and can make us feel more sleepy. It also has protective effects, such as activating our immune system, as it is among the most potent antioxidants. Light powerfully modulates melatonin and changes the way different cells, tissues, and organs of our body work. Therefore, it is crucial to get the proper amount of sunlight appropriate for that time of year, especially during the summer and spring months.
Regulating Light Exposure for Healthy Circadian Rhythms
It's important to avoid bright light exposure to your eyes in the middle of the night to maintain healthy circadian rhythms. This is because light powerfully inhibits melatonin, which is needed for sleep. Even dimming or turning off lights can help reduce the inhibitory effects of light on melatonin. Long wavelength light, such as red or amber, is less likely to disrupt melatonin production than short wavelength light. However, caution should be exercised with melatonin supplementation, as it can disrupt normal rhythms in melatonin release and have potent effects on various bodily functions. It's essential to modulate indoor and outdoor time across the year and not destroy melatonin in the middle of the night regularly, regardless of time of year.
Exposure to UVB Light and Its Effects on Hormones and Mating Behavior in Mice and Humans
Exposure to UVB light, specifically on the skin, can increase levels of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen in both mice and humans, leading to an increase in desire to mate and mating behavior. Melatonin, which is suppressed by light exposure, plays a role in inhibiting the production of these hormones, but there is a parallel pathway in which light exposure to the skin acts as an accelerator. The skin is an endocrine organ and can produce hormones, which affects mating behavior. The study found that UVB exposure increased testosterone and estrogen levels in mice and humans and affected their perception of others and their behavior towards them.
The Benefits of UVB Exposure on Human Biology
Exposure to UVB light enhances female attractiveness and fertility by increasing the production of healthy eggs. The study found that getting outside for about 30 minutes, two or three times a week in a minimum of clothing, while still wearing enough clothing that is culturally appropriate can lead to significant increases in testosterone and estrogen levels in both men and women. Testosterone increases were significantly higher in men from countries with low UV exposure compared to men from countries with high UV exposure. Vitamin D3, which is synthesized through sunlight, plays an important role in the body and is essential to our health. Getting enough UVB exposure can have impressive effects on human biology.
How Sunlight Exposure Impacts Hormones and Mating Behavior.
The amount of sunlight exposure and skin color influence the activation of vitamin D3 pathway and levels of testosterone in the body. People with darker skin need more sunlight exposure to activate the pathway. Testosterone levels are lowest in winter months and highest in summer months due to difference in the length of days and nights. Sunlight exposure can also enhance romantic passion and desire to mate in both males and females, based on a study. UVB light exposure can directly trigger hormone pathways and mating behavior. Sunlight and day length impact melatonin pathway and testosterone and estrogen production, emphasizing the importance of sunlight exposure for overall health.
Sunlight exposure and its impact on hormones and cell function.
Sunlight exposure to our skin increases the activity of P 53, which is involved in the maturation of cells and various aspects of cell function, and plays a key role in activating downstream increases in ovarian size, testosterone increases, and estrogen increases. Getting sunlight exposure onto our skin is therefore critical for activating the P 53 pathway in keratinocytes and increasing testosterone and estrogen levels. The recommended protocol is 2-3 exposures of 20-30 minutes of sunlight per week to as much of the body as safely possible. Sunscreen blocks some of these effects, so it is important to prioritize health and avoid sunburn. UVB light exposure can also increase pain tolerance and cause hormone and neurochemical changes that lead to positive physiological outcomes.
UVB Light Exposure for Pain Relief.
UVB light exposure, especially from sunlight, can trigger anti-pain or pain relieving pathways in the brain. This is because light landing on the eyes is captured by melanopsin cells which translate it into electrical signals that stimulate brain areas such as ventral geniculate and these areas communicate with the periaqueductal gray area to evoke the release of indogenous opioids, reducing pain perception. This signifies that while longer days or bright light environments help in tolerating physical and emotional pain, UVB light exposure can potentially alleviate chronic pain. Hence, a safe exposure of 20-30 minutes, two or three times a week, can be sought through safe sunlight exposure, avoiding looking at bright, painful light sources indoors or directly.
Safe and Optimal UVB Exposure for Your Wellbeing
Getting UVB exposure from sunlight throughout the year can be beneficial, as well accessing a sad lamp or LED lighting panel during winter months when experiencing seasonal affective disorder. However, it's important to not damage skin or eyes, so explore options like canning salons with caution. It's also vital to consider the total amount of skin exposure for capturing more photons for biological signaling activation. Blue blockers should be worn only during evening and nighttime, and depending on context and variables, clothing choices can affect the patterns of biological signaling activation. Personal circumstances, genetics, and place of origin should be considered while exploring options for UVB exposure and artificial sources.
Benefits and Risks of UVB Exposure
Getting UVB exposure, whether through sunlight or appropriate artificial sources, can be beneficial for mood, hormone pathways, pain reduction, and immune function. However, people with retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, or glaucoma and those prone to skin cancers should consult with their ophthalmologist and dermatologist before increasing UVB exposure. UVB light activates neurons within the sympathetic nervous system, which controls immune function. Increased UVB exposure leads to deployment of immune cells and molecules that combat infections and enhance spleen function. During winter months, accessing UVB light is especially important to boost immune function so that the body can effectively combat infections. Additionally, UVB exposure triggers faster wound healing and turnover of hair stem cells in the skin and hair.
The Impact of UVB Light Therapy on Health & Wellbeing
Getting sufficient UVB light to our eyes and skin can improve the health of our hair, skin, and nails. However, the efficacy of light therapy depends on the type of treatment and the area of the body being treated. Local illumination of intense, high-intensity light can damage skin and cause reactivation of new stem cells. It is vital to consider systemic activation across broad swaths of skin in the eyes for the most significant effect. Furthermore, getting as much UVB light in our eyes and on our skin in the early day and throughout the day as safely possible, can improve mood and sleep. UVB light affects brain areas associated with motivation, feeling good, and possibility in the world.
Avoiding Artificial Light Sources for Optimal Health.
Avoiding UVB light from artificial sources between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM can prevent activation of the eye to PMID pathway and reduce dopamine output and mood. Even during sleep, exposure to light can disrupt hormone pathways and metabolic function. Sleeping in a very dimly lit room (3 Lux) or a somewhat dimly lit room (100 Lux) can cause changes in heart rate and disrupt glucose regulation by insulin. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a good thing, and reducing exposure to UVB light and other artificial light sources is important for mental and physical health, irrespective of mood variations. Increased exposure to sunlight and avoiding excessive light exposure during sleep can have a significant impact on health and wellness.
The impact of light exposure on our autonomic nervous system functioning and the role of low-level light therapy in treating skin lesions
Light exposure, even during sleep, can disrupt our autonomic nervous system's functioning, leading to lower heart rate variability and increased insulin resistance. This disrupts our metabolism, making us less relaxed and is not good for our health. Low-level light therapy with red and infrared light has been shown to effectively treat various skin lesions, including acne, by penetrating the deeper layers of our skin and changing the metabolic function of particular cells. However, sometimes there is resistance to this therapy, and initial improvements may go away. Longer wavelength light can pass through certain surfaces and can impact our metabolic function. Overall, we should be mindful of the light we are exposed to, even during sleep, for optimal health.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Skin and Beyond
Red light therapy or low-level light therapy (LLT) can be used to improve skin quality, remove lesions, scars, and unwanted pigmentation. Red light activates mitochondria, increasing ATP, and indirectly reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS cause damage and inhibit the way cells work. Red light also triggers certain biological pathways within cells of sebaceous gland and stem cells in hair cell niche and skin. This causes the top layers of skin to be burned off by a very low level of burn and the cells in the deeper layer to start churning out new cells. Red light or near infrared light can also be used to enhance the functioning of cells in eyes and brain.
The Positive Effects of Red Light Therapy on Our Health and Neuronal Function.
Red light and near-infrared light have positive effects on our health as it can increase ATP and reduce reactive oxygen species in cells, which can disrupt some of the normal pathways associated with aging. Whole body red light illumination has not been studied as much, and while infrared saunas can be beneficial, they often don't get hot enough to trigger growth hormone, heat shock proteins, and other positive effects on human health. The positive effects of red light therapy have been demonstrated for neuronal function, such as our neural retina, which translates light information to electrical signals so that we can see, along with the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory. These studies found red light of about 670 nanometers to be helpful in improving visual function even in older individuals.
Red Light Therapy May Reverse Age-Related Vision Loss
Viewing red light at a distance that is safe for the eyes for just a couple of minutes each day allowed a reversal of the aging process in neurons responsible for vision, as observed in a study conducted by the Geoffrey lab. The red light of low enough intensity did not damage the eyes, and improvements in visual acuity by 22% were seen in individuals aged 40 years or older. The therapy has the potential to reverse age-related vision loss. The rods and cones in the retina are the most metabolically active cells in the entire body that tend to accumulate reactive oxygen species as we age, and red light is able to reduce their amount and rescue their function. Red and near-infrared light is absorbed by all the photo receptors within the eye, making it an exciting noninvasive therapy to restore the function of neurons responsible for memory as well.
Red Light Therapy for Eye Health
Red light therapy may reduce accumulation of cholesterol deposits called drusen in the eye, which can improve neuronal function. It is important to use red light therapy early in the day and ensure the light source is not too bright to avoid damage to the retina. Red light therapy can be done using commercially available red light panels or by creating a homemade red light source with a filter. The studies are fairly recent, so more data is needed. Those over 40 years old may benefit from the therapy, but younger individuals may not see an effect. Consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist before beginning any extensive protocols.
The Benefits and Best Practices of Red Light Illumination
Excessive illumination can be dangerous for our eyes and biological responses guide us to avoid it. Red light is beneficial for improving neuronal function, and if we need to stay awake late at night for work or caregiving, using dim red light is the best choice as it does not inhibit melatonin production or increase cortisol at night. It stimulates alertness to stay awake without disturbing our natural circadian rhythm. Red light can be used in the early morning or late at night for shifting neuronal functions and promoting alertness, respectively. Though it is impossible to shine light deep within the brain except for its links with our eyes or skin, the proper use of light can have significant health benefits.
Gamma Waves and Phototherapy: Enhancing Brain Function Through Light Flicker
Gamma waves, a pattern of firing that leads to downstream metabolic and biological functions that clear away debris associated with aging in cells and enhance the youthfulness of neurons, can be induced within the brain by delivering certain patterns of light flicker. Recent studies have shown that exposing subjects to 40 Hertz light flicker leads to increased gamma oscillations, meaning that the electrical activity of the brain at large starts to match to the patterns of light that were delivered to the eyes. This offers a unique form of phototherapy that involves generating patterns of illumination, online and offline, at a particular frequency, rather than constant illumination with a given wavelength. Gamma entrainment using sensory stimulation can have a number of interesting effects.
Potential Benefits and Applications of Phototherapy for Neurodegeneration and Focus
Phototherapy has shown potential in reducing markers of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease by triggering molecular pathways that affect both the reduction of bad biological markers and the improvement of good pathways. Non-invasive studies are being explored in clinical trials, and specific protocols are being developed that individuals could potentially use at home. However, caution should be taken if prone to epilepsy as flickering lights can induce seizures. Light has powerful effects, both locally and systemically, on cells that are changing their electrical and chemical outputs and modifying many biological programs. In summary, the potential applications and benefits of phototherapy in enhancing focus, transitioning into sleep, and offsetting neurodegeneration are significant.
- Skin exposure to UVB light induces a skin-brain-gonad axis and sexual behavior (Cell Reports)
- Skin Exposure to Ultraviolet B Rapidly Activates Systemic Neuroendocrine and Immunosuppressive Response (Photochemistry and Photobiology)
- A visual circuit related to the periaqueductal gray area for the antinociceptive effects of bright light treatment (Neuron)
- Light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
- Light-emitting diodes in dermatology: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (Lasers in Surgery and Medicine)
- Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring (Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery)
- Weeklong improved colour contrasts sensitivity after single 670 nm exposures associated with enhanced mitochondrial function (Scientific Reports)
- Red light: A novel, non-pharmacological intervention to promote alertness in shift workers (Journal of Safety Research)
- Gamma Entrainment Binds Higher-Order Brain Regions and Offers Neuroprotection (Neuron)