Can light affect your health? In this interview, Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a world class expert on Photobiology, shares the hidden dangers of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting that most people are completely unaware of.
In fact, this could potentially be one of the most important video interviews I’ve done, as it has enormous impacts — not only on preventing blindness as you age but it is also a pervasive hidden risk factor for sabotaging your health.
Largely as a result of energy efficiency, there’s been a major transition to using LED as a primary indoor light source. In this regard, it worked like a charm, reducing energy requirements by as much as 95 percent compared to incandescent thermal analog sources of lighting.
However, the heat generated by incandescent light bulbs, which is infrared radiation, is actually beneficial to your health, and hence worth the extra cost.
There are major downsides to LEDs that are not fully appreciated. LED lighting may actually be one of the most important, non-native EMF radiation exposures you’re exposed to on a daily basis.
If you chose to ignore these new insights, it could have very serious long-term ramifications. It could lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and elsewhere.
Other health problems rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction may also be exacerbated, and these run the gamut from metabolic disorder to cancer.
What Is Light?
The definition of light, as applied to artificial light sources, is rather distinct. Visible light is only between 400 nanometers (nm) and 780 nm, but “light” is actually more than just what your eye can perceive. As explained by Wunsch:
“When we look at sunlight, we have a much broader spectral range, from somewhere around 300 nm up to 2,000 nm or so. For our energy efficiency calculation, it makes a big difference if we are talking about this broad natural range or if we are only talking about … vision performance
[T]he definition that we are only looking at the visible part of the spectrum [given in the 1930s] … led to the development of energy-efficient light sources like the fluorescent lamps or what we have nowadays, the LED light sources, because they are only energy efficient as long as you take the visible part of the spectrum [into account] …
[F]or example, [lamps providing] phototherapy with red light can be used in medical therapy to increase blood circulation, and this is a part we are taking away as long as we only look at the visible part.
Physicists think that infrared radiation is just thermal waste. But from the viewpoint of a physician, this is absolutely not true; in the last 30 years there have been hundreds of scientific papers published on the beneficial aspects of a certain part in the spectrum, which is called near-infrared or infrared-A.”
What Makes Near-Infrared So Special?
You cannot feel near-infrared as heat, and you cannot see it, but it has a major beneficial impact regarding health. Near-infrared is what’s missing in non-thermal artificial light sources like LED.
There’s also a difference between analog and digital forms of light sources, and this difference is another part of the complexity. In essence, there are two separate but related issues: the analog versus digital light source problem, and the spectral wavelength differences.
Starting with the latter, when you look at the rainbow spectrum, the visible part of light ends in red. Infrared-A or near-infrared is the beginning of the invisible light spectrum the following red. This, in turn, is followed by infrared-B (mid-infrared) and infrared-C (far-infrared).
While they cannot be seen, the mid- and far-infrared range can be felt as heat. This does not apply to infrared-A, however, which has a wavelength between 700 and 1,500 nm.
“Here you have only very low absorption by water molecules, and this is the reason why radiation has a very high transmittance,” Wunsch says.
“In other words, it penetrates very deeply into your tissue, so the energy distributes in a large tissue volume. This near-infrared A is not heating up the tissue so you will not feel directly any effect of heat.
This significantly changes when we increase the wavelength, let’s say, to 2,000 nm. Here we are in the infrared-B range and this already is felt as heat. And from 3,000 nm on to the longer wavelength, we have almost full absorption, mainly by the water molecule, and this is [felt as] heating.”
Near-Infrared Is Critical for Mitochondrial and Eye Health
The near-infrared range affects your health in a number of important ways. For example, it helps prime the cells in your retina for repair and regenerate.
Since LEDs have virtually no infrared and an excess of blue light that generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), this explains why LEDs are so harmful to your eyes and overall health.
Chromophores are molecules that absorb light. There’s an optical tissue window that ranges from 600 to 1,400 nm, which means it is almost completely covered by the infrared-A part of the spectrum. This optical tissue window allows the radiation to penetrate several centimeters or at least an inch or more into the tissue.
Chromophores are found in your mitochondria and activated water molecules. In your mitochondria, there’s also a specific molecule called cytochrome c oxidase, which is involved in the energy production within the mitochondria. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — cellular energy — is the end product.
ATP is the fuel your cells need for all of their varied functions, including ion transport, synthesizing and metabolism. Remarkably, your body produces your body weight in ATP every day. And, while you can survive for several minutes without oxygen, were all ATP production to suddenly stop, you’d die within 15 seconds.
Lighting Plays an Important Role in Biological Energy Production
This is why this issue of lighting is so important. Light is a sorely misunderstood and overlooked part of the equation for biological energy production, specifically at the mitochondrial ATP level. As further explained by Wunsch:
“The cytochrome c oxidase, which is this [light] absorbing molecule, is the last step before the ATP is finally produced in the mitochondria. Here we have this tipping point where light in a wavelength range between 570 nm and 850 nm is able to boost energy production, especially in cells when energy production is depleted …
We know today that many signs of aging, for example, are the consequence of hampered mitochondrial functioning, and so we have a very interesting … tool to enhance the energy status in our cells, in the mitochondria in our cells, and not only on the surface but also in the depths … of the tissue. This is one important aspect and there are hundreds of papers published on these positive effects …
Infrared saunas are another magnificent way to nourish your body with near-infrared light. But not just ANY infrared sauna. Most offer only FAR-infrared and are not full spectrum. Most also emit dangerous non-native EMFs. So you need one that emits low or no non-native EMFs.
After searching for a long time I finally found a near perfect one and hope to have it made to my customized specs in a few months. And it should be significantly less than $1,000. So stay tuned for this exciting development.
[facebook_likebox case_type=”like_button” fbl_id=”8″][/facebook_likebox]