MIND, NUTRITION 3rd May 2017

The Dark side of Light:
Why your cells are at serious risk


The quality and quantity of light we consume can make us sick. Whether you’re a hard-charging athlete or a stay at home mom, light exposure should concern you, in a BIG WAY.

Sunlight is “…the most precious gold to be found on Earth…” according to English novelist Roman Payne. And he’s right. Light is the reason you’re even alive. At the most basic level, it facilitates the conversion of food, air and water into the energy we need to survive.

Light wills us to rise in the morning and to fall asleep at night. Yet, as the human race evolves, we are spending more time in front of our cellphones, laptops and TV’s, exposing us to something called blue light. If we are not careful, our everyday lifestyles could be killing us, and we don’t even know it. 

Blue light and your mitochondria

Chronic blue light exposure is dangerous because it damages your mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny structures in our cells, responsible for breaking down nutrients into energy.  Since energy is the basis for all human life, any damage to our mitochondria is in effect, harmful to the body.

Blue light exposure disrupts our sleep patterns (circadian rhythm) and dehydrates our cells. When this happens, the mitochondria are compromised, leading to dysfunction and disease. Diseases like cancer, which is now regarded to be a function of mitochondrial damage, not a genetic disease. 

Mitochondria are small tiny structures in our cells, but are the producers of energy. They are the powerhouse of our cells. Photo: Wikipedia

Mitochondria are small tiny structures in our cells, but are the producers of energy. They are the powerhouse of our cells. Photo: Wikipedia

Alarmingly, ninety-five percent of Americans are exposed to some form of blue light before bedtime. Comparing this to the rise in obesity rates, cancer and heart disease, causation is hard to deny.

Even the American Medical Association (AMA) published guidance just last year, warning of the risks associated with LED lighting (a source of blue light) on human health.

Practical tips to avoid blue light damage

Now we know why it’s dangerous, what can you do to minimize your risk from blue light exposure.

One of the simplest ways is to invest in screen protectors for your phone and computer. Priced as low as $10, they’re a quick and easy way to safeguard your health.  If you’re the fashion forward type, there are even blue light blocking glasses for when you’re working online or watching TV.

Blue light blocking glasses

Blue light blocking glasses

If you feel a little more adventurous, relocate closer to the equator: the more natural sunlight we absorb, the more optimal is our mitochondrial function.

The final word

Before humans, light on earth was governed by the sun. Technology has changed that, with the flick of a switch.

Whilst it’s not possible to detach from our modern lifestyles entirely, a few simple measures like those outlined above can pay big dividends when it comes to your health. One last tip: stop scrolling through social media before bedtime!

As always, pushing for health.