- Too much ‘toxic’ ‘blue’ light could cause diabetes and shorten lives, experts say
- But 15 minutes of red light can get your blood sugar levels back under control
Prolonged exposure to the intense “blue” light emitted by smartphones and LED office lighting can be “toxic”, according to a study.
Being bombarded by blue spectrum light all day long could disrupt normal body functions and imbalance blood sugar levels.
Scientists at University College London say the modern “red famine” environment could be a “time bomb” for public health, potentially causing diabetes and shortening lives.
Researchers found that excess blue light, like the light from your smartphone, disrupts mitochondria, which generate the energy needed to power cells. This can affect blood sugar levels and contribute to aging.
Professor Glen Jeffery said: “Sunlight has a balance between red and blue, but we now live in a world where blue light is dominant.”
«Although we do not see it, the LED lights predominate in blue and have almost no red.
“Prolonged exposure to blue light is potentially toxic without red light.
“Blue light alone has a negative impact on physiology and can alter blood sugar levels, which in the long term can contribute to diabetes and undermine health.”
‘Before 1990, we all had incandescent lighting, which was fine because it had a balance of blue and red similar to sunlight.
“But the switch to LED in an aging population represents a potential health time bomb.
“This can be partly corrected by spending more time in the sun.”
Researchers discovered that excess blue light disrupts mitochondria, which generate the energy needed to power cells.
This can affect blood sugar levels and contribute to aging.
They found that shining a red light on a person’s skin for 15 minutes can regain control of their blood sugar levels.
The researchers used 670nm red light, which is also used for anti-aging treatments, and found that it stimulated energy production within cells and increased glucose consumption.
This led to a 27.7 percent reduction in blood glucose levels, which may offer a new type of treatment for diabetes.
Dr Michael Powner said: “It is clear that light affects the way mitochondria function and this affects our bodies at a cellular and physiological level.
‘Our study has shown that we can use a single 15-minute exposure to red light to reduce blood sugar levels after eating.
“Although this has only been done in healthy individuals in this paper, it has the potential to impact diabetes management in the future as it could help reduce potentially harmful glucose spikes in the body after meals.”
The research, published in the Journal of Biophotonics, monitored the blood sugar levels of individuals while they were exposed to different frequencies of light.
Other studies have shown that blue light can damage your eyes.
Many smartphones have a “night mode” that attempts to reduce the amount of blue light emitted.