How LED Lighting May Compromise 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 can 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

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."

Near-Infrared Is Critical for Mitochondrial and Eye Health

You cannot feel near-infrared as heat, and you cannot see it, but it has a major beneficial impact in terms of health. Near-infrared is what's missing in non-thermal artificial light sources like LED.

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 for 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 in 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.

Wound Healing and Anti-Aging Procedures Make Use of Near-Infrared

That said, a differentiation is in order. Most of the METABOLICALLY USED energy does come from food. But there is a thermodynamic aspect to it as well. Maintaining a normal body temperature (37 degrees C or 98.6 degrees F) involves two mechanisms: Energy production in your mitochondria from food, and photonic energy (near-infrared radiation from sunlight and incandescent light bulbs) that is able to penetrate deeply into your tissue, even through clothing.

Analog Versus Digital Lighting

There's also a difference between analog and digital forms of light sources.

LED lamps are a form of digital non-thermal lighting whereas incandescent light bulbs and halogens are analog thermal light sources.

"For a color changing system you have three different LEDs, a red, a green and a blue LED, and the intensity of these three colored channels has to be changed in order to achieve different color use, which is perceived by the eye in the end. The control of the intensity output of an LED is realized in a digital manner because it's very difficult to have a low intensity in many different steps.

The dimming of LEDs is realized by a so-called pulse-width modulation, which means the LEDs switch on to the full intensity and then they fully switch off, and then they switch on again. So we have the constant on and off in frequencies, which are higher than our eyes are able to discriminate. But on the cellular level, it is still perceivable for the cells …

[T]his causes a flicker, which is not perceivable for let's say 90 percent of the population. But it's still biologically active. And flicker is something that is very harmful to your [biology]."

Understanding the Dangers of LEDs

You probably know by now that blue light in the evening reduces melatonin production in your pineal gland. But you also have cells in your retina that are responsible for producing melatonin in order to regenerate the retina during the night.

If you use LED lights after sunset, you reduce the regenerative and restoring capacities of your eyes.

Needless to say, with less regeneration you end up with degeneration. In this case, the degeneration can lead to AMD, which is the primary cause of blindness among the elderly. However, and this is that most fail to appreciate, LED light exposure that is not balanced with full sunlight loaded with the red parts of the spectrum is always damaging to your biology. Just more so at night.

To Protect Your Health and Vision, Stick to Incandescent Lights

LEDs are a perfect example of how we're sabotaging our health with otherwise useful technology. However, with knowledge, we can proactively prevent the harm from occurring.

In summary, we really need to limit our exposure to blue light, both during the daytime and at night. So for nighttime use, swap out your LEDs for clear bulb incandescents, or low-voltage incandescent halogen lights that are run on DC power.

I also strongly recommend using blue-blocking glasses after sundown, even if you use incandescent light bulbs. Without these modifications, the excessive blue light from LEDs and electronic screens will trigger your body to overproduce ROS and decrease production of melatonin, both in your pineal gland and your retina, the latter of which will prevent repair and regeneration, thereby speeding up the degeneration of your eyesight.

"One thing to emphasize again, it's not the blue light coming from the sun itself which we should be concerned about. It's the blue light, the singular high energy visual light (HEV), which comes from cold energy-efficient non-thermal light sources. This is what causes the problem, not the blue light which comes together with longer wavelengths in a kind of natural cocktail that has the beneficial near-infrared spectrum …

The light surrogates from non-thermal light sources, these are [what cause] problems, and you have to be clever to avoid these Trojan horses. If you want to make it [safe], stay with the candles, stay with the incandescents," Wunsch says.

Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola