There are major downsides to most LED lights that are not well known. If you choose to ignore these facts, it could lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the deterioration of your macula which controls acute vision and is the leading cause of blindness.
Additional health problems may occur in your cell’s vital mitochondria. Mitochondria, known as the powerhouse of the cell, make most of the cell’s supply of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule that cells use as a source of energy. Mitochondria primarily perform cellular respiration. This means it takes in nutrients from the cell, breaks it down, and turns it into essential energy.
Understanding the Health Dangers of LEDs
Understanding how LEDs can harm your health begins with the recognition that light emitted from an LED bulb is of a different quality than a natural light source.
LEDs are fluorescent lamps, consisting of a blue LED (the pump) and a fluorescent sheet that covers the blue LED, transforming part of the blue light into longer wavelengths, thereby creating a yellowish light. The yellowish light from the fluorescent layer combines together with the residual blue light to form a whitish light, a large portion of which is an aggressive blue light.
Blue light in the evening reduces melatonin production in your pineal gland, however, you also have cells in your retina that are responsible for producing melatonin in order to regenerate the retina during the night.
Blue wavelengths create ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). ROS describes a number of reactive molecules and free radicals that have long been known to be a component of the killing response of immune cells to microbial invasion. When generated in excess, ROS can cause damage leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, lower energy production, and inflammation that can erode health over time if left unaddressed.
It’s important to note that this ROS issue is not about the blue light emitted from natural sunlight because the sun provides a balanced, full-spectrum of colors. It’s about the artificial blue light, the singular high energy visual (HEV) blue light, which comes from most energy-efficient light sources. This is what causes a problem, not the blue light waves which come together with longer wavelengths in a natural balance that includes the beneficial near-infrared light (NIR) like the sun.
The repair and regenerative part of the spectrum is not found in the blue wavelengths.
If you use LED lights, especially after sunset, you reduce the regenerative and restoring capacities of your eyes that can lead to AMD. This condition is naturally countered with near-infrared light that reduces retinal inflammation and AMD risk.
LED light exposure that’s not balanced like natural sunlight which includes NIR wavelengths —is always damaging to your biology!
You cannot feel near-infrared light 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 LEDs. This is why LEDs are so harmful to your eyes and overall health.
Notably, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light therapy devices that do not emit near-infrared light can contribute to age-related retinal inflammation and the risk of macular degeneration.
NIR Plays a Critical Role in Your Body’s ATP Production
Light is the most overlooked essential for biological energy production at the mitochondrial ATP level. Chromophores are molecules that absorb light. Unique chromophores (cytochrome c oxidase) that absorb NIR light are found in your mitochondria and are the last step involved in the production of ATP.
Absorbed light in a red – NIR wavelength range between 670 and 850 nm is able to boost ATP energy production, especially in cells when energy production is depleted. Amazingly, you produce your body weight in ATP every day. You can survive for several minutes without oxygen, however, if ATP production suddenly stopped… you would be dead within 15 seconds!
Many signs of aging are the result of hampered mitochondrial functioning, The fact is your body’s energy production involves not just food intake.
Amazingly, only one-third of the energy your body consumes comes from the food you eat. The vast majority of the energy your body needs to maintain the systemic equilibrium comes from environmental infrared light exposure and is critical for optimum metabolism.
LED Bottom Line
- This light quality is not found in nature.
- Increases stress from the HEV blue short wavelength.
- Reduces regeneration & repair from lack of NIR long wavelengths.
- Near-infrared light is essential for eye health and ATP production.
Are There Any Healthy LEDs?
The way to get a healthier LED is to look for a balanced full-spectrum LED that includes near-infrared light (NIR) and a high color rendering index (CRI). Sunlight is the gold standard and has a CRI of 100. What you’re looking for is a light that has an R9 (full red spectrum) CRI of about 97 and broadband of near-infrared light.
In terms of energy, sunlight at Earth’s surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 42 to 43 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 3 to 5 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm).