Red Light For Your Eyes
Declining eyesight can be improved by looking at red light, pilot study says. Red lights can help prevent damage to mitochondria in the retina, which leads to declining eyesight. It will be as easy as brushing your teeth or shaving, and as long as future studies support it, it just might save your eyesight.
Here’s the scoop on it from CNN:
A few minutes of looking into a deep red light could have a dramatic effect on preventing eyesight decline as we age, according to a new study published this week in The Journals of Gerontology.
If the results are replicated in future studies, and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the light could augur a new era in which millions of people have access to the easy home-based therapy. It would give them a new layer of protection against the natural aging processes that steal our eyes’ sensitivity to light and ability to distinguish colors.
“You don’t need to use it for very long to start getting a strong result,” said lead author Glen Jeffery, a professor of neuroscience at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology.
The science works, Jeffery said, because the light stimulates the health of mitochondria, which are like batteries in our cells.
And because mitochondria are implicated in a broad range of diseases, insights like these could help lead to new treatments for diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes.
All it takes is a few minutes.
The study was small, a pilot study to test the concept. Researchers recruited 12 men and 12 women, whose ages ranged from 28 to 72. Each participant was given a small handheld flashlight that emitted a red light with a wavelength of 670 nanometers. That wavelength is toward the long end of the visible spectrum, and just short of an infrared wavelength, which tends to be invisible to the human eye.
They spent three minutes each day looking into the light over a period of two weeks.
The lights work on both cones and rods in the eye. Cones are photo receptor cells that detect color and work best in well-lit situations. Rods, which are much more plentiful, are retina cells that specialize in helping us see in dim light, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Researchers measured the cone function in subjects’ eyes by having them identify colored letters with low contrast. And they measured their eyes’ rod sensitivity by asking them to detect light signals in the dark.
There was a 14% improvement in the ability to see colors, or cone color contrast sensitivity, for the entire two dozen participants.
Improvement, however, was most significant in study participants over age 40. For those ages, cone color contrast sensitivity rose by 20% over the course of the study.
That age bracket also saw significant increases in rod threshold, which corresponds to the ability to see in low light. Study participants under 40 also experienced some improvement, but didn’t see the same jump as older subjects. Younger eyes haven’t declined as much as older eyes.
“The retina ages faster than any other organ in your body,” Jeffery said. “From an evolutionary perspective, we fundamentally have never lived past 40.”
Now, of course, we regularly live well beyond that age, and need ways to nurture the organs that for millennia have been the most likely to wear out earliest in life.
Researchers from University College London used small red lights like this one to stimulate retina mitochondria with the goal of stoppying eyesight loss.
Adults ages 40 and higher are are at the highest risk for eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These diseases can occur in young people but their prevalence increases with age. At the beginning stages, these conditions are treatable, although they can start creeping in before symptoms appear.
That’s why the AAO recommends increasing regular eye exams to every two to four years for people once they cross age 40, and to increase exams to every one to two years at age 65.
The CDC notes that the progression of these diseases can also be slowed by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and maintaining normal levels of blood sugar, body weight and blood pressure. If those indicators get out of normal range, they can further degeneration by breaking down blood vessels in the eyes, the American Heart Associations says.
It’s easy and safe to use
This new study in humans builds on results in fruit flies and in mice, which also showed that red light could improve the functioning of mitochondria.
For instance, a 2015 study showed that near-infrared light could spur energy production, improve mobility and extend the lifespan of fruit flies. And a 2017 study of visible red light at the edge of infrared reported a 25% improvement in the functioning of retinas in mice.
Longer-term independent safety studies of red lights in humans would have to garner similar benefits for this method of eyesight protection to be approved by the FDA. If so, you’d still need to use a properly vetted product under a doctor’s supervision.
For example, while the laser pointers approved by the FDA for sale in the US don’t cause eye damage, a 2018 case study in the New England Journal of Medicine outlined how a boy in Greece permanently injured an eye by pointing a green laser pointer into it.
One of the best assets of the red lights they used is that they are safe, Jeffery said. The researchers all tested the red lights on their own eyes before beginning the study and have found no ill effects.
The research subjects in the study also reported no ill effects. “If you use this every day, we have no evidence to say it’s detrimental,” Jeffery said.
That fits with prior research, in which the safety of red lights has long been established, explained Dr. Raj Maturi, an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. It would be a very easy pathway to FDA approval,” he said. But more studies are needed to prove it helps. Although these lights aren’t harmful, Maturi wasn’t ready to embrace the idea that they’re incredibly helpful either.
This pilot study lacked a control group of patients who could have been exposed to a dummy light that emitted, he noted. The results found in this small study of 24 participants might not bear out in the larger population. Of the subjects over 40 in this study, individual characteristics of a few of them would be enough to make the eyesight improvements look stronger than they actually are.
“The data set could be brought down by three or four subjects,” he said. And while participants improved in how they saw the blue color axis, Maturi pointed out that they didn’t have statistically significant gains in how they saw the red color axis. To really test these insights, it’ll take a double-blind controlled study with a larger group of subjects and longer monitoring over time.
LED lights could help with many diseases
LED lights work in this arena because of what scientists call the mitochondrial theory of aging, in that humans and animals age as damage accumulates in mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA.
Therefore stimulating mitochondria to reduce damage is a way of slowing aging in general. Our retinas are chock-full of mitochondria — the highest concentration of mitochondria of any part of the body.
That’s a main reason why Jeffery and his colleagues sought to test out the red lights in a specific area of aging such as eyesight decline. Mitochondria absorb longer wavelengths of light, making the near-infrared light their preferred choice to test.
Red lights can improve function in a range of diseases, particularly in the mitochondria in those undergoing aging with conditions such as Parkinson’s, he noted. “Every disease could have a mitochondrial angle,” Jeffery said. “In diabetes, for instance, your mitochondria are very upset.”
Each application carries that same human desire to fend off processes that are both natural and universal. “We’re all going to suffer from aging. So let’s try to go gently if we can,” he said.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that may help skin, muscle tissue, and other parts of your body heal. It exposes you to low levels of red or near-infrared light. Infrared light is a type of energy your eyes can’t see, but your body can feel as heat. Red light is similar to infrared, but you can see it.
Red light therapy is also called low-level laser therapy (LLLT), low-power laser therapy (LPLT), and photobiomodulation (PBM).
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
With red light therapy, you expose your skin to a lamp, device, or laser with a red light. A part of your cells called mitochondria, sometimes called the “power generators” of your cells, soak it up and make more energy. Some experts think this helps cells repair themselves and become healthier. This spurs healing in skin and muscle tissue.
Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat and doesn’t hurt or burn the skin. It’s not the same type of light used in tanning booths, and it doesn’t expose your skin to damaging UV rays.
What Does It Treat?
Researchers have known about red light therapy for a while. But there aren’t a lot of studies on it, and they don’t know if it’s better than other types of treatment used to help you heal. Red light therapy may help with:
In one small study, people with dementia who got regular near-infrared light therapy on their heads and through their noses for 12 weeks had better memories, slept better, and were angry less often.
- Dental pain.
In another small study, people with temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome (TMD) had less pain, clicking, and jaw tenderness after red light therapy.
- Hair loss.
One study found that men and women with androgenetic alopecia (a genetic disorder that causes hair loss) who used an at-home RLT device for 24 weeks grew thicker hair. People in the study who used a fake RLT device didn’t get the same results.
One study found red and infrared light therapy cut osteoarthritis-related pain by more than 50%.
Tendinitis. A very small study of 7 people suggests RLT lessens inflammation and pain in people with Achilles tendinitis.
Wrinkles and other signs of skin aging and skin damage. Research shows RLT may smooth your skin and help with wrinkles. RLT also helps with acne scars, burns, and signs of UV sun damage.
What Are the Risks?
Red light therapy is generally considered safe, even though researchers aren’t exactly sure how and why it works. And there are no set rules on how much light to use. Too much light may damage skin tissue, but too little might not work as well.
Where Do You Get Red Light Therapy?
It’s usually done in a doctor’s office. But some salons and dental offices do it, too. You can also buy your own red light therapy device. Salon and at-home treatments are more likely to cause side effects or injury. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about red light therapy.
Source: Web MD
Why Is the Ocean Blue?
It’s commonly believed that the ocean is blue because it’s reflecting the blue sky. But this is a misconception.
The ocean is blue because of the way it absorbs sunlight, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
When sunlight hits the ocean, the water strongly absorbs long-wavelength colors at the red end of the light spectrum, as well as short-wavelength light, including violet and ultraviolet. The remaining light that we see is mostly made up of blue wavelengths.
However, NOAA notes that the ocean may take on other hues, including red and green, if light bounces off objects floating near the surface of the water, such as sediment and algae.
Just how blue the water is depends on how much of it is available to absorb the light.
For instance, water in a glass is clear — there aren’t enough water molecules to really absorb the light.
But ocean water appears bluer the farther you travel down the water column. The water molecules absorb infrared, red and ultraviolet light first, and then yellow, green and violet.
Blue light is absorbed the least, giving it the greatest ocean penetration depth, according to NASA.
This fact is clear if you look at unedited underwater photos that weren’t taken with a camera flash or another artificial light source — even the most vibrant of tropical fish look blue.
Source: Live Science
Why Is The Sky Blue?
We see a blue sky, because of the way the atmosphere interacts with sunlight.
White light, including sunlight, is made up of many different colors of light, each with its own corresponding wavelength.
Several different things can happen when this light encounters matter.
For instance, if sunlight passes through a transparent material, such as water, those light waves will refract, or bend, because light changes speed as it travels from one medium (air) to another (water). Prisms break up white light into its constituent colors, because different wavelengths of light refract at different angles — the colors travel at different speeds — as they pass through the prism.
Alternatively, some objects, such as mirrors, reflect light in a single direction. Other objects can cause light to scatter in many directions.
The blueness of the sky is the result of a particular type of scattering called Rayleigh scattering, which refers to the selective scattering of light off of particles that are no bigger than one-tenth the wavelength of the light.
Importantly, Rayleigh scattering is heavily dependent on the wavelength of light, with lower wavelength light being scattered most. In the lower atmosphere, tiny oxygen and nitrogen molecules scatter short-wavelength light, such blue and violet light, to a far greater degree than than long-wavelength light, such as red and yellow. In fact, the scattering of 400-nanometer light (violet) is 9.4 times greater than the scattering of 700-nm light (red).
Though the atmospheric particles scatter violet more than blue (450-nm light), the sky appears blue, because our eyes are more sensitive to blue light and because some of the violet light is absorbed in the upper atmosphere.
During sunrise or sunset, the sun’s light has to pass through more of the atmosphere to reach your eyes. Even more of the blue and violet light gets scattered, allowing the reds and yellows to shine through.
Source: Live Science
How Blue LEDs Affect Sleep
Fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have taken over lighting because they are more energy efficient and can provide better lighting than incandescent bulbs. They are found in everything from task lighting to televisions to smartphones. But while these bulbs are helpful in many ways, they can also have a negative effect on sleep.
The problem with artificial light
All artificial light, including LEDs, fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs, can interrupt normal sleep patterns. The body’s biological clock works in rhythms that are set by the amount of light and dark the body is exposed to. This is called the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms control the timing of many physiological processes. They determine sleeping and feeding patterns, as well as brain activity, hormone production and cell regeneration.
When the body is exposed to only to the natural light of the sun, the hypothalamus area of the brain sets its sleep patterns according to when it is light outside and to when it is dark. Light is detected by the retina, which sends signals to the hypothalamus. When it starts getting dark outside, the hypothalamus signals to the body to start creating sleep hormones, like melatonin, and to drop the human’s body temperature to prepare for sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In the morning, when light is sensed, the body is told to warm up and to produce hormones, like cortisol, that wake the body up.
When artificial light is added to a human’s day, the body’s natural rhythms become confused. The retina can now receive light no matter what time of day it is, so the body doesn’t know when to get ready for sleep. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that, when compared with dim light, exposure to room light during the night suppressed melatonin by around 85 percent in trials.
Blue light and sleep patterns
Fluorescent and LEDs bulbs create a two-fold problem when it comes to sleep. First, they produce artificial light. Second, they produce blue light.
Blue light wavelengths produced by electronics and overhead lights boost attention, reaction times and mood, according to Harvard Medical School. This can be great for the daytime when the body needs to be alert, but at night it can become a problem.
Research has found that exposure to blue light suppresses the production of melatonin more than any other type of light. It is believed that the shorter wavelengths in blue light is what causes the body to produce less melatonin because the body is more sensitive to this type of light.
“In terms of light and our brains, there is a spectrum of wavelengths that impacts the human circadian system,” said David Earnest, a professor and circadian rhythms expert at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “Blue light is the most sensitive side of the spectrum.”
A study by the University of Toronto found that those who wore glasses that blocked blue light wavelengths produced more melatonin than those who didn’t during night shifts. Other studies have found that blue wavelengths suppress delta brainwaves, which induce sleep, and boost alpha wavelengths, which create alertness.
Solutions to blue light sleep problems
To get better sleep, it would be best to stop using artificial light altogether, but that isn’t possible in modern times. There are some more reasonable solutions, though.
“To prevent sleeping problems, avoid any exposure to blue light 30 to 60 minutes prior to bed. That means, no TV, tablets, computers or smart phones,” said Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute. “Ideally, you want your environment to be dimly lit so your body can start naturally producing melatonin.”
Andrew Simon, a naturopathic physician at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, also suggested changing all overhead lights to full spectrum if possible, and to use some of the new smart home tech solutions to have lights turn off gradually or at a certain time, to help encourage the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle.
If these steps aren’t possible, dimming devices and wearing blue light filtering glasses can help.
Source: Live Science
Why Doctors Wear Green or Blue Scrubs
Scrubs used to be white — the color of cleanliness. Then in the early 20th century, one influential doctor switched to green because he thought it would be easier on a surgeon’s eyes, according to an article in a 1998 issue of Today’s Surgical Nurse. Although it is hard to confirm whether green scrubs became popular for this reason, green may be especially well-suited to help doctors see better in the operating room because it is the opposite of red on the color wheel.
Green could help physicians see better for two reasons. First, looking at blue or green can refresh a doctor’s vision of red things, including the bloody innards of a patient during surgery. The brain interprets colors relative to each other. If a surgeon stares at something that’s red and pink, he becomes desensitized to it. The red signal in the brain actually fades, which could make it harder to see the nuances of the human body. Looking at something green from time to time can keep someone’s eyes more sensitive to variations in red, according to John Werner, a psychologist who studies vision at the University of California, Davis.
Second, such deep focus on red, red, red can lead to distracting green illusions on white surfaces. These funky green ghosts could appear if a doctor shifts his gaze from reddish body tissue to something white, like a surgical drape or an anesthesiologist’s alabaster outfit. A green illusion of the patient’s red insides may appear on the white background. (You can try out this “after effect” illusion yourself.) The distracting image would follow the surgeon’s gaze wherever he looks, similar to the floating spots we see after a camera flash.
The phenomenon occurs because white light contains all the colors of the rainbow, including both red and green. But the red pathway is still tired out, so the red versus green pathway in the brain signals “green.”
However, if a doctor looks at green or blue scrubs instead of white ones, these disturbing ghosts will blend right in and not become a distraction, according to Paola Bressan, who researches visual illusions at the University of Padova in Italy.
So, although doctors trot down the street these days in a rainbow of patterned and colored scrubs, green may be a doctor’s best bet.
Source: Live Science
You Can Pee a Rainbow
From red to blue to violet, all the colors of the rainbow appear regularly in urine tests conducted at hospital labs.
The prismatic pee collection seen in this stunning photo took only a week to assemble for medical laboratory scientists at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. Heather West, the laboratory scientist who snapped the picture at the hospital, said she and her colleagues collected the urine colors to highlight their fascinating behind-the-scenes work.
“My picture was intended to illustrate both the incredible and unexpected things the human body is capable of, the curiosity in science, and also the beauty that can be found in unexpected places,” West said. “A mix between art and science.”
None of the urine samples were treated with chemicals in the lab to change their hue, West said. “When I posted the picture [on Flickr], people thought that we did something magical to it. They did not believe it was actually urine,” she said.
Hospital labs are often tucked away in a windowless basement, but they play a critical role in patient health. West, 26, who works the night shift, said a love of science and a wish to work in the medical field drew her to the career. “We are impacting every patient that comes into the hospital in multiple ways,” she said.
While the chromatic colors of pee are amazing, doctors are usually more interested in the contents of urine. Only a few colors, such as red or dark brown, warn that something is wrong with a patient’s health.
“I wouldn’t generally just monitor the color of someone’s urine,” said Kirsten Greene, an assistant professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco. “But if it’s red or bloody, that’s a really strong cue that there’s infection or cancer, and that’s the one I would worry about the most.”
Here are some of the reasons for the pee shades.
Blood is the most common cause of red urine, and is a definite health warning signal. “As a urologist, I’m always worried when people have red urine,” Greene said. Bladder cancer, infections and kidney stones can all cause bleeding that shows up in urine, and all are worth a trip to the doctor.
More benignly, eating a lot of beets can turn your pee pink.
Dark-colored urine also points to health problems. Liver cancer can cause dark brown urine, containing excess bilirubin, a brownish pigment produced by the liver.
A drug called phenazopyridine (Pyridium) created the bright orange urine seen in West’s photograph. It’s a painkiller given to people with urinary tract infections, and converts pee into a Gatorade-like color.
“Antibiotics often alter urine color to orange,”Green said. “People who eat enough carrots to turn their skin orange can have orange pee, too,” she added.
Many people have seen the effects of dehydration on pee — a dark yellow- colored urine. Without enough water, a pigment called urochrome becomes more concentrated in urine.
On the other hand, in hospitals, some patients on intravenous fluids are so hydrated they produce nearly colorless urine, West said. The cloudy, yellow urine in West’s picture was caused by an infection.
Green urine usually flows from dilution of blue urine, as in West’s image. Occasionally, a urinary tract infection may trigger green pee.
The rarest of all on the pee rainbow, blue urine often comes from chemicals and drugs given to patients. The No. 1 offender is a drug called methylene blue, used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, and as a dye during surgery. It makes the blue and green urine seen in West’s photograph.
Methylene blue was also a malaria treatment during World War II. Other medications that make blue urine include Viagra, indomethacin and propofol — the anesthetic drug infamously linked with Michael Jackson’s death.
Genetic conditions that affect the breakdown of dietary nutrients can also cause blue urine. Even blue food dyes sometimes passes into pee.
Indigo and Violet
In this photo, the deep purple urine comes from a patient with kidney failure. “The dark black one is something that you usually see in kidney failure,” West said. “Your kidneys should be filtering your blood and getting rid of your waste, and when you damage the kidneys, there’s a lot more blood [in the urine],” she said.
Another violet venue: Patients with catheters can develop a rare complication called “purple urine bag syndrome,” linked to a urinary tract infection and highly alkaline urine. A genetic condition called porphyria may also trigger deep purple pee.
Purple Planet Earth
The earliest life on Earth might have been just as purple as it is green today, a scientist claims.
Ancient microbes might have used a molecule other than chlorophyll to harness the Sun’s rays, one that gave the organisms a violet hue.
Chlorophyll, the main photosynthetic pigment of plants, absorbs mainly blue and red wavelengths from the Sun and reflects green ones, and it is this reflected light that gives plants their leafy color. This fact puzzles some biologists because the sun transmits most of its energy in the green part of the visible spectrum.
“Why would chlorophyll have this dip in the area that has the most energy?” said Shil DasSarma, a microbial geneticist at the University of Maryland.
After all, evolution has tweaked the human eye to be most sensitive to green light (which is why images from night-vision goggles are tinted green). So why is photosynthesis not fine-tuned the same way?
DasSarma thinks it is because chlorophyll appeared after another light-sensitive molecule called retinal was already present on early Earth. Retinal, today found in the plum-colored membrane of a photosynthetic microbe called halobacteria, absorbs green light and reflects back red and violet light, the combination of which appears purple.
Primitive microbes that used retinal to harness the sun’s energy might have dominated early Earth, DasSarma said, thus tinting some of the first biological hotspots on the planet a distinctive purple color.
Being latecomers, microbes that used chlorophyll could not compete directly with those utilizing retinal, but they survived by evolving the ability to absorb the very wavelengths retinal did not use, DasSarma said.
“Chlorophyll was forced to make use of the blue and red light, since all the green light was absorbed by the purple membrane-containing organisms,” said William Sparks, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, who helped DasSarma develop his idea.
Chlorophyll more efficient
The researchers speculate that chlorophyll- and retinal-based organisms coexisted for a time. “You can imagine a situation where photosynthesis is going on just beneath a layer of purple membrane-containing organisms,” DasSarma told LiveScience.
But after a while, the researchers say, the balance tipped in favor of chlorophyll because it is more efficient than retinal.
“Chlorophyll may not sample the peak of the solar spectrum, but it makes better use of the light that it does absorb,” Sparks explained.
DasSarma admits his ideas are currently little more than speculation, but says they fit with other things scientists know about retinal and early Earth.
For example, retinal has a simpler structure than chlorophyll, and would have been easier to produce in the low-oxygen environment of early Earth, DasSarma said.
Also, the process for making retinal is very similar to that of a fatty acid, which many scientists think was one of the key-ingredients for the development of cells.
“Fatty acids were likely needed to form the membranes in the earliest cells,” DasSarma said.
Lastly, halobacteria, a microbe alive today that uses retinal, is not a bacterium at all. It belongs to a group of organisms called archaea, whose lineage stretches back to a time before Earth had an oxygen atmosphere.
Taken together, these different lines of evidence suggest retinal formed earlier than chlorophyll, DasSarma said.
The team presented its so-called “purple Earth” hypothesis earlier this year at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, and it is also detailed in the latest issue of the magazine American Scientist. The team also plans to submit the work to a peer-reviewed science journal later this year.
David Des Marais, a geochemist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, calls the purple Earth hypothesis “interesting,” but cautions against making too much of one observation.
“I’m a little cautious about looking at who’s using which wavelengths of light and making conclusions about how things were like 3 or 4 billion years ago,” said Des Marais, who was not involved in the research.
Des Marais said an alternative explanation for why chlorophyll doesn’t absorb green light is that doing so might actually harm plants.
“That energy comes screaming in. It’s a two-edged sword,” Des Marais said in a telephone interview. “Yes, you get energy from it, but it’s like people getting 100 percent oxygen and getting poisoned. You can get too much of a good thing.”
Des Marais points to cyanobacteria, a photosynthesizing microbe with an ancient history, which lives just beneath the ocean surface in order to avoid the full brunt of the Sun.
“We see a lot of evidence of adaptation to get light levels down a bit,” Des Marais said. “I don’t know that there’s necessarily an evolutionary downside to not being at the peak of the solar spectrum.”
Implications for astrobiology
If future research validates the purple Earth hypothesis, it would have implications for scientists searching for life on distant worlds, the researchers say.
“We should make sure we don’t lock into ideas that are entirely centered on what we see on Earth,” said DasSarma’s colleague, Neil Reid, also of the STScI.
For example, one biomarker of special interest in astrobiology is the “red edge” produced by plants on Earth. Terrestrial vegetation absorbs most, but not all, of the red light in the visible spectrum. Many scientists have proposed using the small portion of reflected red light as an indicator of life on other planets.
“I think when most people think about remote sensing, they’re focused on chlorophyll-based life,” DasSarma said. “It may be that is the more prominent one, but if you happen to see a planet that is at this early stage of evolution, and you’re looking for chlorophyll, you might miss it because you’re looking at the wrong wavelength.”
“Light is a nutrient much like food,and like food,
the wrong kind can make us ill, and the right kind can keep us well.”
Humans need light of specific intensity and color range to regulate their internal biological clock. Without it, our daily, monthly and annual rhythms become disrupted. A lack of sunlight can lead to ill health with a variety of mental, emotional, and physical symptoms.
How does “light starvation” or “Malillumination” happen?
Working and living indoors: Poorly illuminated environments with inappropriate artificial lighting could have serious health implications. For example, most artificial indoor lighting lacks ultraviolet light (UV), which at the proper intensity is essential to the production of vitamin D and the metabolism of calcium.
Unhealthy artificial light: Most indoor lighting lacks the requisite full-range color distribution and the proper intensity to sustain health and certain functions, such as vitamin D and hormone production. Light’s effect on human mind body health has, until recently, been ignored in architecture, design, and engineering. Both fluorescent and incandescent lights have lots of Red, but are lacking in Green, Blue and Violet. Furthermore, indoor lighting is generally not bright enough, amounting to only 1/20th the intensity of outdoor light in the shade on a sunny day. The amount of light that we receive from 16 hours indoors is dramatically less than the amount we receive from a single hour outdoors.
Negative lifestyle habits: Even in sunny California and Florida, the average individual receives little sunlight in a 24-hour period. The additional interferences we have, such as tinted sunglasses and contact lenses, tinted car windshields, and tinted windows, don’t allow in the health-giving properties of the entire spectrum of light.
Seasons/low light conditions: In winter in the northern hemisphere, the onset of winter depression and seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) occurs in late fall and peaks in February. (These symptoms usually wane in early spring, as the days get longer.)
The Symptoms of Light Starvation:
- Fatigue Increased illness – due to lowered immune function
- Hypersomnia – sleeping too much
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- A disturbance of bodily rhythms such as SAD, winter depression and other phase shift disorders.
What Light Nourishes:
Light enables us to see, and it plays several vital roles as it enters our eyes and our skin. Light enters the pineal gland (the body’s light meter) via the retina. Its neurotransmitter, melatonin, influences the hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling many of the endocrine functions that are disturbed in depressed individuals such as sleep and wakefulness, reproductive physiology, mood, and the timing of the biological clock.
Sunlight shining on the skin triggers the production of melanin, a dark pigment that protects the surface of the body. As UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin’s surface layer of melanin, the body’s supply of vitamin D is replenished. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin”, and although vitamin D can be obtained from milk and fish, this form is not as biologically effective as the vitamin D produced by sunlight.
Vitamin D3 is a skin hormone called solitrol, which works in conjunction with the pineal hormone, melatonin, to control the body’s response to light and darkness. Solitrol works antagonistically with the melatonin to produce changes in mood and our 24 hour bodily rhythms, as well as affecting our immune system.
Vitamin D enters the blood stream and goes to the kidneys and liver where it plays a key role in the absorption of calcium from foods, as well as the utilization of the mineral phosphorus. Nutritionally oriented physician Dr. Elson Haas states that since vitamin D is intimately related to the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus, it is important to the growth and development of bones and teeth in children. Dr. Haas adds that D3, because of its effect on calcium levels, is important in the maintenance of the nervous system, heart functioning, and blood clotting.
Violet – In Depth
The learned compute that seven hundred and seven millions of millions of vibrations have penetrated the eye before the eye can distinguish the tints of a violet. ~Lytton
The word violet is from the Middle English and old French violette, and from the Latin viola, the names of the violet flower. The first recorded use of violet as a color name in English was in 1370.
Violet can also refer to the first violas which were originally painted a similar color.
In Arabic language Violet color is called Nile and the dye Nilege made from Viola flower (of the violet color) which was dominant on the shores of the Nile River, giving the Nile color as the name of the Nile river. The Violet shade of Blue is called Nili in Contemporary Arabic.
In Chinese painting, the color violet represents the harmony of the universe because it is a combination of red and blue (Yin and yang respectively). In Hinduism and Buddhism violet is associated with the Crown Chakra.
Violet is one of the oldest colors used by man. Traces of very dark violet, made by grinding the mineral manganese, mixed with water or animal fat and then brushed on the cave wall or applied with the fingers, are found in the prehistoric cave art in Pech Merle, in France, dating back about twenty-five thousand years.
More recently, the earliest dates on cave paintings have been pushed back farther than 35,000 years. Hand paintings on rock walls in Australia may be even older, dating back as far as 50,000 years.
It has also been found in the cave of Altamira and Lascaux. It was sometimes used an alternative to black charcoal. Sticks of manganese, used for drawing, have been found at sites occupied by Neanderthal man in France and Israel. From the grinding tools at various sites, it appears it may also have been used to color the body and to decorate animal skins.
Berries of the genus rubus, such as blackberries, were a common source of dyes in antiquity. The ancient Egyptians made a kind of violet dye by combining the juice of the mulberry with crushed green grapes. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder reported that the Gauls used a violet dye made from bilberry to color the clothing of slaves. These dyes faded quickly in sunlight and when washed.
During the Middle Ages violet was worn by bishops and university professors and was often used in art as the color of the robes of the Virgin Mary. Violet and purple retained their status as the color of emperors and princes of the church throughout the long rule of the Byzantine Empire.
While violet was worn less frequently by Medieval and Renaissance kings and princes, it was worn by the professors of many of Europe’s new universities. Their robes were modeled after those of the clergy, and they often square violet caps and violet robes, or black robes with violet trim.
Violet also played an important part in the religious paintings of the Renaissance. Angels and the Virgin Mary were often portrayed wearing violet robes. The 15th-century Florentine painter Cennino Cennini advised artists: “If you want to make a lovely violet colour, take fine lacca, ultramarine blue (the same amount of the one as of the other)…” For fresco painters, he advised a less-expensive version, made of a mixture of blue indigo and red hematite.
The violet or purple necktie became very popular at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, particularly among political and business leaders. It combined the assertiveness and confidence of a red necktie with the sense of peace and cooperation of a blue necktie, and it went well with the blue business suit worn by most national and corporate leaders.
Violet is at one end of the spectrum of visible light, between blue and the invisible ultraviolet. It has the shortest wavelength of all the visible colors. Violet is a spectral, or real color – it occupies its own place at the end of the spectrum of light. Violet is the color the eye sees looking at light with a wavelength of between 380 and 450 nanometers. It was one of the colors of the spectrum first identified by Isaac Newton in 1672.
In the traditional color wheel used by painters, violet and purple lie between red and blue. Violet is inclined toward blue, while purple is inclined toward red.
Symbolic meanings of violet:
- Knowledge and intelligence
- Wavelength: 380-450 nm
- Frequency: 800-715 THz
- Hex triplet: #8F00FF
- sRGBB: (143, 0, 255)
- CMYKH: (44, 100, 0, 0)
- HSV: (274°, 100%, 100%)
Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Color Therapy, you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.