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
*"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*
*[T]he definition that we are only looking at the visible part of the
spectrum [given in the 1930s] ?*
*led to the development of energy-efficient light sources like the
fluorescent lamps or what we have nowadays, the LED light sources, because
they are only energy efficient as long as you take the visible part of the
spectrum [into account] ?*
*[F]or example, [lamps providing] **phototherapy*
red light can be used in medical therapy to increase blood circulation, and
this is a part we are taking away as long as we only look at the visible
*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."*
What Makes Near-Infrared so Special?
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.
There's also a difference between analog and digital forms of light
sources, and this difference is another part of the complexity. In essence,
there are two separate but related issues: The analog versus digital light
source problem, and the spectral wavelength differences.
Starting with the latter, when you look at the rainbow spectrum, the
visible part of light ends in red. Infrared-A or near-infrared is the
beginning of the invisible light spectrum following red. This in turn is
followed by infrared-B (mid-infrared) and infrared-C (far-infrared).
While they cannot be seen, the mid- and far-infrared range can be felt as
heat. This does not apply to infrared-A, however, which has a wavelength
between 700 and 1,500 nm.
*"Here you have only very low absorption by water molecules, and this is
the reason why radiation has a very high transmittance," *Wunsch says*.*
*"In other words, it penetrates very deeply into your tissue, so the energy
distributes in a large tissue volume. This near-infrared A is not heating
up the tissue so you will not feel directly any effect of heat.*
*This significantly changes when we increase the wavelength, let's say, to
2,000 nm. Here we are in the infrared-B range and this already is felt as
heat. And from 3,000 nm on to the longer wavelength, we have almost full
absorption, mainly by the water molecule, and this is [felt as] heating."*
Near-Infrared Is Critical for Mitochondrial and Eye Health
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
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
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.
Lighting Plays an Important Role in Biological Energy Production
This is why this issue of lighting is so important. Light is a sorely
misunderstood and overlooked part of the equation for biological energy
production, specifically at themitochondrial ATP level
As further explained by Wunsch:
*"The cytochrome c oxidase, which is this [light] absorbing molecule, is
the last step before the ATP is finally produced in the mitochondria. Here
we have this tipping point where light in a wavelength range between 570 nm
and 850 nm is able to boost energy production, especially in cells when
energy production is depleted ?*
*We know today that many signs of aging, for example, are the consequence
of hampered mitochondrial functioning, and so we have a very interesting ?
tool to enhance the energy status in our cells, in the mitochondria in our
cells, and not only on the surface but also in the depths ? of the tissue.
This is one important aspect and there are hundreds of papers published on
these positive effects ?*
Infrared saunas are another magnificent way to nourish your body with
near-infrared light. But not just ANY infrared sauna. Most offer only
FAR-infrared and are not full spectrum. Most also emit dangerous non-native
EMFs. So you need one that emits low or no non-native EMFs.
After searching for a long time I finally found a near perfect one and hope
to have it made to my customized specs in a few months. And it should be
significantly less than $1,000. So stay tuned for this exciting development.
Wound Healing and Anti-Aging Procedures Make Use of Near-Infrared
These beneficial effects can be seen in wound healing and anti-aging
procedures where near-infrared is employed. Since the cytochrome c oxidase
is responsible for an increased production of ATP, the cell has a better
supply of energy, which allows it to perform better, and this is true no
matter where the cell resides.
This means liver cells with more ATP will be able to detoxify your body
more efficiently; fibroblasts in your skin will be able to synthesize more
collagen fibers and so on, because ATP is crucial for all cellular
functions. Wunsch expands on this even more in the lecture above.
According to Wunsch, as little as one-third of the energy your body
requires for maintaining the thermal equilibrium comes from the food you
eat. The electrons transferred from the food, primarily the fats and the
carbohydrates, are ultimately transferred to oxygen and generate ATP. The
more near infrared you get, the less nutritional energy is required for
maintaining thermal homeostasis.
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 C or 98.6 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.
*"The radiation can enter your body and then be transformed into longer
wavelengths in the infrared part. They are very important for supporting
the temperature level, the thermal energy level, of our body which is ? a
very crucial aspect. A lot of energy comes in the form of radiation and
this is supporting our thermal balance,"* Wunsch explains.
The key take-home message here is that your body's energy production
involves not just food intake. You also need exposure to certain
wavelengths of light in order for your metabolism to function optimally.
This is yet another reason why sun exposure
so vitally important for optimal health.
Analog Versus Digital Lighting
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
*[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]."*
You've likely experienced this if you're old enough to recall the older TVs
that had a very visible and intense flicker. Modern flat screens do not
have this perceptible flicker, but they're still switching on and off.
Scientists are now trying to develop systems capable of transmitting
information via high-frequency flicker in the LED lighting to replace the
wireless LAN system. According to Wunsch, this is a very bad idea, from a
*"I call these LEDs Trojan horses because they appear so practical to us.
They appear to have so many advantages. They save energy; are solid state
and very robust,. So we invited them into our homes. But we are not aware
that they have many stealth health-robbing properties, which are harmful to
your biology, harmful to your mental health, harmful to your retinal
health, and also harmful to your hormonal or endocrine health,"* he says.
Unfortunately, the use of LEDs has been mandated by federal policy in both
the U.S. and much of Europe, in an attempt to conserve energy. While
inarguably effective in that regard, the biological impact of these bulbs
has been completely ignored, and by mandating them, options have been
Understanding the 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. Normally, a natural light source is a black body
radiator that gives off all kinds of wavelengths in a more or less
LEDs are fluorescent lamps, consisting of a blue LED, a driver LED, 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 a kind of whitish light, a large portion of which is
an aggressive blue light.
*"Blue has the highest energy in the visible part of the spectrum and
produces, infuses, the production of ROS, of oxidative stress," *he says*.*
*"The blue light causes ROS in your tissue, and this stress needs to be
balanced with near-infrared that is not present in LEDs. We need even more
regeneration from blue light, but the regenerative part of the spectrum is
not found in the blue, in the short wavelength, part. It's found in the
long wavelength part, in the red and the near-infrared. So tissue
regeneration and tissue repair results from the wavelengths that are not
present in an LED spectrum.*
*We have increased stress on the short wavelength part and we have reduced
regeneration and repair on the long wavelength part. This is the primary
problem ? [W]e don't have this kind of light quality in nature. This has
consequences. The stress has consequences in the retina; it has
consequences in our endocrine system."*
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.
So, to summarize, the main problem with LEDs is the fact that they emit
primarily blue wavelengths and lack the counterbalancing healing and
regenerative near-infrared frequencies. They have very little red in them,
and no infrared, which is the wavelength required for repair and
When you use these aggressive lower frequencies ? blue light ? it creates
ROS that, when generated in excess, causes damage. So when using LEDs, you
end up with increased damage and decreased repair and regeneration.
Are There Any Healthy LEDs?
There's a wide range of LED lights on the market these days. Some are cool
white, others are warm white, for example. The former emits higher amounts
of harmful blue light. The warm LEDs can be deceptive, as they give out a
warm-appearing light but do not actually have the red wavelength. The
warmth comes from masking the blue with high amounts of yellow and orange.
There are also LEDs available with less blue, which are closer to the
spectral distribution of incandescent lamps with regard to the blue part of
the spectrum. Unfortunately, without tools to measure it, you won't know
exactly what you're getting. This is in sharp contrast to an incandescent
light bulb, where you know exactly what kind of light spectrum you're
*"With LED, the layman is not able to tell if it's a tailored spectrum
where you have the blue part only masked by excessive parts of other
spectral regions," *Wunsch says*. "There are different technologies ?
Soraa, for example, have violet driver LED, not blue ? By their technology,
the red is a little bit more emphasized compared to the standard white
light fluorescent LEDs.*
*So there are in fact better and worse LED types around. But the spectral
distribution is just one thing ? We are interested in the R9, which
represents the full reds. This information is sometimes given on the
package. You have, for example, CRI, which is the color rendering index of
95 with an R9 of 97 or so. This is the only sign for the customer that you
have a high level or a high index for the R9."*
How to Identify a Healthier LED
So, when buying LEDs, one way to get a healthier light is to look at the
CRI. Sunlight is the gold standard and has a CRI of 100. So do incandescent
light bulbs and candles. What you're looking for is a light that has an R9
(full red spectrum) CRI of about 97, which is the closest you'll ever get
to a natural light with an LED. Another factor to look at is the color
temperature. There are two different kinds of color temperature:
1. *Physical color temperature*, which means the temperature of your
light in degrees Kelvin (K). This applies to sunlight, candlelight,
incandescent lamp light and halogens. What this means is that the source
itself is as hot to the touch as the color temperature given.
The sun, for example, which has a color temperature of 5,500 K, has a
temperature of 5,500 K at its surface, were you to actually touch the sun.
Incandescent lamps have a maximum of 3,000 K, as the filament would melt if
the temperature got any higher.
2. *Correlated color temperature*. This is a measurement that tells you
how the light source appears to the human eye. In other words, it is a
comparative measurement. A correlated color temperature of 2,700 K means it
looks the same as a natural light source with a physical color temperature
of 2,700 K.
The problem here is that while such a light LOOKS the same as a natural
light, it does not actually have the same quality, and your body, on the
cellular level, is not fooled by what your eye sees. On a cellular level,
and on the level of the retina, the majority of the light is still cold,
bluish white, despite its apparent, visible warmth.
Incandescent light bulbs have a color temperature of 2,700 K whereas LEDs
can go up to 6,500 K ? the really bright white LED. In this case, the
closer you are to incandescent, the better. Lastly, there's the digital
component, which is virtually unavoidable no matter what. To determine how
good or bad a particular LED is:
*"You would have to measure somehow if the LED produces flicker or not.
Two, three years ago, it would have been much easier because the camera of
an older smartphone was not as high-tech equipped as they are today. With
an old smartphone camera, when you look into the light source, you can see
these wandering lines, so you can detect if the light source is
flickering,"* Wunsch explains.
A simpler way would be to purchase a flicker detector, which are available
fairly inexpensively. Another way to determine the flicker rate would be to
use the slow motion mode on your camera. Record the light source in slow
motion mode and check it for visible flickering.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. Some newer cameras and smartphones
have a built in algorithm that will detect the flicker frequency and change
the shutter speed accordingly to improve the recording, thereby eliminating
the interference. If your camera has this algorithm, it will not record a
visible flicker even if it's there.
I like being on the cutting edge of technology and I quickly switched out
all my incandescent bulbs for LED lighting. I now realize the enormity of
my mistake, but at the time ? going back almost 10 years now ? I was
completely unaware that it could have health consequences. Before that, I
used full-spectrum fluorescents, which is equally deceptive, as it is full
spectrum in name only.
I'm now convinced LED light exposure is a very serious danger, especially
if you are in a room without natural light. The biological risks are
somewhat mitigated if you have plenty of sunlight streaming through
windows. At night, LEDs become a greater danger no matter whether you're in
a windowless room or not, as there is no counterbalancing near-infrared
Personally, I've not swapped all my lights back to incandescent because
they're such energy hogs. But all the lights I have on at night have been
switched to clear incandescent bulbs without any coating that changes their
beneficial wavelengths. So the take-home message of this interview is to
grab a supply of the old incandescents if you can and switch back to
incandescent light bulbs.
Just remember to get incandescents that are crystal clear and not coated
with white to give off a cool white light. You want a 2,700 K incandescent,
thermal analog light source. Actually, fragrance-free candles would be even
better. Be particularly mindful to only use this type of light at night.
After sunset, I also use blue-blocking glasses
*"It is definitely a good idea to keep away the short wavelengths in the
evening, so after sunset. It's also a good idea not to intoxicate your
environment with too much light. We know that artificial light levels at
night have reached insane intensity. The candle, the intensity of the
candle for example, is absolutely sufficient for orientation.*
*If you have to read in the evening or at night time, my personal favorite
light source for reading tasks is a low-voltage incandescent halogen lamp,
which is operated on a DC transformer. Direct current will eliminate all
the dirty electricity and it will eliminate all the flicker.*
*There are transformers available where you can adjust the output between 6
volts and 12 volts. As long as it's direct current, there is no flicker,
there is no dirty electricity, and you are able to dim the halogen lamp
into a color temperature that is comparable to candle light even. This is
the softest, the healthiest electric light you can get at the moment,"* Wunsch
Low-voltage halogen lights are also very energy efficient ? up to 100
percent more energy efficient than the standard incandescent lamp. Just be
sure to operate it on DC. Incandescent lights, including halogen, can be
operated at both AC and DC, but when operating on AC, you end up generating
dirty electricity, Wunsch explains. On DC, you get no electrosmog with a
The following graphic illustrates the differences in color spectrum between
an incandescent light, which has very little blue, compared to fluorescent
light and white LED.
This next graph illustrates the differences between daylight, incandescent,
fluorescent, halogen, cool white LED and warm white LED. As you can see,
there's a tremendous difference between incandescent and warm LED. While
they may look the same to the naked eye, there's no comparison when it
comes to their actual light qualities.
Looking at the spectral differences between incandescent and halogen lamps,
there seems to be no difference at all. In order to elucidate the
disparity, Wunsch did some measurements of incandescent and halogen lamps
using his UPRtek MK350S spectrometer. The differences are almost
[image: incandescent lamp spectrum]
Spectrum of a standard incandescent lamp: Correlated color temperature
(CCT) = 2890 K.
Spectrum of a energy saving halogen lamp: Correlated color temperature
(CCT) = 2842 K.
How to Make Digital Screens Healthier
When it comes to computer screens, Wunsch suggests reducing the correlated
color temperature down to 2,700 K ? even during the day, not just at night.
Many use f.lux to do this, but I have a great surprise for you as I have
found a FAR better alternative that was created by Daniel, a 22 year old
Bulgarian programmer that Ben Greenfield introduced to me.
He is one of the rare people that already knew most of the information in
this article. So he was using f.lux but was very frustrated with the
controls. He attempted to contact them but they never got back to him. So
he created a massively superior alternative called Iris. It is free, but
you'll want to pay the $2 and reward Daniel with the donation. You can
purchase the $2 Iris software <http://iristech.co/?ap_id=light>her
< http://iristech.co/?ap_id=light>e.< http://iristech.co/?ap_id=light>OLED
screen technology is another development that may be better than
*"[With] the OLEDs technology, I'm not sure if the color is really stable
in every angle you can look at the display," *Wunsch says*. "But
definitely, if you have the screen technology where black is really black,
then you have less radiation coming into your eyes and the OLEDs technology
is able to provide this.*
*So the high contrasts between the black and white, all the black areas in
the thin-film-transistor (TFT) screen or the standard screen are not really
black. They are also emitting shortwave radiation. The OLED screen only
emits where you see light, where there is black on the screen, there is no
light. This might be preferable as long as you have no problems with the
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
*"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.
Another Healthy Light Alternative
Candles are even a better light source than incandescent bulbs, as there is
no electricity involved and is the light that our ancestors have used for
many millennia so our bodies are already adapted to it. The only problem is
that you need to be very careful about using just any old candle as most
As you may or may not know, many candles available today are riddled with
toxins, especially paraffin candles. Did you know that paraffin is a
petroleum by-product created when crude oil is refined into gasoline?
Further, a number of known carcinogens and toxins are added to the paraffin
to increase burn stability, not including the potential for lead added to
wicks, and soot invading your lungs.
To complicate matters, a lot of candles, both paraffin and soy, are
corrupted with toxic dyes and fragrances; some soy candles are only
partially soy with many other additives and/or use GMO soy. There seems to
be a strange mind-set that exposure to small amounts of toxins is OK, even
though the exposure is exponential over time!
The soy is non-GMO, is clean burning without harmful fumes or soot, is
grown in the U.S., and is both sustainable and renewable. Also, my candles
are completely free of dyes. The soy in these candles is not tested on
animals, is free of herbicides and pesticides.
It's also kosher, 100 percent natural and bio-degradable. All of my
fragrances are body safe, phthalate- and paraben-free, and contain no
California prop 65 ingredients. The wicks are simply flat braided cotton
coated in a natural vegetable wax and self-trimming, which reduces carbon
Enjoying a Circle of Life Farms naturally good soy candle and following the
simple burn instructions ? located inside the candle lid ? will give
approximately 70+ hours of burn time. Every candle is hand-poured with love
for you to enjoy a cooler, cleaner burn, all while being kind to the both
the environment and yourself.
You can search online healthy candles, but if you like, you can use the
ones I found at http://www.circleoflifefarms.com. This is not an affiliate link
and I earn no commissions on these candles; I just thought you might
benefit from the ones I now use in my home.
A great link !
The text refers to the full interview that is a bit longer :
Wunsch talks about a criterion to determine which LEDs are less unhealthy than others ( from the 41th towards the 42th minute and at other moments ).
"So there are in fact better and worse LED types around. But the spectral
distribution is just one thing ? We are interested in the R9, which
represents the full reds. This information is sometimes given on the
package. You have, for example, CRI, which is the colour rendering index of
95 with an R9 of 97 or so. This is the only sign for the customer that you
have a high level or a high index for the R9."
And by the way, such high colour valuations are given to LED-strips used in the low emf monitor ( http://www.lowemfoffice.com/low_emf_monitor_6.htm ) that i am looking at right now.
Usually the R9 ( and CRI as well ) are however much lower.
These are artificial constructed indexes, of course no LED will ever get anywhere near an incandescent bulb.
Noteworthy is that the transparent ones without any coating are recommended here.
This post was updated on .
Have a look at:
Here prof. Balck explains, that the light from a LED pocket lamp, when directly pointed to the body can be harmful. Even when it is shielded by a wooden plank.
In reply to this post by Fog Top
I have low budget and live on low EMF DC solar for power. I just switched back to incandescant from LEDs after read Mercolas latest article. I could hardly stand to have the lights on and had just doubled my panels as I live in a compulsively cloudy area and before that even a darker area and dark apartment for the previous 10 years. I put the led bulbs away in the kitchen drawer, so if I find my batteries over taxed I can put them in if I have to. Otherwise it's the old kind of bulb. I feel better w/ those and much easier on my eyes. The LEDs were the yellow ones but still glared.
I desperately need to grow food by the big picture window and so I am going to have to go w/ LED grow light that looks pink, in the day planning to aim at the window and food and out into the clouds. My solar can handle that through most of the winter and I will have to try to make it w/ little grow light from June-Nov or eventually expand. I am hoping that this will not cause to many issues.
I do use LED battery candles all over the house at night. They are ORANGE! And then some-so orange the orange dishes look white and the white looks orange.LOL It's like a flux computer screen on steroids. I am not sure if those candles would be considered harmful and no one has even been able to tell me. Better than the fumes real ones put out. I am sure though it's minute compared to a regular LED bulb that goes in a fixture. I also have the battery string lights, w/ one lithium rechargeable-the USB goes from it to the wall. They are on the warm side for sure, though they make in white also. I could always reserve them for the clouds days and keep the incandesants in the fixtures.
Being off grid does complecate it somewhat though when the option is smart meters or dirty electricity from solar inverters most use and dimmers and the like-it gets worse every year for that. I am going to have to read what you have here a few times and I am sure over the years I will get more solar and have more options for 12v bulbs that are not LED. I will not go near flourescent.
Thanx for the post and if anyone has any more thoughts about the grow lights, candles or string.
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