Red light may help lower blood sugar

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In a fascinating turn of events, researchers have uncovered the beneficial effects of 670 nanometer (nm) red light on energy production within mitochondria, leading to a notable decrease in blood glucose levels.

This discovery, detailed in the Journal of Biophotonics, could pave the way for innovative, non-invasive strategies to manage diabetes, especially after meals, by mitigating the harmful fluctuations in blood glucose that accelerate aging.

The study, conducted on healthy individuals, revealed that exposure to 670 nm red light resulted in a 27.7% reduction in blood glucose levels following glucose intake and curtailed the maximum glucose spike by 7.5%.

This breakthrough underscores the potential of red light therapy in controlling post-meal blood sugar levels, offering a promising avenue for diabetes management without the need for drugs.

Moreover, the research sheds light on the significant health risks associated with prolonged exposure to blue light, particularly from LED lighting, which predominates in our environment yet lacks the red spectrum.

Given that mitochondria—the powerhouses of our cells—rely on a balance of light to function optimally, the shift towards blue-light-dominant environments could have profound implications for public health, including the potential dysregulation of blood sugars.

Historically, research has shown that light in the long-wavelength range (approximately 650–900 nm) can enhance mitochondrial ATP production, which not only lowers blood glucose but also improves health and lifespan in animals.

The study’s authors, Dr. Michael Powner and Professor Glen Jeffery, highlight that improvements in ATP production can lead to systemic signaling changes, akin to the abscopal effect observed in cancer treatment, where irradiating a primary tumor can shrink distant tumors.

Similarly, targeted exposure to 670 nm light has shown beneficial effects in models of Parkinson’s disease and diabetic retinopathy, suggesting a wide-reaching impact of red light therapy beyond glucose control.

This groundbreaking study involved 30 healthy participants divided into two groups, with one group receiving 670 nm red light exposure before undergoing an oral glucose tolerance test.

The results were compelling: those exposed to red light exhibited lower peak blood glucose levels and reduced overall blood glucose during the two-hour observation period.

The implications of these findings are vast. As Dr. Powner points out, a mere 15-minute exposure to red light could significantly reduce blood sugar levels after eating, marking a potential paradigm shift in diabetes management.

Professor Jeffery further emphasizes the disparity between the balanced red and blue light of natural sunlight and the blue-light dominance of modern LED lighting, suggesting that our shift away from incandescent lighting to LEDs might be inadvertently contributing to health issues, including diabetes, in the long term.

This research not only highlights the importance of red light in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels but also calls for a reevaluation of our daily exposure to artificial light sources.

Integrating more natural sunlight into our lives or adjusting the spectrum of artificial lighting we use could help counteract the negative effects of our current, blue-light-dominated environments, offering a simple yet effective way to enhance our overall health and longevity.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes, and to people with diabetes, some fruits are better than others.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that low calorie diets may help reverse diabetes, and 5 vitamins that may prevent complication in diabetes.

The research findings can be found in the Journal of Biophotonics.

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