How LED Lights Are Changing Our Health

How LED Lights Are Changing Our Health

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Mr. Biz Radio: How LED Lights Are Changing Our Health

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right, welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me, Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And, and how many of you guys out there have heard about your circadian rhythm or your circadian clock? I'm sure you've heard about it here or there and how important it is of just your overall well being. It helps you sleep better at night if you got it kind of lined up correctly, getting sunlight, all that kind of stuff. We're going to talk about all that stuff. But even more specifically, and I've been looking forward to having Dr. On the show for a while now because I talked to him a while back, and it was taking us a couple of months to get him on the show here. But specifically, the impact.


Everyone's heard of led lights, right? Oh, my gosh. Led lights. They are the best thing ever. You got led. Led. You got to get led. Forget the incandescent. You got to go led. We've been hearing that for how many years now? And our guest this week is going to talk to us about the impact that led lights have that's being pushed everywhere, that are everywhere, presumably the impact that those have on our circadian clocks, our circadian rhythms, every night and every day.


So this is something that, again, impacts all of us. There's led lights. There are led lights everywhere. There's some in my office here, unfortunately. And so I wanted to have Dr. On here to talk about this. So for over 40 years, Dr. Martin Moore-Ede has been a leading expert on circadian clocks and how they are disrupted by today's led lights. As a professor at Harvard Medical School, he led the team that located the supra chaismatic nucleus, SCN. Hopefully I said that right correctly. The biological clock in the human brain that controls the timing of sleep and wake and demonstrated how it is synchronized by light.


As founder and CEO of the global consulting firm Circadian, he invented technologies to help people safely adapt to working around the clock. Dr. Moreedi's book, new book, the Light Doctor, the Science and Solutions for replacing your lights now to protect your health, released on substac, exposes the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer that has been caused by today's led lights.


Mind blowing, right? He explains how you can find the healthy circadian lights that are now available, and he provides guidance on how to use healthy circadian lights to boost health, productivity and well being. Dr. Moreed, welcome to the show.


Delighted to be with you.


Yeah, so like I said, I've been looking forward to having you on. I know when we talked, gosh, at least a couple of months ago, it was a pretty short conversation because you told me, I'm like, I got to have you on the show. This is going to be amazing because I've often wondered about this. And my oldest daughter studied neuroscience at Ohio State University. And one of the things that she studied, did a study and some research on was circadian rhythms of mice.


And so having these conversations with her about her studies and really kind of getting into the circadian rhythm and circadian clocks and the impact it has on you. And then when I met you and you're talking about led lights and the negative impact, I'm like, oh, my gosh, led lights are everywhere. I got to have you on to talk about this. You've obviously had an amazing career, but before we get dive into all the details of that, tell us, if you would, a little bit about your career journey.


Well, I went to medical school, going to be a doctor. Started out in terms after I graduated in a surgical training program, junior surgeon, working around the clock in those early days, exposed, of course, all this bright light, 24 736 hours shifts. And that got me really thinking about the disruption that was occurring. Didn't know it at the time, what exactly it was all about, but certainly one felt pretty lousy working 24 or seven type schedules around the clock under bright fluorescent lights. We had at that time, there were actually blue rich fluorescence.


And that took me a detour to Harvard. I did a PhD studying about these circadian rhythms, a very new thing at the time. And from that I started, led the team. I joined the faculty at Harvard as a professor, led the team that identified a clock in the human brain called the suprchasmatic nucleus, as you mentioned, which times our sleep and our wake and our hormones, everything that goes up and down across the 24 hours day.


And as we did that and as we looked at all that and figured out how it worked and found it was really disrupted by light at night, that was the first part of the journey. The second part of the journey was the recognition around the year 2000. That's about almost 25 years ago now. The first recognition that light at night was causing 50% greater risk of breast cancer, subsequently obesity, diabetes and heart disease.


And so the problem was I've been working in the whole area around global consulting firm dealing with health and safety around the clock and dealing with your circadian rhythms and dealing with sleep and fatigue in the workplace. And the problem when this all came out and the World Health Organization said that light at night is a carcinogen, all the people I'm working with in industry said, oh, my gosh, what are we going to do? We can't switch the lights out. We can't stop working at night. We're running oil refineries, we're running manufacturing plants, railroads, airlines, you name it. We can't switch them off.


And that got me really thinking about what we could do about it. Fortunately, the evidence was starting to come in from the science that there was a part of the spectrum, the light spectrum, what we would see as white light, typically white or yellowish light, is actually made of a whole rainbow spectrum of colors all fused together, appear, but we perceive it as white. But that rainbow spectrum of colors contains blue and blue as a certain blue color in there. That is the key signal that our eyes are detecting. That tells us it's daytime.


And at night, if you have lights which are rich in blue, like our present day leds, it really disrupts the patterns of sleep and wake and circumstance and very importantly, major aspects of our health.


So I have to ask. Go ahead. I'm sorry? Go ahead.


No, I'm just saying from there, we were able to build lights that didn't have blue at night and rich and boo during the day, which is really the answer. Engineering special leds, and that was the business we founded. And the technology now that's now coming into. Available for everyone to buy.


Yeah, and I definitely want to get into that, especially as we get further into shows, talking about some ways that we can help minimize any disruption we're having and what to look for. So I have to ask this, and I think I know the answer to this, because I know a lot of people who are guilty of this. How much blue light is in, like, for example, a television screen and. Or your cell phone.


Absolutely. About 20% of the light in a typical cell phone or your smartwatch or your computer screen or your led lights, because they're all leds, right? These days, about 20% of it is the blue, harmful blue. And you got to be pretty careful. You need to get that level down, way down, way down. One or 2%. Interestingly, in the old days, we had fires and candles before electricity. They have virtually no blue in them whatsoever. Perfectly safe to use at night in terms of our health, candles and fires. But we've just got too smart for ourselves, building these energy efficient leds, unfortunately, that pump out a whole lot of blue just at a time of day, particularly in the evenings when our bodies really shouldn't be seeing it.


Yeah. So this is absolutely fascinating to me. I literally, at night, my wife is a nurse. She goes to bed early. She'll go up to bed and I'll be typically on the couch, or our youngest daughter will be in bed and I'll stay downstairs and then I'll be watching television later in the evening. The one thing I did do was I turn off all the lights as it gets closer to I'm going to bed. I turn lights off slowly, and so I'm in the dark with just a television.


But still, obviously that's not good either. I felt like I was going a little bit of good, but not obviously enough. But we're going to come back after the break. Continue talking with Dr. Dr. Martin Moore-Ede about circadian rhythms.


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All right, welcome back to the show. It is time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this week's tip is I actually learned this when I was working at Morgan Way back in the day. And I heard the guy at the time was the CEO. Now he's the CEO and chairman. He's still there, Jamie Dimon. And he says that he wants to hire people who will ask for permission. I'm sorry, forgiveness, not permission. And it sounds kind of od to think that way. But really, what he means is hire people who are capable of doing their job. Get out of their way. Steve Jobs once said that as well.


If you have to micromanage people and they're constantly coming to you, asking you for permission, can I do this? Should I do that? Can I do this? Do you really need them? Right? You're making all the decisions. Hire someone who has the guts and has the wherewithal and that you trust enough that will make those decisions. Sometimes they'll be wrong, but they'll come to you and ask for forgiveness. Hey, I made this decision. Here's why.


They don't come to you and ask for permission constantly. Should I do this? Should I do that? So that's kind of the meaning behind all that. And it's very important, if you think about it, some of your best employees that maybe you had as a business owner or even just being a manager in a corporate job, things like that, I'll be willing to bet that some of your best employees actually followed that, and they kind of ran with things and made your job a lot easier as a leader. So that is a Mr. Biz tip of the week, this.


Dr. Moreed. Gosh, I think I know the answer to this, and I touched on a little bit during the first segment, but how is it that leds, and specifically, I guess, blue rich lights, how do they disrupt the circadian clocks that we have?


Well, the way that our clocks are kept in sync and our body is kept in sync with day and night is that our eyes at the back of our eyes, in the retina, are special cells that are blue detectors. They got a long and fancy name, intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, or iprgcs. But these cells contain a photopigment called melanopsin. And melanopsin is uniquely sensitive, very sensitive to sky blue light.


It's a particular type of blue. It's not royal blue, it's not aqua blue. It's the sky blue light. And those cells, when they're activated, when they detect sky blue light, send a signal back into our brains, into the clock, the circadian clock, and they reset it or keep it in sync. So, basically, that's how we keep in sync with day and night. So the message throughout evolution has been blue means daytime.


No, blue means nighttime. And that, by the way, we can see that in the oceans, when life first developed deep in the oceans, only blue light penetrates into the ocean depths because all the other colors of the rainbow spectrum are absorbed by seawater. So right from the very beginning, when life evolved, we had blue was the only signal that was daytime and no blue was night. That, in turn, triggers all these systems in the body.


Now, if you have light, blue light arriving at a time when it's actually nighttime, then what happens is that you disrupt that carefully balanced clocks. You get a discordant orchestra, the clocks get out of sync. And the problem with that is that leads to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, particularly the breast cancer and prostate cancer, for example. So pretty disruptive.


And also, people who see more light at night don't live as long as people who are sleeping in the dark. A pretty big effect.


Yeah. Interesting. That was going to be. My next question is what happens when your circadian rhythm and your clock gets disrupted? I guess, are there some things that aren't maybe as overt that you can maybe see as a symptom of that? Maybe your clock is kind of out of rhythm or out of balance?


Well, it's associated with an increased failure of your immune systems to work. So people, you're more susceptible to colds, viruses, Covid, whatever else. When your clock is out of balance, you are more likely to get diabetic and have metabolic and have malaise and those type of medical things. You are just not as alert and affected. Your sleep is certainly, over, time is disrupted. So all of those things are symptoms of this malfunction. And our body is a very precise time machine.


Until the electric light was invented, most people lived outside during the daytime, subject to bright daylight, and slept in the dark at night or in very low levels of light. Now, with these electric lights and particularly leds, we're indoors over 90% of the time, we're in a dim light. Indoors, that's much dimmer than outside, often 100 times or more dimmer during the day, and it's 100 times or more brighter at night than the outdoor world.


So we're really sort of messing with Mother Nature, messing with those day night cues of light and dark blue, rich, no blue that we've had for 10,000 generations of human existence before we came along and invented electric light.


So this is probably a load question for someone like you that has all this knowledge in this field, but it's probably going to. I don't want to get you upset here, but what impact? I know there's an impact. How big of an impact do you think that people with their smartphones and their cell phones and often are looking at those things at night? And maybe that's one of the last things that they are looking at in the evening before they lay down to go to bed, or maybe even while they're laying in bed, of looking at that.


How detrimental is that?


Well, it's quite detrimental. In fact, it's one of the reasons that we see, really a big increase over the last ten years in the rate of cancers in young people, up 50% or more sometimes some. Some cancers more than 100% increase in the rate of people with cancer who are young. Big effect. And the type of cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer occurring much younger than ever before. So there are big effects.


We also, as I say, we know that people who get outside during the day live longer, 30% longer on average. It's a big effect of people during the day seeing, if you see bright light during the day, it's healthy. That's one of the things you need to do, is get out and get exposed to daylight. Golfers, for example, live longer, five years longer than the average person, because what does it take two or 3 hours to go around a golf course in daylight?


Perfect in terms of your health, instead of just staying indoors away from natural light.


Yeah. And I can imagine with the proliferation of video games and how popular those are, especially with the young population, and how video games came about, I don't know, what, maybe mid 70s, late 70s, something like that. So it's been relatively new in our world. We've only got a short amount of time here. But maybe just a quick answer. Is the primary tie in between the circadian rhythms being off and the increase in cancers? Is it primarily due to the decrease in your immune system?


Well, it's a number of things. One of the big things is suppression of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal that comes out at night that is cancer preventing. In other words, it stops cancer cells in your body developing and growing. If you suppress light, they're very sensitive to light, and that hormone is suppressed. When that hormone is suppressed, cancer cells grow much more rapidly, and that's been shown in all sorts of animals, in the sort of mice that your daughter studied, but also in human studies.


Okay, well, look, we're going to hit a break here, guys. We're going to come back, we're going to pick Dr. Moreed's brain a little bit about number one, why are led lights being so heavily promoted? And number two, what are some things we can do to keep our rhythms in line?


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All right. Welcome back to the show. Real quick, I want to tell you guys, too. We'll put this in the show notes as well, but definitely go out and check out Dr. Moreed's book, the Light Doctor, the Science and solutions for replacing your lights now to protect your health. That's released on Substac. You can check out more at his circadian light research center. His website is real easy,


You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram x, and he also has a YouTube channel. So go check those out. And again, we'll put those in the show notes as well, but definitely check those out. So this, again might be a really simplified question, but in your professional opinion, why is it that led lights, all these detrimental impacts that we're seeing on people's well being and their health, why are they being promoted so heavily?


Well, the whole argument has been energy efficiency. Everyone's concerned, rightly so, about climate change and what can we do to reduce energy use. And the leds use a lot less electricity to produce the same amount of bright light. The problem is that they're really not producing natural light in any way. It's a very artificial light. It's got a big blue spike in it, and it's got a color spectrum that doesn't represent anything like natural daylight.


It appears white. So we tend to go by our perceptions. And the problem is that that has been matter of special policy. So that last year, that's 2023 in August. From then on, all incandescents and halogens were banned. And now we're seeing banning of most fluorescence, so that the only type of light that you can buy these days is effectively leds. And most of them, as I say, are these blue rich leds. Now, not all leds are bad. You can have leds that are built, you can actually use leds. And this is what we did to actually provide the spectrum, healthy spectrum.


But most leds are not designed for health whatsoever. They're merely designed to reduce the least electricity as possible. And because of that, the Department of Energy has pushed them hard rebates. Utility companies pay for half the cost of replacing your lights and putting in leds. Unfortunately, much more concerned with the health of the planet than the health of us, I. E. The people under those lights.


Yeah, well, that all being said, and all those eye opening things we've already talked about, and the negative impact that these blue rich lights are having on our health, what are some practical tips that we could implement in our lives to sort of help at least minimize the impact of the negative impact on our circadian rhythms?


Well, all of these are well demonstrated. Number one, get exposed, get out and about and walking, running, whatever you want to do outside during the day, especially in the morning hours, in regular daylight, it doesn't matter whether it's sunny or cloudy. You will get tons of healthy light. And that's really critical. So get outside. Don't spend all your time indoors. Try to get outside, particularly in the morning hours, is a really key time for doing that.


It's good for your mental health, it's good for your physical health, it's good for your longevity, how long you'll live. The second thing is that when you are indoors, use lights that are rich in these sky blue wavelengths that will actually give you the level of blue you need. We tend to live in rather dim surroundings. You need quite a lot of light indoors, but light that is blue rich during the daytime, that's the second thing.


Thirdly, when the evening comes around, make sure that you are going to have light that does not have zero blue in it or very little blue in it. There are lights out there called zero blue lights, or less than 2% blue lights that will do that. When it comes to the nighttime, make sure you are sleeping in the dark. Amazing number of people sleep with the lights on, the tv on, or whatever. Always sleep in pitch darkness.


And so that really enables your body to get into that fully restorative sleep. And the lastly, fifth, keep on a regular schedule. This is also very much related to health. People who have irregular sleeping patterns don't live as long as people who have a very regular pattern. So get yourself on a regular schedule that works for you. Some people are morning types, some people evening types that favor different hours.


But try to get on a regular schedule. All those things can help you really master your circadian clock, have that really strongly in sync with day and night, have your body fully functioning and with maximum opportunity for good health.


Dr. Maurice, how long before, let's say, you normally go to bed? It's, let's say, 10:00 at night. How long before 10:00 p.m. Should you really start to restrict as much as you can those blue rich lights?


General guidance is about 3 hours before your normal bedtime is a good guidance. And so, yeah, that's what you need to do. And we have the lights switched to these zero blue lights.


So this is probably wishful thinking on my part. I don't watch a lot of tv, but typically when I do watch television, it's usually the last couple of hours where I go to bed. Is there any way, is there perhaps a shield you can buy for your television that would help limit some of that blue light without distorting the picture itself? Or is there anything like that that's been developed at this point?


Well, actually even better, because you can do shields and so forth, but then you make the colors very yellow and so forth. You put shields the blue. But what's now been invented has been tv screens that have rich in blue during the day and the evening hours. They automatically switch to being low in blue, but you can't tell the difference by looking at it. It's still a white screen. And that was on display week at the big show in LA.


And now I understand there's going to be a Kickstarter campaign, so people might want to look out for that, for the really development and bringing those screens. And you'll get screens that now do it all for you. So we're very close to having that solution as well as we'd already have the solutions of the lights that enable to control that circadian blue night and day.


And so it sounds like you would also recommend, and you hear this often, I don't know how often people, especially younger people, adhere to it, but you had mentioned maybe 3 hours or so before bedtime to really, if you're a younger person, you're playing video games, you should probably wind down off the video games at least two or 3 hours before bedtime. What would be your recommendation for folks that are just absolutely addicted to their smartphone, and that's one of the ways that they wind down the evening. Other than changing that habit.


Is there anything, I assume if there are, for your television, there's probably something for your screen on your phone as well. You could buy maybe a screen that would help at least reduce some of that risk. Yes.


Well, there are another solution we haven't talked about is eyewear. There are glasses that are blue blocking that will take out that blue. Now, you have to be very careful because a lot of glasses that are claimed to be blue blocking are actually not taking out the right blue at all. They may look pretty, but they don't work. These are glasses that can look yellow, orange in color a little bit, but there are blue blocking glasses out there. There's a company called, there's a type of, called blue Safe 24, for example, is one example of them. But there are others that do remove that blue that disrupts circadian clocks and enable you now to look at your screens, look at your computers, whatever, without getting the blue because they're just blocking it from entering your eyes.


Interesting. I'm definitely going to look into that because, again, I know my daughters are usually watching television later in the evening before they go to bed. My wife often, be honest with you, she'll probably kill me for saying this, although I think most people know her. She falls asleep with the television on every single night, and she's been doing that for, I don't know, 20 plus years, 30 years probably.


So breaking that habit is going to be difficult. But I think maybe that's at least sort of a hybrid solution to help her with that is maybe using those blue blocker glasses. I'll definitely look for those. Well, Dr. Maurit, I really appreciate you coming on the show. This has been fascinating. I really love having you on. Good.


Delighted to be here. It's great questions, and it's an important topic and people need to hear about it.


Yeah, for sure. Okay. Again, Dr. Martin Moore-Ede. You can find out more at his website, You can follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram X and YouTube. Guys, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Don't forget, as always, cash flow is king.


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