Another score for our friend light!
It’s not new to anyone that sunlight exposure is good for health and wellbeing and is responsible for most of the vitamin D production in our bodies.
Florence Nightingale instinctively knew light was helpful when she started taking patients outside and they began to heal faster.
Scientists have known for a while now that exposure to bright light can help with heart health too, but now they know why.
In the USA, heart related health issues increase during the winter months even in states with higher levels of overall sunlight.
Starting with mice, and then moving to human trials where the results were the same.., they used light therapy consisting of 30 minute sessions of bright light (about 10,000 lux) for 5 consecutive days.
The results showed a positive reduction in plasma/blood triglycerides (improving insulin and carbohydrate metabolism), a positive strengthening of blood vessels and therefore blood flow regulation, a significant reduction in heart tissue damage due to low oxygen supply in cases where arteries are partly or completely blocked (like in Myocardial ischemia), and heart tissue protection even after a heart attack.
The gene affected by the light is in the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms (body clock).
Of interest is that blind mice in the preliminary studies did not get benefit from the light therapy showing that visual perception of light is needed for the positive results.
Potentially giving this type of light therapy for a week before surgery could protect people from heart damage during risky operations.