Did you know that light plays a major role in our circadian system? It regulates our circadian system by communicating with our eye’s light sensitive cells, which then signals the body clock of our brain. This is how your body knows what time it is so that your organs work accordingly. These sensitive cells are even more sensitive to blue light. Recently, it was discovered that blue light helps in decreasing blood pressure.
It has become a known fact that blood pressure stays low during summer months as compared to the winter months. A recent study examined the impact of blue light on blood pressure and revealed surprising results. There are numerous health benefits of blue light exposure, including an impact on high blood pressure. The positive impact of blue light has been found to be as effective as any other hypertension medication available on the market today.
Blue Light And Blood Pressure
The study1Stern, M., Broja, M., Sansone, R., Gröne, M., Skene, S. S., Liebmann, J., … Heiss, C. (2018). Blue light exposure decreases systolic blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and improves endothelial function in humans. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 25(17), 1875–1883. https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487318800072, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, reveals that blue light exposure is an effective treatment for lowering your blood pressure and simultaneously decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The participants in this study were exposed to the blue light for 30 minutes, followed by control light exposure on a different day. The researchers examined the blood vessel dilation, arteries stiffness, blood pressure, and nitric oxide’s blood plasma levels of the participants during, before and after the exposure of both lights.
They found that whole body exposure to blue light drastically lowered the levels of blood pressure of the participants by around 8 mmHg. There was however, no impact on the blood pressure levels with the controlled light exposure.
Health Benefits of Blue Light
Aside from lowering the systolic blood pressure, exposure to blue light offers numerous health benefits, including the following:
- Decrease in the stiffness of arteries. The participants in the study experienced lowered pulse wave velocity and lowered forearm vascular resistance.
- Enhanced flow of blood. The participants in the study experienced an increase in flow-mediated dilation and forearm blood flow – the former refers to the artery’s capacity of widening in reaction to the increase in the flow of blood.
- Encouragement of nitric oxide release. The participants in the study showcased enhanced nitric oxide circulation and concentrations of nitroso species in their plasma. Remarkably, the systolic blood pressure reduction after light exposure for 30 minutes was linked to the plasma nitroso species changes.
The best part is that all these health benefits of blue light exposure come with no side effects that have been linked to blood pressure medications2N Engl J Med 2015; 373:2103-2116, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511939. The light exposure levels in the study have been rather realistic and almost the same as the exposure you get during a typical sunny day. Indeed, you would have to regularly experience the exposure to blue light in order to enjoy these health benefits long-term.
It is not unrealistic to assume that regular exposure to blue light, along with the consumption of healthy and antihypertensive foods like olive oil and cherries can result in making a major impact on the high blood pressure levels.