Exposure to blue light reduces blood pressure, reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study from University of Surrey and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in collaboration with Philips reports.
During this study, published in the prestigious European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, participants were exposed to 30 minute whole blood blue light at approximately 450 nanometers, a dose comparable to daily sunlight – followed by exposure to a control light on another day. Visible blue light, as opposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, is not carcinogenic. To assess the effect, participants' blood pressure, the stiffness of the blood, the expansion of blood vessels and blood plasma levels of nitrogen oxide stores were measured before, during and up to two hours after irradiation with both lamps.
Researchers discovered that exposure to whole blood blue light reduced the systolic blood pressure of participants by nearly 8 mmHg, compared to the control light that had no effect. The decrease in blood pressure from blue light is similar to that seen in clinical trials with antihypertensive drugs.
In addition to antihypertensive effects, it was also discovered that blue light exposure improved other cardiovascular risk markers, including decreased arterial rigidity and increased blood vessel relaxation. This further states that light can be used to prevent cardiovascular disease, which kills more than 150,000 people in the United Kingdom each year.
Researchers also found that exposure to blue light increased nitric oxide levels which is an important signal molecule that protects the cardiovascular system. It is assumed that blue light emits from the skin to the bloodstream where it releases blood vessels, increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Christian Heiss, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at University of Surrey and NHS Consultant, said:
"Blue light exposure provides an innovative method of accurately controlling blood pressure without drugs. Portable blue light sources can make continued exposure to light possible and practical. This would be especially useful for those whose blood pressure is not easily controlled by medication, such as older people. "
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