Infrared lights prevents dementia?

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    In this video, Dr. Roger Seheult of MedCram discusses a recent study that used near-infrared light in mice that had diet-induced obesity and looked at the surrogate markers of neuroinflammation in the brain. The study wanted to see if infrared light could reduce inflammation in the brain.

    Near-infrared light

    We have known for a while that light can affect the body and the study of this is called photobiomodulation. The near-infrared light spectrum can be found beyond the visible light spectrum and ranges from 760 to 1400 nanometers (nm). 

    In this study, male mice at 5 weeks old were randomized to two types of diets, regular food, and a high-fat diet. They were fed this diet for 13 weeks and then further randomized to receive either a near-infrared laser on the skull once a day for 90 sec 5 days a week or a sham laser.   

    Surrogate markers of inflammation

    The study looked at surrogate markers for inflammation such as CD 68, TNF-alpha, and IL-10. All of these showed an increase, meaning increased inflammation when mice went from a regular diet to a high-fat diet. Then mice that were exposed to near-infrared light showed a decrease in all of the surrogate markers for inflammation. 

    Limitations of study

    Some of the limitations of this study are that it is an animal study and secondly that the endpoints were only surrogate markers.  There obviously was no way to analyze endpoints such as cognitive decline or dementia due to it using a mouse model. 

    Benefits of infrared light

    Infrared light and its suggested benefits have previously been discussed by MedCram in the video “Light as Medicine.”  Dr. Seheult discusses how mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, create oxidative stress and that near-infrared light can stimulate melatonin production within the cell. Melatonin then goes on to function as an antioxidant within the cell to help battle oxidate stress.  Thus melatonin is not only a “night” hormone but also a day one albeit in different locations in the body.  Near-infrared radiation can penetrate deeply into the subcutaneous tissue and into the mitochondria.  It can also penetrate the skull and get diffused into the cerebral spinal fluid and go into the sulci and get absorbed by the mitochondria in the grey matter of the brain according to one study. The most important thing to note is that only indirect exposure to the sun is needed to get near-infrared light and a person doesn’t need direct sunlight. Near-infrared light can bounce off things that are green such as grass and trees.  As a result, spending time outdoors and in nature is associated with diverse and significant health benefits according to a systematic review.  Another study from Sweden demonstrated that women who had the highest avoidance of sun exposure also had the lowest mean survival. Further studies are needed; however, it may be safe to say that being exposed to outdoor light may provide many health benefits. 




    Melatonin and the Optics of the Human Body (Melatonin Research) |….

    Investigating Eccrine Sweat As A Noninvasive Biomarker Resource (ASU) |…

    Near‐infrared light reduces glia activation and modulates neuroinflammation in the brains of diet‐induced obese mice (Scientific Reports) |…

    Melatonin in Mitochondria: MitigatingClear and Present Dangers (Physiology) |…

    9 Secrets to a Strong Immune System (Commune) |

    The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes

    Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort.


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