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Blue light blues

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

When Chuck Berry sang "The House of Blue Lights" he extolled that nightspot's great eats and music: "Fryers and broilers and Detroit barbecue ribs" and "an eight beat combo that just won't quit."

These days exposure to blue lights -- emitted by most white LEDs and many tablet and phone screens -- is nothing to sing about.

We've long known that blue light from your phone or tablet messes with your sleep-wake cycle, triggering sleep disorders, and is associated with obesity, especially in night-shift workers. Now scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health have published research in Epidemiology that, for the first time, explores the association between nighttime exposure to outdoor artificial light and colorectal cancer. Their conclusion: Exposure to the blue light spectrum may increase your risk for this common cancer. In fact, study participants with the highest exposures to blue light had a 60% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than folks with far less exposure. This builds on the institute's earlier study that found exposure to nighttime blue light increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

So what can you do to limit your exposure? Indoors it comes down to three smart steps: 1) In the evening turn on the blue light filter on your phones, tablets and computers; 2) install black-out curtains and/or shades on bedroom windows to keep outdoor light from invading your space; 3) install blue-free bulbs (they do exist; some with whiter-appearing light than others) in nightlights, and all bedroom and bathroom lights.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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