Link Between Gut Bacteria and Vitamin D

A new study has found links between gut bacteria and the active form of Vitamin D. This study has suggested that gut bacteria may play a vital role in converting inactive Vitamin D into its active, health benefiting form. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and bones and for a strong immune system. The study has revealed a new understanding of Vitamin D and how it is typically measured.

A variety of studies have suggested that a deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. However, the largest randomized clinical trial to date which included more than 25,000 adults, concluded that taking Vitamin D supplement had no effect on health outcomes. And a few studies have suggested that low Vitamin D levels may also be associated with more severe cases of COVID-19 although the research is not conclusive at this time.

When researchers and healthcare professionals need to determine a person’s Vitamin D status they will measure their serum levels of the inactive precursor. This will reflect how much of the vitamin the body stores. However, the vital factor may be how the vitamin is metabolized instead of how much is stored.

The researchers involved in the current study have suggested that might be because these previous studies measured only the precursor form of the vitamin rather than the active hormone. Measures of vitamin D formation and breakdown might be better indicators of underlying health issues and who might best respond to supplementation of this vitamin.

When the researchers for the current study at the University of San Diego in La Jolla measured how much active Vitamin D older men had in their blood, they found that its level was linked to the diversity of the bacteria community living in their gut or what is known as gut microbiome. Gut microbiome live in our digestive tract and play important roles in health and disease risk. Greater gut microbiome diversity is thought to be linked to better health in general.

Levels of the active Vitamin D also correlated with the number of friendly bacteria that were found in the gut. In contrast, there was no strong link between the inactive, precursor form of the vitamin and friendly bacteria or bacterial diversity.

The team was surprised to find the variety of bacteria types in a person’s gut was closely linked with active Vitamin D. And the correlation between active Vitamin D and microbial diversity remained even following adjustments for factors that are known to determine microbial diversity. These include where in the United States a participant lived, their age, their antibiotic use and their ethnic background.

In fact, the levels of active Vitamin D in each participant’s levels correlated more strongly with microbiome diversity than any of the above factors. This is especially remarkable in that people who live in sunnier climates such as California, are able to synthesize more of their own Vitamin D through ultraviolet light action on their skin.

It appears that it does not matter so much how much Vitamin D a person gets through supplementation or sunlight nor how much the body can store. It really matters how well the body is able to metabolize that into active Vitamin D. This is what clinical trials need to measure in order to get more accurate measures of the vitamins role in health. The team speculates that changing a patient’s microbiota could augment existing treatments for bone density improvements and other health outcomes.

To view the original scientific study click below

Vitamin D Metabolites and the Gut Microbiome.

Short Bursts of Exercise Can Improve Metabolic Health

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that even short bursts of physical exercise can induce changes in the body’s levels of metabolites that correlate to and might help gauge a person’s cardiovascular, cardiometabolic and long term health. The study shows how approximately 12 minutes of acute cardiopulmonary exercise impacted more than 80% of circulating metabolites and includes pathways linked to a wide range of favorable health outcomes.

Much is already known about the effects of exercise on vascular, cardiac and inflammatory systems in the body. The new study provides a comprehensive look at the metabolic impact of physical exercise by linking specific metabolic pathways to exercise response variables and long term health outcomes.

The MGH study used data from the Framingham Heart Study to measure levels of 588 circulating metabolites prior to and immediately following 12 minutes of vigorous exercise in 411 middle aged women and men. The research team detected favorable shifts in a number of metabolites for which levels of rest were previously shown to be linked to cardiometabolic disease.

As an example, glutamate which is a key metabolite linked to diabetes, heart disease and decreased longevity, fell by 29%. And DMGV which is a metabolite associated with the increased risk of liver disease and diabetes, dropped by 18%. The team also found that metabolic responses may be modulated by factors other than exercise which includes a person’s body mass index and sex with obesity potentially conferring partial resistance to the benefits of engaging in physical exercise.

Interestingly, the study found that different metabolites tracked with different physiologic responses to physical exercise and could provide unique signatures in the bloodstream that reveal if a person is physically fit, similar to the way current blood tests determine how well the liver and kidneys are functioning.

The Framingham Heart Study which begin in 1948 and now includes three generations of participants, allowed the researchers to apply the same signatures used in the current study population to stored blood from previous generation of participants. Through studying the long term effects of metabolic signatures of exercise responses, the team was able to predict the future state of a person’s health and how long they are likely to live.

Through this study, there is a better understanding of the molecular underpinnings of how exercise affects the body and how that knowledge could be used to understand the metabolic architecture around patterns of exercise response. This approach has the potential to target individuals who have high blood pressure or a variety of other metabolic risk factors in response to exercise and then set them on a healthier trajectory early in their lives.

To view the original scientific study click below

Metabolic Architecture of Acute Exercise Response in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community.

Glucosamine as Effective as Regular Exercise in Reducing Death Rates

A recent study led by Dana King, a professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, along with research partner Jun Xiang, have found that glucosamine supplements may reduce overall mortality almost as well as regular exercise does. The new epidemiological study has provided encouraging results that are good indicators supporting their analysis.

The partners assessed data from 16,686 adults who had completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010. The participants were all at least 40 years of age. They then merged their data with 2015 mortality figures.

After controlling for a variety of factors such as the participants sex, age, activity level and smoking status, they found that taking glucosamine/chondroitin every day for a year or longer was linked to a 39% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 65% reduction in cardiovascular related deaths. This category of disease includes coronary artery disease, stroke and heart disease and is the United States biggest killer.

Once they took everything into account, the impact shown was quite significant. The findings do not imply that anyone should skip regular exercise, but rather that adding this particular supplement would also be beneficial. And while this was an epidemiological study rather than a clinical trial and doesn’t offer definitive proof that this supplement makes death less likely, the results certainly are intriguing.

To view the original scientific study click below

Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Mortality in a US NHANES Cohort.

Offsetting Health Harms Linked to Prolonged Sitting

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exceeding weekly recommended physical activity levels to offset the health harms that are associated with prolonged sitting. This is the first recommendation of its kind following additional research showing that increasing physical activity can counter the risk of early death which has been linked to long periods of sedentary time.

The new guidelines note that all physical activity counts and is great for long term health. The recommendation reflects a large and growing body of evidence that links extensive sedentary time to serious ill health and also a heightened risk of early death. New data recently released has shown that adults who clock up long hours of sedentary time each day can counter these risks through increasing the amount of activity they engage in.

The new research which involved more than 44,000 participants from four countries who wore activity trackers, has revealed that a high daily tally of sedentary time as defined in the study as 10 hours or more, is linked to significantly increased risk of death and this is particularly true among people who are physically inactive.

However, 30 to 40 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity will substantially weaken the risks. This brings the risks down to levels associated with very low amounts of sedentary time.

The guidelines do state that there isn’t enough evidence to recommend specific maximum thresholds for sedentary behavior. However, everyone irrespective of their abilities or age should try to limit their daily sedentary time and replace it with physical activity at any intensity.

The research shows that all physical activity counts. This could be a variety of activities such as a walk around the block, climbing stairs instead of taking elevators, going for a bike ride or run, gardening, a team sport, or a high intensity interval training workout.

The WHO guidance recommends adding up to a weekly tally of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or at least 75 to 100 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity. However, any amount of physical activity is better than none at all.

Boosting levels of physical activity doesn’t only benefit physical and mental health, but will help to stave off the risk of early death. It is also likely the benefit the global economy through higher productivity, lower rates of attendance, and lower rates of working age sickness and death.

The new guidelines involved more than 40 scientists from six continents. They provided a consensus on the latest science in regards to the health impacts of sedentary behavior and physical activity from early childhood to older age. Key recommendations for adults including those with disabilities or long term conditions at any age are:

Aim to engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity or an equivalent combination of both and muscle strengthening activities such as core conditioning and weights at moderate or greater intensity on 2 or more days per week.

Reduce sedentary behavior

People 65 and over should engage in physical activity that emphasizes functional balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity on 3 or more days per week.

Women should engage in regular physical activity throughout pregnancy and after birth to include various aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. Gentle stretching can also be beneficial.

Light intensity physical activity won’t cause a substantial increase in breathing or the heart rate and includes activities such as strolling.

Moderate intensity physical activities increase heart rate and induces a degree of breathlessness where it is still possible to talk. This includes dancing, brisk walking and raking leaves.

Vigorous intensity physical activity substantially increase the heart rate and breathing rate and includes running/jogging, cycling, carrying heavy objects, swimming, digging in the garden, walking up stairs and playing tennis.

There are still gaps in the knowledge such as where exactly the bar for “too much sitting” is. However, research is continuing to answer some of the unknowns. The current guidelines are timely given the global pandemic which has people confined indoors for long periods and has encouraged an increase in sedentary behaviors.

People can still protect their health and offset the harmful health effects of physical inactivity. As emphasized, any activity counts. There are a variety of indoor options that don’t require a lot of space or equipment such as active play with pets and children, climbing stairs, dancing, and online yoga and Pilates classes.

To view the original scientific study click below

World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

Clear Association Between Fitness and Mental Health

A new study has reported a clear association between low cardio-respiratory fitness and muscle strength and the risks of developing symptoms of anxiety, depression or both. The study which included over 150,000 participants, may help with clinical guidance on physical fitness and mental health.

Mental health problems just like issues involving physical health, can have a profound effect on a person’s everyday life. The more common mental health issues are depression and anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America indicates that 18.1% of adults in America have experienced an anxiety disorder sometime in the past year. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that 7.1% of American adults have experienced a significant episode of depression.

There is a large body of evidence showing that being physically active can help treat or prevent conditions related to mental health. However, there are still many questions that need to be answered. As an example, what types of measures should be used to quantify physical activity? And in what ways might it help prevent issues with mental health or help with improving someone’s mental health? Also, is it possible to show a causal association between better mental health and physical activity?

The importance of having detailed evidence of the link between mental health and physical activity in addition to the mechanisms that could underlie it, is vitally important to clinicians who can suggest targeted guidance to individuals who suffer from mental health conditions.

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed an existing data set that enabled them to add onto their understanding of the link between mental health and physical activity. The data was drawn from the U.K. Biobank which is a data repository which included information from over 500,000 volunteers age 40 to 69 from Scotland, Wales and England. From August 2009 to December 2010, a subset from the Biobank consisting of 152,978 participants underwent a variety of tests to measure their fitness.

The team assessed the cardio-respiratory fitness of the participants through monitoring their heart rate before, during and following a six minute sub-maximal exercise test conducted on stationary bicycles. The volunteer’s grip strengths were also measured which was used as a proxy for muscle strength.

The participants also completed two standard clinical questionnaires which were related to depression and anxiety. This information gave the team an overview of each participant’s mental health. After seven years, the research team assessed each participant’s depression and anxiety again by using the same two questionnaires.

The team accounted for potential confounding factors such as natal sex, age, smoking status, physical activity, previous mental issues, parental depression, educational experience, and diet.

The team discovered a significant association between the participants mental health and their initial physical fitness seven years later. Individuals who were classified as having low combined muscle strength and cardio-respiratory fitness had 60% higher odds of experiencing anxiety and 98% higher odds of experiencing depression.

They also studied the separate correlations between cardio-respiratory fitness and mental health, and muscle strength and mental health. They discovered that each fitness measure was individually linked with a change in risk but less significantly so with the combination of measures.

This further evidence indicated there is a relationship between mental health and fitness and that structured exercise which is aimed at improving different types of fitness is good for both physical health and mental health.

Although the study is a robust one with a long follow-up period and objective measures of the risk factor and the outcome, it does not necessarily mean there is a casual relationship between physical and mental health. It might be that people who have better mental health tend to stay physically active.

Nonetheless, the team deployed a variety of statistical techniques that does suggest that it is likely there is a causal relationship between physical fitness and improved mental health. In addition to the adjustments for confounding factors, the team also conducted a variety of sensitivity analyses.

They looked for reverse causation which is when the outcome is actually the cause through excluding participants who were anxious or depressed at the beginning of the study. They also changed the cut-off values which would determine whether participants had depression and neither of these two analyses changed any of the team’s findings.

There is the need now to demonstrate what the mechanisms are that account for the relationship between fitness and mental health. However, the current findings are still important. The team notes that a person is able to meaningfully improve their physical fitness in just 3 weeks. And based on that period, a person may be able to reduce their risk of developing common mental health conditions by close to 32.5%.

To view the original scientific study click below

Individual and combined associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and grip strength with common mental disorders: a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank

Cold Conditions Boost Fat Burning and increase Vitamin A

A new study conducted by a research team at MedUni Vienna’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, has shown that cold ambient temperatures increase levels of Vitamin A in both mice and humans. This can help convert bad white adipose tissue into good brown adipose tissue which can then in turn stimulate heat generation and fat burning. Vitamin A is important for a variety of human processes – vision, cell growth, reproduction and the immune system.

Normally this fat transformation is accompanied by enhanced energy consumption therefore is considered a promising direction for developing novel obesity therapeutics.

In mammals and humans at least two types of fatty deposits are recognized – white and brown adipose tissue. When obesity develops, excess calories are mostly stored in white fat. In contrast to white fat, brown fat burns energy and thus generates heat. Over 90% of body fat deposits in humans are white which are mostly located at the bottom, abdomen and upper thighs. Converting white fat into brown fat might be a new therapeutic option for combating weight gain and obesity.

The research team demonstrated that moderate application of cold will increase levels of Vitamin A and its blood transporter retinol-binding protein in mice and humans. Most Vitamin A reserves are stored in the liver and exposure to cold seems to stimulate the redistribution of the vitamin towards the adipose tissue. This cold-induced increase in Vitamin A led to a conversion of white fat into brown fat or browning with a higher rate of fat burning.

When the team blocked the Vitamin A transporter in mice through genetic manipulation, both the cold mediated rise in Vitamin A and browning of the white fat were blunted. As a result, heat production and fat oxidation were disturbed so that the mice could no loner protect themselves against cold. In contrast, adding Vitamin A to white fat cells led to an expression of brown fat cell characteristics. This increased energy consumption and metabolic activity.

The team also examined humans although the study process was different. The team exposed 30 participants to cold temperatures and found increased levels of Vitamin A. They also extracted human cells from the belly fat of four of the participants. When they stimulated the cells with Vitamin A, the cells displayed browning behavior.

The results indicate that Vitamin A plays a vital role in the function of adipose tissue and also affects global energy consumption. This is not an argument for humans to begin consuming large amounts of Vitamin A supplements if they are not prescribed. It is critical that Vitamin A is transported at the right time to the right cells.

To view the original scientific study click below

Intact vitamin A transport is critical for cold-mediated adipose tissue browning and thermogenesis.

Sauna for Anti-Aging

Living a healthier and longer life is inherently linked with delaying or preventing the onset of aging. The aging process has far reaching effects on a variety of systems within the body even at the molecular and cellular levels. Sauna use which is also referred to as “sauna bathing” is an ancient practice that shows profound implications for slowing aging.

Sauna bathing exposes the body to extreme heat which is a form of stress. The effects of this heat stress on longevity has been shown in worms and flies, increasing their lifespans by as much as 15%. Furthermore, large observational studies conducted in humans have identified strong links between a lower risk of age-related conditions and sauna use.

Participants in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) which is an ongoing prospective population based cohort study of health outcomes in over 2,300 middle-aged men from eastern Finland who used saunas two to three times per week, were 27% less likely to die from a variety of age-related disorders.

The studies findings also showed that the benefits received were dose-dependent in that men who engaged in sauna bathing roughly twice as often, about 4 to 7 times per week, were 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular-related causes.

The KIHD study also revealed that frequent sauna bathing reduced the risk of developing age-related cognitive decline disorders in a dose-dependent manner. Men who used a sauna two to three times per week had a 66% lower risk of developing dementia and a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

The findings also showed that frequent sauna bathing users were 40% less likely to die from all causes of premature death. And these findings remained true even when considering activity levels, age, and lifestyle factors that may have influenced the men’s health.

Sauna bathing exposes the body to extreme heat which elicits a robust and rapid response:

-Skin and core body temperatures will increase markedly and sweating begins

-Cardiac output which is a measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body’s need for oxygen, increases by 60% to 70% and the heart rate also increases

-Blood flow is redirected from the body’s core to the skin to facilitate sweating.

-Plasma volume increases to compensate for the decrease in core blood volume, provides a reserve source of fluid for sweating and prevents rapid increases in core body temperature which promotes hyper-thermic conditioning which is a form of heat tolerance.

-During moderate temperature sauna bathing, the heart rate may increase up to 100 beats per minute and up to 150 beats per minute when the heat is turned up

These are just some of the visible signs of heat stress. Invisible responses to heat stress will occur at the molecular and cellular levels through a physiological phenomenon known as hormesis. Hormesis is a defensive response that will occur after exposure to a mild stressor. This is a trigger to a vast array of protective responses to the body that repair cell damage, elicit long term adaptations, and provides protection from subsequent exposures to more devastating stressors.

The WHO estimates that almost 18 million people die every year from cardiovascular diseases and is one-third of all deaths globally. People who engage in long term sauna bathing typically experience improvements in several aspects of cardiovascular health such as reduced blood pressure, improved left ventricular function, improved endothelial function, and reduced markers of inflammation.

Different forms of heat therapy including sauna use have been proposed as alternatives to exercise for people who are not able to engage in physical activity due to physical limitations or chronic disease.

The brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of aging. Heat-induced responses will help protect the brain from the cumulative effects of unhealthy dietary patterns, oxidative stress and everyday energy metabolism which all work against long term cognitive function.

Research has also identified a variety of heat stress induced molecular mechanisms that modulate cognitive decline and aging such as those that mitigate protein damage and aggregation or activate endogenous antioxidant repair, and degradation processes.

A growing body of evidence from clinical, observational, and mechanistic studies all suggest that sauna bathing is associated with a variety of health benefits and may offer a way to forestall the effects of aging. For maximum benefits, healthy adults should follow the following guidelines for safe and effective sauna bathing:

-4 to 7 sessions per week

-Approximately 20 minutes per session

-Temperature is dependent upon the type of sauna. Far infrared saunas are typically used at 130 – 135 degrees

To view the original scientific study click below

Benefits and risks of sauna bathing.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Reverses Two Markers of Aging in Human Cells

A new study from Tel Aviv University and the Shamir Medical Center in Israel indicates that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can stop blood cell aging and also partially reverse the aging process. From a biologic sense, the blood cells appeared to grow younger as treatments progressed.

The team discovered that a unique protocol of treatments with high pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber can actually reverse two major processes that are associated with aging and the illnesses that go along with it. These are the shortening of telomeres which are the protective regions found at both ends of every chromosome, and the accumulation of malfunctioning old cells in the body.

Through focusing on immune cells which contained DNA that had been obtained from the participant’s blood, the research showed a lengthening of up to 38% of the telomeres and additionally a decrease of up to 37% in the presence of senescent cells.

For several years the research team had been involved in hyperbaric therapy and research through treatments based on protocols of exposure to high pressure oxygen at a variety of concentrations inside pressure chambers. Their achievements over the years included improvements of brain functions that are typically damaged by stroke, brain injury or aging.

The current study involved studying the impact of HBOT on independent, healthy aging adults and to discover if such treatments can slow down, stop and even reverse the normal aging process at the cellular level.

The team exposed 35 healthy people who were age 64 or over to a series of 60 hyperbaric sessions over a 90 day period. Each individual provided samples of their blood before, during and at the end of the treatments in addition to some time following the end of the treatments. The research team then analyzed various immune cells in the participant’s blood samples and compared the results.

Their findings have indicated that the treatments received actually did reverse the aging process in two major aspects – the telomeres grew longer instead of shorter at a rate of 20% to 38% for the different types of cells, and the percentage of senescent cells in the overall population of cells was reduced quite significantly by 11% to 37% depending on the type of cell.

Telomere shortening is currently considered the Holy Grail of the biology of aging. Researchers throughout the globe are trying to develop environmental and pharmacological interventions that would enable telomere elongation. The HBOT protocol in the current study was able to achieve this which proved that the process of aging can in fact be reversed at the basic molecular/cellular level.

Up until now, interventions such as intense exercise and lifestyle modifications have been shown to have some inhibiting effect on shortening of telomeres. In the new study, just three months of HBOT was able to elongate the telomeres at rates far beyond any current interventions and lifestyle changes. This pioneering study has opened a door for more research on the cellular impact of HBOT and its possibilities for reversing the process of aging.

To view the original scientific study click below

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases telomere length and decreases immunosenescence in isolated blood cells: a prospective trial.

Lower Cancer Risk Through Early Morning Exercise

A new study has revealed that people who exercise in the morning between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. as opposed to later in the day may be less likely to develop certain types of cancer. This new research may help future research into the timing of exercising as a possible way to reduce the risk of cancer.

Previous research has shown that recreational exercise can reduce the risk of developing many types of cancers. This is important because of the high incidence of people developing cancer and the significant number of people who die from their disease. In the United States, it is estimated that by the end of 2020 1,806.590 people will be diagnosed with cancer while 606,520 people will die from cancer.

With the large number of people developing cancer, any small changes even as small as changing the time of day for exercising could make a significant contribution to the reduction of cancer across an entire population.

The recent study by researchers from the Barcelona Institute of Global Health and the Department of Epidemiology at the Medical University of Vienna studied the exercise habits of 2,795 participants. The participants were a subset of the Spanish multi-case control study that set out to understand factors that cause common cancers in Spain and additionally how to prevent them.

From 2008 to 2013 the team interviewed the participants to learn about their household physical activity and their lifetime recreational activity. At about 3 years later, the team assessed the timing of when the participants exercised. They looked in particular at 781 women with breast cancer and who had responded to the questionnaire about their physical activity and 504 men with prostate cancer who had provided data about the timing of their exercise.

The controls in the study were chosen randomly from general practice records. The team matched them to people in the study with cancer who were of similar age and the same sex. The controls also responded to the follow-up questions in regards to their physical activity and their timing.

The team discovered that people who exercised between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. had the strongest possible beneficial effect at reducing prostate and breast cancer. About 7% of the women with breast cancer and 9% of people in the control group engaged in their exercise in early morning. About 12.7% of the men with prostate cancer and 14% of that control group also engaged in early morning exercise.

The team developed a model that showed that early morning exercise was associated with a 25% lower risk of breast cancer and a 27% lower risk of prostate cancer. Similarly, people who exercised in the evening between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m had a 25% reduced risk for developing prostate cancer.

The research suggests that any benefits to early morning exercise for the risk of breast cancer may have links to estrogen. High levels of estrogen have links to an increased risk of breast cancer and exercise can lower levels of estrogen. Estrogen production is most active around 7:00 a.m.

Melatonin might also be a factor. Research has shown that melatonin may protect against cancer risk and exercise later in the day or at night can delay the production of melatonin.

The team does note that the study has limitations, and they could not detect the small effect the timing of exercise may have with certainty. However, this does not mean it is not important. Cancer is a prolific disease and even small effects when amplified throughout a population can be important.

Regardless, the study clarifies the value of further exploration into the association between the timing of exercise and the risk of cancer. What is clear is that anyone can help reduce their risk of developing cancer by simply engaging in moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week. Exercise is critically important for a variety of reasons. It helps people have more energy, helps them feel better and at affects a variety of biological processes that may themselves reduce the risk of cancer.

To view the original scientific study click below

Effect of time of day of recreational and household physical activity on prostate and breast cancer risk (MCC?Spain study)

Blue Light Filtering Glasses Improve Workday Productivity and Sleep

New research has shown that by wearing blue-light glasses right before sleeping a person can get a better night’s sleep and also contribute to better workday productivity. This is especially important since people are learning and working from home as well as binge watching TV more than ever before due to the pandemic.

The team discovered that wearing blue-light filtering glasses is an effective way to not only improve sleep but also task performance, work engagement and organizational citizenship behaviors. It also reduced counterproductive work behavior. These glasses create a form of physiologic darkness which leads to improved sleep quality and quantity.

Most of the technology people use such as smartphones, computer screens, and tablets all emit blue light. Past research has shown that these devices through the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep. As we currently navigate school and work, people have become more dependent on these devices.

The new research has helped extend the understanding of the circadian rhythm which is a natural, internal process that regulates our sleep/wake cycle and repeats approximately every 24 hours. Before modern times people were not exposed to blue light after the sunset. Wearing blue light filtering glasses produces a similar effect. To get the best results the glasses should be worn starting about two hours before going to bed and until the lights in the bedroom are turned off. Some people put them on right after it gets dark.

Generally speaking, the effects of wearing blue-light filtering glasses are stronger for night owls as opposed to morning larks. Night owls tend to sleep during later times in the day while larks tend to sleep earlier in the day.

Although most anyone can benefit from reducing their exposure to blue light, night owl employees seem to benefit more as they encounter greater misalignments between their internal clock and the externally controlled work time. The team’s research highlights how and when wearing the blue-light filtering glasses can help employees to live better and work better.

The team’s research discovered that daily engagement of task performance may be related to underlying processes such as the circadian process. The research pushes the chronotype literature to think about the relationship between employees’ performance and the timing of circadian processes.
A good night’s sleep will not only benefit workers, it will also help their employer’s bottom lines.

Through two studies, the team collected data from 63 company managers and 67 call center reps at Brazil based offices for a United States multinational financial firm and measured task performance from clients. The participants were randomly chosen to test blue-light filtered glasses or those that were placebo glasses.

Employees can often be required to work early mornings which can lead to a misalignment between the externally controlled work time and their internal clock. The team found that their analyses showed a general pattern that blue-light filtration can have a cumulative effects on key performance variables at least in the short term.

They note that blue-light exposure should be a concern to organizations. The ubiquity of this phenomenon suggests that blue-light exposure control might be a viable first step to protect the circadian cycles of their employees from disruption.

To view the original scientific study click below

The effects of blue-light filtration on sleep and work outcomes.