I frequently hear the statement ‘I’m struggling with my weight despite being so diligent.’ Can you relate?
For many years, theorists have indicated that weight management is a function of reduced intake of calories in relation to increased expenditure of energy. And whilst this is vital, there are other key influencing factors that are important for us to experience shifts in relation to optimal body weight.
Canadian nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung, has proven the importance of macronutrients- limiting the intake of carbohydrates and consuming fat and protein can regulate fat mass and hormones resulting in simpler weight loss.
Research further builds on this proving that hormones can also be controlled by proper sleep and reduced exposure to junk light. A 2018 study showed that just one night of blue light exposure can cause an increase in insulin resistance and insulin is a key regulator of fat mass. Herein lies the reason we often see keto communities struggling to break weight loss plateaus.
It is important to look at fat gain from a circadian point of view too. My previous blogs have noted the importance of reduction of blue light in ensuring sleep hygiene and perfecting circadian rhythms. And whilst blocking blue light from entering the eyes after dark is critical, there is another important proviso in solutioning.
Neuro surgeon and optimal health educator Dr. Jack Kruse, has shown that our skin, brain and even fat cells are sensitive to blue and green light and can cause an imbalance in our biological rhythms. In his lecture ‘Skin in the game’, the key component to this equation is MELANOPSIN.
Melanopsin is essentially the key driver in setting circadian rhythms. Melanopsin regulates the amount of melatonin released from the pineal gland. And Melatonin is essential for sleep and the most powerful antioxidant we can get. So blue light blocking glasses are important to activate Melanopsin and Melatonin but protecting the eyes is not the only consideration. Learn more about Melanopsin from Tuck: Advancing Better Sleep, by clicking here.
A 2017 study published in Nature showed that Melanopsin is not limited to just human eyes. Melanopsin was found to be present in the skin and fat cells and can translate light signals even if we block blue light from entering our eyes. Exposing the largest surface area of our bodies- our skin- to blue light after dark is a phenomenon very common to us all… and especially to shift workers who work long hours under artificial light. So, whilst one’s eyes may be protected, exposing your skin to blue light, may not optimise your Melatonin as efficiently as you think. It is fascinating that the instance of Hashimoto’s Disease, a disease of the thyroid, is increasing exponentially in the developed world. Could this be because our necks are exposed to high intensity blue light all day from our digital devices? It will be fascinating to watch this research unfold as these diseases may well be as a result of Melanopsin dysfunction.
- Wear blue light blocking glasses – purchase yours here and remember that Made To Thrive clients receive a 15% discount when entering the promo code SteveStavs on check out.
- Wear a hat when possible during the day and evening. A hooded sweater works well.
- Wear a scarf around the neck during the day and evening when working at your computer
- Cover your skin from top to bottom after dark, wear socks to cover the feet. In hot climates you can use linen clothing which will keep you cool
- Wear gloves to protect the hands.
- When traveling on a plane make sure all the above is followed to help beat jet lag too.
- Make sure your bedroom is light free from inside and outside. Use blackout curtains and a sleep mask to protect the skin from blue light whilst you sleep. Common causes are street lamps and car headlights shining through your window.