Researchers and scientists have long known that sunlight provides the body with much needed vitamin D. However, they have just discovered that it does even more than that, and can impact the immune system positively on a cellular level.
Scientists from world renowned Georgetown University have discovered that low levels of blue light help move T cells faster.
Those that worked on the research also believe that the impact of vitamin D may have actually been overstated in the past, and that much of the immunity support it supposedly offers is actually down to the sun’s rays moving T-cells.
Senior investigator on the project, George Aherne, PhD, associate professor in the Georgetown’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, stated:
We all know sunlight provides vitamin D, which is suggested to have an impact on immunity, among other things. But what we found is a completely separate role of sunlight on immunity. Some of the roles attributed to vitamin D on immunity may be due to this new mechanism.
We found that sunlight makes hydrogen peroxide in T cells, which makes the cells move. And we know that an immune response also uses hydrogen peroxide to make T cells move to the damage.
This new discovery may prompt doctors to try new therapies, such as blue light therapy, which may be able to speed up a patient’s immune system response.
T cells, simply put, are those responsible for destroying “invader” cells that make humans sick.
Scientists that worked on the experiment in Georgetown exposed both blood cell cultures from mice and humans to blue light to come to their conclusion.
The researchers then traced the molecular pathways and patterns the cells followed after being exposed to the blue light.
While this research certainly is promising, and may provide a gateway to therapies and treatments that have few or no side effects, those who have completed the study are calling for more research to be done in this area.
They feel with more research, they may be able to gather even more information about why exactly blue light activates that T cells, which can, in turn, help create better therapies and treatments.