Introduction by Andy Mant
I wanted to invite Dr. Leland Stillman to provide some insight into why everyone needs to be wearing blue light blocking glasses.
Dr. Stillman was born in New York City and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He became interested in medicine at an early age, thanks to childhood ear infections and allergies. This gave him an enduring interest in the immune system.
At fifteen, he decided that he would go to medical school. He studied biochemistry and environmental health in college, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to receive his medical doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
He completed training in Internal Medicine and is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
He now practices Integrative and Holistic Medicine in Richmond, Virginia.
Dr. Stillman has also published three peer-reviewed articles in leading academic journals
Dr. Stillman's Guest Blog Post - Why Every Australian Needs a Pair of Blue-Blocking Glasses
What if I told you that a pair of glasses could do more to reduce your risk of melanoma than sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun avoidance, all put together?
You'd probably think I was crazy, but I've got the studies to back up that statement.
You probably know three things about melanoma. First, that it's a deadly form of skin cancer that is linked to sun exposure. Second, that it's very common in Australia, due to the hole in the ozone over the Antarctic. Third, that pale-skinned people are at highest risk for melanomas that are due to sun exposure.
There are a few key facts about melanoma that radically changed how I dealt with my sun exposure. I'm betting my life, and even my medical degree, on what I now know about melanoma. If I'm wrong, it might kill me, and if any harm befalls my patients, it could endanger my license to practice medicine.
To prevent melanoma, I maximize my sun exposure, I religiously avoid sunscreen and sunglasses, and I block artificial light at night.
Think I'm crazy? Here are the facts on melanoma that should make you think twice about the conventional wisdom you get from your doctor.
- Melanoma rates have been rising since the 1950's, which is when we first had robust data on the incidence and prevalence. During that time, we have moved indoors and invented everything from the television to the blue-tooth headset. This increase in melanoma cannot, by any means, be attributed to sun exposure.
- At least 35% of melanoma cases have absolutely nothing to do with sun exposure, as they occur in areas not exposed to the sun (the buttocks, soles of the feet, or interior of the eye), or they occur in people who had darkly pigmented skin, who are naturally immune to the damage caused by ultraviolet light (to which we attribute the development of melanoma).
- The people with the highest risk of melanoma are indoor office-workers, who never see the sun. The people with the lowest risk? Low-income, unskilled workers who work outside, and get consistent sun exposure.
- This study showed that of people who already had melanoma, the people who survived the longest got THE MOST SUN EXPOSURE. YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. The more sun melanoma patients got, the longer they lived.
- The sun isn't completely innocent, because sun burns, particularly at a young age, do predispose to melanoma later in life. But note that it is sunburns, rather than a tan or consistent exposure. But saying that the sun causes melanoma is like saying that spoons make people fat. Throwing out all the spoons in your kitchen is not an effective weight-loss strategy!
- Melanoma become more likely the lower your vitamin D level. Guess what makes vitamin D in your skin? Ultraviolet B light!
- What about sunscreen? The data on sunscreen has been mixed, but I am skeptical of most sunscreens. The reason is that most of them contain what are likely to be toxic chemicals that have never themselves been tested for their potential contribution to skin diseases. As we have moved indoors and innovated an incredible variety of goops, sprays, and gunks to put on our skin, the rates of skin diseases have risen just as melanoma rates have. Can you pronounce the weird chemical names that you find in your sunscreen? I do, occasionally, use sunscreen, but I only use zinc oxide-based sunscreens. Zinc oxide is harmless and non-toxic to the environment. And that's another thing that people in Australia ought to know. Sunscreens are having an impact on our oceans, because they radically alter how light interacts with water. Sure, it's just a drop in - literally - an ocean, but our oceans need all the love they can get with all the pollution we're dumping into them anyway. The ultimate irony of this story would be if, when all is said and done and the study results are in, the sunscreen we relied on to protect us from skin cancer poisoned both us and the oceans. That's why, when I do use sunscreen, it's zinc-oxide based.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, melanoma is consistently associated with low melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone of darkness. It is released from the pineal gland at night, after three to four hours of darkness. Artificial light from modern fluorescent or LED bulbs, your cell phone, computer, television, or just your average street lamp, can demolish your melatonin levels. Modern people are living in a state of chronic melatonin deprivation. The consequence of this chronic melatonin deficiency is epidemics of modern diseases that are associated with low melatonin levels.
Enter the blue blockers. The red pigment in BLUblox blue blockers prevents blue light from reaching your eyes. This prevents blue light from shutting down melatonin release from your brain, so that your melatonin can do it's job - turning on repair and regeneration of the cells of your body. This is why I wear blue blockers, religiously. I travel with three different pairs. Sound crazy? As far as I am concerned, blue blockers are more important to my health and performance than any other gadget, pill, exercise, or diet that I know of. I would not trade them for the world, because as far as I'm concerned, they're saving my life.
Buy a pair and find out what blocking blue light can do for you.
If you want to read more about why fake light is so bad for you, read this blog post.
If you want to learn more about how the sun DOES NOT cause melanoma, read this blog post.