What is Blue Light Therapy?
Blue light therapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses natural, (non-laser) blue light to cure, treat, or prevent unwanted health conditions.
Blue light therapy works in different ways to treat different things. In the case of MRSA treatment, it works by killing bad bacteria.
Blue Light Kills MRSA Superbug
Recently, important studies have been consistently showing that two of the most common strains of MRSA can be virtually eliminated through simple exposure to blue light.
Though fewer than 5 percent of MRSA strains can be killed by penicillin and 40 to 50 percent of MRSA strains have become resistant to antibiotics, they appear to have no resistance to blue light, which is free of UV radiation.
Since blue light kills harmful bacterial naturally, safely and without dangerous side effects, blue light therapy has already received FDA approval for the treatment of periodontal disease and acne.
A Blue Light MRSA Study Explained
In this study, an average of 90.4% of both US-300 (community acquired) and IS-853 (hospital acquired) strains of MRSA were killed within minutes of exposure to simple blue light. This should be all over the national and world news. Why isn’t it? Maybe people don’t know what it means.
Here is what the study said:
“These significant levels of photo-destruction at low dosages indicate that irradiation with 470nm LED light energy may be a practical, inexpensive alternative to treatment with pharmacological agents, particularly in cases involving cutaneous and subcutaneous MRSA infections that are susceptible to non-invasive types of radiation.”
Here’s what it means:
“significant levels of photo-destruction” – an average of 90.4% of MRSA bacteria experienced ‘death by light.’
“low dosages” – simple light was used, not low level laser light, not laser light, and it only took a few minutes of exposure to kill significant amounts of bacteria – 30% dying after just 100 seconds of exposure.
“irradiation” – Light shining on something.Light of any color from any source is actually powerful electromagnetic energy, or radiation, and so light of any color can also be called “radiation.”When you shine any light on something, its being irradiated.It’s not as dangerous or expensive as it sounds.These two girls survive by daily high doses of 405-485nm (blue) ”irradiation.”
“470nm” – blue.That’s it.Click here for a more detailed explanation. A previous study was done with similar results with 405nm light, which is visible violet light, very close to UVA on the electromagnetic spectrum.The actual span of the light used in this case was 455-485nm.Since 405nm also worked, it stands to reason that all wavelengths from 405 through 485 would have the same effect.That is blue light, period.
“LED light energy” – as touched on above, all light is energy, the source does not matter.In this case, SLDs (superluminous diodes) were used, which are just the latest advancement in LED lighting – nothing special.LEDs are commonly used in medical research because they largely eliminate the factor of heat.Any blue light source that peaked around 470nm should have produced the same results.
“practical, inexpensive alternative to treatment with pharmacological agents” – easier and cheaper than drugs.They did not mention it’s also 100% natural, having no adverse side effects reported, non-invaisive, painless, simply administered at home… and it’s worth double mention – easy to obtain, easy to use, and very cheap.
“cases involving cutaneous and subcutaniousMRSA infections that are susceptible to non-invasive types of radiation.” – cases of MRSA infections on and just beneath the surface of the skin, where the light is able to penetrate naturally.
Since simple blue light killed an average of 90% of MRSA bacteria in the lab, it may turn out to be a practical, inexpensive alternative to treatment with drugs for cases of MRSA infections of or just under the skin in humans.
Further Research Supporting Blue Light Therapy for MRSA
Conclusion: At low doses, blue light photo-destroys HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA in vitro; raising the prospect that phototherapy may be an effective clinical tool in the on-going effort to stem MRSA infections.
Conclusion: Appropriate doses of combined 405-nm and 880-nm phototherapy can kill Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vitro, suggesting that a similar effect may be produced in clinical cases of bacterial infection.
Conclusion: At practical dose ranges, 470-nm blue light kills HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA in vitro, suggesting that a similar bactericidal effect may be attained in human cases of cutaneous and subcutaneous MRSA infections.
Conclusion: The results indicate that, in vitro, 405- and 470-nm blue light produce dose dependent bactericidal effects on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus but not Propionibacterium acnes.
I would not wait for further studies, FDA approval, or fancy marketing before I tried this out on myself or a loved one battling a MRSA infection on or just under the skin.
The antibacterial properties of blue light have been known for quite some time – in fact the FDA approved blue light to kill acne bacteria in 2002. There are many “acne treatment lights” already available and in use today containing the same wavelengths used to kill MRSA, it would be very simple for them to be re-purposed immediately in the case of a MRSA infection of the skin not responding to antibiotics. It would also be good to have one of these lights around to disinfect everyday cuts, burns and bites as a matter of MRSA prevention.
How to Find the Light You Need at a Price You Can Afford
At the time of this writing, to my knowledge, blue light therapy has not yet been FDA approved for MRSA treatment. As a result, you won’t find in-home devices marketed for MRSA treatment yet. However, an internet search for an “acne light” will turn up many lights that will work for MRSA treatment in all price ranges. Here’s some tips for choosing one:
- Choose blue light only, not red and blue light combined. Blue light is what kills bacteria, and that is what you need right now. Red light is for healing skin – you can take care of that later. You want the full power output of the light to be blue.
- Do not buy:
- Any product that is disposable. Light therapy should be a one-time investment.
- Any light that requires replacement heads. High quality products should not need to be frequently replaced.
- Any light that requires replacement batteries, like a flashlight. Recurring expenses don’t make sense.
- Any light that relies on any type of topical substance for its effectiveness. Blue light works all by itself.
Understanding Blue Light Wavelengths
What makes one blue light more effective than another against MRSA is it’s wavelength. Wavelength is the scientific measurement that, when translated into practical terms, means “color.”
The studies referenced in this article prove that blue light with peak wavelengths of 405 nm and 470 nm are effective against MRSA bacteria. What are the differences, and how do they affect your treatment?
|The Differences Between 405 and 470 nm Blue Light|
|LED Peak Wavelength:||405 nm||470 nm|
|Wavelength / Energy:||Shorter wavelength / higher energy||Slightly longer wavelength, slightly less energy|
|Effectiveness:||More effective||Less effective|
|Penetration ofSkin:||Surface only||Penetrates the skin slightly deeper|
|Treatment Time:||Shorter (less than 3 minutes per area per day)||Longer (10 minutes or more per area per day)|
|UV Content:||Likely almost 1/2 UVA content||Likely zero UVA content|
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the infection is in my sinuses?”
Blue light can only kill MRSA bacteria where it can reach it. Your sinuses are like a maze. The light can’t go around the corners. It can kill it where it can reach it, but no further than that.
What kind of MRSA infections does this work on?”
This works on staph, MRSA, and other bacterial infections of the skin, and just under the skin.
What if the infection is in my blood?”
Blue light of this wavelength can penetrate deeply enough to interact with the blood through the capillaries in the skin. In fact, this is how blue light therapy works in jaundice treatment. However, I do not know of any research yet proving that it will kill bacteria that way as well. In my opinion, it should. In that case, here’s how you would use it:
Shine the light on the upper back and across the shoulders for 20 minutes daily from a distance of 24″ from the skin.
There is also something called “blood irradiation,” which will almost certainly kill the infection in the blood. You can start learning more about that here.
What if the infection is in my eye?”
You can not use this light to treat your eyes. You will need a lower intensity light, like a battery powered, hand-held acne light for that.
How long till I see results?”
You should begin to see improvement within the first 24 – 48 hours.
Grow lights are sold for helping to grow plant indoors, they just happen to have the perfect wavelengths for light therapy, too. They are a good option for affordable light therapy, especially if you are a do-it-yourslef type of person. Since they are not marketed for light therapy, though, they come with no fixture, goggles, instructions or support. They are a standard size bulb so you can use any fixture that suits you. You can get a fixture and goggles for around $20 plus shipping.
This has a peak wavelength of 450-460 nm. There would be no UVA in this light so treatment time is not a concern. It’s a really good option for the price.
ABI 23W Tuna Blue LED Bulb $34.95
This light ranges in wavelength from 395 nm to 495 nm. This has one pure UVA led in it, and a total of 4 LEDs under 430nm. As such, it should be very effective, but you would have to limit the treatment time to no more than three minutes per area per day. Always wear eye protection.
Hand-held Acne Lights
This is a hand-held light, so you will have to hold it just off the skin during treatments. It has a peak at or near 415 nm so there is likely a small amount of UVA in it. It has a 3 minute recommended treatment time per area and I would stick with that – follow the directions that come with the device. If FDA approval is important to you, this light is FDA cleared for acne treatment.
These two are my lights. They come with some advantages, but they are not necessary for effective treatment. Buy whatever light you can comfortably afford.
This light emits pure blue light with a peak wavelength of 453 nm. There is zero UV emitted. It comes with a socket and cord set for hand-held use right out of the box. The bulb is a standard size so it will work with any fixture that is best for your situation. Since there is no UV in the light, the treatment time is recommended at 10 minutes per area per day, but is not limited to that. Eye protection is included. 90 day risk-free trial. Lifetime warranty. Full support. Get more details at Smarterlights.com.
The Peak 415 HP LED Powerhead available at SmarterLights $279.00
Pure blue (violet) light with a peak wavelength of 415 nm. This light also comes with a socket and cord set but can be used with any fixture that’s best for you. The Peak 415 emits trace UVA, so the treatment time is limited to 3 minutes per area per day. Eye protection is included. 90 day risk-free trial. Lifetime warranty. Full support. Get more details at Smarterlights.com.