In this post we go through technological interventions and remedies for reducing pathogen exposure by eliminating for example viruses at home and at the office. This post also describes about the benefits of heat/cold alteration to your immunity as well as using essential oils as disinfectant. Enjoy the read!
Photobiomodulation is the utilization of non-ionizing photonic energy to trigger photochemical changes within cellular structures that are receptive to photons, particularly in mitochondria. At the cellular level, visible red and near-infrared light energies are absorbed by mitochondria, which perform the function of producing cellular energy (ATP) via cytochrome C oxidase. Photobiomodulation has been used in many kinds of situations and health problems to promote healing of the target tissue(s).
Light technology can also be used to improve immunity and kill off pathogenic microbes. Currently, two light-mediated bactericidal techniques are widely studied:
- Photodynamic therapy, use of specific wavelength light to stimulate an exogenously supplied photosensitizer elicits the formation of toxic levels of reactive oxygen intermediates -> the pathogen dies
- Direct light method, where light directly interacts with endogenous photosensitizers of the target microbe. -> the pathogen dies
Therapeutic potential of blue light (400–450 nm):
- The bactericidal effect of blue light has been shown in many pathogenic species
- Animal models have demonstrated blue light killing of infected cells a few hours after inoculation
- Little research has been translated into human clinical trials to date
Therapeutic potential of red light (630–670 nm) and near-infrared light (780–940 nm):
These therapeutic methods are, in practice, the safest and most effective and the easiest available to anyone.
- Red light has been shown to reduce cell numbers in some pathogens. This is possibly due to porphyrins, which absorb most strongly in the blue light region but also absorb other visible wavelengths.
- Irradiation with red and infrared light at doses ranging from 1 to 120 J/cm2 has a significant effect on destroying Gram-positive (S. aureus) and Gram-negative (P. aeruginosa and E. coli) bacteria
- Photobiomodulation (PBM) has been shown to help modulate chronic stress; this means that with the use of light therapy, the whole system can achieve balance and homeostasis faster
- Intranasal low-intensity laser therapy (ILILT) has a systemic effect on the body (red & infrared light). ILILT can enhance NAD+/NADH and SIRT1 activity until the system reaches function-specific homeostasis.
- ILIT may be used in the treatment and prevention of upper respiratory tract infections
- In general, red light and infrared light therapy can be used to reduce inflammation in the body and in the lungs
Ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) for disinfection:
- Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is an effective technology for the inactivation of pathogens in water
- This technique is also used in hand dryers to provide simultaneous disinfection
- UV-LEDs improve microbial inactivation effectiveness by applying LED special features such as multiple wavelengths and pulsed illumination
Remember also the Sun!
The biologically best source of vitamin D is the sun. It would be helpful to get sunlight as often as possible but avoid burning. The best time for sunlight is in the morning, which helps to balance circadian rhythms and also has a beneficial effect on the immune system.
In fact, the immune system has its own circadian rhythm. If the internal biological clocks that control the circadian rhythm are in a malfunctioning state, the immune system will also be impaired.
Air purification and disinfection technologies
Poor indoor air quality is a predisposing factor for respiratory infections, poisoning, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and asthma. In hospitals, for example, indoor air quality plays a critical role: the environment requires special attention to ensure healthful indoor air quality (IAQ) to protect patients and healthcare workers against hospital-acquired infections and occupational diseases.
According to studies, in office environments the indoor air can be 2–5 times (and sometimes up to 100 times) more polluted than fresh outdoor air.
Actions for improving indoor air quality:
- Wipe off dust on a regular basis; use disinfectant wipes to reduce microbes and your exposure to them
- Refrain from smoking indoors
- Have the indoor air quality analyzed
- Aim for these numbers for optimal air quality:
- Carbon dioxide content (CO2): < 625 ppm
- Humidity: 35–65 %
- Temperature: 19 °C (66 °F)
- VOC content: < 150 ppb
- Particle count: < 12.5 μg/m3
- Ventilate your home and office frequently (for example 5 minutes every hour)
- Luft Cube portable air purifier is designed to neutralize pollutants in the air such as mold, bacteria, odors, allergens, viruses, and toxic chemicals
- Purchase an air purifier and an ionizer that spreads ions into the air, trapping negatively charged particles
- Purchase an air humidifier
- Consider purchasing an UV-LED air and/or water purifier
- Consider purchasing a smart & active breathing green wall, such as Naava
- Naturalizes indoor air
- Reduces harmful chemicals
- Optimizes humidity
- Purchase plants that purify indoor air. The following plants are recommended by NASA:
- Gerbera dairy
- Bamboo palm
- Peace lily
- Mother-in-law’s tongue
- Janet Craig
- Daylight exposure has been shown to lower the abundance of viable bacteria. This means that the sunlight inactivates microbes under daylight conditions. Whenever there is sunlight available, it is recommended to open up the curtains to let the sunlight in.
“Medicinal smoke” provided by ethnopharmacological natural products has been shown to reduce airborne bacteria. Based on a 2007 review article, a 1-hour treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs on aerial bacterial population caused over 94 % reduction of bacterial counts by 60 minutes. The ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 hours in the closed room.
Consider using essential oils to purify the room
Essential oils are complex mixtures of low molecular weight compounds extracted from plants by steam distillation and various solvents. Terpenoids and phenylpropanoids are the main constituents which provide the aromatic and biological properties typical of essential oils. Eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove and rosemary oils have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties on airborne pathogens.
Heat & cold exposure
Many may not think of cold and hot as technology, but they are. Sauna is a familiar remedy for example for Finns, but today many people do not go enough to sauna to maximize its benefits. For example, coronavirus is known to be destroyed at temperatures above 56 degrees centigrade. The higher the temperature the shorter the time the virus survives.
The national biotechnology center (NCBI) noticed, that SARS-coronavirus stayed stable at 4 degrees C, at room temperature (20 degrees C) and at 37 degrees C for at least 2 h without remarkable change in the infectious ability in cells, but were converted to be non-infectious after 90-, 60- and 30-min exposure at 56 degrees Celsius, at 67 degrees Celsius and at 75 degrees Celsius, respectively.
A link has been found between regular sauna baths (2–3 times per week) and a significantly lower risk of cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease. The more frequent and prolonged the sauna sessions, the greater the health benefit. Taking regular sauna baths also reduces the likelihood of catching a cold. The Finnish saying “sauna is the poor man’s doctor” is exceptionally accurate. Combining a sauna bath with ice swimming is a Nordic tradition, the health benefits of which many swear by and are justified by science.
Sweating flushes the body from toxins and infections by improving lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. Both the traditional and infrared sauna kill pathogens due to heat. Regular sauna bathing has also been shown to strengthen the immune system. Going to sauna over 2 times per week has been shown to reduce the risk of acute and chronic respiratory conditions, at least in middle-aged men. These include infections like pneumonia.
Rapid temperature changes have several health benefits. Cold thermogenesis and the heat generation induced by it may boost metabolism and circulation and activate brown adipose tissue (BAT) found in the back of the neck and the upper back.
Moderate exposure to cold doesn’t increase the susceptibility to infections but instead increases resilience against them. Just make sure the exposure time to cold or wind does not last too long. If you don’t feel uncomfortable or frail from the cold then it can actually be useful. Preferably protect your neck, lungs, and stomach.
You should consider to start implementing technological tools and methods presented here to upgrade your immune system and overall health to a whole new level. Sauna bathing and ice swimming are generally free, at least in Finland. Light therapy has arrived permanently – more and more people are using these technologies to enhance their health and quality of life. Also, it really does matter what kind of air you are breathing – breathing is as vital to life as is water. So take really good care of the air you are mostly spending time in.