Light, Health, and Viral Infections

We are constantly learning new things and rethinking what was previously thought to be true. Covid has challenged us initially to learn how it spread, what treatments may be effective, and the limitations of vaccines and containment. One puzzle is that studies have clearly shown that individuals infected with SARS COV 2 that have low vitamin D levels tend not to do as well. The converse of having a high vitamin D level has not been clearly shown to result in a protective effect against SARS COV 2 infection.

Early studies showed that during the winter peaks of COVID, European countries north of the 35th parallel saw an earlier and faster spread, and those European countries further South seemed to fare better.  Initially, this was attributed to the more Southern countries having more sunlight and therefore more vitamin D. Studies of vitamin D have not necessarily shown this theory to be true so there must be something else that sunlight or light provides. We see the visible portion of the light spectrum but there is also the non-visualized part of the spectrum.  It turns out that researchers have found a connection between infrared light as part of the full spectrum of sunlight or light and the production of intra-cellular melatonin in mitochondria.

The importance of mitochondria is that they are the subunits in all cells that serve as the power plant or engine of the cell that produces energy for the cell in the form of ATP.  ATP energy is the currency of life; no ATP means no Energy means no life. Like all power plants or engines, heat and other undesirable by-products such as reactive oxidative species are given off in the energy production. If there is not a heat sink, coolant, or antioxidant, then damage to the power plant or engine can occur and also direct damage to the cell. Reactive oxidative species (ROS) that is unchecked without antioxidants leads to disease and overall health is compromised. Insulin resistance or diabetes, heart disease, and dementia are examples of how ROS damage to cells over time can lead to disease. Vitamins like vitamin E can serve as an antioxidant. Nutrient molecules like glutathione may also serve as antioxidants or coolants. The most potent antioxidant is melatonin.

Melatonin is normally produced in the pineal gland and released in the evening and night when the supra optic nucleus in the brain no longer senses any significant light. Since energy is constantly being produced, melatonin is the most potent antioxidant or coolant that is needed throughout the body. As there is no infrared light at night, the mitochondria do not produce the needed melatonin themselves and are dependent on the supply released from the pineal gland. Anything that affects sleep or the normal light circadian cycle will affect melatonin. That is why people with sleep issues, shift workers working at night, and people with high stress and cortisol have health problems and a potential shorter lifespan.

The connection with SARS COV2 and those with COVID is that there is an overwhelming oxidation problem especially in those individuals with baseline lower glutathione and vitamin D which is one key antioxidant and one key component to a healthy immune system. It may be hypothesized that those with adequate antioxidants including intracellular melatonin are better able to prevent a catastrophic inflammatory cascade leading to a cytokine storm situation (please see our previous blog here for details).

One potential treatment beyond giving vitamin D is to get outdoors more with  direct or indirect exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet light will help make the vitamin D but more importantly the infrared light will keep mitochondria going safely with the most powerful antioxidant in the body, melatonin.  So hopefully you can see the connection between light, health, and covid. There are other energy modalities and treatments utilized in our AFH programs for optimizing health and also treating COVID, including long COVID.

For more information on All Functional Health (AFH) Long COVID programs, AFH nutraceuticals, or AFH peptide program please contact us at, find us on the web to schedule an appointment at, or call (25) 736-9828. We’ve helped thousands of people on their journey of health and I look forward to helping you as well. Take care, and stay healthy.

Jeffrey Mark, M.D.

Jeffrey Mark, M.D.

Helping clients with compassionate and comprehensive medical care for over 25 years with 4 board certifications in functional medicine, gastroenterology, internal medicine, and anti-aging/ regenerative medicine . IFMCP, ABIM Gastroenterology, NPAS Internal Medicine, ABAARM.