(ORDO NEWS) — The human body literally glows, emitting visible light in extremely small amounts, the level of which rises and falls every day, as scientists have now found out.
Past research has shown that the body emits visible light that is 1,000 times less intense than what our naked eyes are sensitive to.
In fact, virtually all living things emit very weak light, which is thought to be a by-product of biochemical reactions involving free radicals.
This visible light is different from infrared radiation – an invisible form of light – which comes from body heat.
To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan have used ultra-sensitive cameras that can detect individual photons.
Five healthy male volunteers in their 20s were placed bare-chested in front of cameras in complete darkness in light-proof rooms for 20 minutes every three hours from 10 am to 10 pm for three days.
The researchers found that the luminosity of the body waxed and waned throughout the day, with the lowest point being at 10 am and peaking at 4 pm, after which the luminosity gradually declined.
These results suggest that light emission is related to our body clock, most likely due to our metabolic rhythms fluctuating throughout the day.
The faces glowed more than the rest of the body. This may be because faces are more tanned than the rest of the body because they receive more sunlight – the pigment that provides skin color, melanin, has fluorescent components that can increase the body’s meager production of light.
Since this weak light is linked to the body’s metabolism, this finding suggests that cameras capable of detecting weak radiation could help detect medical illnesses, said researcher Hitoshi Okamura, a circadian biologist at Kyoto University in Japan.
“If you can see flicker on the surface of the body, you can see the state of the whole body,” said researcher Masaki Kobayashi, a biomedical photonics specialist at the Tohoku Institute of Technology in Sendai, Japan.
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