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Mal-illumination… the Silent Epidemic


Holistic Spotlight with Ken Ceder, Executive Director for the Non Profit, “Science of Light”

Ken Ceder discusses the effects upon our overall health associated with lack of sunlight and excessive exposure to artificial light sources.

What is Mal-illumination?

Mal-illumination is a term coined by photobiology pioneer, Dr. John Ott, to describe a contemporary epidemic that’s akin to malnutrition.

Unfortunately, most people spend too much time indoors under unhealthy, ‘limited-spectrum’ light that adversely impacts immunity and do not spend enough time in ‘full-spectrum’ sunlight that augments immunity.

Specifically, mal-illumination is brought about by:

  • Limiting our daily intake of full-spectrum daylight
  • Supplementing it with too much artificial limited-spectrum indoor light, especially blue light at night
  • Shielding ourselves from the sun with such things as tinted windows, windshields, sunglasses and suntan lotions

Like malnutrition, mal-illumination causes deficiencies in our bodies. This occurs when we are deprived of the sun’s vital ‘energetic nutrient’ wavelengths which enter the body through the eyes and skin. We are designed so that:

  1. Sunlight striking the skin manufactures natural vitamin D
  2. Light entering the eyes regulates vital circadian rhythms that control:
    • Appetite
    • Energy
    • Mood
    • Sleep
    • Libido
    • Body-mind functions

Being stuck in “biological darkness” due to reduced time in appropriate natural light, that our genes are programmed to respond to, profoundly affects every bodily system. Mal-illumination silently contributes to many adverse health issues and some are quite serious –

    1. Obesity
    2. Depression
    3. Fatigue
    4. Sleep & eating disorders
    5. Breast, prostate, and colon cancer

This little known epidemic has ‘unwittingly’ been contributing to the physical and mental suffering of millions of people for much, much too long.

Discuss What Happens in the Body

Every metabolic process, every enzyme reaction, muscular movement, digestion of food, and the burning of fat are all biological processes that are augmented by sunlight energy. A reduction of ‘natural light energy’ causes a slowdown in these processes. This leads to:

  • Decreased metabolism
  • Reduced burning of fat
  • Reduced vitality
  • Compromised immunity

In 2002, researchers discovered retinal cells that detect light but are not involved in vision. These cells link to a center in the brain, the Hypothalamic Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), which is the site of the body’s master circadian pacemaker. In other words, these neuronal circuits control the body’s ability to sense that:

  • It is daytime to turn on serotonin for feel-good alertness and fires-up metabolism
  • It is nighttime to turn on melatonin to regulate sleep and various other physiological functions.

What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?

Initially I was an advocate of natural health and a proponent for ‘bathing’ in morning light to set circadian rhythms with nature and then biomedical science filled in many of the gaps in my knowledge about sunlight.

Natural light is the “ultimate nutrient” and the most overlooked life essential for wellness and reduced risk of disease. Exposure to morning sunlight is free! If not possible, a ‘balanced’ full-spectrum light source (minimum 15-30 minutes daily) can provide healthy wavelengths.

Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?

In the late 60’s or early 70’s, I had the first of a few (spontaneous) ‘inner light’ experiences that left me in awe. In the early 80’s I was a co-director of Hippocrates Health Institute where I met Dr. John Ott. His ‘light research’ using ‘time lapse’ photography left me inspired to learn more about light for health and augmented my passion for light… both inner and outer.


2012 – Current    SCIENCE of LIGHT (SOL)

Founder and Executive Director of Science of Light, a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on light for enhancing wellness and reducing the risk of disease.

SOL is committed to raising awareness of the silent epidemic of Mal-illumination. “Mal-illumination is to light as malnutrition is to food.”

1987- 2012     OTT LIGHT SYSTEMS – bioLight Group,  FOUNDER/PRESIDENT

Duties included research and development of products; sales and marketing, consumer education and author of the e-book “Mal-Illumination, The Silent Epidemic.”


Managed all activities related to operations and development of the company by performing the following duties personally or through subordinate supervisors. Developed and maintained business operations to include all program requirements.  Performed administrative activities associated with the effective management operations and determined responsibilities of assigned organization and staff positions to accomplish business objectives.




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