Red Light Therapy can help you lose weight in the following ways: 

  1. It helps reduce inflammation
  2. It increases muscle mass
  3. It aids thyroid regulation
  4. It reduces insulin resistance
  5. It promotes fat cell production
  6. It aids appetite suppression
  7. It improves sleep
  8. It improves gut health
  9. It improves circulation

If you’ve had disappointing results from diets, appetite suppressants, or other weight loss methods, it’s worth considering a Red Light Therapy session at Red Lab

The way you look and how your body deals with fat are attributed to far more than just what you eat and how you exercise , and if you only focus on these factors then you’re lacking a full understanding of how your body metabolises food and burns energy. Proven time and time again the “calories in, calories out” focus on diet is an oversimplification of how the body processes fat. There are many other important factors including your sleep, stress, hydration cellular environment and circadian rhythms. 

Understandably, if you don’t eat a balanced and healthy diet or exercise regularly, red light therapy is not likely to be your best fat-loss strategy. However, if you have a moderately healthy lifestyle, and just have a few stubborn areas that could use a bit of help, red light may give you the results you’ve been labouring all these years to achieve. 

In this article, we’ll explore Red Light Therapy for weight loss: what it does, how it works, and how it can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

How Can Red Light Therapy Help Me Lose Fat?

It helps reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body recover from injury and strain. But if your body is out of balance or not fully healthy, it may struggle to efficiently clear out acute inflammation. Inflammation interferes with your insulin response, and that can cause your body to hold excess fat, thus attributing to weight gain. [1]. The Red Light source’s photon energy penetrates tissue, where it interacts with various intracellular biomolecules to restore normal cell function and enhance the body’s healing processes, rather than relying on inflammation to deal with the threat. Inflammation is normal, to a point. Trying to exercise more to lose weight when you’re already inflamed can complicate the recovery process and work against you. Red Light Therapy’s healing properties alleviate the load that inflammation has on your healing process, thus reducing the amount of weight gain from inflammation related recovery. 

If inflammation becomes a chronic problem, it can lead to larger health problems [2]. Part of the inflammation process is our immune system releasing proteins that induce inflammation (cytokines) when it detects a threat like an injury or virus. These help your body respond effectively to an invader or problem. But an overload of these cytokines (cytokine storm) can cause excess inflammation. Red Light Therapy (also known as Low-level laser therapy) helps to attenuate these cytokine storms at multiple levels. Here’s an in depth peer review article on how the cytokine response works and its promising development in reduction of the use of ventilators in COVID-19

It Increases Muscle Mass

Red Light Therapy (also referred to as low-level laser therapy) can also aid and accelerate the growth of new muscle mass. These muscles require more energy (each pound of muscle can burn 50 calories per day at rest) which means that you will be burning your excess calories even when you’re not exercising. One study found that athletes exposed to red light before and after exercise had faster muscle recovery and increased muscle growth.

It aids Thyroid Regulation

Hypothyroidism, or low-functioning thyroid, has been linked to excess weight gain due to its influence on metabolism regulation. Red light therapy can reduce the autoimmune activity in the thyroid, which helps restore the thyroids ability to regulate the metabolism. 

It Reduces Insulin Resistance

Red light therapy combined with exercise has proved to reduce insulin resistance. As shown during this study by researchers from Brazil, which involved 64 obese women. 

The women participated in an extended program that combined three weekly aerobic and weight training sessions with red light therapy. The researchers measured insulin as well as the resulting fat loss, and found that adding red light therapy to an exercise regimen reduced insulin resistance and reduced fat mass by 5.6%.   

It Promotes Fat Cell Reduction

Red light creates the formation of small pores in fat cells, which releases fatty acids known as lipids. A study found that just four minutes of exposure to 635nm red light wavelength caused 80% of lipids to be released from fat cells, and by six minutes, almost all of the fat had been released. 

Red light also appears to stimulate adipocyte apoptosis (the natural death of cells), this also releases lipids stored within the dead cells.  

It Aids Appetite Suppression

Red light controls appetite-regulating hormones known as leptin and ghrelin. A study focused on the effect of red light on these hormones in sleep-deprived adults (who often generate more of these hormones in the bodys aid to compensate for energy lost to lack of sleep) and found a 19% reduction in their levels. 

It Improves Sleep

When people experience changes in their weight and physical appearance, they often look to change their diet or start a new Zumba class. However, it makes just as much sense to consider changing your sleeping habits. Sleep quality affects nearly every aspect of our health, including weight and fat loss. If you’re struggling with weight issues, poor sleep could be your answer.

Poor sleep can throw your cells out of balance, and that alone can lead to complications with digestion, metabolism, and weight. [3] The stomach and other key internal organs work best when our eating aligns with our circadian rhythm. Following a routine or schedule with your eating and your sleep that allows your body to operate along the same patterns is more efficient for your digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall metabolism. Limiting your food intake to a specific window of time will help achieve this goal. [4]

Higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin (the same appetite hormones discussed above) are found when the body is sleep-deprived, leading to much higher levels of hunger. [5] If you overeat and still feel hungry, getting enough quality sleep and establishing a healthy sleep cycle can help your body feel less hungry all the time. 

Sleep deprivation has been associated with many health issues, including weight gain. One cause of insomnia is chronic stress, which amplifies weight gain by stimulating cortisol production and disrupting how the nervous system regulates metabolism.

Unlike blue light, red light doesn’t act as a stimulant. Its low color temperature has a soothing effect on the body, and it’s the most conducive wavelength of light for a good night’s sleep. Using red light during your day (preferably in the evenings after a long day of work) can help your body destress and transition into its sleep cycle more naturally.

It improves Gut Health

Medical researchers have started to understand how vital gut health is to overall wellness. The gut microbiome is a delicate balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. These organisms help digest food efficiently. Emerging studies have found that changes in the makeup of the gut microbiome are linked to obesity and metabolic disorders. If you want to dig into the science behind gut health and weight fluctuation, here’s an in-depth, peer reviewed article from Nutrition Today. [6] Red Light Therapy helps the healthy balance of microorganisms flourish in your digestive tract. 

It Increases Circulation:

Another benefit of red light therapy is its ability to increase circulation. With regards to weight issues, increased circulation has been linked to increased fat burning. [7] This burning occurs in brown fat (a type of body fat that is activated when your body temperature drops). Brown fat helps maintain your body temperature by producing heat. [8]

Related Questions

Here are some common questions that people may have in relation to weight loss and fat burning!

Does Red Light Get Rid of Cellulite?

Cellulite is excess subcutaneous fat (fat that is just beneath the skin). It’s a stubborn, persistent problem that cannot necessarily be remedied with exercise or fat loss alone—but red light therapy has shown great promise in reducing it. The Red lights increase elasticity and elasticity in the skin, effectively closing the gaps where the subcutaneous fat is coming through. 

One study divided 20 female participants into two groups: one that was treated with 850nm near-infrared light along with high-intensity treadmill training, and one that only used the treadmill. The group that used both forms of treatment achieved reduced cellulite in the buttocks and hip areas, whereas the treadmill-only group did not. 

Will My Weight Loss Be Permanent?

In the short term, Red Light Therapy is effective at reducing fat, which in turn results in weight loss. But keep in mind that no procedure or treatment will result in a permanent loss of excess fat. That can only be accomplished through a consistent commitment to healthy eating, frequent exercise and improved overall well being that can be assisted through use of maintenance sessions at Red Lab. Continuing with Red Light therapy in conjunction with a healthier lifestyle can help you maintain a desirable weight, while you spot-treat stubborn problem areas.

Where Can I get a Red Light Therapy Treatment?

If you are situated in South Africa, then you are in luck. Red Lab has opened the first Red Light Therapy studio in South Africa in Claremont, Cape Town. Contact the Red Lab team for more information and to book a free trial.

Sources and References:

[1] Garcia Weight Loss & Athletic Centers. Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain.

[2] Berk M, Williams L, et al. So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from? BMC Medicine. 2013 Sep.

[3] Jaiswal SJ, Quer G, et al. Association of Sleep Duration and Variability With Body Mass Index: Sleep Measurements in a Large US Population of Wearable Sensor Users. JAMA International Medicine. 2020 Sept.

[4] Book: Satchin Panda, PhD. The Circadian Code: lose weight, supercharge your energy, and transform your health from morning to midnight. Rodale Books. Jun 12, 2018 | ISBN 9781635652437

[5] The Sleep Foundation. The Connection Between Sleep and Overeating.

[6] Cindy D. Davis. The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity. Nutrition Today. 2016 Jul.

[7] Turning on Blood Flow Turns on Fat-Burning Brown Fat in Mice. American Physiological Society

[8] Mayo Clinic. What is Brown Fat? How is It Different from other body fat?

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