Are you looking for a natural and effective way to lose weight? Red light therapy might your newest friend.
Red light therapy helps with weight loss by increasing ATP production, speeding the metabolism rate, reducing inflammation, and reducing stress’ effect on cells.
Studies show that red light therapy works to increase the amount of fat loss when combined with a proper diet.
Red light therapy (red and infrared light) works to increase fat loss by:
- increasing ATP production
- speeding the rate of metabolism using that ATP; this leads to a greater calorie burn
- reducing inflammation that blocks fat loss. Reducing inflammation improves insulin sensitivity and regulates glucose levels
- reducing stress that promotes relaxation, and sleep, and therefore sets the stage for fat loss
- releasing fat from cells, but this is not as well supported as the items above
Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss: True or False?
You’re probably wondering how light therapy can aid in fat loss and potentially even preserve or boost lean mass.
It’s important to examine the evidence and mechanism behind this claim.
The most popular study about infrared opening fat cells might turn out to be the weakest evidence.
In this study, authors claimed that infrared penetrated fat cells.
It opened small holes through which fatty acids leaked out.
I say popular because clinical and FDA-approved fat loss treatments are based on this study.
But it turns out that these results were hard to replicate.
No one has shown that red light therapy pokes holes in fat cells since that early study.
But please don’t despair, because the evidence for using light to kick fat to the curb is actually pretty good.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses red and near-infrared light to promote healing.
Called “photobiomodulation” in the scientific literature, red light therapy is the low-energy delivery of light to the cells.
That low-energy part is extremely important.
You are not burning fat with the light.
You are empowering the cells to kick start into high gear.
To do that, the light must be subtle, and enter in just the right amounts.
High power and light that is too weak are equally useless.
The correct dosage of red light therapy stimulates the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy currency of our cells.
This increase in energy production can lead to a wide range of health benefits, including weight loss.
Stimulating the Mitochondria Aids Fat Loss
Light therapy stimulates the mitochondria within our cells.
Specifically, it absorbs in the part of the mitochondria where oxygen turns to water.
This has a number of biological effects, all of them good.
Mitochondria produce biological energy from the food we eat.
The biological “batteries” they produce (known as “ATP”) power everything we do.
Red light therapy helps us make more batteries.
This means there are more packets of energy for the cells to use.
What do they use them for? Repair, cleanup, and metabolism.
The mitochondria are the key component of all metabolism. If you have ever thought you had a slow metabolism, then red light therapy is your golden ticket.
The one thing we are absolutely certain about is that red light therapy fixes broken metabolic processes.
As a result of this metabolic repair, our muscles become more efficient at using energy.
That leads directly to an increase in lean mass and a reduction of fat storage.
Reducing Chronic Inflammation’s Interference with Fat Loss
Red light therapy can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to weight gain and obesity, as it can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate insulin and glucose levels.
Red light therapy has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation, leading to weight loss.
So long as there is glucose in the blood, the pancreas will secrete insulin to bring levels down. Insulin is the “fat storage” hormone.
When insulin is about, no fat is lost.
Getting rid of insulin is essential to losing fat.
Increasing Sleep and Reducing Stress to Lose Fat
Lack of sleep and increased stress are both correlated with an inability to lose weight.
Red light therapy promotes good sleep and relaxation.
Stress can lead to emotional eating, so lowering stress helps stop excess calorie intake.
The therapy’s calming effect makes it easier to weather storms without turning to food to regulate emotions.
Poor sleep blocks fat loss. too.
The body uses the sleep cycle to clean out toxins and repair cells.
So you’re more toxic when you don’t get enough sleep.
Feeling “crappy” can lead to excess comfort eating.
Plus, the body can confuse a need for sleep with the feeling of hunger.
Tired people think they’re hungrier than people who get rest.
Red light therapy helps the body calm down, helps the mind to fall asleep, and prevents the excess eating that results from poor sleep and stress.
FDA Approved Body Contouring using Red Light Therapy
Avci et al (2013) found that the literature supports the use of red and infrared light for “body contouring.” This is the phrase the industry uses for FDA-approved fat loss using non-invasive light techniques. The conclusion was based on the “pore” theory of reducing fat from cells.
Niera’s (2000) article describing the technique is immediately below.
Red Light Therapy Liquefies Fat
Niera et al (2002) followed up on the original study to determine the dose needed to get fat out of the cells.
This study determined that red light for 6 minutes allowed 90% of the fat to leave the fat cells.
In 2004, Jackson showed that the Erchonia Medical EML laser broke up fat using the specifications Niera used in the 2002 study. I placed that study immediately below for you to read.
The FDA based its approval for the EML fat contouring procedures on these studies.
3.5-inch Contouring with Red Light Therapy
Later the FDA approved Erchonia’s Zerona LipoLaser for clinical body contouring. That approval was based in part on the excellent result Jackson achieved in a 2009 study. Participants lost an average of 3.51 inches. In that study, 67 volunteers aged 18 to 65 lost the inches when they were measured two weeks post-procedure.
We Need Sun (including Infrared) for Health
Boubekri et al (2014) confirmed earlier studies showing that the body needs light exposure for health.
Workers deprived of daylight had a measurable decrease in their sleep quality scores, compared to workers with windows in their offices.
About a third of the sun’s light is in the infrared range.
While this study doesn’t directly implicate red light therapy in weight loss, we can extrapolate that everyone needs daylight exposure for health.
Since we know that poor health and bad sleep lead to fat retention, the prescription for weight loss is to get more infrared light. Voila, enter red light therapy.
We Need Infrared for Good Sleep
Several studies show that red light therapy helps with sleep quality. Red light therapy helps us control the hormones that signal hunger and fullness. I wrote about them on my site EMFChannel.com, and you can read an article about using red light therapy to control hunger hormones at this link (opens in a new window).
One of the most interesting parts of those studies is that green light is helpful in lowering hunger hormones!
Red light therapy is a safe and effective way to promote weight loss, as well as improve overall health and well-being. By boosting metabolism, reducing inflammation, and promoting relaxation, red light therapy can help you achieve your weight loss goals naturally and effectively.
If you’re interested in trying red light therapy for weight loss, be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to ensure that it’s right for you.