Does Red Light Therapy Work For Weight Loss ?

October 24, 2022

If you’ve had disappointing results from diets, appetite suppressants, or other weight loss methods, it’s worth your while to consider red light therapy. Clinical research has shown that it can reduce excess fat, which ultimately leads to weight loss.

If you ask, "Does red light therapy work for weight loss?" The simple answer is, if you eat an unhealthy diet and never exercise, red light is likely not going 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 be able to give you just the boost you're looking for.

In this article, we’ll explore how red light therapy for weight loss works and how it can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

An Effective Fat Loss Strategy

As mentioned earlier, a healthy lifestyle is the best way to lose excess fat and maintain a healthy weight. However, it's not uncommon to reach plateaus during a weight loss journey where you just need a quick boost.

Red light therapy shows promise for doing just that. It has the potential to energize your body's cells and help your body's natural fat-burning mechanisms work more efficiently.  

In our experience, these types of quick wins also contribute to a positive mindset that, in turn, can boost willpower and lead to forming good habits such as healthy eating, portion control, daily exercise, and stress management.

Red Light Therapy and Weight Loss: How It Works

Also known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser therapy, red light therapy supports weight loss in several ways. It uses LED bulbs to bathe the body in light waves in the red and near-infrared spectrum. Red light and near-infrared (NIR) reside in a narrow spectrum of visible sunlight that has therapeutic effects on the human body at the cellular level.


Red and NIR light stimulates cellular energy. As red and NIR photons are absorbed by the chromophores in the mitochondria, this stimulates the production of energy in cells.

increased cellular energy leads to healthier cells and better cellular performance, which reduces inflammation and better regulates cellular reproduction. The result? Increased metabolism as well as improved overall functioning of the body’s organs.


Low-level laser therapy can also support the growth of new muscle mass. And muscle requires more energy (each pound of muscle can burn 50 calories per day at rest) which means that you will be burning more 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.


Hypothyroidism, or low-functioning thyroid, has been linked to excess weight gain. Red light therapy can reduce the autoimmune activity in the thyroid, which helps restore its normal functions in regulating the metabolism.


Red light potentially helps you lose weight by regulating thyroid function, increasing cellular metabolism, speeding up post-workout recovery, and more!

Red light therapy combined with exercise has proved to reduce insulin resistance and body fat. This was revealed during a study by researchers from Brazil, which involved 64 obese women.

The women participated in a 20-week program that combined exercise (three weekly aerobic and weight training sessions) with red light therapy. The researchers measured insulin as well as fat loss, and found that adding red light therapy to an exercise regimen reduced insulin resistance and reduced fat mass by 5.6%.  


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

Scientists theorize that red light causes temporary pores to form in fat cells, which is what allows lipids to leak out. Red light also appears to stimulate adipocyte apoptosis, which is the natural death of cells, and this can also cause the release of lipids stored within the cells.  


Red light can affect hunger levels by controlling appetite-regulating hormones known as leptin and ghrelin. One study focused on the effect of red light on these hormones in sleep-deprived adults and found a 19% reduction in their levels.


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.

Red light can help you get a good night’s sleep, which will give you more energy the following day for your exercise program.


According to one study, chronic low-grade inflammation and cellular stress contribute to the type of metabolic dysfunction that is linked to obesity. Chronic inflammation is a symptom of an overactive immune system; therefore obesity can, in part, be seen as a symptom of low-grade systemic inflammation.

Red light therapy is known to reduce inflammation, which supports the body in regaining optimal metabolic functioning.

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