All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

Can Red Light Therapy Help with Weight Loss?

Last Updated:
April 23, 2024

Can Red Light Therapy Help with Weight Loss?

Red light therapy or low-level laser therapy has been increasing in popularity. Most commonly it is used for skin treatment, however, it is also being utilized to aid with weight loss. In particular, studies are being done on the reduction of abdominal fat. So, can red light therapy help with weight loss? Keep reading to find out.


There is controversy around whether red light therapy aids in weight loss. However, most studies show that it does offer some help.

In 2016, a study of 24 healthy participants was conducted. The males and females in this study were healthy, or slightly overweight on the BMI scale. Results from this study are varied with a trend toward a decrease in abdomen fat. However, some participants saw an increase in the thickness of adipose tissue around the abdomen.

In 2017, a study was done that specifically targeted abdominal girth using red light therapy and infrared laser therapy. This study showed significant reductions in upper, middle, and lower abdomen size in all 18 overweight female participants.

The next study in 2018 looked at combining red light therapy with exercise to reduce body fat. Once again all 49  female participants saw improvements. Furthermore, those in the red light therapy group also showed reduced interleukin-6 which is a marker of immune health. They also saw an increase in WNT5 signaling which is crucial for the development of healthy cells throughout the body.

The final study in 2020, had 60 participants who were overweight, with both male and female being represented. The results from this study show a modest reduction in abdominal fat over 6 weeks.

How Red Light Therapy Works

The absorption of laser light into adipocytes leads to an increase in cyclic adenosine monophosphate production, which is a signal cell. This process then stimulates the cytoplasmic lipase enzyme which is responsible for converting triglycerides to fatty acids and glycerol. These substances can then pass through pores, reducing the adipocytes.

Risks and Side Effects

Most studies show no side effects to red light therapy, however, one study shows that two participants developed broken skin. This was due to using the red light device directly on the skin. Thus, with any red light treatment, you should ensure there is a treatment panel separating the light from the skin.

Is red light therapy worth it for weight loss?

While studies show some reduction in fat loss from red light therapy, it is best used in conjunction with other weight loss methods. Consider utilizing red light therapy alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Before beginning, discuss your weight loss goals with your doctor, and consider working with a dietician.

A number of studies show that red light therapy can indeed help with weight loss. However, many of the studies have also lacked an adequate control group, and do not explore the long-term effects. Therefore, it is difficult to draw a firm conclusion at this stage. The lack of side effects shows that the procedure is safe, and thus, may be worth trying if it is something you are interested in.

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