What You Need To Know About The Benefits Of Red Light Therapy For Thyroid Health
From regulating body temperature and metabolism to affecting how fast the heart beats, the thyroid gland plays a significant role in the body. The two hormones made by the thyroid gland are called T-3 and T-4. Another gland, called the pituitary gland, tells the thyroid how much of these hormones your body needs. Thus it is critical that this small gland performs its role properly as it affects so many of our body’s vital functions.
Thyroid issues are pervasive today and according to the Cleveland clinic, “An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. If your thyroid releases too much or too little thyroid hormone it can wreak havoc on the many systems and functions of the body. More than 12 percent of people will have some form of issue with their thyroid during their lifespan, inevitably affecting more women than men.
Why should you care about your Thyroid health?
The Thyroid hormone is known as the body’s ‘master hormone’
Active thyroid hormone stimulates mitochondrial energy production
The production of the thyroid hormones relies mainly on the liver and thyroid gland
Understanding thyroid function and disorders can support and prevent complications while future-proofing thyroid issues with a health-conscious lifestyle
- Red light therapy, photobiomodulation, or low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been shown to support thyroid related ailments.
Types of Thyroid disorders
Hypothyroidism: When the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to keep the body healthy, Hypothyroidism develops. Often called, “underactive thyroid”
Hashimoto’s disease: Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease.
Hyperthyroidism: When your thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than your body requires, Hyperthyroidism develops. Often called, “overactive thyroid”
Graves’ disease: An immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Because thyroid hormones affect so many physiological systems, Graves' disease can have a wide range of indications and symptoms.
Goitre: An enlarged thyroid gland
Thyroiditis: An inflammation of the thyroid gland
Thyroid Cancer: According to Healthgrades.com Thyroid tumors “are fairly common. Most of these lumps are benign (not cancer); about 10% will turn out to be cancerous.”
- Thyroid Nodules or Cysts: Thyroid cysts or nodules are solid or fluid-filled sacs that form within the thyroid gland.
Symptoms Associated with Hypothyroidism:
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
- Memory impairment
- Muscle aches & stiffness
- Thinning hair
- Enlarged thyroid gland (Goitre)
Symptoms Associated with Hyperthyroidism:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irregular and rapid heartbeat
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Skin Thinning
- Unintentional weight loss
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- Fine brittle hair
- Enlarged Thyroid gland
Most people with thyroid disorders or thyroid issues can live a healthy life with appropriate medical treatment alongside a healthy lifestyle. Always consult a healthcare practitioner for the best informed care.
Red Light Therapy & Thyroid Disease
With red light therapy in mind, it is important to explore its safety and efficacy in helping to treat thyroid disease. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine “aimed to assess the safety of a 630 nm/850 nm home-use LED neck device on the function and morphology of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, and its efficacy in improving neck skin appearance and biophysical parameters,” (Lee YI, et al., 2021). The light was directed towards the neck and used every day for 16 weeks. Subjects were examined for 8 weeks after the experiment to see if there were any long-term effects. The study concluded that there were no major negative effects from the photomodulation device on the nearby secretory organs, thyroid and parathyroid glands. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) was evaluated in a randomized clinical trial (RCT) for hypothyroidism caused by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT). A long-term follow-up study concluded that low-level laser therapy has been regarded as safe.
Restoring Health With Red Light Therapy
Clinical studies suggest that red light can positively affect thyroid function. Hypothyroidism, for example, can result in the person having very low energy levels and they may also experience a noticeably slower metabolism, potentially resulting in weight gain. Factors leading to hypothyroidism may include oxidative stress in addition to varying degrees of poor diet and lifestyle.
Near-infrared light was the most studied type of light that was used for thyroid treatment as it penetrates the surface of the skin more deeply than other wavelengths in the red spectrum. Results were promising; researchers found a correlation between red light therapy and an increase in energy as well as improvements in circulation. A significant increase in Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) was detected in the majority of participants, which is the fundamental energy source of the body. According to this 2010 clinical trial, “The preliminary results indicate that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) promotes the improvement of thyroid function, as patients experienced a decreased need for LT4, a reduction in TPOAb levels, and an increase in parenchymal echogenicity,” (Höfling DB, et al., 2010). The significance of LLLT and its impact on the thyroid gland was observed and results confirmed that the thyroid gland, like any other tissue in the body, benefited from the red light therapy wavelengths.
When used in the right frequency and duration on the neck, red light therapy has the potential to enhance local energy availability, allowing the gland to produce natural thyroid hormone again. When the thyroid gland is restored to health, a slew of positive side effects ensue, as the entire body finally receives the energy it requires. The consensus around red light therapy is that it can generate cellular energy production, enhancing the effects of the thyroid by suppressing negative stress-related cells.
A team of researchers noted that using light therapy may even negate the need for thyroid medications. In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, each Hashimoto's participant was randomly assigned to either 10 sessions of LLLT or a placebo treatment. Thyroid antibodies TPO levels were reduced in the subjects, demonstrating a reduction in the autoimmune mechanisms of tissue destruction. The need for the synthetic thyroid replacement hormone medication Levothyroxine decreased precipitously after light therapy, and in some cases the medication could be completely discontinued altogether. In fact, the placebo group's average Levothyroxine dosage was nearly three times higher than that of the control group. Those given no light therapy required a 276% higher dose of T4 replacement than those administered light therapy. During the 9-month post-light therapy follow-up, 47% of participants in the light therapy group no longer required treatment with Levothyroxine. A very exciting development for red light therapy.
A Russian study from 1997 provided information on persons with autoimmune hypothyroidism who had thyroid surgery and noted that the researchers discovered that red/NIR light therapy improved thyroid hormone levels to the point where they only needed half as much thyroid hormone prescription on average. Additionally, A group of persons with hypothyroidism were given red light therapy on the thyroid gland in a 2010 Russian dissertation study, and 17 percent of them were able to totally stop using thyroid medication, while 38 percent were able to reduce their dose.
Another randomized controlled trial titled, “Effects of low-level laser therapy on the serum TGF-β1 concentrations in individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis.” noted that LLLT can cause a "significant increase in serum TGF-1 levels 30 days post-intervention in the PBM group,” therefore verifying the anti-inflammatory impact of red light therapy.
A more recent 2020 study, titled, “ Impact of Photobiomodulation on T3/T4 Ratio and Quality of Life in Hashimoto Thyroiditis" examined 350 participants and concluded the following, “six sessions of PBM with near-infrared light (850 nm) over three days resulted in a 50% reduction in levothyroxine (LT4) drug use, a 53% increase in T3 levels, and a 73% reduction in TPOAb levels three months following the PBM treatments.” (Ercetin C, et al., 2020) These findings suggest that red light therapy is promisingly effective in enhancing thyroid function.
Understanding Your Thyroid And How You Can
Apply These Findings To Your Health
Anything that is going to inhibit stress on the thyroid is always important to consider when understanding thyroid issues. As thyroid hormones are mostly produced in the liver, diet can impact thyroid health. It is also vital to understand that acute inflammation may also affect the thyroid. Outside stressors such as viruses, mold, disrupted sleep and excessive exercise can significantly affect the thyroid. This is where we can see the complexity of thyroid health. In conclusion, red light treatment can assist in the production of T4, help reduce inflammation, and also reduce TPO antibodies and ultimately improve thyroid function. This is a promising and exciting area of treatment which can offer a safe method to treat thyroid disease.
Always consult with your trusted healthcare practitioner when starting any new treatment, including red light therapy for thyroid conditions.
When we improve mitochondrial health with red light therapy, we ultimately help restore any negative cellular activity and restore the body’s natural homeostasis. Whether you are looking to treat a small area such as your thyroid or are looking for a full body panel - we have a size for every need.
With third party independent testing data to demonstrate that our lights have the proven wavelengths and power density, in addition to our panels being used in many healthcare clinics and doctor’s offices across North America; you can be confident that you are getting the best quality in red light therapy care products.
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Lee YI, Lee E, Nam KH, et al. The Use of a Light-Emitting Diode Device for Neck Rejuvenation and Its Safety on Thyroid Glands. J Clin Med. 2021;10(8):1774. Published 2021 Apr 19. doi:10.3390/jcm10081774
Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Buchpiguel CA, et al. Safety and Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Autoimmune Thyroiditis: Long-Term Follow-Up Study. Int J Endocrinol. 2018;2018:8387530. Published 2018 Nov 4. doi:10.1155/2018/8387530
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