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How Much Weight Can You Lose With Red Light Therapy?

27th April 2022
red light therapy for weight loss

It’s a fact – we live in an obesogenic world and it seems that there is no way back. Today, nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States are overweight (30%), more than 2 in 5 adults are obese (42%), and about 1 in 10 adults suffer from severe obesity (9%). The figures are indeed worrying and require immediate action. That’s right – we need to start losing weight and use every possible means to do that.

Unfortunately, when it comes to losing weight, most of us struggle to achieve the required lifestyle and healthy eating patterns so as to get rid of those extra pounds. Indeed, some manage to decrease their BMI but face stubborn areas in their bodies that refuse to slim down. This is where red light therapy for weight loss comes in handy.

In the following article, we are going to explore the link between weight loss and red light therapy (RLT). Known also as photobiomodulation or phototherapy, RLT offers a safe, beneficial, and non-invasive method for addressing the issue caused by excessive fat in our bodies.

Can red light therapy reduce belly fat?

So far, scientists have revealed that red light therapy is linked with a number of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, boosted immune function, and accelerated healing abilities of the cells. But how about red light therapy for weight loss? Can the innovative photo procedure aid fat burning rate and help reduce belly fat? According to science, it is perfectly capable of doing so, and here’s how.

red light therapy for weight loss

One of the main effects of RLT has boosted ATP production in our cells. ATP (Adenosine 5′-triphosphate) is the major molecule in our cells that is responsible for storing and transferring energy. By accelerating ATP production, red light therapy also affects adipocytes (the body’s fat cells) by urging them to break down and release triglycerides that are needed for energy utilization.

The ultimate result is decreased fat cell volume and fat cell number, which is expressed in a measurable weight loss. And that’s not all. The reduction of fat cells and loss of triglycerides are not the only beneficial outcome of using red light therapy for weight loss. Apparently, overweight and obese individuals who have implemented RLT as part of their slimming regime, have been found to also improve significantly their body contour.

How often should you use red light therapy for weight loss?

Over the past several years red light therapy has become the number one choice for the majority of Americans who are looking to tackle various skin conditions, chronic pain, and obesity. In case you are wondering how frequently you should use red light therapy for weight loss, the answer is that there lacks a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Nevertheless, for most individuals who have adopted the RLT procedure, 15 minutes a day, 3 – 4 days a week, is perfectly enough to achieve noticeable results in just a few weeks. Having said that, when you use red light therapy for weight loss it is recommended that you start slowly and progress gradually.

  • During the first week, you should start with a shorter 10-minute session, every other day of the week. In the beginning, you might feel a little warmth in your skin, or temporary redness, but that’s absolutely normal;
  • During the second week, and provided you haven’t experienced any severe skin redness, you may extend your daily sessions up to 15 – 20 minutes;
  • Keep in mind that “more” does not necessarily mean “better.” You should stick to the maximum recommended session duration of 20 minutes and be persistent. Noticeable changes usually appear following 8 – 12 weeks of regular intervention.

How does red light therapy aid fat reduction?

When using red light therapy for weight loss, you not only reduce the size and volume of your fat cells, but you also benefit from a number of additional means that promote weight loss. For example, according to scientific research, RLT acts positively on the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that controls appetite, helps maintain optimal body weight, and regulates the amount of energy our bodies burn.

On the other hand, ghrelin is the hormone that leads to an increased appetite and excessive release of the growth hormone. Apparently, scientists have observed that regular exposure to red light therapy leads to increased leptin production and decreased ghrelin secretion. This effect can have a beneficial impact on individuals who are trying to control their appetite and reduce their weight.

Furthermore, clinical trials have indicated a significant reduction in body fat percentage, greater increase in total muscle mass, and elevated adiponectin concentrations in individuals who have implemented regular RLT as part of their weight loss program. Yet another clear example of how red light therapy for weight loss actually works.

Does red light therapy increase metabolism?

The conducted clinical research on RLT to date shows that the procedure leads to a reduced fat mass, promoted cellulite reduction, and better obesity control. As previously mentioned, the therapy achieves this by several different mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is boosted metabolism. What is even more, unlike most slimming pills, red light therapy for weight loss is entirely safe.

Here’s how RLT leads to an increased metabolism:

  • The regular use of red light therapy for weight loss leads to an increased muscle mass which has been associated with a raised basal metabolic rate (BMR);
  • RLT acts directly on the mitochondrial electron transport chain (METC), thus leading to an increased ATP production and an elevation of the reactive oxygen species. The ultimate results is an increased metabolism and accelerated fat burning rate;
  • Red light therapy has been found to activate certain genes related to mitochondria energy and anti-oxidation, thus promoting an increase in resting energy expenditure (REE).


Over the past decade or so, clinical research has indicated the beneficial effects of red light therapy for weight loss, along with many other positive effects on human health. It is now evident that the therapy is particularly beneficial for individuals who are looking to lose extra weight, reduce fat percentage, and improve their body contour. In addition, RLT offers a safe, effortless, and non-invasive treatment method that has been linked with a number of positive outcomes.

15 – 20 minutes a day, 3 – 5 days a week is all that you need to invest, in order to scoop out all the health benefits. Just make sure you adhere to the safety precautions and do not attempt to overuse the procedure. Keep in mind that “more” does not necessarily mean “better”. Be consistent, stay motivated, and you will soon experience the true potential of red light therapy for weight loss.

References (in order of appearance)

Avci, P., Nyame, T. T., Gupta, G. K., Sadasivam, M., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser therapy for fat layer reduction: a comprehensive review. Lasers in surgery and medicine, 45(6), 349–357.

Figueiro, M. G., Plitnick, B., & Rea, M. S. (2012). Light modulates leptin and ghrelin in sleep-restricted adults. International journal of endocrinology, 2012, 530726.

Tafur, J., & Mills, P. J. (2008). Low-intensity light therapy: exploring the role of redox mechanisms. Photomedicine and laser surgery, 26(4), 323–328.

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