Improving Hormone Health with Red Light Therapy

Understanding Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They are produced in the endocrine glands and travel around your bloodstream, controlling many of your body’s major processes, including metabolism, mood, and reproduction.[1]

When you have a hormonal imbalance, you have too much or too little of a certain hormone. Even tiny changes can have serious effects on your whole body. Imbalances in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline can affect males and females alike.

Common hormonal conditions affecting both men and women could cause symptoms such as weight gain, sudden weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle aches, joint pain, constipation, increased hunger or thirst, decreased sex drive, depression, infertility, and anxiety. However, it is important to note that these symptoms are nonspecific, and having them doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a hormonal imbalance.[2]

The symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can vary according to which gland is affected and whether the person is male or female. Females may experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, while males are more likely to experience imbalances in testosterone levels.[3]

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy uses low-level red wavelengths of light to treat a variety of issues such as skin conditions, insomnia, and hormonal issues. Red and Near-Infrared (NIR) light have been shown to have significant benefits on the body since they are able to penetrate into the skin much deeper.

Once red and NIR wavelengths are absorbed into your body, it essentially stimulates your cells to increase energy production and anti-inflammatory responses. Red light therapy increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used to fuel every bodily function. It also creates hormesis, which is a low-dose temporary metabolic stress that causes both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses in our cells. Hormesis creates the same body response as exercise. As a result, red and NIR light therapy can improve cellular health, boost immunological response, reduce inflammation, and improve cell regeneration.

How Red and NIR Light Therapy Can Help with Hormonal Imbalances

Red Light Therapy is showing positive results with balancing natural hormone production in the body, including thyroid hormones, mood-boosting hormones and there are promising studies showing an improvement in sex hormones in men and women.[4]

Treat hypothyroidism
Red light therapy is shown to improve thyroid function and significantly lower thyroid antibody levels. Patients who use red light therapy on a regular basis may even be able to reduce their thyroid medication dose, and in some cases, eliminate it entirely.[5]

Improve sex drive
Although the data is limited, red light therapy has been shown to have the potential to increase testosterone levels.[6] A small human study seemed to back up the findings. According to one theory, this happens because red and NIR light stimulates photoreceptive proteins in the testicles, which in turn stimulates testosterone production. Another theory is that red light therapy inhibits the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin, an inhibitor of testosterone production.[7]

Alleviate menopause symptoms
Many menopausal women suffer from a decrease in estrogen in the vaginal tissue, which is known as a genitourinary syndrome (GSM). GSM causes a variety of discomfort, including vaginal dryness, burning, irritation, lack of lubrication and pain during sex, and a variety of urinary problems.

Recent research suggests that red light therapy can help treat GSM by promoting collagen and elastin production, which reduces the effects of vaginal thinning, including loss of natural lubrication, and strengthens the urethra and the urethrovaginal sphincter.[8]

Helps With Sleeping Disorders and Insomnia

Red light therapy has been shown to increase the production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. Another study found that applying red light to the inside of the mouth at night and blue light to the outside of the mouth in the morning dramatically improved sleep quality. [9]

Weight Loss

Difficulty in losing weight is common when women undergo menopause. However, it is important to note that weight gain has many factors, like diet and lifestyle.

Red light therapy helps the body lose fat on a cellular level by increasing cellular energy and performance, causing fat cells to release their contents and slowly die, increasing muscle mass, reducing insulin resistance and inflammation, suppressing one’s appetite, improving sleep, and regulating the thyroid.[10]

Increase in Circulation and Collagen in Skin

As red light penetrates through the skin, it promotes circulation and helps in the formation of new capillaries. Red light therapy also increases collagen production for healthy skin, hair, nails, and joints. Collagen isn’t only beneficial for the skin, it also helps with musculoskeletal issues and arthritis, due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of red light therapy.

Promote Hair Growth

Red light therapy helps in restoring hair growth and increasing hair thickness by increasing cellular energy, increasing collagen production,  increasing microcirculation to the scalp. Red light therapy stimulates your body’s natural growth processes, so hair only grows back where it normally would and only in the treated areas.[11]

Other Benefits

Other health benefits of red light therapy include:

  • Promoting wound healing
  • Reducing psoriasis lesions
  • Healing sun damage
  • Short-term solution for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Preventing recurring cold sores
  • Activating lymphatic system for improved detoxification
  • Reducing eczema, rosacea, and acne
  • Fading scars and stretch marks

[1] Tata, J. R. One hundred years of hormones. 2005

[2] Brucker-Davis, F., Thayer, K. & Colborn, T. Significant effects of mild endogenous hormonal changes in humans: considerations for low-dose testing. 2001

[3] Naveed, S. & Hameed, A. Hormonal imbalance and its causes in young females. 2015

[4] European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Lack of interest in sex is successfully treated by exposure to bright light. 2016

[5] Höfling, D. B. et. al. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 2012

[6] Ahn, J. C., Kim, Y. H. & Rhee, C. K. The effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on the testis in elevating
serum testosterone level in rats. 2013

[7] Bossini, L. et. al. Light therapy as a treatment for sexual dysfunctions–beyond a pilot study. 2013

[8] Lanzafame, R. J. et. al. The Rationale for Photobiomodulation Therapy of Vaginal Tissue for Treatment of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: An Analysis of Its Mechanism of Action, and Current Clinical Outcomes. 2019

[9] Rojas, J. C. & Gonzalez-Lima, F. Low-level light therapy of the eye and brain. 2011

[10] Avci, P. et. al. Low-Level Laser Therapy for Fat Layer Reduction: A Comprehensive Review. 2013

[11] Lanzafame, R. J. et. al. The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males. 2013.

This blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, illness or health issue.

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