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How Red Light Therapy Improves Thyroid Function

How Red Light Therapy Improves Thyroid Function

Red Light Therapy for Thyroid

Thyroid plays a pivotal role in the human body. The thyroid is a tiny endocrine gland in the neck that secretes hormones responsible for your metabolism and protein synthesis.  Which means weight gain, fatigue, anxiety and much more is quite common with a sluggish thyroid. And unfortunately, there are rising cases of thyroid dysfunction such a Hashimotos and hypothyroidism. Currently, the statistics say roughly 20-27 million people in the U.S alone are suffering from this disorder, not to mention many that have not been diagnosed.

 

Types of Thyroid Disorder

 

With several rising cases of thyroid disorder, it’s important to be aware of the major types and likely symptoms you should look out for.

Hypothyroidism: This has to do with an underperforming thyroid that lacks the capacity to secrete enough hormones for the body’s continued functionality. People suffering from Hypothyroidism often experience symptoms such as; depression, fatigue, memory-related problems (such as memory loss), and weight gain. [1]

Thyroiditis: Thyroiditis is rampant when there is an inflammation of the thyroid. It is also tenable when pain related to thyroid begins to manifest. This disorder includes Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is the common trigger for an underperforming thyroid (Hypothyroidism). Thyroiditis also includes Postpartum Thyroiditis, which is a form of thyroid disorder that is prevalent after pregnancy. [1]

 

Treatments for Thyroid Disorder

 

Although thyroid disorder can alter your lifestyle, you can still get back on your feet by using the right medication, radioiodine therapy, and in some cases, surgery. Some patients are mandated to take thyroid medications for a long time (often throughout their lifetime) with the aim of keeping the hormone levels in check. Some traditional medications such as Synthroid otherwise called Levothyroxine [2] are popular in the United States as a treatment for thyroid disorder. However, they have potential side effects, such as cramps, hair loss, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, and weight gain. [3]

In light of this, many patients chose to go for natural medications. This recent perceptive led to clinical researches and one of the researches highlighted the innate potentials of the red light therapy as a natural and effective method of treating thyroid disorders and related symptoms.

 

Laboratory Research Results Uphold the Positive Effects of Light Therapy on the Thyroid

 

Early results from clinical researches on the thyroids of other mammals uphold the belief that light therapy has positive effects in the treatment of thyroid.

Meanwhile, a team of Brazilian-based researchers embarked on a 3-year randomized, placebo-controlled trial on 43 patients with a history of Levothyroxine intervention for hypothyroidism, which was caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, otherwise called Chronic Autoimmune Thyroiditis (CAT). The essence of the research was to evaluate the long-term effects of the therapy on more patients suffering from thyroid disorders.

Sequel to the outcome of the research, the team of researchers led by Dr. D.B Höfling from the University of Sao Paulo Medical School proceeded to make publications of their findings in medical journals. Part of the outlined findings is a 9-month follow up of the patients’ response to the therapy.

Below are their findings:

Limited need for Levothyroxine: One of the highpoints of the findings of the research is the discovery that people suffering from thyroid conditions tend to have limited need for Levothyroxine. As suggested by the research, patients experienced less need for Levothyroxine (the most common medication for thyroid conditions). It’s worth mentioning that before the research, the average dose of Levothyroxine for each patient in the placebo group was about 3 times higher than the traditional dosage. However, the aftermath of the research revealed that about 47% of the participants/patients have either less need for the drug or none at all. [4]

A decline in the Levels of Thyroid Peroxidase (TPOAb): Another finding of the research is the decline in thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb). These antibodies indicate a problem in the autoimmune system. Therefore, a decline in their levels laid credence to the fact that near-infrared light therapy could be a better solution to thyroid disorders. [4]

Thyroid Vascularity: The researchers made use of color Doppler ultrasounds for the this research. At the end of the 9-month follow-up session, it was discovered that light therapy treatment options facilitated an increment in the Systolic Peak Velocity (SPV) of the Inferior Thyroid Arteries (ITA), [5] and higher rates of Vascularization of the thyroid lobes.

Improved Thyroid Function: Going by the data obtained at the end of the research and the subsequent 9-month follow up period, the researchers concluded that light therapy is “effective at improving thyroid function, promoting reduced TPOAb-mediated autoimmunity, and increasing thyroid echogenicity in patients with CAT hypothyroidism”. [4]

Following the success of the previous research, the same team of researchers proceeded with another. This time, they performed a different pilot study in 2010, using light therapy treatments on 15 patients that were taking the common medication for thyroid conditions (Levothyroxine). At the end of this study, the researchers concluded, “results indicate that 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”. [6]

The research also suggested larger light therapy trials for people with thyroid conditions. Over the years, initial Brazilian trials to that regard proved to be efficient.

Natural Light Effects on Mammals

 

Aside from the clinical research on humans suffering from thyroid conditions, other laboratory researches analyzed the effects of natural light on thyroid conditions of other mammals. Given the fact that the human thyroid functions the same way as that of other mammals like rabbits and rodents, subsequent laboratory research on mammals provided relevant insight into other yet-to-be-studied biological mechanisms in humans.

To that end, a 2015 study, which was published in Photochemistry & Photobiology, holds the view that an administration of light therapy to the thyroid glands of laboratory-tested rats “revealed improvement in thyroid function, liver function and antioxidant levels, and blood cell count after light therapy”. [7]

Another study posited that people with hypothyroidism often experience longer healing timeframe for wounds and scars. [8] The use of light therapy also plays a crucial role in faster wound and scar healing in people suffering from thyroid conditions [9] In furtherance of the quest to evaluate the impact of light therapy on wound healing, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Lasers in Medical Science made a practical assessment of rats suffering from hypothyroidism. Incisions were made on the body of the rats. After which the same was treated with a combination of Levothyroxine and wavelengths of natural light. As posited by the researchers, this combination facilitated the wound-healing process. [8]

 

Red Light Therapy Recommendations by Health and Fitness Leaders

 

With the success of initial trials with light therapy in improving thyroid conditions, renowned health and fitness professionals recommended Infraredi, a LED Red Light Therapy. It’s interesting to note that they are amazed by the positive results they derived from the product.

In her opinion, Katie, the founder of Wellness Mama highlighted the challenges she had while raising kids afflicted with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. After jilting traditional thyroid medications (which are common with over 20 million Americans suffering from thyroid conditions) for the Infraredi therapy, she expressed joy at the improvement of her skin and the huge hormonal benefits she experienced after she started using Infraredi.

Through full-body light therapy using Infraredi, she has also been able to reduce her regular dose of thyroid medication and has an all-around reduction in thyroid symptoms, including low energy issues, and joint pain. You may want to check her recent episode on the Wellness Mama Podcast, where she shared her experience with light therapy.

 

Light Therapy can Treat Fibromyalgia and Fix other Thyroid Issues

 

It’s worth noting that thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism often culminate into fibromyalgia with some of the symptoms like exhaustion, depression, muscle and joint pain, and “brain fog”. [10]

One of the success stories recorded with Infraredi was with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. Otherwise called “Paleo Mom”, Dr. Sarah highlighted her struggles with fibromyalgia and the accompanying inflammation and joint pain. All that is in the past, as her use of the full-body Infraredi device for 20 minutes every morning after a workout helped her to get some relief from joint pain for 6 months running. According to Dr. Sarah, the device is a life-changer, which also helped her to enjoy better sleep, and faster muscle recovery.

 

Conclusion: Light Therapy Proves to be a Naturally Efficient Treatment for Thyroid Disorders

 

With the different testimonies from health professionals who have used the red light therapy, it is evident that the non-reliance on drugs and zero side effects are factors that make it a safer and natural method of treating thyroid conditions. Although the Infraredi devices are not specifically designed for thyroid conditions, their potentialities were made manifest with testimonials from health professionals and other users. Early laboratory researchers also support the assertion. If you would like to find out more about thyroid disorder symptoms, such as pain, skin issues, and sleep problems, you may want to click on the dedicated links to gain access to the information you seek.

 

Scientific Sources and Medical References:

 

[1] American Thyroid Association. What you need to know about the thyroid.

[2] Brown, Troy. Top 10 Most-Prescribed and Top-Selling Medications. WebMD. May 2015.

[3] Understanding Possible Side Effects. Synthroid.com.

[4]  Hofling DB, Chavantes MC, et al. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. May 2013; 28(3): 743-53.

[5]  Hofling DB, Chavantes MC, et al. Assessment of the effects of low-level laser therapy on the thyroid vascularization of patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism by color Doppler ultrasound. ISRN Endocrinology. 2012; 2012:126720.

[6]  Hofling DB, Chavantes MC, et al. Low-level laser therapy in chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a pilot study. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 2010 Aug; 42(6): 589-96.

[7]  Morcos, N., Omran M., et al. Phototherapeutic Effect of Low-Level Laser on Thyroid Gland of Gamma-Irradiated Rats. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2015 Jul-Aug; 91(4): 942-51.

[8]  Firouzi A., Fadaei Fathabadi F., et al. The Combined Effects of Levothyroxine and Low-Level Laser Therapy on Wound Healing in Hypothyroidism Male Rat Model. 2018 Winter; 9(1): 7-10.

[9]  Emília de Abreu Chaves M, Rodrigues de Araújo A, Piancastelli ACC, and Pinotti M. “Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED.” An Bras Dermatol. 2014 Jul-Aug; 89(4): 616–623. 

[10]  Shomon, Mary. Hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia--What’s the Connection? Verywell Health. May 2018.

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