Low Level Laser Therapy and Your Thyroid – The Latest Research shows…
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP
Lasers, powerful beams of light that affect how our body functions whether it’s our eyes, our fat cells, and now research is showing our thyroid. In 2015, I wrote a blog about low level laser therapy and the thyroid based in research out of Brasil (http://www.redtailhealth.com/can-laser-help-your-thyroid/).
A new research article has now been published that takes that study to the next level showing longer term effects of low level laser on the thyroid. There have been questions whether the low level laser would be effective for long periods of time, if it permanently changes how the thyroid functions, would continued laser therapy be needed, and many more questions. This new research article begins the search into these questions.
The previous research showed that thyroid hormone replacement dose was reduced in a significant number of test subjects. In 22/23 patients in the therapy group of the study there was also an increased echogenicity (density of tissue indicating thyroid regeneration). Eleven out of 23 people in the therapy group did not need to reintroduce thyroid hormones before the ninth month of the follow-up period were as all the patients in the control group needed thyroid hormone replacement (and multiple subjects needed to increase dose). Not only did TSH levels drop in the therapy group, but so did TPO-Ab. The quality of thyroid tissue also improved in that the density of tissue increased indicating less inflammation and increased tissue capable of producing thyroid hormones.
While this was all exciting research on low level laser therapy on the thyroid, the question remained: would it last and does low level laser therapy change the number of thyroid nodules?
While there was not a statistically significant difference in the number of nodules, technically, the therapy group had fewer. However, the encouraging part of the research was the information found at 270 days post intervention of low level laser therapy and 6 years post conclusion of the therapy. The data from these two follow up dates showed a significant difference between the treated group and the control group. The average thyroid hormone replacement dosage for the control was 142mcg and low level laser treatment group averaged 94mcg. This may not seem like a lot, but we now know that levothyroxine therapy is significantly correlated to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth risk (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28223728). The least amount of medication is critical for gut health as well as thyroid health. And, this research clearly indicates that thyroid function at 6 years is significantly improved with laser therapy!
There are a few more take home points I wanted to mention. First, patients responded to laser therapy for at least 11 months. The effects of low level laser therapy are transient and therefore, new therapy sessions will be needed over time to maintain results. This may seem disappointing that the laser is not a fix all cure, but don’t despair! This clearly indicates that these patients need to address the underlying root cause for their thyroid disorder, not just use a therapy that helps the thyroid. Remember, Hashimoto’s disease is NOT a disorder of the thyroid primarily, it is an auto-immune disease and the immune system needs to be the target!
This also demonstrates there is a viable alternative to thyroid medication therapy if done in conjunction with laboratory monitoring studies and if the functional medicine approach is utilized effectively. This means hard work, many times dietary changes and an analysis of stressors and the environment. But, when you can pin down those root cause triggers we have tools to physically rehabilitate the thyroid – Low Level Laser Therapy!
Low level laser therapy with functional medicine can be a powerful combination to let your health soar!
Let your health soar,
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP