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Hashimoto’s, and hypothyroidism is often said to irreversible and ends with complete thyroid cell damage, leading to a lifelong requirement of thyroid hormone medications.

But researchers in Brazil have been studying the effects of low level laser therapy on the thyroid gland in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and the results are promising!

15 patients who had Hashimoto’s received 10 applications of light therapy (830 nm, output power 50 mW) twice per week for 5 weeks over the thyroid gland. Patients were able to reduce their levothyroxine dose, with 47% able to discontinue medication and have normal thyroid function during the 9-month follow-up! 100 Red light therapy can increase circulation in the thyroid gland and increase thyroid hormone levels in animals. 63

Here’s a brief summary of four different studies that were done with LLLT in Brazil:

Thirty days after the LLLT treatment, medications were discontinued and then reintroduced, if needed. Researchers tested levels of thyroid hormones, TPOAb, and TgAb, at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, months after stopping the levothyroxine. 47% of the patients were able to stop levothyroxine all together and maintain normal thyroid function. The rest were able to reduce their dose of medication.

The average levothyroxine dose dropped from 96 +/- 22 mcg/day, to 38 +/- 23 mcg/day.

Out of 15 people, 10 saw a reduction in thyroid antibodies, while two saw no change, and still three saw an increase. However the mean TPO level reduced from 982 to 579 over the course of the study with the greatest improvement dropping from 2354 to 135.

In terms of TG antibodies, 8 people saw a reduction, 5 people did not see a change, and 2 people saw an increase. Still the mean TGAb dropped from 650 to 517, while the greatest reduction was from 966 to 35 in one person- these are impressive numbers that seem to provide a great deal of hope in an all natural, medication free thyroid treatment for many.

Before the treatment, 20% had reduced thyroid volume, 27% increased volume and 53% normal volume. After the treatment, 43% of the people who had an abnormal thyroid volume saw that their thyroid size normalized. The remainder improved, reaching almost normal values, showing us light therapy may also be helpful for reducing goiter size.

Another randomized, larger placebo-controlled trial was also performed in the study of 43 patients in 2011. 102 The results were also impressive:

  • A reduction of levothyroxine dose from a mean of 93 mcg to 38 mcg (with 95.7% of treatment group being able to reduce or stop medications…
  • 47.8% no longer needing thyroid medications at all
  • a reduction in TPOAb, mean 1289 to 656 (around 50% reduction)
  • a reduction in TG antibodies, 720 to 656
  • a normalization of thyroid volume (in 66%)
  • and less infiltration of the thyroid gland on ultrasounds (meaning fewer inflammatory cells were present). Echogenicity index on thyroid ultrasound was improved in 95% of the study group, which means that their thyroid gland had less damage and fewer white blood cells.
These findings suggest that light as medicine is effective at improving thyroid function, promoting reduced TPOAb-mediated autoimmunity and increasing thyroid echogenicity in patients with CAT hypothyroidism. 100
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