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Can red light therapy help dementia?

As we get older, we all face the possibility of declining cognitive function and memory loss. But what if there was a safe, natural way to help keep our minds sharp – one that didn’t involve confusing brain games or prescription medications with side effects? Emerging research suggests red light therapy may offer hope. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind using red and near-infrared light to potentially improve dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and overall brain health. If you or a loved one are experiencing memory problems, mild cognitive impairment, or the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, red light therapy may help turn on the light bulb in the brain – read on to learn more!

light therapy for dementia

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

The Rising Impact of Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term describing impaired brain function that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. It progressively damages memory, thinking skills, and eventually physical function as toxic beta-amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles accumulate in the brain.

In the US, dementia impacts over 6 million adults. It’s estimated 1 in 3 seniors dies with some form of dementia. After age 65, the risk of developing dementia doubles every 5 years. It becomes more prevalent with advanced age, afflicting:

3% of people 65-74
17% of people 75-84
32% of people 85+

Currently, over 55 million people worldwide have dementia. As our population ages, experts forecast dementia and Alzheimer’s cases to triple by 2050. Despite the growing prevalence, current treatment options are limited. Medications can sometimes manage symptoms temporarily but are unable to stop or reverse cognitive decline. Coping with dementia’s devastating emotional and physical toll presents constant challenges for patients, families, and caregivers.

That’s why innovative new therapies like red light are so urgently needed. Keep reading to understand how red light therapy can impact dementia’s development and symptoms.

How Red Light Therapy Can Fundamentally Treat Dementia?

Scientists are still working to unlock all the intricate mechanisms behind red light therapy’s benefits. But research points to some key pathways it uses to protect the brain and support cognition.

Improving Mitochondrial Function
The mitochondria act as “batteries” that power cells throughout the body and brain. Impaired mitochondrial function is believed central to aging, cognitive decline, and neurodegeneration. By enhancing mitochondrial activity, red light promotes cell health and efficient energy production. This extra fuel helps neurons communicate, form connections, resist damage, and even grow.

Increasing Cerebral Blood Flow
Red light stimulates the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that controls blood vessel dilation and blood flow. Boosting circulation enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery while clearing toxic waste – nourishing the brain. Increased cerebral blood flow is linked to improved cognition.

Reducing Oxidative Stress
The aging process and dementia progression involve heightened free radical damage known as oxidative stress. Red light boosts antioxidant activity to neutralize these harmful free radicals. This helps protect vulnerable neurons and reduce neuroinflammation.

Promoting Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s lifelong ability to reorganize, form new connections, and essentially “rewire” itself. Higher neuroplasticity benefits learning, adaptability, and cognitive function. Research shows red light stimulates neuroplasticity and neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons – even into old age. This allows new neural networks to develop after brain injuries like dementia.

Supporting Mitochondrial Function, blood flow, plasticity, and antioxidant defenses are key mechanisms through which red light therapy seems to fundamentally impact dementia development and symptoms.

The Science of light therapy

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

Research on Red Light Therapy for dementia

So what does the science actually say about using red light therapy for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and healthier aging? An increasing number of studies shine promising light on the cognitive benefits:

A recent study published in the journal Brain and Behavior found that red light therapy can help relieve dementia symptoms and is a promising non-drug intervention.[1]

In a study of 5 patients with mild to moderate dementia, transcranial infrared light therapy resulted in significant improvements in mental status examination and Alzheimer’s disease after only 12 weeks of treatment. Patients sleep better, with less anxiety and wandering. No adverse side effects were found.[2]

In another study, researchers found that near-infrared light can improve Alzheimer’s disease by slowing the progression of the neurodegenerative disease and reducing amyloid-beta (Aβ) levels in the cortex.[3]

Research is ongoing, but mounting evidence supports red light as a promising therapy for protecting cognition and managing symptoms as dementia progresses.

Let’s Look at the Light therapy for Dementia Research:

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

Other Brain Boosting Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Beyond dementia and Alzheimer’s, red light therapy is showing brain-enhancing effects on:

  • Depression – By increasing serotonin, dopamine, and other mood regulating neurotransmitters
  • Traumatic brain injury – Speeding repair mechanisms and reducing inflammation
  • Stroke recovery – Promoting neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and new neural networks to rewire the brain after injury
  • Parkinson’s disease – Protecting dopamine producing neurons to improve motor function
  • Chronic fatigue – Increasing ATP cell energy to combat exhaustion
  • Sleep and circadian rhythms – Boosting melatonin and stabilization of daily bio rhythms
  • ADD/ADHD – Impacting the prefrontal cortex to enhance focus and impulse control
  • And enhancing overall cognition in healthy people – Improving focus, processing speed, memory, learning, vigilance, motivation, and much more!

The diverse benefits make red light therapy an excellent daily biohack for total brain optimization. Just like taking a multivitamin for overall wellness, red light supports whole-body function, including robust brain health.

Is Red Light Therapy for Dementia Right for Your Loved One?

Red light therapy shows real promise for supporting healthy cognition and potentially slowing symptom progression in dementia. But how can you know if it’s appropriate to incorporate into your or your loved one’s treatment plan? Here are some factors to consider:

Stage of dementia
Red light can benefit mild to moderate stage when used with other lifestyle strategies. It may help manage behaviors and slow decline. But results are best when started earlier.

Type of dementia
Vascular, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s related, and Lewy body dementia tend to respond most favorably based on research done so far.

Patient characteristics
Red light is appropriate for most older adults. But sensitivity to light or existing eye conditions warrant caution.

Other interventions
Work closely with your health provider. Red light therapy ideally complements medications, nutrition, exercise, cognitive training, stress reduction, and social engagement.

Response to light
Monitor mood, sleep, cognition, behavior and medication effects. Adjust treatment timing if needed.

Risk factors
Address visual health, cancer risks, and photosensitive medications. Protect eyes during treatment.


While many studies use large, expensive clinical red light units, today’s affordable at-home devices make it easy to harness these same brain-enhancing effects. RedDot LED offers cutting-edge red and near infrared light products for boosting cognition and overall brain optimization. So explore how RedDot LED red light devices can assist you or your loved one’s dementia journey while improving memory, processing, mood, sleep, and daily function. Let us shine light on your path forward!



[1]Xinlian Lu, Chengyu Liu, Feng Shao. Phototherapy improves cognitive function in dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain and Behavior. Volume13, Issue5, May 2023.

[2]Anita E. Saltmarche, Margaret A. Naeser, Kai Fai Ho, Michael R Hamblin, and Lew Lim. Significant Improvement in Cognition in Mild to Moderately Severe Dementia Cases Treated with Transcranial Plus Intranasal Photobiomulation: Case Series Report. Photomed Laser Surg. 2017 Aug. 1; 35(8): 432–441.

[3]Stepanov, Y.V., Golovynska, I., Zhang, R. et al. Near-infrared light reduces β-amyloid-stimulated microglial toxicity and enhances survival of neurons: mechanisms of light therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Alz Res Therapy 14, 84 (2 022 ).

Published by reddotled.com (Repost Tips)