Vielight Review - Does Red Light On The Brain & Up The Nose Improve Cognitive Function?

Red light therapy is taking the health industry by storm. I've seen first hand the benefits of shining red light on my body from my Joovv device. 

But what about red light on the brain?

The science is solid - the evidence shows that light therapy helps with Alzheimer's and cognitive function and a range of other benefits.

So what is the best way to get this therapeutic light onto the brain? By using the Vielight red light therapy headset.

In this article, I'm going to explain what the Vielight is, how it works and then review the Vielight itself. I've been using it off and on for many months now, so I will be sharing my insights below.

 

What Is The Vielight?

Vielight is a company that makes wearable photobiomodulation devices to enhance cognitive function and general wellness.

These devices shine therapeutic light (light in the red and near-infrared range) into the brain either through the skull or via the nasal passage (or both, some of the Vielight products use both modalities - I'll cover this in more detail later).

The team from Vielight put it simply:

The Vielight Neuro units are transcranial-intranasal near infrared(NIR) headsets, engineered for increased efficacy and easy domestic use for comprehensive brain photobiomodulation.  Essentially the process energizes neuronal mitochondria which trigger a cascade of beneficial cellular events.

To achieve this, the user wears a rather sci-fi looking headset or clips a specially designed LED up this nostril.

Yes I know, it all looks and sounds a little nerdy - but there are countless people, in all age brackets, doing wearing these units every day because of the benefits they are receiving. 

You can view a short video that appeared on the discovery channel showcasing the benefits of the Vielight on elderly cognitive health. This video is viewable HERE.

The company has done extensive research on designing their products and users have seen benefits with brain conditions such as Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, Dementia, Depression or severe allergies, but as the benefits of photobiomodulation (PBM) and in particular red light therapy become more well known, the Vielight is making its way into the fitness and high performance arenas.

 

Professional hockey players such as Kevin Clark, and world famous athlete & biohacker Ben Greenfield are two such individuals who swear by their Vielight. Ben calling it 'Viagra for the brain' and Kevin stating 'It was incredible to see the results I was getting from my Vielight'.

Kevin noticed an uptick in his Heart Rate Variability when using his Vielight as well as being more mentally alert with deeper sleep and improved sleep scores.

Remarkably, the Vielight has even been beneficial for athletes recovering from concussion and TBI injuries.

Does all this sound good to be true?

Perhaps - but we do know how beneficial photobiomodulation is for health and wellness. 

I have explored these benefits in detail in my article The Fascinating Healing Properties of Red Light Therapy: Rapid Healing, Reduce Wrinkles & Rejuvenate Health.

And I am a regular user of my Joovv Red Light Device which I reviewed HERE.

So I believe these claims that Vielight makes about their devices. The science is solid, and anecdotal evidence supports the science.

But before I jump to conclusions, let us take a good look at the claimed benefits and the science behind the Vielight. Then I will share my own personal review of the Vielight. 

The Benefits Of The Vielight

First I should make something clear - Vielight have a couple of models for sale. Some shine light on the head (transcranial), others through the nose. Some use red light in the 600nm range, other's use invisible near-infrared light.

I will cover all the product options below, but for now, I will look at the benefits of Vielights photobiomodulation (PBM) of red and near-infrared light on the brain.

Cognitive Enhancement 

  • A 2017 paper looked at the use of 810nm, 10hz pulsed light on the subjects head and intranasally. The subjects had mild to moderately severe cognitive impairment going into the test. After 12 weeks of use, the researchers noted ' significant improvement after 12 weeks of PBM. Increased function, better sleep, fewer angry outbursts, less anxiety, and wandering were reported post-PBM. There were no negative side effects'. (1)

This is a powerful finding, especially for those concerned or suffering from cognitive decline. They now have a relatively low-cost treatment that can be used in the comfort of their home. 

  • A newer paper published in 2019 set out to further prove the effectiveness of near-infrared light applied transcranially and via the nose on cognitive function. The researchers also found improved cognitive function in all areas of the brain in those suffering from brain impairment disease (2)

I could go on, there have been multiple studies showing the effectiveness of Vielights PBM devices on brain function (3, 4, 5).

The evidence is clear - if you or a loved one suffer from cognitive decline, or you are concerned about it, then the Vielight is a great in-home treatment option.

 

Blood Photobiomodulation

The Vielight intranasal device has the benefits of blood irradiation therapy. This practice has long been studied in Russia & Germany, where the certain wavelengths of light shined onto blood at the appropriate energy levels has been shown to have numerous benefits.

These benefits include boosting blood oxygenation, boosting immune function, disease resistance, and increases in ATP level (6, 7, 8, 9).

 

Plus All The Benefits Of Photobiomodulation

As the Vielight utilises therapeutic red and NIR light as is making its way directly into the brain, the benefits of the Vielight are potentially huge.

We already know that red and NIR light does everything from help with memory recall and learning to regrowing tooth dentine (10) and increased ATP synthesis. And we know that PBM has systemic benefits (meaning the whole body benefits from exposure).

I have listed some of the benefits of red light on the body below, but for the full list head to THIS page:

  • Tooth repair
  • Pain relief
  • Wound healing
  • Inflammation
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Boosting testosterone
  • Hair growth
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Parkinsons & Alzheimers

Therefore, the benefits of using the Vielight could potentially be enormous - it's just that science hasn't figured it all out yet!

How Does The VieLight Work

The Vielight simply uses LED or Lasers to concentrate red light (or near-infrared light) into the brain. This is done intranasally, or transcranially with the Vielights nasal light piece or headpiece (or both can be used at the time).

The following image shows the near infrared illumination generated by the Vielight Neuro Gamma in a human cadaver, detected using near-infrared sensory equipment.

My article The Fascinating Healing Properties of Red Light Therapy: Rapid Healing, Reduce Wrinkles & Rejuvenate Health takes a comprehensive look at the science behind PBM and how this works with the Vielight. 

Alternatively, the Vielight website has a great page on the science behind the Vielight. https://vielight.com/photobiomodulation/

I have referenced a few key points below:

Photobiomodulation therapy is defined as the utilization of non-ionizing photonic energy to trigger photochemical changes within cellular structures that are receptive to photons, particularly mitochondria. At the cellular level, visible red and near infrared light energy are absorbed by mitochondria, which perform the function of producing cellular energy called “ATP”. The key to this entire process is a mitochondrial enzyme called cytochrome oxidase c, a chromophore, which accepts photonic energy of specific wavelengths when functioning below par.

Photobiology

Photobiology is the study of the effects of non-ionizing radiation on biological systems. The biological effect varies with the wavelength region of the radiation. The radiation is absorbed by molecules in skin such as DNA, protein or certain drugs. The molecules are changed chemically into products that initiate biochemical responses in the cells.

Biological reaction to light is nothing new, there are numerous examples of light induced photochemical reactions in biological systems. Vitamin D synthesis in our skin is an example of a photochemical reaction. The power density of sunlight is only 105 mW/cm2 yet when ultraviolet B (UVB) rays strikes our skin, it converts a universally present form of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D3. We normally experience this through our eyes which are obviously photosensitive – our vision is based upon light hitting our retinas and creating a chemical reaction that allows us to see. Throughout the course of evolution, photons have played a vital role in photo-chemically energizing certain cells.

Pathways

  • NO (Nitric Oxide)
  • ROS (Reactive Oxygen Series) → PKD (gene) → IkB (Inhibitor κB) + NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) → NF-κB (nuclear factor κB stimulates gene transcription)
  • ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) → cAMP (catabolite activator protein) → Jun/Fos (oncogenic transcription factors) → AP-1 (activator protein transcription factor stimulates gene transcription)
 

Mechanism

The current widely accepted proposal is that low level visible red to near infrared light energy is absorbed by mitochondria and converted into ATP for cellular use. In addition, the process creates mild oxidants (ROS) that leads to gene transcription and then to cellular repair and healing. The process also unclogs the chain that has been clogged by nitric oxide (NO).[1]  The nitric oxide is then released back into the system. Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body. Additionally, nitric oxide helps to dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation.

 

 

Brain Bioenergetics

Near-infrared light stimulates mitochondrial respiration in neurons by donating photons that are absorbed by cytochrome oxidase, a bioenergetics process called photoneuromodulation in nervous tissue.[5]The absorption of luminous energy by the enzyme results in increased brain cytochrome oxidase enzymatic activity and oxygen consumption. Since the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by cytochrome oxidase is the reduction of oxygen to water, acceleration of cytochrome oxidase catalytic activity directly causes an increase in cellular oxygen consumption. [6]Increased oxygen consumption by nerve cells is coupled to oxidative phosphorylation, ATP production increases as a consequence of the metabolic action of near-infrared light. This type of luminous energy can enter brain mitochondria transcranially, and—independently of the electrons derived from food substrates—it can directly photostimulate cytochrome oxidase activity.[7]

 
As I mentioned, the Vielight uses two ways to emit this light on the brain. On the head or up the nose.
The nose piece on my 655 prime.
 
You may be thinking - how does the light reach the brain given our skull and hair are in the way?
The headpiece on my Neuro Gamma
 
The Vielight uses 810nm near-infrared light, studies have shown that this light exhibits the least photonic scattering and absorption by blood and water. Plus, the power of NIR light used by the Vielight is sufficient enough to pass through the head and skull and reach 40mm into the brain.
 
 

The Vielight Product Range

When you head over to the Vielight store you will immediately see a variety of units for sale.

I'll break down each one below: 

  • Neuro Gamma (Brain - 40hz)

This uses NIR light pulsed at 40hz - which has a stronger effect on memory and cognitive enhancement. This unit is recommended for optimum concentration and memory.

It comes with the headpiece and the nose piece for both transcranial and intranasal exposure. 

The cost is $1749 before using Vielight discount code ALEX10 (this will save you 10%)

The Gamma with the headpiece, nose piece and the control box.

 

  • Neuro Alpha (Brain - 10hz)

Like the Gamma, this also uses NIR light emitted through the headset and nose piece, but uses a 10hz pulse rate. This is more effective for overall neuronal health.

It also costs $1749 before using Vielight discount code ALEX10 (this will save you 10%)

 

  • Neuro Duo (Brain)

This is the premium Vielight product. Combining both the Neuro Alpha (NIR at 10hz) and Neuro Gamma (NIR at 40hz) for the best brain performance possible.

It comes with a transcranial and intranasal device. And retails for $2,369  before using Vielight discount code ALEX10 (this will save you 10%).

  • Vielight X-Plus

The X-plus uses 810nm light on the head and 633nm red light through the nose for systemic irradiation. 

The headset is a different design to the three I listed above, in fact, the X-Plus is designed to hit areas of the brain that the Neuro headsets don't target (namely the posterior brain area). Plus it can be used for spot treatments all over the body.

The price for the X-plus is $749 before using Vielight discount code ALEX10 (this will save you 10%)

 

  • The Intranasal Devices

Finally, we have the 3 intranasal devices - these don't have the headband with transcranial emitters. But on the upside, come in at a much lower price.

The are three options. The 633nm Red ($299) which is also for systemic use, the 655nm Prime (also for systemic use) which retails for $399, and the 810 Infrared which costs $499 and is used for brain enhancement.

 

These units target the nasal cavity - which is rich in blood capillaries. The 655nm Prime unit is for the body & blood irradiation, allowing more oxygen to flow to the muscles and reducing fatigue.

The infrared unit is beneficial for brain function given the deeper penetration of NIR.

 

The Review: My Experiences With The VieLight

Ok so now for what you've all been waiting for - my thoughts and feedback!

I've had the Vielight Gamma and the Vielight 633 for over a year now. During this time I've been using it a couple of times a week.

And what have I noticed? Not a hell of a lot to be honest.

I know, that's all a big disappointment and not what you were wanting to hear.

I mean I do feel a mild 'caffeine buzz' after doing a session (I don't drink coffee on a regular basis, so when I have a small cup of joe, the small pick me up is similar to what I occasionally feel after a Vielight session). But other than that I can't say there have been massive life-changing improvements.

I've reached out to Vielight about my no results. They say that in rare circumstances so users do not see any results. In which they offer a refund policy. They also said it could be due to my heavy of Red Light Therapy from my Joovv

However, because of the sound technology and science behind PBM, I continue to use my Vielight.  The brain benefits are simply too beneficial to ignore. 

 

The reasons why I don't see any results could be due to any of the following:

  • Because I'm already doing a lot of red light therapy with my multiple Joovv units (which emit 660nm and 850nm light). In fact, I often wear my Vielight when I do my Joovv session. The Vielight team said I should avoid using the Vielight at the same time as using the Joovv. It was easier to shove lights up your nose and wear a nerdy headset for 20 minutes when I'm standing next to my Joovv for 20 minutes in the morning.

But after hearing this I started using my Vielight later in the day - after my Joovv session. And some days I would skip the Joovv and just use my Vielight.

On these occasions, I have noticed a surge in cognitive energy - especially if I'm doing a task like research or writing. Is it a placebo effect? Or am I over analysing things - I do not know.

  • Changes are happening - I'm just not noticing them. They could be deeper level changes. I mean I haven't been sick for a LONG time. My HRV score on my Oura Ring is always high, and I sleep like a rock with a good 1.5 - 2hours of deep sleep a night.

 

  • I'm doing too many experiments at the same time. I mean I'm always playing around with my diet, a new supplement, or other biohacks. For example, I've been experimenting with the nootropic Qualia and their anti-ageing formula Eternus. This is all extra noise as to what is working best etc.

 

  • I'm not using it enough. If I averaged it out, I'd probably only use my Vielight 1.5 times a  week. I never travel with it. And I will admit, it's not the most comfortable thing to wear - plus all the cords hanging from my head do restrict the tasks I can do.

Alternatively, I'm either already superhuman status (I doubt it. I'm a slow learner, my memory recall is pathetic, and I often forget simple things), I'm a non-responder or quite simply the Vielight doesn't work.

But I don't want to believe the latter. I know, I know, crazy I hear you think. But hey, the science is so darn solid.
I've taken a deep dive into the literature around photobiomodulation, and I have experienced the benefits first hand from my Joovv use.

Plus, so many people swear by the Vielight. Especially those with cognitive decline. Just have a nosey around the Vielight website and watch some of the testimonials.

Anyway, I wanted to be upfront with everyone. And as I mentioned, I will continue using my Vielight as I am certain something beneficial is happening. 

And maybe I need to do a proper experiment, where I do some brain quantification tests, and use the Vielight as prescribed without any other red light therapy treatments...

If anyone has any ideas on how I should structure this, please let me know.

 

Other Thoughts On The Vielight

It is uncomfortable. I mean you're shoving things up your nose and wearing a rather clunky headpiece. Then you have wires running everywhere... it's really not that fun, especially if you're trying to move around with it.

But hey, I do a lot of uncomfortable things in the name of health, so it's not that big of an issue. Especially because a session only lasts 20 minutes.

 Also, it would be cool if the units had an option to alternate between wavelengths. Right now you spend a lot of money on a Vielight that only emits one wavelength (unless you buy the Duo, where you can get two wavelengths). I know it would send the price sky high, but it would be neat if you could choose what wavelength you wanted to use. Maybe I wanted extra red to help fight a bug one day, and then more NIR for brain performance the other next.

Actually, this point is probably a poor one now that I think of it. For the best overall results, get a Neuro Duo and then get the 655 prime for the other nostril. I'll stop whining now.

 

Should You Buy A Vielight?

Sure, if you're into biohacker, looking for ways to increase brain function, worried (or suffering from) dementia or Alzheimer's, or simply love photobiomodulation.

It's hard for me to recommend it to everyone, simply because I haven't noticed any major effects. This is unlike my experiences with my Joovv red light panel - where I notice the impact it has on my skin, teeth and hormones.

If I wore the Vielight and then felt like my brain changed up a few gears, then sure I'd say 'everyone needs this'. But I don't. So I can't.

But other's do notice this change, so therefore I guess it is best to try it for yourself and see how you feel? Vielight does have a refund policy. Alternatively, hang around in some Biohacker circles and you may find someone who will let you use there's for a while.

I know I keep mentioning the Joovv red light panel. Even though the Joovv uses red light therapy like the Vielight, the similarities stop there. Vielight is designed so that the light penetrates deep into the brain. Plus it's programmed for optimal cognitive benefits.

The Vielight also uses a pulsed light, the frequency varies between the model you go with. 

The Neuro Alpha, for example, uses a 10hz pulse rate. This helps the brain enter the alpha brain wave state which can bring about a relaxed state.

Devices like Joovv don't utilise this pulsating function.

Joovv red light therapy is designed for whole body use - hence why it's a panel and not a headset.

But, I keep thinking to myself, if I had $2000, was 20-30 years old, and was tossing up between a Joovv and a Vielight, what would I get? I'd have to say the Joovv. Or, I'd get a smaller Joovv and then a Vielight intranasal unit.

I personally think the physical benefits from a Joovv light would be more advantageous for a young adult than the brain-boosting benefits from the Vielight.

Now if I was 50 or older and the same scenario applied, I'd probably go with the Vielight - because I'd be keen to help my brain as it ages however possible!

 

That's a Wrap

If you would like to learn more about the Vielight, I highly recommend spending some time on their website at https://vielight.com/. It's chock full of great information, science and frequently asked questions.

You can also purchase the Vielight direct from their website. Vielight have given me a discount code to share with my readers. It is ALEX10 and will knock 10% off the purchase price.

If you have any questions or feedback for me, please leave it in the comments section below.

 

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