It's easy to be tempted by products touting quick and easy ways to lose weight, such as magnetic rings for weight loss. But generally, if a weight-loss gimmick sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no solid evidence that magnetic therapy will help you lose weight.
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What Are Magnetic Rings?
A quick search on Amazon for "magnetic rings weight loss" yields an array of magnetic products that claim to help you shed pounds. Magnetic rings are placed on your finger, but many other products are sold for magnetic weight-loss therapy, such as:
- Magnetic bracelets
- Magnetic toe rings
- Magnetic earrings
- Magnetic patches
- Magnetic "seeds" worn on the outer ear
How Do Magnetic Rings Supposedly Work?
"Magnetic rings, bracelets and earrings are sold under the pretense that they assist in weight loss by impacting metabolism, hunger and satiety and circulation," says Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, associate director of the Center for Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.
These devices are "purported to increase your metabolism through the north pole of the magnet," Cardel says. A fast or "high" metabolism allows you to burn more calories at rest and when you exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic.
"Some people also suggest that the rings and bracelets can be used in combination with acupressure," an alternative therapy technique, based on the idea that stimulating certain points on the body will lead to changes within the body, Cardel says.
No Solid Evidence
There's no evidence to support the use of magnetic therapy for weight loss.
In an August 2019 study in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, researchers found that noninvasive electromagnetic brain stimulation, combined with increased exercise and reduced calorie intake, can help people with overweight lose weight. This may have made people think magnets might enhance their weight-loss journey, but electromagnetic brain stimulation is not the same as wearing magnetic jewelry.
"There is zero evidence to suggest that magnetic rings, or similar magnetic devices, aid in weight loss," Cardel says. "This is magical thinking."
What Works for Weight Loss?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss because having overweight is a "complex and multifactorial disease," Cardel says.
According to the USDA, weight loss can be achieved by a combination of:
- Setting a reasonable, realistic goal
- Engaging in a reduced calorie, nutritionally balanced eating plan
- Regular physical activity
- Other behavior changes to help you keep on track with your goals
Cardel recommends working with your doctor to create an individualized weight-loss plan.
Can Magnetic Rings Be Harmful?
Magnetic rings might not help you lose weight, but is there a problem in trying them anyway?
There could be: Magnetic rings might interact with imaging tests and medical devices.
In an April 2014 case report in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, researchers noted that wearing acupressure magnets (or any magnet) could be very harmful and/or compromise test results if you also have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, which your doctor might prescribe if you have certain conditions.
Magnetic rings may also be harmful to people who wear devices such as pacemakers, which regulate heart rhythm, according to the American Heart Association.
- Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, associate director of the Center for Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida
- Mayo Clinic: “Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories”
- Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism: “Weight Loss Induced by Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Obesity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Study”
- USDA: “Interested in Losing Weight?”
- Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: “Acupressure Magnets: A Possible MRI Hazard”
- American Heart Association: “Devices That May Interfere With ICDs and Pacemakers”