Research: Whole body vibration and weight loss

Research wordResearch word

Whole-body vibration might assist with weight loss.

Shake Weight

I would have never guessed that anyone world try vibration as a means to induce weight loss. Then again, they have been selling the Shake Weight for weight loss and fitness for years. The fact is that the whole idea seems a little ridiculous. Well, researchers have finally given the idea a try and performed a study, which was published in Endocrinology, to look at vibration as a means to promote weight loss​[1]​.

It seems like the perfect idea. Who would not want a less strenuous form of exercise as a means to promote weight loss? Many of us find it challenging to exercise regularly and that is contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. These disorders are tied to increased insulin resistance and expanding waist line. Physical activity can help to decrease this risk and reduce the negative metabolic effects of each condition, but who has the time.

The researchers chose to look whole-body vibration because they believed that it might mimic the muscle and bone motions in exercise. The researcher performed the study in a mouse model because it is similar to humans. Whole-body vibration has gained attention and is advertised as a potential exercise mimetic, but direct comparisons with the metabolic effects of exercise are scarce and hard to find in research.

In the study, researchers compared the metabolism and weight effects of exercise on a treadmill to whole-body vibration. The control remained sedentary and had noticeable weight gain. Glucose and insulin tolerance testing revealed comparable attenuation of hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in mice following exercise and whole-body vibration despite similar caloric intake. Both interventions reduced body weight in mice and lean body mass.

The bottom line: It appears that whole-body vibration mimics the effects of exercise and reduces the markers of Diabetes Type 2 and insulin resistance. Hold off before you buy a Shake Weight or whole-body vibratory machines. The study is promising but I would like to see a human trial.


  1. [1]
    M. E. McGee-Lawrence et al., “Whole-Body Vibration Mimics the Metabolic Effects of Exercise in Male Leptin Receptor–Deficient Mice,” Endocrinology, pp. 1160–1171, Mar. 2017, doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1250. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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