Throughout history, men have always been strongly associated with their primary male hormone, testosterone. But unfortunately, around age 30, testosterone levels start to gradually go down. This is normal, yet it can bring a lot of challenges to a man’s life – things like reduced sexual function, a decrease in energy, and a decline in muscle with an increase in fat.1 To make matters worse, testosterone is adversely affected by a host of common challenges that affect nearly all men such as poor nutrition, stress, and lack of sleep - just to name a few. These factors combine to produce dramatically decreased testosterone levels for a lot of men.
Doctors often suggest supplementation or medication to help with the difficulties of low testosterone - or to treat testosterone abnormalities. But these traditional solutions may lead to unwanted side effects. That’s why so many people are after a more natural option – something like red light therapy - which shows promise for increasing testosterone in a safe and efficacious way.
Studies Support the Use of Red Light Therapy for Boosting Testosterone
To the surprise of most, exposing the torso or the testes to light has been shown to increase testosterone in men. In fact, studies related to the effect of light on the testes actually go back to the 1930s. In an initial study in 1939, it was found that men’s testosterone levels went up by 120 percent when the participants’ chests were exposed to UV light. Even more impressive, these testosterone levels went up by 200 percent with UV exposure to the genital area.2 Despite the impressive results, most people want to limit their exposure to UV light because of its potential to cause cancer. Nonetheless, this nearly 100-year-old study demonstrated the positive impact light therapy can have on testosterone production.
If we fast-forward to the current day, recent studies have demonstrated positive results from light therapy on testosterone levels. A 2013 study in Biomedical Research examined the effect of light therapy on testosterone production in rats. This study found that light therapy at 670 nanometers (nm) increased the serum testosterone level in rats, with no noted side effects. Due to their findings, the researchers stated that red light therapy could potentially work as an alternative treatment method to traditional testosterone treatments.3
The positive results hold up in studies on humans as well. A 2016 randomized, placebo-controlled University of Siena study presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference evaluated men with a low sexual desire. It found that using light therapy created a testosterone increase that resulted in better sexual satisfaction.4 Although this was a relatively small pilot study, it appears light therapy can indeed lead to enhanced testosterone levels.
How Does Red Light Therapy Improve Testosterone Levels?
In the past, we explained how the human body absorbs red and near infrared light, which encourages cellular chemical energy transportation – otherwise known as ATP. This enhances cellular activity – in some cases by 200%. Just as improved function can be observed throughout various body processes, our friend Dr. Olli Sovijarvi - who authored the Biohacker's Handbook - has stated that red and near infrared light wavelengths encourage the production of ATP in the Leydig cells that produce testosterone, enhancing their energy production and helping increase amounts of the hormone.5
Other theories exist about how light therapy boosts testosterone levels in the body. Dr. Sovijarvi has also described a theory that light wavelengths stimulate photoreceptive proteins that are present in the testes, resulting in the body producing more testosterone. In addition, researchers in the 2016 University of Siena study suggested that the light therapy could have blocked the brain’s pineal gland, which resulted in the creation of more testosterone.4
In a 2013 study in the Nepal Medical College Journal, researchers observed that the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which are connected to the production of testosterone, were elevated in rats subjected to light for 70 days. The researchers in this study suggested that these increased hormones may have encouraged elevated testosterone production.6 While there are multiple theories in terms of the mechanism of action, it’s pretty clear that light therapy does indeed lead to increased testosterone production.
Conclusion: Red Light Therapy Shows Promising Results for Increasing Testosterone Levels
Numerous studies have supported the idea that light therapy can increase levels of testosterone. In addition, red and near infrared light is considered safe for use – even when directed on the testicles. Nonetheless, a general rule of thumb is to avoid too much heat as this could potentially have a detrimental effect on the testosterone-producing Leydig cells. That’s why it’s imperative to use an LED light therapy device that delivers optimal power without producing heat. Efficient delivery of the right wavelengths - with virtually no heat. That’s the ideal combination and one of the critical factors we optimized for when designing the Joovv Light. Check it out when you get a chance – we think you’ll be impressed.
(1) The Healthline Editorial Team, Gotter A and Rogers G, MD. Low Testosterone in Men. Healthline. Jul 2016.
(2) Myerson, A. Influence of ultraviolet radiation on excretion of sex hormones in the male. Endocrinology 1939;25:7-12.
(3) Ahn JC, Kim YH and Rhee CK. The effects of low level laser therapy (LLLT) on the testis in elevating serum testosterone level in rats. Biomedical Research. 2013; 24 (1): 28-32
(4) Fagiolini A et al. Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light. European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Sept 2016.
(5) Sovijarvi O. Dr. Olli Sovijarvi on Increasing Testosterone by Shining Light on Your Testicles. Biohacker Summit Blog. Oct 2016.
(6) Biswas NM, Biswas R, et al. Effect of continuous light on spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis in rats: Possible involvement of alpha 2u-globulin. Nepal Med Coll J. 2013; 15(1): 62-64