Light therapy may be the new hormone therapy without all of the nasty side effects. Men are using bright light therapy for testosterone and to reinvigorate sex drive.
Light therapy sounds like some “new age voodoo that doesn’t work.” But the truth is that scientists are researching the benefits of light therapy to better understand how it can increase testosterone production.
Natural outdoor light is good for you, but you won’t get enough benefits from natural light by sitting at a desk or working on your form in the gym.
You need to use something called a “light therapy box” or intense natural light if you live in a warm weather climate.
The box mimics outdoor light right in the comfort of your office or home. Also called “phototherapy,” the light will cause your brain to start producing the same chemicals it naturally produces on a warm, sunny day.
Light Therapy Makes You “Happy”
Initially used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), light therapy is now being used to treat low libido, low testosterone and other conditions.
Harvard Medical Schools explains that SAD can be treated with a light box that provides 10,000 lux, a measure of light intensity. In contrast, if you were sitting outside on a sunny day, you would be exposed to 50,000 lux.
Light therapy exposes you to light that is 100 times brighter than your standard indoor lighting.
People that suffer from SAD will experience:
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of appetite
If lack of sun light impacts your mood this intensely, imagine what it does when your testosterone levels are falling, or your sex drive isn’t what it once was.
Bright Light Therapy and Testosterone Production
Testosterone levels decline as men age, and the decline comes on quicker than most men realize. Men start experiencing a 1% decline in testosterone levels each year after 30. Thirty is still young, yet as your testosterone falls, you’ll experience:
- Reduced libido
- Sleep pattern changes
- Bone density decrease
Numerous studies have been conducted on bright light exposure and the increase it leads to in male hormone production.
Researchers at the University of California in San Diego conducted a study in 2003 on light therapy and male hormone production.
Early morning light therapy was performed on participants with light that was just 1,000 lux versus the standard 10,000 lux found in light therapy.
The treatments lasted for an hour each of the five days for men between the ages of 19 and 30.
Researchers found that luteinizing hormone (LH) increased by 69.5% following treatment with 10,000 lux of light, while 1,000 lux of light had minimal impact.
Light Therapy Boosts Sex Drive
If you’re a man suffering from low sex drive, you’re not alone: up to 25% of men 40 or older have lower sexual desire.
Scientists have found that sex drive can vary by season, so if SAD is a seasonal issue and your sex drive falls depending on the season, it’s possible that ambient light may have a positive impact with your sex drive.
The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology released a study in September 2016 that analyzed the benefits of light therapy for sex drive.
A group of scientists from the University of Siena conducted a study on groups of men suffering from:
- Sexual arousal disorder
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
One group received a placebo, and the other was exposed to a modified light box.
Treatments were given each morning, with treatments lasting for 30 minutes per session. The study on light therapy and sex drive lasted for two weeks.
What did the study find?
- Bright light therapy increased sexual satisfaction from 2 to 6.3 – a threefold increase.
- The placebo group only noted their sexual satisfaction rising from 2 to 2.7.
The men in the study that received the light therapy had their testosterone levels increase from 2.1ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml.
Men in the study experienced a reduction in melatonin production, which is known to stop testosterone production.
Since melatonin levels were suppressed, testosterone production in the body increased, allowing for a natural means of boosting testosterone.
Bright light therapy is a low-risk, high-reward form of testosterone therapy which eliminates the side effects seen in both injections and medications.
Since there’s a direct link between increased testosterone levels and greater sexual satisfaction, light therapy is recommended for libido issues.
What you may not know is that your testosterone levels naturally fall and rise with the seasons.
Your testosterone levels fall between the months of November and April, and begin rising afterward with a peak in October.
Light therapy helps the body mimic the seasonal changes associated with higher testosterone levels and higher sex drive.
Light Therapy VS Testosterone Therapy
Researchers are still studying light therapy with future hopes that the therapy may be combined with other forms of treatment to support testosterone production.
The researchers in the last study we discussed suggest that light therapy may be used in conjunction with:
- Testosterone injections
- Other medications
It may be possible to treat many of these conditions with light therapy, which has fewer side effects and provides many of the benefits that medications offer.
Researchers are experimenting with light therapy to combat seasonal hormonal changes and mimic sunset and sunrise.
Large-scale studies still need to be conducted on bright light therapy and testosterone levels, but initial studies show promise for men suffering from low or declining testosterone levels.
If you’re already taking testosterone injections or pills, bright light therapy may be a nice addition to your treatment that can help you restore testosterone levels to youthful levels.
Turning back the clock is less extreme with light therapy compared to alternatives.
Ramping things back up may take a multifaceted approach that involves many forms of treatment, including intermittent fasting, weight training, alpha behavior and light therapy.