The Promising Evidence of Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy for Increasing Testosterone in Men

What makes a man, a man? That’s a complicated question but from a purely biological perspective, the answer is simple: the hormone called testosterone. Men generally produce far more testosterone than women. It’s plays a key role in developing male musculature, bone mass, and many of the qualities we consider “manly”—deeper voices, hairy chests, etc. Testosterone is also a hormone that plays a key role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism (which is why it has a major influence on body fat composition and muscle mass), as well as an anti-aging hormone, which means that a healthy level of testosterone throughout your life can make you live longer.

Maintaining healthy testosterone levels is important for many reasons, not least of which are to have a great looking body, healthy metabolism, solid sexual performance, and overall heightened sense of well-being.

Unfortunately, around age 30, testosterone levels begin to steadily fall at a rate of about 1 percent per year and while this is normal, it can bring with it a number of challenges to a man’s life—things such as reduced sexual function, decreased energy, a decline in muscle, and an increase in fat.[1] To make matters worse, testosterone is adversely impacted by a host of common challenges that affect nearly all men today, such as poor nutrition, stress, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of sleep—and that’s 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 including but not limited to further inhibiting your bodies natural production of the hormone leading to a dependence on exogenous hormone supplementation in the short term, and possibly for the rest of your life. That’s why so many men are seeking alternatives to naturally boost their body’s own testosterone production. And it turns out that red and near infrared light therapy shows promise for increasing testosterone in a safe and efficacious way.

Studies Support the Use of Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy for Boosting Testosterone

To the surprise of most, exposing the torso or the testes to specific frequencies of light in the Red and Near-Infrared range 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 ultraviolet (UV) light. Even more impressive, their testosterone levels went up by a full 200 percent with UV exposure to the genital area.[2] While most seek to limit their exposure to UV light due to its potential to cause cancer, this nearly 100-year-old study demonstrated the positive impact that natural light can have on testosterone production.

Today, new studies are further demonstrating the 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 levels, 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 human trials as well. A 2016 randomized, placebo-controlled study conducted by the University of Siena evaluated men with a low sexual desire. It found that using light therapy generated a testosterone increase that resulted in better sexual satisfaction.[4] Although this was a relatively small pilot study, it suggests light therapy can indeed lead to enhanced testosterone levels.

How Does Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy Improve Testosterone Levels

In other posts, we’ve explained how the human body absorbs red and near infrared light, which encourages increased cellular chemical energy transportation—otherwise known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Just as improved function can be observed throughout various bodily processes, Dr. Olli Sovijarvi—author of 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. Dr. Sovijarvi has also described a theory that light wavelengths stimulate photoreceptive proteins in the testes, resulting in higher testosterone production. In addition, researchers in the aforementioned 2016 University of Siena study suggested that the light therapy used 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 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!

Which Wavelengths of Light are Best for Increasing Testosterone?

While some have reported potentially negative effects to testes when using light therapy, these detrimental ramifications are related to longer wavelengths which produce more heat, which is in fact detrimental and counter productive to the efforts of boosting testicular function. In fact, wavelengths above 1,000 nm produce much more radiant heat because water in the body absorbs more of these frequencies. This is not an issue with red or near infrared wavelengths, which generate very little heat and have been proven in multiple clinical studies to boost not only testosterone production, but also to improve sperm health.[3,6,7]

Conclusion: Red and Near Infrared 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, which could 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 it’s a critical design element that we’ve optimized in the Joovv Light. If you’re a man who has been diagnosed to have low testosterone levels, you are over 30 years old, or you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with a deficiency in this important hormone we encourage you to to give this therapy a try! We offer Joovv Full Body Light Therapy as individual and package sessions, and we also sell the Joovv Red and Near Infrared Lights for your own at home use.

Additional simple recommendations for naturally maintaining, healthy testosterone levels include.

Micronutrients

Getting an optimal amount of micronutrients is crucial for testosterone production. Measuring your micronutrient status is a crucial step in determining where your diet is falling short and where you might benefit from supplementation. The most important micronutrients for testosterone production are zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iodine, selenium, vitamin K2, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese and boron.

Eating a diet rich in nutrients and minerals (read: whole foods) is crucial not just for overall health, but also for optimal testosterone production. Getting a high micronutrient multivitamin supplement such as Pure Encapsulations Men’s Formula Nutrient 950 MultiVitamin without Iron can also be a testosterone saving solution if your diet is lacking something.

Sufficient Calorie Consumption

Your body needs enough calories to produce adequate amounts of testosterone. With constant and prolonged calorie restriction the body begins to adapt into survival mode, which means that for example reproductive system is not of great importance anymore. The body will conserve energy for vital processes and internal organs.

For optimal testosterone production it is wise to eat at maintenance or a slight calorie surplus. But if you are overweight, a minor calorie deficit and losing weight will actually elevate testosterone production (in this case your body will use your fat stores for additional energy). So, the plan is to get lean first and then eat higher calories for optimal testosterone production and maintenance. Losing weight slowly is a good option here: about 15% calorie deficit doesn’t seem to affect testosterone negatively. But it can affect somewhat negatively your thyroid hormone production however, Red and Infrared Light Therapy has been proven to enhance the health of your thyroid as well and thus this therapy provides a double benefit.

Finally, or actual food sources, you can read from the Anabolic Men’s site the scientific basis for the most important foods that boost testosterone production. Based on that, here are our top 12 foods:

Time Restricted Eating

Time restricted eating, or intermittent fasting has been proven to increase levels of certain hormones that contribute to increased production of testosterone, increased libido, and allowing you to achieve healthy levels of satiety – helping you drop unnecessary body fat in the process.

Research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 meeting indicates that overweight men, across the board, have drastically lower levels of testosterone. Losing body fat is a welcome side effect of intermittent fasting (when done correctly), and one which will further enhance your testosterone levels.

For a few awesome resources on Intermittent Fasting check out Mark Sisson’s blog. Mark is known for his great explanations on why intermittent fasting and certain other lifestyle choices will help you not only get the body you want, but also the life you deserve.

HIIT or Sprint

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) such as sprinting is one of the most rewarding, exhilarating ways to naturally increase your testosterone, lose body fat, and feel great.  Just look at the typical body of a sprinter.  Most of them, from the high school level all the way up to Olympic champions, have some ridiculously well-proportioned, highly muscular bodies.

This is due to the fact sprinting not only will increase your testosterone, but also your Growth Hormone (GH) levels leading to better muscular potential.

Gain More Muscle Mass

Having higher muscle mass is positively correlated with higher testosteroneLifting medium-heavy weights explosively can stimulate short-term and long-term testosterone productionTraining progressively by adding more weight nearly every time you train causes your body to adapt to higher and higher testosterone levels via neuromuscular adaptations.

This can take the form of calisthenics, weights, or kettlebells but deeply challenging your upper body muscles, and focusing on body parts that have high density of androgen receptor sites (chest, shoulders, trapezius). to the point of getting that “I can’t lift my arms” during the day(s) after a solid workout, will bring great rewards your way in terms of increasing your testosterone levels.

We’re not talking about lifting for 20 reps here… this is pushing your body to failure.

Sleep – More Is Better

Getting adequate sleep is a must if want to increase your testosterone levels naturally.  Not only does sleep help you to decrease your stress levels, and therefore decrease circulating cortisol, but it also gives your muscles plenty of time to heal from your challenging sprint workouts and upper body sessions.

Plus sleeping improves detoxification. Shoot for at least 8 hours a night and try to get to bed at the same time to maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythm and if possible before 11pm when most people’s adrenals kick out cortisol resulting in that “second wind” that keeps you up at night.

Stop Eating Sugar

If you’re consuming sugar you definitely aren’t  lose weight or increase your testosterone.

When you consume sugar, you spike your insulin. A high insulin level is implicated in lowering your testosterone, almost immediately. Sugar is also heavily implicated in overeating – one of the worst things you can do to your body.

Conclusion

Increasing your testosterone naturally isn’t complicated, but it does take work and commitment. Using Red and Infrared Light Therapy and the steps above, consistently, are sure fire ways to increase not only your testosterone levels but to help you live a healthier, happier life!

References:

[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-globulinNepal Med Coll J. 2013;15(1):62-64.

[7] Salman Yazdi, R., Bakhshi, S., Jannat Alipoor, F. et al. Effect of 830-nm diode laser irradiation on human sperm motility. Lasers Med Sci. (2014) 29: 97.

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