The Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Boosting Testosterone
From a biological perspective, testosterone is what makes a man a man. This primary sex hormone is responsible for men’s ability to perform sexually, and to reproduce. Its secondary effects on men include deeper voices; facial hair; and denser, more pronounced muscle and bone mass. Testosterone production increases during puberty, and then around the age of 30, it begins to decline. This is a normal part of aging, but it comes with some unwanted side effects.
Red light therapy shows great promise as a natural, safe, and effective treatment for boosting testosterone, which we’ll discuss extensively below. But first, let’s examine the role testosterone plays in health—men’s, and also women’s.
Why You May Want To Increase Your Testosterone
According to the American Urology Association (AUA), this gradual decline is normal, but about 2 out of every 100 men have abnormally low testosterone. The AUA defines low testosterone in men as less than 300 nanograms of the hormone per deciliter of blood (as confirmed by a blood test). But even those who don’t have clinical Low-T may wish to increase their body’s natural testosterone production.As everyone age, it’s natural to feel more tired or have some loss of sex drive, even when engaging in a healthy lifestyle, that includes exercise and a reasonable diet. In men, this is often exacerbated by a decrease in testosterone: another unfortunate byproduct of aging.
Although male bodies produce much more testosterone than female bodies, female adrenal glands and ovaries produce small amounts of the hormone. Thus, women can also suffer the effects of Low-T.
Do You Have Low Testosterone?
Many other Low-T symptoms affect both men and women, including: For men, one of the most common symptoms of Low-T is erectile dysfunction. Testosterone stimulates the penile tissues to produce nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to open wider and is necessary for achieving and maintaining an erection. Therefore, Low-T makes it difficult for a man to perform sexually.
- Low libido: Low sex drive and low sexual satisfaction are common effects of Low-T for both men and women. As anyone who has suffered through this problem knows, low libido can strain relationships and diminish enjoyment of life.
- Reduced bone mass and density: Testosterone is essential for producing bone tissue and maintaining bone mass. Low levels can weaken the bones and make them less dense, which can lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.
- Reduced muscle mass and increased fat: Another essential function of testosterone is development of muscle mass. As testosterone levels decline, this can lead to diminished muscle mass, strength, and endurance. An unfortunate byproduct of decreased muscle is weight gain, even if you are physically active and exercising regularly.
Infertility: Men with low testosterone levels can suffer from testicular shrinkage as well as increased softness of the scrotum. This can be an indication of reduced semen, which can result in infertility since fewer sperm are available to fertilize an egg. Low-T can also contribute to infertility in women, although research in this area is limited.Women with Low-T may also suffer from muscle mass decreases and weight gain. Although this is usually attributed to the normal aging process or other hormonal imbalances, testosterone could be a factor. Women should only try to boost their testosterone levels when under a doctor’s care.
- Insomnia: Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, and insomnia, are common effects of Low-T in both men and women. Both conditions increase daytime fatigue, and sleep apnea (which is more common in men) can be dangerous and often requires medical care.
- Mood swings, irritability, and depression: Mood swings and mood disorders affect men as well as women, and low testosterone can play a role.
- Lack of focus/mental fog: Although occasional brain fog can be attributed to stress, lack of sleep, diet, and other factors, low testosterone can also contribute to it in both men and women.
- Hot flashes: A decrease in testosterone in men can cause a condition referred to as andropause, which resembles menopause in women but develops more gradually and is less severe. Hot flashes are a symptom of andropause.
- Low energy: Whenever people lose muscle mass and gain weight (i.e., fat), an inevitable result is low energy. Because Low-T can lead to muscle loss and fat gain, low energy is both a direct and indirect result of it.
You may have experienced some or all of these symptoms as a result of decreased testosterone. If your symptoms are mild, you may not feel the need to do anything about it right now. But if you’ve been feeling older than your years and lack the zest for life you once had, there are ways to boost testosterone naturally and safely. Keep reading to find out how.
What You Can Expect from Boosting Your Testosterone
Reviving your sex life: More testosterone helps you feel in the mood for sex, and can enhance both your performance and enjoyment. If you are trying to start a family, you’ll increase your chances of success because a boost in testosterone can help with fertility issues. Because testosterone plays such a major role in how you feel, Low-T can significantly impair your ability to enjoy life. Here are some of the benefits of boosting testosterone.
- Greater athletic performance for both men and women: This occurs as energy is restored, muscles and bones grow stronger, and excess body fat is replaced with muscle.
- Peak mental and emotional function: Both sexes can benefit from sharper thinking, better focus, quality sleep, and more balanced moods.
- Less severe menopause and andropause: A boost in testosterone can help reduce symptoms, including fewer and less intense hot flashes.
Please note: You should not rely on increased testosterone levels alone to achieve these desired results, because optimal hormonal levels and hormonal balance don’t necessarily mean perfect health. A healthy lifestyle (good nutrition, exercise, stress management, and enough sleep) is still your best bet for optimal health and wellness.
Natural Methods of Boosting Testosterone?
Many men who suffer from Low-T have opted for synthetic testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). However, this is an expensive treatment that must be used for the rest of a man’s life, since TRT actually inhibits the body’s natural testosterone production resulting in even lower levels should the therapy ever be halted.
Also, many men experience a host of unwanted side effects from TRT, including gynecomastia, severe acne, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Some may even experience lower sperm count than before they started TRT.
The following are some more natural approaches to raising testosterone levels.
You can support your body’s ability to naturally produce more testosterone by making some changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- Adopting a diet rich in micronutrients (specifically from leafy green vegetables) with a focus on testosterone-boosting foods like beef, oysters, fortified cereals, shellfish, tuna, eggs, and beans. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, your choices are more limited and you may want to consider other ways of boosting testosterone. It’s recommended that you stay away from soy products, as soy contains phyto-estrogenic compounds that can interfere with the delicate balance of sex hormones in the body.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and having a daily fitness program that focuses on high-intensity strength (resistance) training to build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more you stimulate your body to produce testosterone.
- Managing stress and making sure to get enough sleep. Stress is the primary factor that causes and/or contributes to most chronic diseases and physical ailments, including insomnia, according to Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University and the Mind-Body Institute. Meditation, hobbies, and exercise are great ways to manage stress.
So-called testosterone-boosting herbal supplements and vitamins have not been proven effective by scientific research. Not only will you likely waste your money by purchasing these products, but the dangers with even the most natural/organic/wildcrafted supplements are allergic reactions and even overdose. Since scientists don’t fully understand the complex and intricate interactions between foods and herbs, any substance you put in your body, whether natural or synthetic, should be considered a medicine and reviewed by your doctor before you take them.
Where does that leave you, especially if you’re a man in your 30s, 40s or 50s whose blood tests do not show abnormally Low-T but you still feel “off”? Red light therapy may be the answer you’re looking for to safely raise your testosterone levels.
Although most studies on the effects of red light for testosterone are being conducted with animals, recent clinical trials focusing on human testosterone levels show promising results, especially given the numerous health benefits of red light therapy.
T-Boosting Light Therapy
While humans and plants are two different species, we share something in common: how light affects our biology. Plants use a process called photosynthesis to generate energy from sunlight and carbon dioxide. This is remarkably similar to what happens in humans: Light stimulates biological processes in the body, including increased cellular energy.
Natural light therapy has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of physical and psychological ailments. Bright light therapy is often used to treat seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as chronic (non-seasonal) depression, postpartum depression, acne and other chronic skin conditions, pain, and as an immune booster.
In one study, exposure to bright light increased sexual desire and satisfaction as well as testosterone levels. According to the researchers, low libido affects nearly 25% of men over 40. Researchers had previously discovered seasonal fluctuations in libido, which prompted this study.
Regular use of a light therapy box early in the morning (similar to devices used to treat SAD) increased testosterone and reported sexual satisfaction levels. Researchers found a significant threefold improvement in sexual satisfaction between the light therapy group over the control group, as well as an increase in testosterone in the light therapy group: a significant jump from 2.1 ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml after just two weeks of treatment.
There appears to be a direct correlation between natural sunlight exposure and the body’s ability to produce testosterone. The challenge with natural sunlight is that in addition to beneficial wavelengths of light, the sun also emits harmful ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) rays that are known to cause premature aging of the skin, as well as skin cancer.
Red Light Therapy for Testosterone
Let’s dive a bit further into the technology and science behind this unique modality. Also called low-level laser therapy or photobiomodulation, red light therapy uses a narrow, concentrated spectrum of visible light that is known for its therapeutic effects on the human body.
Red light (specifically, 630nm and 660nm) and near-infrared light (810, 830, and 850nm) fall into what’s known as the “therapeutic window” of light. It’s important to note that the beneficial effects of red light therapy come without the danger of burns, as you get from overexposure to sunlight.
Also noteworthy is that red light and near-infrared (NIR) light are safe for use on all parts of the body, even the testicles, because these wavelengths of light generate very little heat; all you’ll feel is gentle warmth. This is not the case with infrared light.
A much longer wavelength than red or NIR light, infrared light is invisible to the naked eye; we feel it as heat, and it can damage or kill sperm; the biological reason for the testes being outside the body is to keep sperm cool. Red light is gentle, safe, and natural, and it poses no risk to sperm.
A Natural Testosterone Boost
Red and NIR light wavelengths have been shown to stimulate energy production within the Leydig cells, which are the cells responsible for producing testosterone in the testicles. Enhanced energy production in Leydig cells is believed to help naturally increase testosterone production.
Along with Leydig cells, all cells in the body benefit from increased energy production. Just as you can perform at your peak when you feel energized, your cells do as well. Red light therapy has many benefits, and they all stem from the positive interaction between light photons and the mitochondria, or the energy centers within each cell in the body. This powerful stimulating effect on the body’s cells has been shown in hundreds of clinical studies.
One of the biggest concerns for those who suffer from Low-T is infertility. Several studies show that red light therapy helps increase sperm motility, which is essential for successful impregnation. In 2017, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, found that sperm exposed to 630nm red light increased sperm swimming speed and force (functions correlated with improved reproductive success).
A similar study by researchers from Iran found an increase in sperm motility after exposing sperm to an 830nm NIR light device. Sperm motility is associated with cellular energy; more energized sperm will swim with greater vigor. This is a vital component of male reproductive health, and success in improving sperm motility points to the use of red light therapy as a way to treat male infertility.
Research in 2015 found an increase in sperm motility in men with asthenozoospermia, which is colloquially known as having “poor swimmers.” Men whose testes were exposed to red and NIR light showed a decreased ratio of immotile sperm to motile sperm. These findings indicate that red light therapy can safely and effectively improve sperm motility.
Red Light Therapy Is Completely Safe
No one wants to put their sexual or reproductive health on the line—and you don’t have to when you treat Low-T with red light. Red light therapy is safe, painless, non-invasive, and completely natural. Most importantly, red light therapy used to increase sperm motility does not cause any damage to DNA, sperm, or the testes.
How to Use Red Light Therapy to Increase Testosterone
You can administer red light therapy on your own in the comfort of your home using a high-quality, high-output LED light therapy device. You’ll get the best results if you use a device that has the power to “push” light photons deep into the body, and delivers a beneficial combination of red and NIR wavelengths.