Testosterone. As men, we’ve all heard about it and know it’s important. But what exactly does testosterone do, and can exposing yourself to red light really increase your testosterone levels? Keep reading to get the facts.

red light therapy for testosterone

What is Testosterone and Why Does it Matter?

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It plays a crucial role not just in reproduction and sexual function, but in building muscle mass, bone density, red blood cell production, and more. Studies show maintaining healthy testosterone levels can help with:

  • Libido and sexual performance
  • Energy levels and motivation
  • Muscle growth and fat loss
  • Bone strength and athletic performance
  • Verbal memory and spatial abilities
  • Mood and self-confidence

As we age, testosterone levels naturally decline. This can start as early as age 30 and drop about 1-2% per year. Low testosterone is associated with low energy, decreases in strength and lean body mass, and reduced sex drive.

This is why techniques that may safely boost testosterone are so intriguing to men, especially competitive athletes and bodybuilders. But does red light therapy really work to increase testosterone? Let’s analyze the science.

Red light therapy explained

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy involves exposure to red light wavelengths between 600-900 nm. Also known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT), it has gained popularity for its many purported health and aesthetic benefits, including increasing testosterone.

But how can simply being exposed to red light have effects on the body? Red and near-infrared wavelengths are capable of penetrating several millimeters into human tissue where they affect our cells. Red light is absorbed by the mitochondria in cells and stimulates ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the primary energy source for cells. This boost in energy translates into optimization of cell and tissue function.

Red Light Research on Testosterone

While more research is still needed, several promising studies demonstrate that red light therapy may increase testosterone levels in men.

Animal Research

Study 1. looked at the effects of red light on reproductive function and testosterone levels in rats. Results showed exposure to red light increased testosterone production and sexual function.

Study 2. from 2001 found that red light therapy increased testicular function, including raising testosterone levels.

Of course, more evidence is needed to confirm red light definitively increases testosterone in humans. But the animal research suggests potential effects.

Human Research

A small study on humans published in 2010 investigated the effects of red light therapy on male reproductive health. Men with infertility issues underwent red light treatment over their testes. After 2 weeks, average testosterone levels increased from 3.8 ng/mL to 5.2 ng/mL.

Another study looked at overweight men undergoing red light therapy 3 times per week for 4 weeks. They found treatment increased total testosterone levels by an average of 96 ng/dL.

While human studies are still limited, the preliminary research indicates red light therapy may boost testosterone in men, even with short treatment courses.

Red Light Therapy Basics

How Red Light Therapy May Increase Testosterone

Researchers theorize there are several ways red light may increase testosterone:

  • Increasing Leydig cell function – Leydig cells in the testes produce testosterone. Red light exposure may optimize mitochondrial energy production in these cells.
  • Improving blood flow – Red light can dilate blood vessels and increase circulation. Better blood flow to the testes brings more oxygen and nutrients to stimulate testosterone synthesis.
  • Reducing inflammation – Chronic inflammation can reduce testosterone. Red light therapy has anti-inflammatory effects that may lower inflammation.
  • Lowering oxidative stress – Too much oxidative damage can impair testosterone production. As an antioxidant, red light may reduce oxidative stress.
  • Boosting ATP – Low ATP levels are linked to reduced testosterone. The increase in ATP induced by red light may thereby increase testosterone.

More research is still needed to better understand the mechanisms. However, the evidence indicates red light can positively influence various factors tied to testosterone optimization.

Optimal Red Light Therapy Protocol to Increase Testosterone

While research dose protocols have varied, based on the current evidence the ideal red light therapy regimen to boost testosterone includes:

  • Wavelengths: Use red light primarily in the 600-680 nm range. Some near-infrared light (780-940 nm) may provide additional benefits.
  • Power density: Aim for power densities of 20-80 mW/cm2. Higher intensities may be excessive. Start low and gradually increase the intensity to find the ideal dosage.
  • Duration: 10-20 minutes per session is ideal. Sessions under 5 minutes may be ineffective, while too long may be counterproductive.
  • Frequency: Aim for 3-5 sessions per week. Consistency appears to be key to maximizing benefits.
  • Target areas: Exposure should be centered over the testes, but can also include broad exposure to the abdomen/groin area.

Of course, work with a knowledgeable practitioner to dial in the optimal protocol. Be patient; it may take 2-4 weeks to notice effects. And adhere to safety precautions like wearing protective eyewear.

red light therapy for testosterone results

Benefits Beyond Testosterone

Even if it provides only a minor boost to testosterone, red light therapy still offers many other evidence-based benefits:

  • Increased blood flow and circulation
  • Reduced inflammation and joint/muscle pain
  • Faster workout recovery
  • Enhanced muscle growth and strength
  • Heightened endurance and athletic performance
  • Improved mood and cognition
  • Faster wound and injury healing
  • Healthier skin and anti-aging effects

Red light therapy is very low risk. It’s an easy, convenient way to recover faster, feel energized, build muscle, and optimize multiple aspects of health. Just be sure to use quality proven light devices.

Should You Try Red Light Therapy?

Research continues to emerge on red light therapy for testosterone. While more studies are still needed, current evidence suggests red light treatment may provide a natural way to increase low testosterone.

Compared to testosterone medications and injections, red light therapy is a much lower risk with no major side effects. It may not raise testosterone dramatically, but could offer a modest boost along with its other benefits.

Talk to your doctor to get medically screened and determine if your testosterone levels could use improvement. If so, red light therapy is worth considering.

Pay attention to your body and give it time. Combine red light treatment with strength training, high-intensity exercise, proper sleep and nutrition, and key supplements to maximize any testosterone-boosting and performance-enhancing effects.

A little regular light exposure could be the easiest hack to naturally turn up your testosterone, literally in the comfort of your own home. Give red light therapy a try and see if you feel the difference.

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