We are all aware of how photosynthesis converts light into chemical for plants and other organisms, but new research suggests it could have a similar effect on men!
According to a University of Siena study, exposure to light can help boost the levels of testosterone in men and increase sexual satisfaction.
The university recruited 38 men who have been diagnosed with having low libidos, splitting them in to two groups with varying degrees of exposure to light.
The researchers found the men that spent more time in a room with a light box, which can emit bright white light at people and simulate the effect of more sun, had increased testosterone levels, and were much more satisfied sexually. Those who didn’t receive the active light treatment experienced the opposite effect.
Lead researcher Andrea Fagiolini said: “Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around two out of 10, but after treatment the group exposed to the bright light was scoring sexual satisfaction scores of around 6.3 – a more than three-fold increase on the scale we used. In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.”
The average amount of testosterone in the group that didn’t have the lights shone at them didn’t change. But the men that were treated with the light box had their levels rise from 2.1 nanograms per millilitre to 3.6.
“The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction,” said Professor Fagiolini. “In the northern hemisphere, the body’s testosterone production naturally declines from November through April, and then rises steadily through the spring and summer with a peak in October. You see the effect of this in reproductive rates, with the month of June showing the highest rate of conception. The use of the light box really mimics what nature does.”
He added: “We believe that there may be several explanations to explain the underlying mechanism. For instance, light therapy inhibits the pineal gland in the centre of the brain and this may allow the production of more testosterone, and there are probably other hormonal effects.
“We’re not yet at the stage where we can recommend this as a clinical treatment .. however if this treatment can be shown to work in a larger study, then light therapy may offer a way forward. It’s a small study, so for the moment we need to treat it with appropriate caution.”