Long Story Short
- Men with low sex drive exposed to UV light had improved sex drive and testosterone.
- Testosterone levels decrease during the winter months and increase during summer
- UV light therapy does not mean tanning bed!
What if I told you that sitting in front of UV light could increase your testosterone and improve your sex life? It can. Italian researchers split up a group of 38 men with low sex drive, with half of the men being exposed a UV lightbulb for 30 minutes every morning for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the men who sat in front of the UV light had improvements in sex drive, sexual satisfaction and testosterone levels.
How does UV light (sunlight) improve sex drive and T? Well doesn’t everyone feel better when they’re in the sun?
The researchers believe the UV light inhibits the pineal gland (a gland in your brain the releases melatonin, an antioxidant that also helps with sleep) from releasing melatonin. Melatonin increases the production of Prolactin. In women Prolactin helps women with lactation, but in men it inhibits LH which is responsible for making testosterone.
Sunlight →Less active Pineal Gland→Less Melatonin→Less Prolactin→More LH→More T→Increased sex drive.
I think there isn’t just one reason why these men saw such an improved response, but multiple reasons such as more vitamin D production which is essentially for hormone synthesis and improved mood (As UV lights are used to treat seasonal affective disorder).
In the meantime try to get out in the sun, and if you can’t a UV light box may be a good start. There are even a few other studies connecting sunlight and vitamin D to low testosterone and sexual dysfunction. Something as benign as vitamin D and sunshine can be quite influential.
Don’t forget your diet, sleep, stress exercise, environmental influences (toxins, xenobiotics, estrogens) and nutrient status play a large role.
Sorenson M, Grant WB. Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to erectile dysfunction? Dermato-endocrinology. 2012;4(2):128-136. doi:10.4161/derm.20361.
Lerchbaum, E., Pilz, S., Trummer, C., Rabe, T., Schenk, M., Heijboer, A. C. and Obermayer-Pietsch, B. (2014), Serum vitamin D levels and hypogonadism in men. Andrology, 2: 748–754. doi:10.1111/j.2047-2927.2014.00247.x