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The conclusion at a glance

Numerous studies over the past 5 years have shown that increased exposure to natural light on the male's testicles increases sperm motility. Red light therapy ensures better swimmers, better blood flow, more testosterone and more sex drive

Red light therapy for erectile dysfunction and fertility

This article reviews recent research on light therapy and male sexual performance and infertility. Initial results are extremely encouraging and show light therapy's potential as an effective natural treatment for male infertility, low sex drive and general sexual performance.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that almost every man faces sooner or later. It has a great effect on the mood, self-esteem and quality of life of the man concerned. This can lead to anxiety and depression. In general, erectile dysfunction is associated with older men, but the frequency of erectile dysfunction shows a significant increase, even among young men. This article discusses the possibility of red light therapy to help with erectile dysfunction.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Mental impotence

Mental impotence is also known as psychological impotence. This type of neurotic fear of social performance is often a result of previous negative experiences that result in a vicious cycle of thoughts that stop arousal. Mental impotence is the leading cause of dysfunction in young men and the number of men with this dysfunction is increasing rapidly for several reasons.

Physical or hormonal impotence

Various physical and hormonal problems, generally as a result of aging, can lead to problems in the genitals. This has always been the leading cause of erectile dysfunction in older men or men with metabolic problems, such as diabetes. Medications, such as viagra, have proven to be a solution for this.

Whatever the cause, the ultimate cause of the disorder is a lack of blood supply in the penis and the inability to maintain the blood supply, causing the inability to get or maintain an erection. Conventional drug treatments (viagra, cialis, etc.) are the most common options offered by medical professionals. However, these are by no means long-term solutions, as these drugs stimulate the release of nitric oxides (a potential metabolic inhibitor) in the body, stimulate unnatural blood vessel growth, and cause damage to unrelated organs, such as the eyes.

Can red light help with impotence and how does the efficiency and safety of this therapy compare to drug treatments?

Fertility research

Much of the existing light therapy research focuses on sperm motility, which measures how well individual spermatozoa are able to move and swim. This is central to fertility, as one study states: “the ability to successfully fertilized eggs depend on the swimming ability of spermatozoa"[1]

A 2015 Slovenian study analyzed 30 infertile men with reduced sperm motility, known medically as asthenozoospermia. Sperm samples were treated with different wavelengths of natural light and motility was measured. The study authors concluded:

"In the untreated sperm samples, the mean ratio of rapidly progressive sperm was 12% and of motionless sperm was 73%. Treatment with LED significantly increased the proportion of rapidly progressive sperm ... and significantly reduced the proportion of motionless sperm. All differences were highly statistically significant. This finding confirmed that photobiomodulation using LED improved sperm motility in asthenozoospermia, regardless of wavelength. " [2]

This is consistent with the findings of a recent 2018 study that analyzed light therapy and male reproductive health and concluded, “(light therapy) has been recommended as an integral part of the complex treatment of infertility.”[3]

Erectile dysfunction and red light

Red and infrared light therapy (from appropriate sources) has been studied for many conditions and problems in humans and animals. The mechanisms of red and infrared light therapy described below are important for erectile dysfunction.

Vasodilatation

Vasodilation is the technical term for "increased blood flow" due to a dilation (increased diameter) of blood vessels. The opposite of vasodilation is vasoconstriction. Many researchers argue that vasodilation is stimulated by light therapy. The reason that increased blood flow cures erectile dysfunction is self-evident, but it is also necessary to cure erectile dysfunction.

Red light can stimulate vasodilation through the following mechanisms:

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

CO2 is often thought of as a metabolic waste product, but it also acts as a vasodilator. CO2 is the end product of the respiratory response in our body cells (Figure 2). Red light stimulates this response.

CO2 is one of the most potent vasodilators, easily moving from our cells (where it is produced) to our blood vessels (where it acts directly on smooth muscle cells to cause vasodilation). CO2 plays an important systemic, almost hormonal, role throughout the body, affecting things from recovery to brain function.

Improving CO2 levels in the body by supporting glucose metabolism is crucial to solving erectile dysfunction. In addition, it plays a local role in areas where it is produced, making light therapy treatments in the groin and perineum interesting. An increase in CO2 production can lead to a 400% increase in local blood flow.

In addition, CO2 helps to produce nitrous oxide (NO). This is a molecule related to erectile dysfunction.

Nitrogen oxide (NO)

That was mentioned above nitric oxide acts as an inhibitor. However, nitric oxide has several other effects on the body, such as vasodilation. Nitric oxide is produced from arginine (an amino acid) in our diet by an enzyme (nitric oxide synthase). The problem with too high a concentration of nitric oxide (due to stress, inflammation, environmental pollution, high arginine diets, etc.) is that it can bind to respiratory enzymes in our mitochondria preventing the utilization of nitrogen. The toxic-like effect prevents the body's cells from producing energy, making them unable to perform basic functions. The main theory of light therapy is that red and infrared light is able to dissociate nitric oxide from this position in the process, allowing the mitochondria to function normally again.

Nitric oxide not only acts as an inhibitor, but it also plays a role in getting an erection and arousal (this mechanism is also stimulated when using Viagra). Nitric oxide thus plays a specific role in erectile dysfunction. In addition to arousal, nitric oxide causes a chain reaction in the penis. Here nitric oxide reacts with guanylyl cyclase causing an increase in cGMP. cGMP, in turn, mediates vasodilation (and thus erection) through several mechanisms. Obviously, this process does not occur when nitric oxide is bound to the respiratory enzymes. In this way, red light can shift the role of nitric oxide from a harmful effect to a pro-erection effect.

Removing nitric oxide from the mitochondria, for example through red light, is also essential to increase mitochondrial CO2. As mentioned above, a higher concentration of CO2 leads to an increased production of nitric oxide. This process thus works as a positive feedback loop. The nitric oxide initially blocked aerobic respiration. When nitric oxide is released, normal energy metabolism can continue. This normal energy metabolism helps you produce and use nitric oxide at better times and in better areas. This process is essential for the cure of erectile dysfunction.

Clinical research on light therapy and sex

Recent clinical research shows the immense potential of light therapy for treating male infertility and sexual performance issues - in a way that is natural, non-invasive, chemical and drug free, and doesn't come with a long list of nasty side effects.

Light therapy has been studied extensively in clinical trials and has been found to provide a host of health benefits by stimulating cells to produce more ATP energy, leading to improved overall body function. While the positive effects of light therapy on skin health, joint pain, burns and scarring, and muscle are well established, research on its effects on male testosterone, sexual performance, and fertility is still in a relatively early stage. However, more and more science is emerging and the early clinical results are extremely encouraging.

Hormonal improvement

Testosterone

 

It's normal for testosterone levels to begin to drop in your 30s and 40s, and testosterone deficiency is often at the root of a man's sexual concerns as he ages. It is clear that more testosterone generally translates to a higher sex drive, more energy and more sexual satisfaction for men and their partners. Recently published studies show that exposure to natural light can significantly increase testosterone levels in men.

Red light can help maintain natural testosterone levels in the body. Since testosterone is actively involved in a man's libido, it plays a direct role in getting an erection. Low testosterone levels are one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction in men. Even in men with psychological impotence, elevated testosterone levels can interrupt the cycle of non-functioning. Although endocrine problems are not as easy to solve as a single hormone, light therapy seems to be an interesting option in this area.

Thyroid hormone

Thyroid hormone is not directly linked to erectile dysfunction. However, the thyroid hormone is a primary factor related to erectile dysfunction. In fact, poor thyroid hormone concentrations in the body are determinative in all aspects of sexual health in both men and women. The thyroid hormone stimulates the metabolism in all cells of the body in the same way as red light, causing an increased production of CO2 (which is good for erectile dysfunction). The thyroid hormone is also a direct stimulus for the testicles to produce testosterone. Because of this, the thyroid hormone can be seen as a kind of master hormone that is the root cause of everything linked to physical erectile dysfunction. Improving thyroid hormone levels through diet or perhaps even light therapy is one of the first things men should try to help erectile dysfunction.

Prolactin

Another essential hormone in the world of erectile dysfunction is prolactin. High levels of prolactin stop an erection. This is best exhibited in the case of an orgasm. The prolactin concentration rises enormously, which reduces libido and makes it difficult to get an erection again. However, this is only a temporary problem. The real problem is in constantly elevated prolactin levels. This may be due to a particular diet or lifestyle. In this way, a state similar to the state after an orgasm is produced. There are several ways to correct problems with prolactin levels, including improving thyroid hormone levels.

Sexual satisfaction study

One of the clinical outcomes we investigated in this testosterone article is a 2016 randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study from the University of Siena that evaluated men with low sexual desire. Researchers found that men treated with light therapy saw significant increases in their T levels. In addition to testosterone alone, researchers have also documented a remarkable increase in patients' sexual satisfaction. [4]

The men reported their level of sexual desire and satisfaction before the survey, and again afterwards. The group that received daily clinical-dose light therapy treatments saw a large increase in both sexual desire and testosterone, while the control group did not see a large increase in either.

Dr. Andrea Fagiolini, the study's lead researcher, summarizes the sexual satisfaction results:

"We found quite significant differences between those who received the active light treatment and the controls. Before the treatment, both groups had an average sexual score of about 2 out of 10,but after the treatment, the group exposed to the bright light scored sexual satisfaction scores of about 6.3 - a more than 3-fold increase on the scale we used. In contrast, the control group only showed a mean score of about 2.7 after treatment." Source: This study

This was a relatively small pilot study, and more research is needed on light therapy and sexual health, but the results are very encouraging."

Red or infrared light? What's the best?

Red and infrared light have both been studied. There are a number of factors that can be taken into account.

Both red and shortwave infrared wavelengths are effective

In 2014, sperm samples treated with shortwave infrared light in the 800 nm range were examined and tested for motility, with a significant increase observed. [6] A separate 2017 study treated samples of trapped spermatozoa with red light in the 600nm range and found that it dramatically improved sperm swimming speed and strength. [5]

In addition to seeing increased sperm motility, a 2017 published study found that these treatments were safe and did not cause oxidative DNA damage to the sperm or testicles. [1]

The Wavelengths

There are several wavelengths that have a potent effect on our body cells, but there is more to consider. Infrared light of 830 nm, for example, penetrates much more than light of 670 nm. However, a wavelength of 670 nm provides better dissociation of nitric oxide in the mitochondria. This is important in the case of erectile dysfunction. Red light wavelengths have also been shown to be safer when applied to the testicles.

What to avoid?

Heat is important to avoid. Testicles are extremely sensitive to heat and one of the main functions of the scrotum is heat regulation, maintaining a lower temperature than the body. This means that any source of red and infrared light that also emits heat could be less effective for treating erectile dysfunction. Testosterone and other measures that help with erectile dysfunction can be impaired when the testicles overheat.

In addition to heat, it is important to avoid blue light and UV rays. Exposure to blue light and UV rays negatively affects things like testosterone production and general erectile dysfunction in the long run. This is due to the harmful interaction of these wavelengths with the mitochondria. Blue light is sometimes referred to as being beneficial for erectile dysfunction. However, in the long term, blue light leads to damage to the mitochondria and DNA, causing negative long-term effects (as with Viagra).

Using a source of red or infrared light on any part of the body provides a proactive anti-stress treatment for periods longer than 15 minutes. This is a beneficial effect when it comes to erectile dysfunction. It seems that a sufficiently high dose of red or infrared light on any part of the body causes an increased CO2 production in the local tissue. This CO2 then enters the bloodstream, leading to the beneficial effects described above in other parts of the body.

Red and shortwave infrared light therapy and testicular function

Construction of the testicle

The testicle is also called testicle or testicle. Every man has two testicles in the scrotum and these are part of the male reproductive organs. A testicle has an oval shape and is four to five centimeters long.

The testicles are surrounded by a capsule and by a muscle that is involved in the temperature regulation of your testicles.

Each testicle consists of about 200 to 300 lobes, which in turn consist of several testicles. Each lobe contains about one to four seminal tubes. Sperm cells and cells that produce the male hormone testosterone and small amounts of oestrogens develop in these tubes. The lobes are separated by so-called tissue partitions. These partitions and the lobes meet at the entrance (hilus) of thetesticle. There the seminal tubes pass into about ten to twenty drainage tubes that carry the sperm cells to the epididymis where they are stored and matured further.

Function of the testicle

Your testicle has two distinct functions:

  • Producing sperm cells for reproduction.
  • Producing the male hormone testosterone.

Functioning of the testicle

The two different functions of the testicle are also regulated in different ways. The male hormone testosterone is produced in the seminal tubes. Then this hormone gets released into your blood and runs through your blood everywhere in your body. Certain cells and organs in your body are sensitive to the hormone testosterone. Among other things, the hormone causes the development of male secondary sexual characteristics during puberty.

The other cells of the testicle are involved in sperm production. For example, there are the cells that are precursors of sperm cells. The hormones produced in the testicle cause these cells to grow into mature sperm cells.

The testicles are surrounded by a muscle that regulates the temperature of your testicles. The testicles should always be slightly cooler than your body temperature. Therefore, they are outside your body. For example, the muscle can pull them closer to the body when they get too cold.

Problems with the testicle

An abnormal enlarged testicle or a small painless lump in your testicle that feels hard to the touch may indicate testicular cancer. An inflammation in a testicle however,  can also cause swelling of the testicle.

Medication, viagra, statins, alcohol and smoking have a bad influence on sperm quality, as do tight boxer shorts, hot baths, saunas and your laptop on your lap every day.

Magnesium, Vitamin C, Fenugreek extract, Zinc, Ashwagandha, Maca, Vitamin B12, Folate (the active form of Folic acid) and D-Aspartic acid are very healthy for sperm production and quality in low male testosterone levels. Don't use everything at once, excess harms, that also applies here. Contact a therapist who can give you the right advice in this. A good night's sleep and weekly exercise contribute to healthy sperm.

Influence of red and shortwave infrared light therapy

Most of the organs in our body are covered by bone, muscle, fat, skin or other tissues exposed to light is practically impossible. But with the testicle, however, that is possible.

Is it advisable to directly expose the testicle to red and short wave infrared light therapy? Various clinical studies have shown that this is certainly the case. But then only light therapy with LED lamps, which therefore gives cold light. Heat lamps give an opposite effect. Our Norahlux lamps are extremely suitable for this.

Good sperm quality depends on good ATP production. Light therapy has been proven to improve your healthOperate of the Mitochondria, (link to Mitochondria story) these in turn provide ATP production.

 

Conclusion: Consider light therapy for sexual performance and male infertility.

More clinical research will appear in the coming years, but the first results on light therapy and sexual performance and fertility are great news for men. The bright natural light may play an important therapeutic role for male sexual health and fertility, alongside the encouraging research on testosterone production.

 

Scientific sources and medical references:

Source 1

Red light improves sperm motility and does not cause oxidative DNA damage.

Source 2

Photobiomodulation with light-emitting diodes improves sperm motility in men with asthenozoospermia.

Source 3

Effectiveness of low-level laser therapy for the treatment of male infertility.

Source 4

Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light.

Source 5

Effect of red light on optically captured spermatozoa. Biomedical Optics Express.

Source 6

Effect of 830-nm diode laser irradiation on human sperm motility.


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