Red Light Therapy for Testosterone: Does It Work?

Red Light Therapy for Testosterone: Does It Work?

Medically Reviewed by | Heidi Wright, BSN, RN, PCCN

Table of Contents

Low testosterone levels in men are a growing problem with few answers. Currently, it’s believed that about 2% of all men suffer from testosterone deficiency, and around 8% of men between the ages of 50-79 experience a decrease in the production of testosterone, resulting in lower-than-normal levels. 

The effects of low T on men’s health can be difficult both physically and mentally, with side effects that dramatically impact quality of life. We’ll cover those, and discuss some of the causes of low testosterone production. We’ll also discuss whether or not the benefits of red light therapy can boost testosterone levels

What Should You Know About Low Testosterone?

Low T levels have been observed for decades, but new studies show that even lower testosterone levels are on the rise. 

A study done back in 2007 and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded, "During the past two decades, testosterone levels in American men have rapidly declined."

The chart below really tells the story:

Chart of testosterone levels in American men

“The interesting thing we discovered was that, on average, when we measured the testosterone in the blood of a 60-year-old in 1989, it was higher than that in a different 60-year-old measured in 1995,” said Thomas Travison, Ph.D., of the New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Mass. “We observed the same phenomenon over a wide range of ages.”

So it seems we are not the men our grandfathers were, or perhaps, that our grandfathers didn’t suffer from the same comorbidities that we do that impact our levels of sex hormones. “Some have speculated rising obesity rates can contribute to lower testosterone. Others blame environmental factors. We are also aware that common occurrences like poor diet, lack of sleep, and stress could be contributing factors to low T,” notes Heidi Wright, Registered Nurse. 

When many think of the effects of low testosterone, they think of low libido, less overall drive in life, etc. Unfortunately, low levels of testosterone may be more than just a lower quality of life problem. Low levels of testosterone have been linked to a higher incidence of chronic disease. These diseases may also play a causal role in the development of lower testosterone levels. Lower testosterone levels lead to the development of metabolic syndrome, for instance, but once metabolic syndrome is developed, the syndrome itself can lead to decreased testosterone production. 

You may not know if you have low T levels unless you get a blood test. Symptoms of low testosterone can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Less hair growth, primarily in the armpits and pubic area (male-pattern hair loss is not a symptom of low testosterone levels
  • Reduced sex drive (this can include less interest in sex, trouble with sexual satisfaction, and issues with sexual health)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hot flashes
  • Low sperm count and issues with male fertility
  • Depression
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased physical endurance

You may experience some of all of these symptoms. The only way to know for certain if you have low testosterone levels is to have your healthcare provider perform a blood test to check your levels. 

What Causes Low Testosterone Levels?

If you are diagnosed with low testosterone levels, understanding that there can be many causes is important. One primary cause to consider is your age. One cause of low t is called late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) and is caused by the reduction in Leydig cell function (testicular cells) that happens naturally with age. This is sometimes referred to as “male menopause,” and will result in full-body changes from mood to muscle mass.

There are two primary types of low T: primary hypogonadism and secondary hypogonadism. 

Causes of primary hypogonadism include problems with testicular function that are genetic, related to certain diseases, or happen as the result of illness or trauma to the testicles. It can also occur as the result of certain drug use, including prescription medications and illegal illicit steroid use.

Causes of secondary hypogonadism include problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, which are responsible for the creation of other hormones that directly impact testosterone production

Causes of secondary hypogonadism can include: 

  • Kallmann Syndrome
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Brain or head injury
  • Iron overload
  • Kidney failure
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Diabetes that is not well-managed
  • Obesity
  • Some medications 

This is not an exhaustive list of causes but provides an overview of some of the most recognized and addressed causes associated with lower testosterone levels.

A 2018 study published in the Journal Scientific Reports concluded there is a strong link between men's low levels of testosterone and having two or more chronic diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes — even in the under-40s.

Further analysis showed that there was a significant "dose-response relationship" at play, which the studies author stated "means that men should be concerned about declining total testosterone, even if it has not reached a level to warrant a clinical diagnosis."

So to summarize - environmental factors seem to be at play that are driving the average level of testosterone in men lower with each subsequent generation. Low T is associated not only with lower quality of life, lower libido, lower sex drive, and lower overall drive but with higher incidence of chronic disease in a dose-dependent manner.

If you are a man who wants to live a high-quality life, achieve your goals, and overcome whatever obstacles life throws at you, if you want to have a fulfilling and active sex life, and if you want to avoid chronic disease to increase not only lifespan but health-span, it seems clear you need to employ strategies for increasing testosterone levels.

Can Red Light Therapy Help With Low T?

Research into how red light therapy can help with testosterone production is still very early, but extremely promising. Before we cover the research, let’s talk about what red light therapy is, and how it works. 

What Is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a type of photobiomodulation that uses certain wavelengths of light to address health conditions and support total body wellness. Red light wavelengths measure between 620 nm to 700 nm, while near-infrared light (NIR) measures 800 nm to 900 nm. 

These wavelengths do not produce heat like infrared light, and don’t contain UV light rays, so you don’t need to worry that you’ll be engaging in testicle tanning and risk the development of skin cancer in a very sensitive place.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy, also called low-level laser therapy, is beneficial because it improves the way our cells function. Our cells are the building blocks of our bodies, and as we age, cellular function declines.  Mitochondria within our cells begin to produce less adenosine triphosphate, or “ATP.” This is the energy your cells need to carry out cellular processes

When your cells have less energy, you’ll experience a total, system-wide decline. Red light rescues this energy pathway by its involvement with cytochrome C oxidase, a molecule that has a heavy hand in the efficient production of ATP. By stimulating energy production within the cell, red light therapy can help improve the way your body functions. 

Clinical research on light therapy and testosterone looks promising

In 2013 a group of Korean researchers looked at the impact of testicular exposure to Red and Near-Infrared light. Thirty male rats were split into three groups: a control group, one group exposed to red light, and the other exposed to NIR light. At the end of the 5-day trial - the untreated rats had no change in testosterone, but the rats exposed to one 30-minute treatment of light per day had significantly elevated testosterone levels.

The study can be read here.

How To Use Red Light Therapy 

Improving your testosterone levels won’t be a single-action event. Your healthcare provider can help you decide whether medications, dietary changes, and physical activity will help. In addition to these sessions, using red light therapy is a great adjunct therapy to add to your routine. 

To use red light therapy at home, you’ll want to expose your testicles to red light and near-infrared light for at least 5-20 minutes per day. You can’t overdo red light, but there’s no research that shows that more than this amount of exposure will net you any additional benefits. 

While you could certainly go to a red light therapy studio, or even use your gym’s red light therapy chamber, the benefit of having an at-home red light therapy device for this type of treatment cannot be overstated. For that, you’ll want Mito Red Light. 

If you are going to try red light therapy to raise testosterone, you'll want to be sure to use LEDs (rather than incandescent bulbs) and to stand far enough away so as to not heat the testicles. Testicular tissue function is hindered by elevated temperature, so this is definitely one area where low-heat red light LED devices shine.

Our Mito Red Light Therapy devices offer a convenient way to use red light therapy at home with the utmost privacy. Our devices offer more LEDs per square inch than our competitors, to eliminate dead space and ensure the highest level of treatment. Additionally, our panels and wearable devices are all third-party tested to ensure they are within the therapeutic window of benefit, as defined by scientific research. 

Bottom line: Mito Red Light is third-party verified to deliver the red light benefits you want in a manner that is safe and effective. 

More to come in part 2.

Encouraging results from Mito Red Light customers

UPDATE: March 2020

We've had a few encouraging anecdotes from customers with respect to increased testosterone.

In February 2020, Andrew H shared:

"After reading Ben Greenfield's article "I Put a Giant Red Light on My B***s to Triple My Testosterone Levels" I decided to risk $250 and try it. It paid off tremendously. Although my testosterone did not triple, it did nearly double - from 382 to 683. My waning energy has returned!"

Andrew also shared his test results:

Testosterone levels before red light therapy
Testosterone levels after red light therapy

We followed up with Andrew over email, and he shared that his protocol was to use the MitoMIN at 6 inches for 10 minutes twice a day.

Normal measurements for testosterone levels in males are generally 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) or 10 to 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different specimens. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results,” notes Wright.

In November 2019, Steve M shared in his review:

"After testing 353 on total testosterone I resolved to make some changes. As a health nut in my 30s the diet and exercise were already dialed in. After hearing about the benefits of Red Light I decided to try Mito Red. The 60 day money back guarantee gave me confidence that it was worth a shot. After 7 weeks of use I tested again. 560! This is truly an incredible product. I did end up returning mine...and buying a larger size to get the whole-body benefits."

While these results are certainly encouraging, unfortunately, they are just anecdotes. Hopefully, we will see rigorous controlled trials in the future. 


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Low Testosterone (Low T): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland 

The 'male menopause' | NHS 

Wavelength of Blue and Red Light | Center for Science Education.

5 All-Natural Ways to Boost Your Testosterone | Houston Methodist On Health

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DISCLAIMERMito Red Light devices are Class II wellness devices aimed at affecting the body through topical heating and supporting cellular function. The information provided in this article and on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to imply effectiveness of Mito Red Light devices for any specific application. The information provided in this article and on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, is not a substitute for consultation with a licensed medical provider and should not be construed as medical advice. Click here to read our article on potential contraindications of red light therapy..