Italian researchers have recently discovered a treatment for low libido in men. Early morning exposure to bright light, which is widely used to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression, has proven to rev up testosterone production and boost sexual function.
The study involved 38 male participants who have been diagnosed with problems surrounding sexual arousal. Scientists from the University of Siena found that the participants who were exposed to a specially designed light box for half an hour each morning had increases in testosterone and sexual satisfaction after two weeks.
Men who live in the Northern Hemisphere experience an increase in testosterone production during the spring and summer, research shows. When autumn settles in, these men are at their peak in terms of sexual interest and arousal. However, as the days become shorter and the darkness lingers around longer, men in the Northern Hemisphere typically fall into a sexual slump caused by a decrease in testosterone production.
“You see the effect of this in reproductive rates, with the month of June showing the highest rate of conception,” said the lead author of the study, Andrea Fagiolini. “The use of the light box really mimics what nature does.”
According to Fagiolini, the exposure to bright light in the morning suppresses the production of melatonin, a chemical that shuts down testosterone production.
Though scientists are not at the stage where they can recommend the light therapy as a clinical treatment, they do believe that light therapy may offer the same benefits as current medications in the future, but without the negative side effects.
Approximately 40% of men over the age of 45 have low testosterone. Current treatments include hormone injections, antidepressants, and other medications. Before they can introduce light therapy as a viable treatment option, Professor Eduard Vieta, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Barcelona Hospital Clinic, said that “there are many steps to be implemented, including replication of the results in a larger, independent study, and verifying whether the results are long-lasting and not just short-term.”