A bedside table lamp could help reinvigorate your sex life...
Brand-new research from the University of Siena in Italy says that light exposure helps boost male sex drive.
The researchers presented their findings at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress earlier this week.
The study, although small, recruited men with hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual arousal disorder. These men all had markedly low desire for or enjoyment of sex, as measured by a score of one to 10, with 10 being the most satisfied. This group of men averaged a score of two.
Half of the men received light treatment... For 30 minutes every morning, they would sit about three feet away from a sunlamp.
The other half of the men sat in front of a similar light box with a heavy filter to block most of the light. After two weeks, the men receiving the full-light treatment responded with three times higher satisfaction scores (an average score of 6.3). The placebo group reported increased satisfaction of less than a point (to 2.7).
What's more, testosterone levels also rose significantly in the light-treatment group.
Normally, we look at small studies with caution. But I love this study for one big reason...
Fixing problems with natural things like sunlight instead of popping chemical pills is far better for your overall health.
Plus, this study builds on previous research regarding hormones and light...
One hormone called the luteinizing hormone (or LH) controls the production of testosterone in men and ovulation in women. The pituitary gland makes LH.
A few studies, like an early one from a 2003 issue of Neuroscience Letters, saw increases in LH in healthy young males exposed to light treatment. In this study, LH increased 69% in these men.
Similarly, a 2007 study on women from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences saw that LH levels increased in women exposed to bright light. Those women sat for 45 minutes in front of similar light boxes.
If you're not already enjoying the benefits of sunlight, now is a great time to get started, particularly if you're part of the 25% of men in the U.S. with low sex drive.
Remember, getting plenty of sunshine is one of my top health tips each year. That's because sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D... which is critical in preventing diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Studies show having adequate amounts of vitamin D reduces the risk of Alzheimer's, lessens symptoms of mild depression, and helps our bodies regulate calcium absorption, which keeps our bones strong.
It helps with depression as well. The reason people feel depressed in the winter is mostly due to a lack of sunlight. Many of us leave for work in the morning when it's dark and come home in the evening after sundown. This wreaks havoc on mental health.
Doctors recommend that folks with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) try to get as much sunlight as they can or use a sunlamp designed to help SAD. Simply exposing your skin to sunlight for 20 minutes or so a day can be enough to fight winter depression.
Some people would rather take a pill to get their vitamin D than go outside for 20 minutes a day. But there's a catch... The vitamin D we get in our food requires sunlight to chemically activate and become useful. So go spend some time outside instead of relying on a pill.
The Institute of Medicine, a group with no pills to sell and no ax to grind, recommends people get between 400 and 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, depending on your age. If you live in a northern climate, do what I do and take 800-1,000 IU every other day, but still go out and get sun on your face and hands (if it's not too cold).
I try to take a walk or two during the day when I'm at my office in Baltimore... even if it's just to go get lunch. I also keep the shutters on my windows open to let in as much light as possible while I sit at my desk.
Whatever you do, make sure you get your sunshine... It's best to go outside and get it naturally, but if you're in an area with limited exposure, a sunlamp could make up for the lack of natural sunlight. (You can buy one on Amazon for about $30.)
And don't forget, light too late at night can have the opposite effect. Too much light – particularly blue light from electronic screens – interrupts the circadian rhythm and hurts your sleep. That's why I recommend shutting off all electronics at least an hour before bed. (Brush up on your sleep hygiene right here.)
What We're Reading...
- Harvard explains how blue light ruins your sleep.
- Something different: Why the "five-second rule" doesn't work.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
September 22, 2016