Does exposing your testicles to sunlight increase your testosterone levels?
Out of all the methods I’ve encountered for tackling the issue of low testosterone, this one is by far the most bizarre.
And this is coming from a 30-year veteran of successful therapeutic testosterone use!
What I want to do with this article is definitively deconstruct and prove once and for all why sunning your balls WILL NOT optimize your testosterone levels.
You are being sold a big fat lie by the spiritual, esoteric, and biohacking gurus who promote ball sunbathing.
Now it’s time for you to see why.
Sun Exposure Precautions
Before we get into the hype behind testicle sunning, let’s go over some basic rules for keeping your skin safe from chronic sun exposure.
These rules will prevent you from burning your skin while ensuring you get an optimal amount of time in the sunlight.
Because contrary to the fear-mongers who insist that all sun is bad for you, it’s the lack of sun that’s actually killing people.
“…what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.”
“…the sun worshippers had a higher incidence of [melanoma]-but they were eight times less likely to die from it”
“…skin cancer kills surprisingly few people: less than 3 per 100,000 in the U.S. each year. For every person who dies of skin cancer, more than 100 die from cardiovascular diseases.”
“Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy.”
A massive study of over 340,000 people published in 2020 revealed that higher exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light (i.e. the sun) lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
And to nobody’s surprise, insufficient sun exposure is also associated with higher incidence of multiple disease states such as diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and asthma.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, here are the rules I recommend for safe and effective sun exposure:
- The MINIMUM sun exposure you should be getting is 15-20 minutes, 3-4x week (most ideal is 30-60 minutes daily).
- Go outside during early and later times in the day where the Sun’s UV rays are not as strong (where I live, it’s usually the hours of 8-11 AM and 4-7 PM)
- Expose as much of your body as appropriate — I personally like to get my sun time in my backyard pool/jacuzzi wearing nothing but a bathing suit.
- The trick is CONSISTENT long-term sun exposure, not staying in a cubicle for your entire working week and then spending 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday in the scorching hot sun
- Eat a diet high in antioxidants to protect your skin against photoaging
- Spend as much time as possible in the sun without needing to rely on sunscreen… you’ll know you reach your tolerance (which you can gradually build up) when your skin starts turning pink, at which point you need to put on some sunblock or cover up with some clothes/shade/sunglasses/hats
- Due to the hormonal health problems associated with most sunscreens, you want to avoid sunscreens containing 4-MBC (4-methylbenzylidene camphor) and BP (benzophenone).
- These two estrogenic compounds are believed to fully fuse to estrogen receptors in the presence of UV light.
- Dr. Jay Anthony’s book Estrogeneration talks about this, and he has his own personal recommendations for toxin-free sunscreen
- Use Melanotan 1 to up-regulate melanocortin receptor formation to gradually darken your skin while enhancing your cellular network’s anti-inflammatory properties.
We’ll talk about skin cancer and sunlight later, but just know it’s usually a problem in people who overdo sun exposure.
Be discerning, use common sense, and you’ll be just fine.
Sunlight and Testosterone: Is There a Connection?
Now that we know how to practice safe sun exposure, let’s talk about whether there’s any real connection between increased testosterone levels and greater skin exposure to sunlight.
If we can’t realize any meaningful health benefits with the body as a whole, it’s unlikely our ballsacks are going to be the hidden key.
NOTE: We are exclusively looking at testosterone and not fertility-related biomarkers such as sperm count and sperm quality.
The majority of the studies claiming sunlight is beneficial for testosterone are based on the connection between Vitamin D and testosterone.
This is important when you consider how Vitamin D is made when your body comes into contact with sunlight:
“During exposure to sunlight 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin absorbs UV B radiation and is converted to previtamin D3 which in turn isomerizes into vitamin D3.
Previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 also absorb UV B radiation and are converted into a variety of photoproducts some of which have unique biologic properties.
Sun induced vitamin D synthesis is greatly influenced by season, time of day, latitude, altitude, air pollution, skin pigmentation, sunscreen use, passing through glass and plastic, and aging”
(To get deeper into the biochemistry of Vitamin D synthesis, go here)
Notice how it’s SKIN as a whole, not just skin in a specific area of the body.
And there’s also a small controversy about the relationship between sunlight and Vitamin D: Is Vitamin D itself the main link to its multiple health benefits, or is it a marker that someone is getting enough exposure to sunlight?
With this out of the way, let’s look at the existing evidence that demonstrates a connection between Vitamin D (aka sunlight) and testosterone:
- 2011: A year-long study of 165 nondiabetic overweight men found that taking 3,332 IU of Vitamin D every day led to higher concentrations of total and free testosterone
- 2012: 1362 males from a randomized controlled trial were assessed for their Vitamin D levels, free testosterone levels and total testosterone levels to find any association. Vitamin D was positively associated with total and free testosterone levels, with no variation by season.
- 2013: Increases in testosterone were seen in male rats continuously exposed to light for 70 days in a row
- 2014: In a study comparing the hormonal profile of hypogonadal (i.e. low testosterone) men being treated with therapeutic testosterone to hypogonadal men who received no treatment, the former had significantly higher bloodstream levels of Vitamin D.
- 2015: A study of 52 middle-aged Korean men found a positive correlation between Vitamin D blood readings and levels of testosterone (both free and total) when factors such as body composition, season, age, and lifestyle habits were accounted for.
- 2015: In 382 Malaysian men aged 20 and older, there was a significant association between Vitamin D levels and total testosterone that was independent of body mass index (BMI).
- 2010: A cross-sectional study of 2,299 middle-aged men seen for an examination between 1997-2000 saw men had significantly higher testosterone levels when their blood levels of Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy were above 30 ng/mL and all cofounders were adjusted for.
- 2020: In elite soccer players who were Vitamin D deficient via blood testing after the winter season, their free and total testosterone levels went up when they supplemented with 6,000 IU of Vitamin D per day for 6 weeks AND 10 days of sun exposure
- 2020: A Danish cross-sectional study of over 300 young men found an association between Vitamin D deficiency and lower testosterone levels, suggesting Vitamin D may have a stimulatory effect on testosterone production in the testis.
There was one study published in 2021 which found zero connection, yet brings up an excellent point in light of all the evidence presented above.
We currently cannot present a fully-explained and clinically proven mechanism for HOW Vitamin D directly affects testosterone levels:
“A possible mechanism for the effect of vitamin D on testosterone production might be indirectly hypothesized from the results of an in vivo study in vitamin D-depleted and vitamin D-repleted chickens, investigating on the testis expression of calbindin-D28K, a cytosolic calcium-binding protein involved in the regulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis, and proposed to be involved in testis hormone production in rats”
“…Currently, there are no studies that would explain the mechanism of the possible effects of vitamin D on increasing or decreasing testosterone synthesis. Suggestions that serum testosterone levels are due to the effects of vitamin D on Leydig cell calcium homeostasis, aromatase activity, osteocalcin, or the activity of extragenic vitamin D are preliminary and require further study.”
But we can all agree it’s a good idea to go outside everyday, breath in the fresh air and touch grass.
At least compared to the alternative of being a basement shut-in, which nobody would dare argue is healthy for the human body.
Yet how does all of this tie in to exposing testicles to the sun?
What is Ball Sunning?
Ball sunning is exactly what you think it is:
Go outside on a bright sunny day, get butt-ass naked, lie down on your back, spread your legs wide open, and let the sunlight shine down on your nutsack.
Simple enough, right?
The earliest mention I found of this practice comes from Gabe Kapler, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder for several teams, when he made a viral blog post in August 2015 about how sunning balls increases testosterone:
“If you want to be your strongest, get some sun on your boys. And by boys, I mean your testicles.
Baseball players are continually trying to mine every (legal) advantage they can. Any pro athlete is working to get stronger, faster, more powerful, and they’re looking to their nutrition, supplements, even superstitions to do so.
…we might be able to accelerate or amplify the benefit of sun exposure and ultimately vitamin D. How? Through being in the sun in our most natural form, sans clothing. Revealing your balls to nature will be freeing, and it might just help you be your strongest and fastest.”
Where this trend REALLY went viral was in early October 2019 when wellness influencer Ra Of Earth posted a video about called perineum sunning (a.k.a. butthole sunning).
He then followed up in another Instagram post with an excerpt from the book “The Tao of Sexology: The Book Of Infinite Wisdom” by Dr. Stephen T. Chang.
Supposedly his video was a variation of the “Sun Worship” exercise in the mentioned book, claiming sunlight keeps your private parts free of germs.
Shortly thereafter, another wellness influencer called Metaphysical Meagan posted a two-part series about the practice in November 2019 (here and here), going deeper into the supposed benefits of tanning the area between your balls/vagina and anus.
Here’s what she had to say:
“Perineum sunning is an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East. In Taoism, the perenium or Hui Yin is called the “Gate of Life and Death.” This is a gateway where energy enters & exits the body.
I first learned about perineum sunning through my studies of Taoism and Tantric practices. Mantak Chia speaks about this in his work”
On the left (Ra Of God) and right (Metaphysical Meagan) in the above picture is the “Ananda Balsana” pose commonly done in yoga, more commonly known as the “happy baby” pose.
As with Gabe’s 15 minutes of fame back in 2015, these two influencers went viral on Twitter and in mainstream media for doing something… well, fucking ridiculous.
People even called it butt-chugging sunlight. Ironically a much better name for this practice.
Even Internet-famous biohacker Dave Asprey couldn’t hold himself back from giving it a go!
And a dermatology-focused science paper went as far as to make the following comments about the short-lived trend:
“Google Trends and Twitter data demonstrated that one social media post claiming non–evidence-based health benefits of regular sun exposure—without the use of sunscreen—generated significant public interest.
Medical journals, dermatologists, and other health care professionals are obligated to educate and correct public misperceptions about viral wellness trends such as perineum sunning.”
The earliest mention I found of testicle sunning resurrecting to my attention came in April 2020 from the Twitter thread of a biohacking influencer known as Sol Brah:
SUN YOUR BALLS FELLAS
Exposure to UV light triggers HUGE increases in testosterone levels
— 🌞 Sol Brah 🌞 (@SolBrah) April 2, 2020
He wrote about sunlight on balls a month later in his blog as part of a series on naturally increasing testosterone levels.
Since all testosterone production begins in the testes, his logic is that you want the sunlight going directly to that one area.
On November 2020, he posted another thread explaining the practice of ball sunbathing in further detail:
SUNNING YOUR BALLS
The majority of testosterone in the body is synthesized + secreted by the Leydig cells of the testes.
When sunlight hits, this stimulates ATP production, increasing the energy available to the cell + boosting the function of the Leydig cells = more test. pic.twitter.com/AucVdd5Myp
— 🌞 Sol Brah 🌞 (@SolBrah) November 12, 2020
History aside, the rules of ball sunning are about the same as my sun exposure precautions mentioned earlier, with a few differences:
- How long to sun balls? your perineum skin is EXTREMELY sensitive to light, so don’t engage in ball sunning for any longer than 5 minutes (some proponents claim 30 seconds a day is enough)
- Put sunscreen on your perineum a few minutes before you engage in the activity
- Avoid the peak hours of strong sunlight (10am-2pm)
- Obviously, this should be done in a completely private space where nobody will see you
But none of this answers the million-dollar question…
Does Exposing Testicles to Sunlight Increase Testosterone?
Ready to see the overwhelming proof that underlies the claims of almost every testicle tanning advocate?
Want to answer the question “what does sunning your balls do” once and for all?
It all starts with a single paper published in 1939 by Drs. Abraham Myerson and Rudolph Neustadt when they were stationed at the Boston State Hospital.
(It was formerly the Boston Lunatic Hospital when it opened in 1839 and then renamed in 1897 to the Boston Insane Hospital, then its mentioned name in 1908 before shutting down in 1981… you wonder why)
The experiment involved a measly five patients: Three of them were 54 years old and had “depressive phases of manic-depressive psychosis”, and the other two were 28 and 45 years of age suffering from “psychopathias with depressive features”.
The five men were exposed to UV irradiation through a mercury quartz lamp, and their androsterone levels throughout were measured via urine sampling.
This is the chart that everyone loves to quote from.
And here’s how the paper describe the results:
“The androsterone excretion, determined twice before starting irradiation, was about 70 1.u. androsterone per liter (and approximately per day). After 5 irradiations of the chest, the hormone output was raised to 155 i.u. per liter, that is, an increase of 120%.
… After an interval of 8 days without irradiation, the hormone output went back to its previous level of about 70 i.u. androsterone per liter.
Three more irradiations, given over a period of 5 days, raised the hormone level from 70 to 140 i.u. per liter. After an interval of 5 days without treatment, the output fell back to 80 i.u. per liter, and another examination 2.5 weeks later showed it to be again 70 i.u. per liter”
Let’s see what happened when the irradiation were applied ONLY to the genital area while covering everything else:
“After 5 irradiations during 6 days, the androsterone excretion was raised from 70 to 205 i.u., nearly 200%.
Five more irradiations during the next 5 days did not further raise the hormone output, but it persisted at nearly the same level.
After another 10-day interval without irradiation, the hormone output went back to its ‘normal’ level of about 70 i.u. per liter”
From this, all of your favorite gurus and influencers will happily claim sunning your balls leads to a testosterone increase unlike anything else ever tried before.
The YouTube video below also explains this paper, starting from the beginning until the 4:37 mark:
If you’re sitting there and shaking your head at how seriously this one study was taken, you already have more common sense than 99% of Twitter fitness bros.
What we have is a study never-before replicated, purely observational in nature, lacking a control group, done more than 80 years ago, using an inferior method of quantifying testosterone… hell, they were looking at a different androgen!
Even a no-name Redditor could design a better experiment for evaluating the effects of sunlight on balls with respect to testosterone levels:
” 1) get labwork, TT and Vit D, after a week of sunning your balls 2) wait two weeks, no ball sunning 3) get labwork, assess difference 4) now just get regular sun, don’t focus on the balls for two weeks 5) labs again, see difference 6) decide if it’s just general Vit D exposure that’s doing this, or actual ball exposure. I’m gonna guess the former.”
We can go down the whole list of bad studies which don’t really support testicle tanning that well — if at all.
Advocates have also used a 2021 Cell paper which looked at the effects of skin exposure to UV-B light on the hormonal response of male and female mice.
But once again, the Internet detectives ripped it apart with ease:
- The UV-B exposure happened on the shaved dorsal skin of the male mice, NOT testicular skin
- When the exposure happened at 50 mJ/cm^2 every day for 8 weeks straight, the testosterone boost was a meager 37% (and next to nothing for one mega-dose of 800 mJ/cm^2
- Only hypogonadal mice were examined, and not normal healthy mice
- Hormonal studies on animals cannot be directly translated to humans
- As a nice aside, humanity has spent the overwhelming majority of its existence wearing clothes and seeking shelter
The study even had a component where 19 subjects split equally between males/females spanning the ages of 23-73 were exposed to UVB treatment 10-12 times, equally spaced out over a month (~2-3 times a week).
Except if you read the fine print, the paper makes it clear that the genitals were NOT exposed to UVB!
Sure, you can take away the paper’s finding that UV light exposure “enhances romantic passion in both genders and aggressiveness in men”, but it’s another loss for the testicle tanning team.
We also have another study worth mentioning yet it’s nothing more than unpublished findings presented at a science conference.
In 2016, scientists from the University of Sienna ran an interesting experiment on young men suffering from a chronic lack of interest in sex:
“One group received regular treatment with a specially adapted light box, the control (placebo) group was treated via a light box which had been adapted to give out significantly less light. Both groups were treated early in the morning, with treatment lasting half an hour per day. After two weeks of treatment or placebo, the researchers retested sexual satisfaction and testosterone levels.”
“… The average testosterone levels in the control group showed no significant change over the course of the treatment — it was around 2.3 ng/ml (230 ng/dL) at both the beginning and the end of the experiment. However, the group given active treatment showed an increase from around 2.1 ng/ml (210 ng/dL) to 3.6 ng/ml (360 ng/dL) after two weeks.”
Promising results, but once more this is WHOLE-BODY LIGHT EXPOSURE.
If anything it backs up the potential of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamps for people living in the Northern Hemisphere — cold climate, significantly less sun time, etc.
There was even an interesting experiment in 2021 where exposing senior-aged men to UV light during the first 10 minutes of recovery following a resistance training program did nothing to significantly increase testosterone levels or Vitamin D levels.
In conclusion, does sunning your balls work for testosterone?
Is it good to get sunlight on your balls?
The evidence for testicle tanning flat-out sucks and is centered around a few studies with numerous flaws an undergraduate student would easily identify with basic training.
If you want to see even more ball sunning studies thoroughly demolished, this Substack article does a phenomenal job of exposing the scam behind exposing your balls to sunlight.
The Benefits of Sunning Your Balls: Are There Any?
So if boosting your testosterone levels are out of the picture, does sunning your balls have any applications towards fully optimized health?
Here’s a long list of all the claims I’ve heard from testicle sunning advocates:
- Deeper sleep at night
- Increased libido / sexual energy
- Better mental clarity
- Stronger connection with Mother Nature
- Regulating circadian rhythm
- A “mega dose” of Vitamin D that replaces all-day sunlight exposure
- Better energy, moreso than what you would get from caffeine
- Higher levels of creativity
- Potential antimicrobial effects
- Improved blood flow via nitric oxide production
- Good for fertility
- Lower stress levels and consequently an elevated mood
- “Movement” of the testes that indicates an adaptation to the direct sunlight they are exposed to
To be clear, these benefits of sunning your balls are entirely self-reported and are not substantiated by scientific evidence.
For all we know it could be a textbook example of the placebo effect.
At the end of the day (as I continue to repeat for those resonant enough to understand), we are merely vibrating atoms and standing bio-photonic waves of energy and frequency of the Divine Mind.
ANYTHING is possible to create (increase in testosterone due sunning your balls) with supreme will and intention with action.
It is also possible *some people* are so sunlight-deprived, that even the small exposure they’re getting makes a world of difference.
But I’m not going to hold my breath anytime soon and neither should any of you reading this article.
Can Sunning Your Balls Cause Testicular Cancer?
Here’s where we get into all of the potential side effects and downsides of ball sunning.
Is it good to get sunlight on your balls at all?
What does sunning your balls do over time?
I want to first address a few likely side effects before I get into the potentially higher risk of contracting cancer.
First, there’s the well-studied effect of decreased sperm count (i.e. infertility):
“Human testicles are usually maintained at 35 ˚C (95 ˚F), about two degrees lower than body temperature, and have an impressive capacity for thermoregulation.
The testes are covered by the cremaster muscle, which involuntarily contracts or relaxes to either draw the testes closer to the body for warmth or away from the body to cool.
This turns out to be quite important because an increase in scrotal temperature of just a few degrees can inhibit spermatogenesis and cause infertility”
The link above does a good job of going through all of the human studies demonstrating this effect over and over again.
Fortunately the effects can be reversible… but it’s also a good reminder to avoid putting a heated laptop on your lap while working.
Why else would scientists be investigating this as a possible method of birth control?
Second, there’s the obviously painful sunburn that will come about.
The most famous example comes from Hollywood actor Josh Brolin (Thanos in The Avengers series), who in Internet terms, fucked around and found out:
“Tried this perineum sunning that I’ve been hearing about and my suggestion is DO NOT do it as long as I did.
My pucker hole is crazy burned and I was going to spend the day shopping with my family and instead I’m icing and using aloe and burn creams because of the severity of the pain.
I don’t know who the fuck thought of this stupid shit but fuck you nonetheless. Seriously”
I don’t know how long he was heating up his nuts for, but my guess it was much longer than the 5-minute maximum.
There’s also another testimonial on the Actualized self-improvement forum with a similar experience:
“I sunbaked nude for only 30 minutes once in the summer. Once. Worst sunburn ever.
I had excruciating pain for the next 3 days, I legit thought something seriously bad had happened, actually checked myself to the hospital, and got an ultrasound test on my balls because I thought I had testicular torsion.
Nope. Just badly sunburned balls. Once the skin peeled they were so raw and sensitive, I couldn’t even move without pain.
Took about 3 days to heal. Worst pain in my life.”
That’s what happens when you expose your most-concealed body part to the bright sunlight for the first time in your life without any protection or preparation. Skin that never had to develop resistance against UV light like the rest of your body did.
Finally, can sunning balls cause testicular cancer?
Excessive tanning, via tanning beds or something reckless like ball sunning, can increase one’s chances of developing some form of skin cancer:
“UV-emitting tanning devices are classified by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1).
There is sufficient evidence that UV-emitting tanning devices cause cutaneous and ocular melanoma. There is limited evidence that UV-emitting indoor tanning devices cause squamous cell carcinoma.“
…Ever-use of indoor tanning devices increases the risk of cutaneous melanoma by 15% to 22%, with evidence that risk increases with greater frequency of use”
This is on top of having a family history of skin cancer and/or having much fairer skin, both of which are serious risk factors.
And if you have the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, frequent UV-B exposure will only increase the likelihood of developing scrotal cancer:
“A genital infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) might be another possible non-occupational risk factor of scrotal cancer. HPV plays an important role in SCCs (squamous cell carcinomas) of both the penis and vulva.
“Earlier studies showed that more than 50% of cutaneous SCCs in immunocompetent individuals were HPV-positive… Several case reports and small studies have reported on the presence of HPV in scrotal tumour tissue of immune suppressed men. Oncogenic HPV has also been detected on the scrotum of asymptomatic men.”
Overall, the risk is so much greater than the reward.
A big fat thumbs down from me.
Does Red Light Therapy on Balls Increase Testosterone?
So with testicle sunning fully out of the picture, I want to look at a now-popular method that sounds an awful lot like tanning your testicles.
Back in April 2022, Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson released the trailer for an original episode about the ongoing crisis of masculinity in modern-day society:
“In fact, the new promotional trailer for the Tucker Carlson Originals special “The End of Men” included footage of a naked man standing spread eagle with a red light shining right at his crotch. Carlson’s use of the term “testicle tanning” apparently was referring to red light therapy that was directed specifically towards one part or perhaps two parts of the body.”
Sounds like a farfetched idea, so much so that even Kid Rock wasn’t really buying it.
(Really, why would you call it ‘testicle tanning’ when you can’t even tan an internal organ?)
Does tanning your balls increase testosterone when you use red light instead of UV light?
I do know of one close friend who’s given “red light therapy on balls” a fair try, and that would be biohacker Ben Greenfield.
He first wrote about this in 2017 after a nude sunbathing experiment left him curious about what would happen if he could get the benefits of sunlight on his balls without the downsides I’ve discussed.
Ben later wrote about this experiment in his book Boundless, and did his research before plunging in:
“Red light, however, is different than sunlight. Red light is comprised of light wavelengths in the range of 600-950 nanometers (nm). According to red light therapy proponents, red light works to stimulate ATP production, increase energy available to the cell and in particular, increase the activity of the Leydig cells in your testes, which are the cells responsible for testosterone production.”
“[However] many types of lamps and bulbs sold for red light therapy (such as incandescents, heat lamps, infrared lamps that generate red light at greater than 1000nm) give off a significant amount of heat and can actually fry your testicles.”
Settling into a happy range of 5-20 minutes of red light exposure a day, Ben was shocked to discover a dramatic boost in sexual arousal:
“Two days later, I waited until the evening, then wandered downstairs… Fifteen minutes. My crotch grew more and more warm, but in a pleasant, day-at-the-beach sort of way. I finished an email. Twenty minutes. Mission complete.
That night was date night, and I was a rock star. I sat at dinner, horny, my penis pulsing, staring across the table at my wife and feeling as though I’d popped a couple Viagra. Later, I blew the biggest load I could recall in recent memory.
And from that point on, for nearly the past seven months, I’ve stuck with twenty minutes of red light exposure on my crotch each day”
Now, I’m not going to knock on red light therapy.
I’ve talked about it on this website before and vouched for its applications in fat loss, muscle recovery, reducing joint pain and lowering inflammation.
But what specifically can red light therapy do for testosterone, whether exposed to the entire body or nothing else but your nutsack?
First, let’s explore the overall mechanism of red light therapy:
“…damaged cells produce nitric oxide which binds to and inactivates cytochrome oxidase, an enzyme that is required to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that releases energy to fuel cellular processes.
Light in the red (600-700 nm wavelength) and near-infrared (760-940 nm) regions of the spectrum liberates nitric oxide from the enzyme allowing more ATP to be produced, normalizing cell function.
Furthermore, the nitric oxide released is a messenger molecule that has beneficial effects on the immune system, on blood vessel dilation, and on blood clotting”
So the theory is that red light’s ability to penetrate skin deeper than other forms of light can stimulate ATP production in the mitochondria of the Leydig cells (located in the testis and responsible for producing testosterone),
Theoretically, the end result should be boosting the production of testosterone above normal levels.
This belief has been expressed by Dr. Olli Sovijarvi, the same physician who turned Ben Greenfield on towards red light therapy exposure to the nutsack.
Yet the evidence is virtually non-existent.
The Twitter thread below highlights a 1981 study in Japanese quail which, in the author’s own words, “[investigated] the effect of general light exposure from different types and duration of light were studied with respect to gonadal volume.”
I've gone down a rabbit hole of trying to find the "tons of data," supporting testicle tanning is & one of the quoted articles is this 1981 study of red light exposure to the nads of Japanese quail that have been surgically blinded via optic nerve sectioning vs ocular enucleation pic.twitter.com/bFefGB5LmT
— Ashley Winter MD || Urologist (@AshleyGWinter) April 18, 2022
Nothing to do with what Ben Greenfield was experimenting with.
The only other relevant study I could find was published in 2013 by Korean scientists who exposed 30 six-week-old mice’s testes to a daily 30-minute session of red light for five days straight.
Here’s what they found:
“Our results showed that the rate of tissue penetration was significantly higher in the 808 nm wavelength group as compared with the 670 nm wavelength group (P<0.05);
serum T level was not significantly higher in the experimental groups as compared with the control group; but serum T level was significantly elevated in the 670 nm wavelength group on day 4.
Thus the LLLT [low level laser therapy] using a 670-nm diode laser was effective in increasing serum T level without causing any visible histopathological side effects.”
Outside of another individual who claims his free testosterone went up after 3 months of daily red light therapy, that’s all we have.
As one Medium writer so eloquently put it:
“So red light for testicles is basically entirely un-researched — it’s not that the studies are negative so much as the fact that there’s basically no evidence at all (not even vague hypotheses or preclinical research) indicating that red light does or does not do things like increase your testosterone levels.”
Even discussions on Reddit quickly make any sane human realize that there are too many variables in play to know for sure if red light is doing anything (quality of lamp, distance from lamp, precise lighting, diet, exogenous testosterone, activity level, etc.).
We do not have any evidence right now to suggest that red light therapy on your testicles will significant increase testosterone production in any meaningful way.
If you want to see a written example of my thought process in researching this niche topic, this article does a great job of breaking the important details down.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
This on its own could constitute a multi-article series, if not an entirely new book.
But I’m going to be brief:
We are living in the greatest environmental contamination siege in global history that no amount of sunlight on balls can fix.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are seeping into everything we eat, drink and touch… slowly destroying our hormonal health by disrupting a lot more than just testosterone.
Artificial HID and Blue light EMF’s from screens, TV’s and devices is causing untold and unprecedented damage to male and female endocrine systems.
Nearly a billion people will be medically obese by 2050, one of the main characteristics of people suffering from chronically low testosterone levels.
We also have rare diseases and testicular injury, all of which may go unchecked for a lifetime or simply be accepted as “a normal part of getting older.”
All of these causes and many more are covered extensively in The TOT Bible, which many readers say isn’t just a book on therapeutic testosterone.
It’s a literal health blueprint for the rest of your life.
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
People are continually surprised when I tell them that living a high-testosterone lifestyle is surprisingly easy.
In fact, you probably already KNOW you should be doing certain things (but don’t):
- Engaging in smart resistance training and frequent cardiovascular exercise
- Eating a diet that is metabolically flexible and aligned with your health goals
- Getting and keeping a lean, athletic body
- Lowering chronic inflammation through practices such as grounding
- Supplementing with essential agents such as Vitamin D (5,000-10,000 IU will keep your blood levels above 70 ng/mL, where you want to be during the winter months)
- Fixing your sleep by regulating your body temperature
- Eliminating stress by raising your vibration
Remaining lean from living a fully optimized lifestyle is the single greatest investment you will ever make into yourself.
For someone who has never experienced the highest levels of health before, the tactics above can indeed lead to a meaningful increase in testosterone levels.
The only problem is that it won’t be enough to truly transform your life.
How Much Can Testosterone Be Increased Naturally?
I debunked the idea of “naturally increasing testosterone levels” in 2018 when I wrote The TOT Bible.
Many of my statements still remain true as ever, so I’ll give you the one-sentence summary:
The clinical use of therapeutic testosterone is the ONLY be-all, end-all solution that is scientifically proven to optimize your total/free testosterone lab numbers while addressing the common symptoms of low testosterone
Let me expand on that sentence to help you understand why the tactics I just described, much like ball sunning, ultimately take you nowhere in the long-run.
First, the idea of increasing your testosterone levels naturally with “this one weird trick” in the 21st century is a dead dream.
Every single “testosterone-boosting” supplement either fails to increase testosterone levels at all, or only does so temporarily and insignificantly… nothing more than 100 ng/dL if I’m being extremely generous.
For a young man in his 30s right now, 400 ng/dL is nothing to brag about:
“Hypogonadal symptoms in men aged <40 years can be associated with a TT [total testosterone] level of <400 ng/dL. Of the hypogonadal symptoms evaluated with the ADAM [Androgen deficiency in Aging Male] questionnaire, ‘lack of energy’ appears to be the most important symptom that predicts a TT level of <400 ng/dL.”
So the next time you see Healthline’s recommendations for testosterone boosters, save your money.
Second, modern-day environmental living makes a healthy lifestyle necessary – BUT NOT SUFFICIENT – to optimize your testosterone levels for life.
We live in a society where our endocrine systems and metabolic health are constantly under siege.
The actual nutritional value and vitamin contents of our food have decreased massively in the last 50 years.
And being surrounded by toxins and pollutants 24/7, our ability to produce testosterone naturally has been dramatically reduced.
Dr. Rob Kominiarek, one of the world’s foremost experts on the use of therapeutic testosterone, estimates that 2% of men over the age of 50 — and less than 20% of men between the ages of 30-50 — can reach optimized testosterone levels with strict military discipline.
So even if you did all of the tactics with perfect execution, AND added ball sunning on top of all that, you get a negligible 30-120 ng/dL total testosterone boost that does nothing useful in the long-term.
Your only reliable way to a new life is through PROVEN methods of testosterone optimization, which is either a cream applied to your sack or an intramuscular/subcutaneous injection of a testosterone ester.
Third, testosterone lab number readings can be incredibly misleading if you don’t know what you’re doing (or what to expect).
If three blood tests in a 24-hour period can each produce different results showing nothing more than transient increases/decreases in testosterone, how are you going to thoroughly prove something like ball sunning works?
You can’t, which is something any experience-based hormone optimization doctor knows:
“In a young, healthy male, testosterone levels can vary by 100 points a day… So if you check the testosterone levels of a 25 or 30-year-old guy at 4 p.m., it might be something like 250 nanograms per deciliter. Then if you check it the next morning at like 4 or 5 am it could be 400.”
“If you check your testosterone levels 12 hours apart you might have a huge increase even if you didn’t put your balls in front of an infrared light.”
And there are also many factors, including the season of the year, that can wildly impact testosterone levels outside of a 24-hour cycle:
“Several factors affect measured T levels, including aging, circadian rhythms, geography, genetics, lifestyle choices, comorbid conditions, and intraindividual daily variability. The utility of free T over total T is debatable and must be compared using appropriate threshold levels. Among various assay techniques, mass spectrometry and equilibrium dialysis are gold standards”
Again, we are not looking for transient short-term increases in testosterone we can brag about on the Internet.
We want to be in the upper-high range of testosterone levels while also breaking free of the low testosterone symptoms that castrate and hinder the potential of today’s men.
Fourth and finally, an increase in libido does NOT necessarily mean an increase in testosterone
Some people may feel more aroused after engaging in nude sunbathing and/or red light therapy, connecting the libido boost to a testosterone boost.
Testicle tanning promoters will use studies like this one to show how increased sexual desire must mean testosterone also shot up.
But male libido is controlled by a lot more than testosterone.
I have to keep repeating myself in the year 2022, but estrogen is VITAL for sexual and overall health:
“Estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen, also plays a critical role in male sexual function.
Estradiol in men is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis.
Estrogen receptors, as well as aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, are abundant in brain, penis, and testis, organs important for sexual function.
In the brain, estradiol synthesis is increased in areas related to sexual arousal.
In addition, in the penis, estrogen receptors are found throughout the corpus cavernosum with high concentration around neurovascular bundles”
I teach all of these concepts and much more in my premium course TOT Decoded, where 3 decades of my personal knowledge are condensed into a learn-at-your-own-pace digital offering.
It’s a learn as you go online course jam-packed with case-studies from real clients, checklist designed to get you to take action, templates to summarize the key concepts, guides that provide you with medically-backed information seen nowhere else, and essential training on all things testosterone.
To get my TOT Decoded course at 50% OFF, CLICK HERE to download the Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Therapeutic Testosterone.
Testicle Sunning: Fact or Fiction?
There’s no question that sunlight is vital to all life on Earth and serves as a very powerful regulator of the human hormonal system.
Unfortunately, we live on a contaminated planet where you can’t just be physically active and check off all the right boxes.
This effectively makes testicle sunning to increase your testosterone levels a likely useless practice.
However… even if we lived on a perfectly habitable planet free of all pollution and chemicals, ball sunning has no scientific evidence backing it.
The best you’ll get is perhaps a very faint and transient increase in testosterone that fades just as quickly and doesn’t escape the normal day-to-day fluctuations your body goes through in producing this hormone.
So there you have it…+6500 words debunking one of the most talked-about yet least-proven methods of testosterone optimization.
But if none of this has convinced you and you STILL want to go ahead with your dream of tanning your testicles in a weird yoga pose, maybe the video below will change your mind:
Raise Your Vibration To Optimize Your Love Creation!
PS – If you want to avoid getting sucked into pointless practices like testicle sunning before you waste valuable time and money, join The Fully Optimized Health Private Membership Group.
It’s your greatest opportunity to fully optimize your health, gain total access to me and my elite network of men and women 10X-ing their lives.