Acute Ultraviolet Light Exposure and Post-Resistance Exercise Serum Testosterone: A Pilot Study in Older Men

Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 May 1;13(2):607-614. eCollection 2020.


Testosterone deficiency is linked to a multitude of conditions including depression, sexual dysfunction, and cognitive impairment. Although synthetic testosterone-boosting pharmaceuticals have gained wide use, recent data suggests that vitamin D, ingested orally, may positively impact serum testosterone. Furthermore, evidence tying ultraviolet (UV) light exposure to endogenous vitamin D synthesis presents an intriguing possibility for naturally enhancing serum testosterone. This investigation sought to determine the effect of acute UV light exposure on resistance exercise-induced acute testosteronemia and vitamin D in older men. Six older adult men of varying activity levels (age 62 ± 1.79 yrs., height 179.92 ± 1.12 cm., body mass 83.79 ± 3.12 kg., BMI 25.95 ± 1.15 kg/m2) participated in two testing sessions separated by one week: 1) Resistance exercise followed by standard passive recovery (RERC) and 2) RE plus UV light exposure during the first 10-minutes of RE passive recovery (RERC-UV). The RE protocol was identical in both sessions and consisted of four sets of 10RM on leg press, chest press, and back row with 1-minute of rest between sets followed by 30-minutes of post-RE passive recovery. Serum testosterone and vitamin D were measured preand post-RE in 5-minute increments during the 30-minute recovery. Analysis of variance revealed neither RE or RERC-UV significantly affected serum testosterone or vitamin D. These findings suggest that acute UV light exposure may be insufficient to positively impact serum testosterone and vitamin D following a single bout of RE in older adult men.

Keywords: Sunlight; hypertrophy; resistance exercise; testosteronemia; vitamin D.