DHT is a gift given to us by Mother Nature but somehow, a lot of men have the idea that this is a bad hormone. The reason being that DHT is linked to hair loss and we have to admit – most of us want to lose our hair. Additionally, DHT has also been linked to prostate issues and no man wants that, too.
Pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of these very reasons and have now made tons and tons of money out of DHT inhibitors. However, DHT really isn’t that bad. In fact, its superior potency as an androgen plays a huge role in male development.
As such, some testosterone boosters go out of their way to preserve or regulate DHT – depending on their respective goals – while also promoting higher T. That being said, this article is my attempt at shedding some much needed light on this misunderstood steroid hormone. Before that though, here are a few of the best T booster supplements at manipulating DHT.
WHAT IS DHT?
Otherwise known as androstanolone or stanolone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is, in simple definition, an androgen.
In more detail, Dihydrotestosterone is an endogenous androgen and is therefore responsible for developing male characteristics. Obviously, the name itself already suggests that it’s closely related to testosterone. But what exactly is DHT’s relation and difference to test?
TESTOSTERONE VS DHT
Testosterone is the most massively synthesized male hormone in the human body with around 10.4–24.3 nmol/L found in adult males. Consequently, 5-10% of serum testosterone is converted to Dihydrotestosterone (via the enzyme 5 alpha reductase) in adults while higher levels are found in adolescents. That being said, DHT is considered to be a key factor in triggering puberty.
With testosterone being the most abundant, it also becomes our body’s primary sex hormone. However, by no means is it the principal androgen. Let’s check out some numbers:
- DHT binds to androgenic receptors with 2-3 times greater affinity compared to testosterone
- DHT binds to androgenic receptors 15-30 times higher than that of adrenal androgens
- DHT dissociates or separates from androgenic receptors 5x slower than testosterone
- The biological half-life of DHT is longer than testosterone
In simple terms, Dihydrotestosterone binds to androgenic receptors better than testosterone and adrenal androgens. Once it is bound to these said receptors, it also stays there longer. All these contribute to DHT being 2.5-10 times more potent than testosterone.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE ABNORMAL LEVELS OF DHT?
First of all, you have to remember that Dihydrotestosterone plays a key role in the male sexual development. In adults, levels of DHT are much higher in the prostate compared to testosterone which makes it the primary androgen in the prostate gland. In the young, specifically in embryogenesis, Dihydrotestosterone is essential to the development of the external genitalia. DHT also plays a role in developing male characteristics such body hair.
That said, it should be expected that abnormal levels of DHT would lead to abnormalities in these same places.
Having already said that Dihydrotestosterone is found at high levels in the prostate, prostate issues such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate have been linked to excessive levels of DHT. Although this is common belief, research on this looks inconclusive.
As men grow older, it is typical for testosterone levels to drop and levels of estrogen and Dihydrotestosterone to rise. For this very reason, one of the leading theories surrounding BPH is that an increase in the estrogen to testosterone ratio plays a key role in the development of enlarged prostates.
Admittedly though, the treatment of BPH includes 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs). These drugs lower the levels of DHT by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone. So, DHT probably does play a role in the development of BPH. However, by restricting testosterone conversion, it also gives rise to higher levels of testosterone and a healthier testosterone to estrogen ratio.
Whether the effectivity of 5-ARIs relies on lowering DHT or increasing testosterone remains to be blurry. As such, it is simply false to focus the blame on BPH solely on Dihydrotestosterone.
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS
In reality, DHT does play a role in hair loss and 5-ARIs have also been used to treat male pattern baldness. However, most of the blame has to go to genetics. In fact, according to this study, the most important factor in male baldness appears to be “the genetically-determined sensitivity of the follicles to DHT”.
If your genes dictate that your hair follicles be sensitive to DHT, then male pattern baldness will almost be inevitable. 5-ARIs help in curbing this by lowering levels of Dihydrotestosterone. Hence, even with sensitive follicles, lowering levels of Dihydrotestosterone might control hair loss.
Here is where you’ll really see the importance of Dihydrotestosterone. It’s a condition that affects males in their developmental stages in the womb and during puberty.
As I’ve already said, DHT is derived from testosterone through conversion. With little to no amounts of 5 alpha reductase, there will also be lesser to no conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone leading to deficient levels of DHT.
Men suffering from this condition are born with abnormal external genitalia. If I had to be frank, this basically means that men with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency are born with a penis the size of a tic tac. Because of this, a lot of these unfortunate males are raised as women.
During puberty, these men develop secondary male characteristics such as deepening of the voice, growth spurt, and even gain muscle mass. Basically, their bodies will look male but under their pants will still be an underdeveloped penis that’ll look more like a clitoris. Also, because of the lack of sexual development, most of them will be infertile and are unable to father children.
WILL DIHYDROTESTOSTERONE (DHT) AFFECT MUSCLE GROWTH?
With a large percentage of testosterone boosters that also aim to enhance muscle undercutting DHT for more testosterone, it’s very easy to think that DHT doesn’t affect muscle growth.
To a degree, these testosterone boosting supplements are doing it right. 5-alpha-reductase isn’t found in skeletal muscle; therefore, testosterone doesn’t convert to Dihydrotestosterone in these areas, right? Yeah, that might very well be true. However, a study has shown that DHT increased amino acid uptake in skeletal muscle.
Additionally, another study suggests that “DHT promotes protein synthesis, cell signaling, cell proliferation and ATP production, as well as muscle contraction and relaxation”.
Admittedly though, these are studies conducted on rats and human research is still needed to confirm these effects. Still, I think it’s too early to say that DHT has no effect on muscle growth.
In terms of boosting testosterone and enhancing muscle growth, there’s another important point that you should be mindful of. Some test boosting nutrients, Fenugreek for example, increases levels of testosterone by working as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. While this does effectively increase levels of “free” testosterone for use in muscle development, it does so by reducing DHT.
Muscle and testosterone is good, yes, but a decrease in DHT results in an overall decrease in androgens and as a man, that’s something you wouldn’t want to have and it’s something you might want to look out for when checking out testosterone boosting supplements.
That being said, here are a few common T booster ingredients that deal with DHT:
Ingredients that boost DHT
- Boron – As one of the best minerals of male health, Boron increases both testosterone and DHT while regulating estrogen and SHBG
- Panax Ginseng – The research on this herb is a bit old for my liking but it did show boosts in T and DHT while also lowering levels of prolactin
Ingredients that decrease DHT (5-ARIs)
- Fenugreek – Promotes male health through boosts in testosterone, libido, and physical performance but also inhibits 5-AR
- Stinging Nettle and Saw Palmetto – Both herbs contain fatty acids that block the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Consequently, they’re also commonly used to treat enlarged prostates
Other notable ingredients
These next couple of ingredients are great for testosterone but they may not necessarily have any direct effect on dihydrotestosterone. However, they do help promote prostate health. If you have abnormally large prostates (BPH), it might be a good idea to pair these with DHT inhibitors (5-ARIs).
- Vitamin K – Described as “the missing link to prostate health”, this vitamin promotes prostate health by improving the quality of the veins near the prostate gland and testes.
- Vitamin B6 – Several animal studies have shown that B6 supplementation can lead to a reduction in the weight of the prostate gland.
BE WEARY OF ZINC!
Zinc is another ingredient commonly found in natural testosterone booster supplements. In fact, I think it’s right up there with Boron as the best minerals for male health. However, too much Zinc can also be harmful.
In particular, one study linked zinc intake of greater than 100 mg/day as well as long-term (10+ years) Zinc supplementation to an increased risk of prostate issues. That being said, be careful of how much and how long you’re taking Zinc supplements. Although there are 5ARIs and DHT-inhibitors that help treat your prostate troubles, remember that prevention is always better than cure.
Recap: The Best T Boosters That Regulate DHT
|T-Booster Supplement||My Review||Website|
|#1 – Prime Male||My Review||www.primemale.com|
|#2 – TestoFuel||My Review||www.testofuel.com|
|#3 – Test Freak||My Review||www.pharmafreak.com|
|#4 – Nugenix Ultimate||My Review||www.nugenix.com|
|#5 – Quantum T||My Review||www.mtheorysupplements.com|
To end this article, let me just say that no, DHT isn’t a bad hormone. The bad reputation that it gets is overblown and frankly, a little bit unjustified.
Admittedly, too much Dihydrotestosterone can lead to unwanted side effects such as balding and probably even prostate issues. However, It’s unfair to place all the blame on DHT and just brush it to the side altogether as if it doesn’t play a single role in male health.
Remember, if you were deficient in DHT to start with, you might not even have a penis. My advise? Don’t recklessly alter your DHT levels. If you think you have too much or too little, check with your doctor first before taking any action.