DHT (Dihydrotestosterone): Role in Hair Loss
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DHT is a hormone that’s responsible for regulating the development of hair in men and women. When it starts to build up in excess, more DHT means more testosterone which leads to thinning hair, balding, and greying. However, there are many ways to reduce this amount without using chemicals or surgery.
We often hear about the negative consequences of having too much or too little testosterone, such as the development of acne in women and muscle loss in males. But there’s another androgen (male-specific hormone) that’s much more strong and responsible for the same kinds of issues: DHT.
According to studies, it’s to blame for more than 95% of men’s hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia).
What Is DHT?
DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, an androgen sex hormone produced by the body. It’s also known as DH, or 5-dihydrotestosterone, in addition to DHT.
This hormone, which is derived from testosterone (another androgen, or “male hormone”), is linked to several masculine physical traits. According to Harvard Medical School, the name androgen is derived from the phrase “man-maker.”
This androgen also influences sexual desire and promotes puberty-related changes.
“Almost 10% of the testosterone generated by an adult each day is converted to dihydrotestosterone by the testes and prostate (in men), the ovaries (in women), the epidermis, and other regions of the body,” according to the Society for Endocrinology.
DHT is more powerful than testosterone and is found in lower concentrations. The quantity of testosterone present determines the amount of DHT present. ; the more testosterone that is accessible, the more dihydrotestosterone is produced.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are called the brain’s “control centers,” regulate testosterone production.
Although DHT is generally connected with thinning hair, acne, and other unpleasant symptoms, we now know that it has advantages for both men and women. The Endocrine Society describes some of the crucial tasks that DHT plays as follows:
- Aids in the commencement of puberty in both boys and girls, resulting in genital growth, a deeper voice, and changes in body composition – less is known about how it impacts puberty in females than in males.
- It causes body hair to grow, particularly pubic hair.
- In men, it causes the prostate to enlarge.
- Male sexual conduct is increased (when combined with testosterone or testosterone boosters)
Does DHT help you gain muscle? It, like testosterone, helps individuals retain muscle mass as they age to some degree.
It also helps with fertility, sex desire, and reproductive health.
What Does Hair Growth and Hair Loss Mean?
“While testosterone is at the foundation of the balding process, DHT is regarded to be the major cause,” according to the American Hair Loss Association.
DHT is currently thought to play a role in androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) by binding to scalp follicle oil glands receptors, causing them to shrink.
An enzyme known as Type II 5-alpha-reductace is required to convert testosterone to DHT. This enzyme is kept in the oil glands of hair follicles.
DHT affects hair development and loss because it causes follicles to shrink and decrease their life spans, ultimately leading them to cease generating hair. However, hair follicles continue to flourish and develop new hair when DHT is reduced, such as by drugs or treatments to prevent hair loss, acting as a natural remedy for thinning hair.
By their mid-30s, around two-thirds of American males will have noticeable hair loss, which jumps to nearly 85% by reaching their 50s.
Androgenic alopecia causes hair loss in the following ways:
- In women, it frequently causes thinning in all regions of the scalp.
- Thinning hair in males frequently manifests itself as discrete patterns of baldness, such as a receding hairline and thinning crown. This is because DHT’s effects are regarded to be most sensitive at the temples and mid-anterior scalp.
- Some women may exhibit a mix of the two characteristics mentioned above.
- The quantity of hair loss that people suffer is strongly linked to heredity, so you’re likely to have the same degree of hair loss as your parents. In addition, the formation of androgen receptors inside follicles is influenced by genetics, which means that some individuals are more sensitive to hair loss due to hormonal fluctuations than others.
Women typically have lower amounts of testosterone and DHT in their systems than males, but when those levels increase, they, too, might experience DHT-induced hair loss. Even though a blood test reveals that a woman’s DHT levels are within the “normal” range, a little higher-than-normal level may nevertheless cause hair loss in certain women who are susceptible to androgens’ effects.
This may happen when a woman’s “female hormone” levels (such as estrogen) drop, causing the effects of androgen hormones to become unbalanced.
What causes women to acquire androgenic alopecia? The following are some of the hair loss factors linked to high androgen levels:
- Cysts in the ovary
- Birth control pills with a lot of androgens
- Susceptibility to genetic mutations
- Life’s traumatic occurrences
DHT may be produced in excess or insufficient amounts. Men who produce too little DHT are more likely to have symptoms, whereas women who produce too much are more likely to get symptoms.
On the other hand, high amounts induce little discernible alterations in males, while low levels have the same effect in women.
Excess testosterone production is frequently the cause of high DHT levels. Both men and women are susceptible to this.
A woman’s high DHT is generally more evident since it creates bodily changes that are deemed masculine. High DHT symptoms in women, for example, may include:
- Hair growth on the torso, face, and pubis (called hirsutism)
- Irregular menstrual cycles or complete cessation of menstruation (called amenorrhoea)
- Acne breakouts, most often on the chin, jaw, and back
- Changes in the genitalia that are abnormal
Some of the following symptoms may be experienced by men who generate too little DHT:
- The beginning of puberty is delayed (this can affect women too)
- Pubic and body hair reduction
- In the womb, abnormal genital development (he may be born with ambiguous genitalia that resembles female genitalia)
According to recent research findings, high DHT levels in males were formerly considered to offer health hazards, but this may no longer be the case.
High DHT levels have been linked to an enlarged prostate, a greater chance of prostate cancer, and a higher risk of coronary heart disease. However, several long-term investigations have failed to prove that higher DHT has these harmful consequences.
The relevance of DHT in these disorders is still debated, and research is continuing to see whether DHT blockers and inhibitors may be used as treatment alternatives. However, what is apparent is that DHT promotes prostate cell proliferation, which is typical throughout adolescence but may be harmful in older men.
How to Get Rid of It
DHT synthesis and DHT receptor binding inside hair follicles are both targets for hair loss interventions.
What are DHT blockers, and what do they do?
- Blockers work by preventing testosterone from being converted to dihydrotestosterone and preventing DHT from attaching to 5-AR receptors in hair follicles. To put it another way, they may aid in removing DHT from the scalp.
- Finasteride is the most well-known example of an oral DHT blocker (which goes under the brand names Proscar and Propecia). This is a prescription-only medication that is taken by mouth.
- DHT blockers are just for males and should never be used by a woman or a kid since they might cause various hormonal issues during pregnancy and development.
According to research, lowering DHT may help you regenerate hair. According to one research, most men who took finasteride saw a reduction in hair loss.
“Currently, the only medications recognized by the FDA as treatments of androgenetic alopecia are minoxidil and finasteride, which are FDA-approved, and HairMax LaserComb, which is FDA-cleared,” according to the research.
According to a research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, more than 80% of males on finasteride had their initial hair follicle counts retained, and more than 65% reported hair regrowth. Finasteride is usually taken once a day in one mg dosage.
A DHT inhibitor is another therapy option. It reduces the quantity of DHT produced, allowing less to reach the scalp while also limiting DHT’s effects elsewhere. Medications that boost blood flow to the scalp might be used with blockers and inhibitors to increase hair growth.
Inhibitors of 5alpha-reductase are also used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (or BHP, characterized by the growth of the gland with aging ). Proscar is a medication that helps some men with BPH in dosages of roughly five milligrams.
This class of medication seems to decrease prostate volume, alleviate symptoms, and lower the risk of urinary retention and the necessity for BPH surgery. In addition, according to new research, DHT blockers may also be useful in the treatment of prostate cancer.
What additional natural options are there for decreasing DHT levels?
While there has been little study on this area, some individuals have found certain “natural DHT blockers” to be beneficial. Special shampoos and lotions, green tea, pumpkin seed oil, biotin supplements, omega-3s, zinc, adaptogen herbs, and herbal supplements like saw palmetto are all-natural hair loss cures.
These may aid to some degree, but not as much as finasteride prescriptions.
Low-level laser therapy is another therapeutic option that promises to resume hair growth and may be more comfortable for certain individuals. It stimulates metabolism in catagen or telogen follicles by increasing blood flow in the scalp.
Finally, rosemary and cedarwood essential oils (like those used in this Rosemary, Cedarwood & Sage Hair Thickener recipe) may help encourage hair growth, reduce graying, and heal scalp disorders like dandruff, according to some individuals.
Is it true that exercise lowers DHT levels?
According to some experts, your fitness program may have an impact on whether you suffer hair loss or growth as a result of abnormal DHT levels.
Depending on the kind and frequency of exercise, it may be both a natural DHT blocker and a way of raising DHT/testosterone levels (and, therefore, hair loss).
Doing a lot of aerobic/cardio activity, such as hours of cycling or jogging, may lower levels in the bloodstream, but doing a lot of weightlifting can raise testosterone levels and hence DHT levels. Higher testosterone levels are associated with muscle growth.
On the other hand, Cardio has been proven to lower testosterone levels through increasing cortisol release.
The easiest strategy to prevent hormone imbalances as a result of exercise is to:
- Make sure you get plenty of rest days.
- Mix exercise with stress-relieving lifestyle changes
- Make sure you consume a healthy, balanced diet.
Is it possible to eat foods that impede DHT?
There’s some indication that including “DHT blocker foods” in your diet will help you lose less hair, but further study is required to prove how effective this is.
Zinc, the antioxidant lycopene, the amino acid L-lysine, high-fiber diets, biotin foods, and plant foods containing various phytonutrients, for example, may be able to block DHT to some degree.
Foods that may help to counteract the effects of elevated DHT levels include:
- Seeds from a pumpkin (a great source of zinc)
- Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and pecans are examples of nuts.
- Chia and flax seeds are examples of such seeds (high in healthy fats, fiber, and minerals)
- The germ of the wheat
- Spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are examples of leafy greens.
- Mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon are examples of fish (high in omega-3s)
A diet heavy in processed foods added sugar, and trans fats may cause metabolic issues, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances, all of which can exacerbate DHT-related health problems. Consuming growth hormone-containing supplements or protein powders may boost testosterone levels in the same way.
DHT Blocker Risks and Side Effects
Because DHT plays a variety of functions in the body, limiting its effects may result in various side effects. The following are some of the possible DHT blocker adverse effects:
- Erectile dysfunction/sexual dysfunction
- Body fat accumulation around the breasts
- Rashes on the skin
- Irritable bowel syndrome and, on rare occasions, vomiting
- Hair on the face and upper body darkens and thickens.
As previously stated, DHT blocker drugs should never be used by women or minors.
- What exactly is DHT? It stands for dihydrotestosterone, an endogenous androgen sex hormone produced through testosterone conversion.
- Male pattern baldness is caused by a hormone called DHT. When levels are excessively high or low, it may cause hair loss in women and other symptoms such as changes in body hair, acne, and sexual dysfunction.
- What is a DHT blocker, and how does it work? It’s a drug or supplement that stops DHT from attaching to 5-AR receptors in hair follicles, preventing them from shrinking and resulting in hair loss.
- Eat a balanced diet, control stress, explore laser treatment and try supplements like green tea, pumpkin seed oil, biotin, and herbs like saw palmetto, in addition to pharmaceuticals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stop DHT from hair loss?
A: The best way is to keep your head covered and avoid direct sunlight. It would be best if you also used moisturizing shampoo and kept your hair up when you sleep, so it’s not laying on the pillow.
How can I reduce DHT in my scalp naturally?
A: Various factors may cause DHT, such as male pattern baldness and hormonal imbalances. You can take several things to reduce this type of hair loss at home, including changing your diet and taking vitamins for the scalp or even using a topical product like Minoxidil.
Will reducing DHT regrow hair?
A: Yes, reducing DHT has been shown to regrow hair. The best way is by decreasing testosterone levels (safely and effectively).
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