DHT is dihydrotestosterone, an androgen sex hormone, sometimes referred as DH. This hormone, converted from testosterone, is the driving reasons of all the changes that happen during puberty in both males and females, including sexual arousal.
According to the Society for Endocrinology, 10% of the testosterone produced by an adult every day is actually converted to DHT by the prostate and testes (in men) and ovaries (in women), skin and other parts of the body. DHT is more potent than testosterone but available in smaller amounts – the more available testosterone, the more that’s converted to DHT.
What does DHT do?
- Onsets puberty in both boys and girls (genital development, voice change, etc)
- Leads growth of body hair
- Causes prostate to grow in males
- Boosts male sexual behaviour
- Just like testosterone, aids with muscle maintenance as men age
How is DHT related to hair loss in men?
Testosterone is known to be a side cause of balding, however, DHT is seen as the main cause as it binds to receptors in the oil glands of scalp follicles causing them to slowly shrink. For testosterone to be converted to DHT, a special enzyme inside the hair follicle oil gland, called Type II 5-alpha-reductace is needed.
A natural hair loss treatment will aim at suppressing DHT – hence making hair follicles to live longer and grow new hairs.
Too little testosterone in men is definitely NOT good, too much testosterone in men is NOT OPTIMAL either as will kickstart the excess of DHT = baldness. Men who also experience too little testosterone or DHT will have a later puberty, little to no pubic hair, ambiguous genitalia development resembling the female genitalia.
Natural remedies to lower DHT just enough: Omega-3, zinc, adaptogen herbs (I have posts on them), saw palmetto supplements, pumpkin seed oil, biotin supplements or green tea, oils to rub your scalp: rosemary essential oil and cedarwood essential oil which can also help with dandruff.
Women have much lower amount of testosterone and DHT than men, when testosterone rises in the body – they will suffer from DHT triggered hair loss, just like men. This can happen especially with hormonal imbalance and when there is too little oestrogen being produced (due to ovarian cysts, contraceptive pill, pregnancy, menopause, genetics, stress).
There are individuals with too much testosterone despite the trend observed in studies of dropping testosterone and it’s not strange at all – it is also a result of hormonal imbalance and doesn’t mean it’s a ”good thing” either.
Truth is that DHT is indeed responsible for 95% cases of baldness in men (androgenic alopecia). It is related to testosterone levels since it’s converted from testosterone, however can also be a fault in the metabolic process – which means pretty much it can be your diet, genetics or overall hormonal imbalance to blame.
Since DHT is far more potent than testosterone, it doesn’t need to be a very noticeable amount above/below the normal testosterone levels – one can produce too much or just too little of DHT even sometimes independently of their testosterone levels. It depends on the individual, their physiology, and many other individual factors.