DHT is one of the strongest hormones in the body, and as a result having too much of it in your body can lead to adverse effects. DHT is a stronger testosterone because it has greater affinity for the androgen receptor, and therefore binds to it more readily in order to produce its effects. DHT is primarily responsible for hair growth and healthy prostates in adult males. There’s no role for DHT in females during their development.
DHT is responsible for:
- Male sexual development
- Development and growth of the prostate gland, epididymis, vas deferens and seminal vesicles
- Body hair growth
- Function of the sweat glands
- Libido or sexual desire and sexual function
Testosterone converts into DHT thanks to an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR), which is how DHT is made in the body. Roughly 5% of the free testosterone in one’s body is typically converted into DHT. DHT attaches to the same sites as testosterone, but it’s greater potency causes it to be attached for greater periods of time.
There’s a condition known as 5-AR deficiency. This occurs when the enzyme responsible for testosterone to DHT conversion is missing. Males with 5-AR deficiency grow up with an underdeveloped prostate and abnormal genitalia, and often end up being infertile. There’s also an opposite condition which can lead to an increase in the production of DHT, which comes with its own set of side effects.
What Happens if you Have High DHT Symptoms?
What happens if you have too much DHT? Too much DHT is a result of excess testosterone production, which has variable effects on men and women. An adult male with too much DHT may or may not end up with any recognizable physical changes. High DHT symptoms may be subtle. Women with too much DHT could end up experiencing facial hair growth, increased acne, and hair loss.
Side effects of high DHT can include an increase in libido activity, as well as:
- Loss of scalp hair at the temples and on the crown
- Increased body and facial hair
- Excess sweating
- Sleep apnea
- High red blood cell count
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
What to do if you have too much DHT? Since excess DHT is caused by an excess in enzyme 5 alpha reductase, then blocking it with a medication called finasteride can prevent testosterone from being converted to DHT. Consider having your levels of total and free testosterone, DHT, and estradiol checked by a functional medicine doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of high DHT.
Other treatments for high DHT:
- Gamma Linolenic acid (GLA)
- Saw palmetto
- Green tea
- Beta sitosterols
- Pygeum africannum
- Pumpkin seed oil (Octa Sabal Plus®)
- Lipsterolic extract of Serenoa repens (Prostamol Uno)
Having the right balance of hormones will enhance libido, bone, hair growth where you want it, and muscle mass. It’s essential that you go a functional medicine doctor who understands the delicate balance and both natural and medical means to obtain a balance in testosterone levels. If you’re concerned your DHT levels may be too high, I invite you to schedule your consultation with me regarding natural testosterone replacement therapy. Get back to living your life free of the burden of high DHT.