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What is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)? At its most basic definition, it is created from testosterone through enzyme activity. What does that mean? DHT is defined as an androgen, and a powerful one at that. It’s mostly associated with hair loss or male pattern baldness. Testosterone is also an androgen, more commonly linked to steroids, produced in the male testes. Understand the basics regarding DHT and testosterone and how both function in the body.
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What does Dihydrotestosterone do? It is not just focused on hair, but is involved in a number of aspects in regard to health and wellness. It has been linked to enlarged prostate conditions known as benign prostatic hyperplasia as well as prostate cancer. It’s essential in the development of male genitalia in utero, and is considered five times more potent than testosterone.
DHT contributes to male sex characteristics such as a deeper voice, growth of body and facial hair, stronger musculature, and so forth. It is not involved in aspects of female growth and development.
It is classified as a sex steroid and androgen hormone. ‘Andro’ is the Greek prefix for the word masculine, and as such, it is responsible for those biological differences between men and women.
Testosterone is a male hormone produced in the Leydig cells of the testicles. It is also an androgen hormone that contributes to distinctively male characteristics. It is also an important hormone in the development and maturation of male genitalia, sperm production, and libido. Therefore, the association between DHT and testosterone is linked, at least in regard to functions of androgen hormones.
Men who have low levels of testosterone (low T) in their blood, as is common with aging processes or some type of endocrine system dysfunction, can experience a number of symptoms that include but are not limited to:
Testosterone is converted to DHT through the functions of a specific enzyme. That enzyme is known as 5-alpha-reductase or 5-AR. Increases of 5-AR in a person’s body contributes to increase in test levels, and in turn to the conversion of it into DHT, which, finally, contributes to an increase in hair loss. While some functions of the enzyme are understood, others are not. The enzyme continues to be studied in the role it plays in formation of genitalia, deficiency disorders, and hair loss.
The relationship between DHT and testosterone is also a close one because they both attach to the same cell receptors, although DHT does so more easily and binds to those receptor cells for a longer amount of time.Check out the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels here.
Because of the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, the two are often linked to a common symptom of low T – hair loss or male pattern baldness. As one of the most common types of balding in men and known as androgenetic alopecia, this male pattern baldness is noted by lack of hair on the crown or top of the head or a receding hairline, although with relatively normal hair growth along the sides and the back of the head.
Hair loss on the head is not the only place where hair is affected by lack of DHT. Hair on the head can continue to grow, albeit slowly even if DHT levels are lacking, but pubic hair, beards, and armpit hair are unable to grow without androgens.
If you’re experiencing alarming hair loss or see the signs of male pattern baldness, you should schedule a visit with your doctor, to check your testosterone levels. Testosterone replacement therapy through prescription or over-the-counter testosterone boosters may be recommended.
One drug that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss is finasteride, more commonly known by its brand names Propecia or Proscar. This is not a way to increase DHT naturally however.
A number of trials have sought to determine the efficacy of finasteride, a Type 2 selective inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase. Finasteride is believed to enable the prostate to inhibit the production of DHT.
Some side effects have been associated with use of finasteride in a small percentage of men involved in studies including loss of sex drive or decrease in ejaculate. It should be noted that once a person starts on finasteride, he must continue it permanently or the hair loss will return.
Side effects have also been associated with testosterone replacement therapy, which is also a long term treatment recommended for men whose bodies produce very low T amounts or none at all. Such low levels result in a number of symptoms that can affect overall health and wellness as well as quality of life.
Talk to your doctor about the link between DHT and testosterone and what you can do to alleviate a number of symptoms associated with low T levels or increased levels of DHT in the blood.
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