Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a particularly powerful hormone derived from the male sex hormone, testosterone. DHT production may be associated with several disorders in men, including benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Genetically determined sensitivity to DHT is also the cause of hair loss in men. Nettle tea is a traditional remedy that can help lower DHT levels, potentially preventing or improving this condition. Talk with your doctor about nettle tea to decide if this may be beneficial for you.
Testosterone and DHT
Testosterone, the predominant male sex hormone, is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. The enzyme is present in a number of places in the human body, including the sebaceous glands associated with individual hair follicles. In a person who has inherited the gene for male pattern baldness, the hair follicles in the hair and corona are very sensitive to DHT. After several years of exposure to the hormone, these follicles begin to contract, eventually becoming unable to produce hair, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Cells in the prostate gland of some older men also contain 5-alpha reductase, which produces DHT, which can stimulate prostate cells to multiply, eventually causing BPH. Despite its non-cancerous state, BPH can cause urination symptoms that cause discomfort and interfere with daily life.
Nettle as a treatment
Nettle ulcer, or Urtica dioica, has been a traditional herbal remedy for centuries. The plant is named for its tiny, tough hairs that cover leaves and stems and release a toxic chemical when you touch any part of the plant. Practitioners often recommend nettle root as a diuretic or to treat painful muscles and joints, skin problems, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Nettle contains naturally occurring biologically active compounds, including amines, flavonoids, tannins, and several different acids. These components are responsible for the healing properties of nettle.
Nettle root and dried root tea can be beneficial for both BPH and hair loss in men. According to experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the effectiveness of nettles in preventing or treating BPH is comparable to the effectiveness of a prescription drug usually recommended for this condition. Although the study has not yet been tested in humans, a laboratory study published in Andrology in 2011 showed that laboratory animals with BPH fed with nettles reduced prostate size and decreased prostate growth markers. Since nettle appears to inhibit DHT production, it can also slow down or potentially reverse hair loss through its effect on 5-alpha reductase in hair follicles, but this possibility still needs to be tested in laboratory and clinical studies.
Nettle Use Recommendations
Dried nettle root is available in most health food stores and can be prepared in the form of tea by adding 3 to 4 teaspoons of the dried root to 2/3 cup boiling water. Let the tea dry for five minutes and consume it several times a day. Nettle root is generally considered safe, although this can lead to an upset stomach. Nettle may interact with certain medications, including hypertension medications, diabetes medications, or blood thinners, according to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Memorial Institute and the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you suspect that you have BPH, consult your doctor to rule out other conditions before self-medication with nettle tea.
The role of dihydrotestosterone is multifaceted. He is involved in many processes in the body, in particular:
- Promotes the development of the male reproductive system during embryogenesis.
- Responsible for the development of secondary male sexual characteristics.
- Stimulates the growth of prostate tissue.
- Causes hair follicle regression.
- Affects cognitive function and mood.
Dihydrotestosterone in the body is synthesized from testosterone and is a biologically active form of this hormone. He is five times more active than his predecessor, binds to cell receptors and remains in contact with them much longer than testosterone. Unlike testosterone, DHT does not convert to estrogen by adipose tissue aromatase. And since aromatase is not able to reduce its concentration, DHT is often used in the treatment of testosterone deficiency.
Being an androgen (Greek ανδρεία - courage), dihydrotestosterone during the prenatal period is responsible for the correct formation of primary sexual characteristics in boys, and from puberty for biological characteristics typical of men:
- The structure of the larynx and a low voice.
- Hairiness of the chest and midline of the abdomen.
- Increase in muscle mass.
- Growth beard and mustache.
A decrease in the concentration of DHT in the prenatal period or its complete absence due to the insufficiency of the 5-α-reductase enzyme causes underdevelopment of male genitalia and the prostate. The genitals of these boys can look the same as girls. After puberty, they have a deficit of pubic hair, and the body, like girls, remains almost hairless. But they do not suffer from alopecia and never get prostate cancer.
The hormone is responsible for the hair growth of the chest and midline.
If increased dihydrotestosterone leads to quite noticeable changes in the female body, then a moderate increase in its level in men does not manifest any significant symptoms. In boys with more elevated DHT, puberty may begin earlier. In middle-aged men, the development of androgenetic alopecia is possible: the hair on the temples and crown is thinned and gradually falls out.
The most formidable consequence of increased dihydrotestosterone is prostate cancer. Less serious, but also extremely unpleasant - prostate adenoma. It is these hormone-dependent tumors that must be taken with full consciousness. Therefore, with increased DHT, doctors seek to reduce it to normal values.
The following signs indicate the development of volumetric diseases of the prostate gland:
- Difficulty urinating: increased urination time, weak, intermittent urine stream.
- To completely empty the bladder, it is necessary to strain the press.
- Sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Frequent urination, especially at night.
- Spasmodic pain in the perineum.
With prostate cancer, general symptoms may occur in the form of malaise, asthenia, a slight increase in temperature. All of the above symptoms should be considered as a good reason for an urgent appeal to a urologist or andrologist for an appropriate examination.
Prostate disease may be indicated by frequent urination.
Prostate cancer itself may be the reason why dihydrotestosterone in men rises. Other factors to increase its concentration are:
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Tumor or malignant tumor of the adrenal gland.
- Itsenko-Cushing's disease (pituitary microadenoma).
- Leydigoma (a benign tumor from Leydig cells in the testicle).
- Ectopic tissue of the adrenal gland in the testis.
- Chorionic gonadotropin-secreting tumors (hepatoplastoma, some retroperitoneal tumors).
- Family testosterone toxicosis (congenital Leydig cell hyperplasia).
- Treatment with androgens (with some types of anemia).
As you can see, unlike women, in whom an imbalance of hormones in the body can cause the intake of the usual Postinor, the causes of increased DHT in men are much more serious. Therefore, even if you have simple baldness, it is best to determine if dihydrotestosterone is elevated in order to prevent possible serious consequences of its high content and reduce the level to normal in time.
How to reduce the level
For women with polycystic ovary syndrome, only Diana 35 can be prescribed to reduce the concentration of DHT. It is much more difficult to reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone in the male body. For this, various drugs are used, chosen by the doctor depending on the cause of hyperandrogenism:
- Gonadoliberin antagonists (Deslorelin, Buserelin, Leipropelin, etc.). These drugs cause the inactivation of gonadoliberin recipes in the pituitary gland and help reduce the production of hormones that stimulate the release of testosterone.
- Medroxyprogesterone (also able to lower elevated DHT).
- The combination of Spironolactone and Testostolactone (allows you to reduce dihydrotestosterone with adrenal hyperandrogenism).
- Ketonazole, an inhibitory testosterone synthesis by the testes, and other drugs.
The drug is used to reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone.
All of these drugs can lower the level of DHT and prevent the development of prostate tumors. But they should be prescribed only by a doctor who has revealed an increase in dihydrotestosterone. It is impossible to use them independently in any case, so as not to cause castration. It should be noted that under medical supervision, the intake of these substances does not pass without a trace for men. Against the background of such therapy, potency suffers, vitality may decrease, and many other unpleasant symptoms may occur. In this regard, it is prescribed strictly according to indications.
Thus, dihydrotestosterone is an active form of the male hormone testosterone. He is involved in many biological processes in the body. However, despite its important role at normal concentration, an increase in the content of DHT may reflect the presence of a serious pathology of the endocrine organs and cause terrible complications.
Therefore, doctors, seeing increased dehydrotestosterone, seek to reduce and bring its content back to normal. And men, at the slightest suspicion of an increase in this hormone in the blood, need to conduct a thorough examination by a urologist and endocrinologist.
General information and functions of dihydrotestosterone
Dihydrotestosterone is synthesized by the interaction of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5-AP) and testosterone, as a result of which 2 hydrogen atoms are added to the latter (hence the prefix "dihydro"). The more free testosterone, the more its active form. About 70% of DHT is formed in peripheral tissues. In contrast to testosterone, dihydrotestosterone binds to androgen receptors 3-4 times more actively, forms a stable complex with them, which ensures its more pronounced effect at a low concentration (10% of the level of testosterone circulating in the blood). The main volume of DHT is concentrated in the hair follicles, the skin of the inguinal region, and the prostate. The highest degree of activity is manifested in the brain, genitals, and skin.
The main functions of dihydrotestosterone:
- Active androgen receptors are found in large quantities in nerve cells, so dihydrotestosterone has a significant regulatory effect on the functioning of the central nervous system,
- Promotes densification and growth of muscle tissue due to nervous regulation (testosterone has a more pronounced anabolic effect),
- Responsible for male type hair, sebaceous gland activity, genital development,
- Increases resistance to both physical and psychological stress,
- Regulates libido and erection quality.
An important function of dihydrotestosterone in the male body is estrogen protection. DHT blocks aromatase activitywith the participation of which androgens are transformed into estrogens. Men taking 5-AR inhibitors often notice manifestations of gynecomastia (breast enlargement) - a consequence of a lack of DHT.
Dihydrotestosterone in men also regulates the activity of cell division of prostate tissue, so an excess of this hormone often leads to gland hyperplasia and its oncological degeneration.
Symptoms and causes of abnormalities
The normal level of dihydrotestosterone (reference values) in adult men is 250 - 990 pg / ml. About that indicator below normalindicates a number of symptoms:
- Slowing puberty in adolescents.
- Reduction of muscle volume, deposition of fat on the hips and abdomen, breast enlargement.
- Decreased libido, worsening erection.
- Termination or slowdown of body hair growth.
Primary and Secondary Hypogonadism May Cause Low Dihydrotestosterone Levels - lack of androgens due to congenital or acquired pathologies. Other factors:
- 5-AR inhibitors Some have a congenital deficiency of this enzyme,
- Andropause (a natural age-related decrease in testosterone levels).
ABOUT elevated level The following signs indicate dihydrotestosterone:
- Earlier baldness. Excess DHT causes dystrophy of the hair follicles, as a result of which the hair changes color, becomes thinner, then falls out. Moreover, whiskey and the back of the head almost do not suffer, hair loss begins with the forehead and the parietal part. The sensitivity of bulb cells to dihydrotestosterone is genetically determined and transmitted through the maternal line (the “baldness gene” - Sox21).
- Excessively oily skin, acne ("Hormonal acne"). Increased dihydrotestosterone provokes the sebaceous gland (more precisely, its cells - sebocytes, on the surface of which there are androgen receptors) to intensive production of sebum. As a result, the pore becomes clogged, thereby creating a favorable environment for the development of bacteria.
- Pallor of the skin.
Men who have increased dihydrotestosterone are often different unreasonable aggressiveness, temper, unbalanced character.
Provocative factors of high dihydrotestosterone are:
- Steroid medication
- Morris Syndrome (congenital lack of response to androgens),
- Tumors of the adrenal glands and testicles,
If there are signs indicating an imbalance of dihydrotestosterone, you should contact a urologist, andrologist or general practitioner.
The determination of the level of dihydrotestosterone is carried out by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of venous blood (ELISA). The cost of the study depends on the status of the medical institution and its territorial location. Average the price is 1300 p. The result of the analysis for dihydrotestosterone can be found after 7-9 days.
Indications for the diagnosis are:
- Suspicion of adenoma or the need to control the condition of the prostate gland during the treatment of hyperplasia.
- Alopecia (baldness).
- Signs of a lack or excess of androgens.
Rules for preparing for analysis:
- 8 hours before blood sampling, you can drink only non-carbonated water, the ingestion of food and other drinks is excluded.
- Half an hour before the analysis, you should not emotionally or physically strain and smoke.
- Exclude alcohol and caffeinated drinks per day.
It is important to tell your doctor about taking testosterone or 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. For the purity of the result, course treatment with these agents can be interrupted.
If dihydrotestosterone deviates from the norm, additional examinations are prescribed: ultrasound of the pelvic organs, prostate, testicles.
The tactics of treatment are determined by the results of the diagnosis, the age of the patient and the presence of concomitant pathologies.
How to lower dihydrotestosterone
To lower dihydrotestosterone levels it is necessary to suppress the activity of the enzyme synthesizing it - 5-alpha-reductase. For this, 2 types of drugs are used (DHT blockers): based on finasteride and dutasteride.
Finasteride ("Penester" and "Proscar" - tablets containing 5 mg of active ingredient, "Propecia" - 1 mg) is a selective inhibitor of the enzyme (blocks type 5 alpha-reductase), is most effective for prostatic hyperplasia and alopecia. When finasteride is used, serum DHT drops by about 70%. Therapeutic results of lowering the level of dihydrotestosterone are manifested after 3 months of course administration - a marked decrease in the volume of the prostate is fixed, the greasiness of the scalp and face is normalized.
Reduces the level of dihydrotestosterone in the blood and tissues of the prostate gland. It inhibits the stimulating effect of DHT on the development of prostate adenoma. The price in pharmacies is about 500 rubles
Из негативных последствий приема финастерида отмечается снижение веса придатков яичек, ухудшение морфологии и подвижности сперматозоидов, появление депрессий, хронической тревожности. If the course is canceled, the symptoms of hyperplasia return after 6-8 months. In the first year of treatment, men may develop impotence, a marked decrease in libido ("postfinasteride syndrome"). After 2-4 years of treatment, this side effect usually wanes, but not always.
Dutasteride (Avodart, Urofil, Alfinal) is an inhibitor of the 2nd generation; it immediately blocks 1 and 2 types of 5-alpha reductase isoenzymes. Dihydrotestosterone levels are reduced to a minimum after 1-2 weeks of administration. This substance more effective than finasteride − serum dihydrotestosterone level is reduced by 95%. Dutasteride-based drugs are often used in bodybuilding to level the androgenic side effects of certain steroids (alopecia, increased fat content of the scalp and face, acne). But at the same time, a negative effect is also noted in the form of a decrease in general endurance and muscle mass, a deterioration in potency. Some men are forced to take Viagra due to severe erectile dysfunction. It is also possible the development of gynecomastia due to the suppression of antiestrogenic protection of dihydrotestosterone. Common side effects from taking both types of blockers are also swelling, itching, hives, rashes.
In addition to 5-alpha reductase inhibitors to reduce dihydrotestosterone in some cases, antiandrogenic substances are used: flutamide, spironolactone.
As local therapy for the treatment of baldness use "Minoxedil", available in the form of a spray or solution. In extreme cases, hair follicles are transplanted from androgen-independent zones.
To reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone in young men, doctors try not to use hormonal drugs, so as not to provoke androgen deficiency. Folk remedies and dietary supplements can help reduce the level of active hormone:
- Stinging nettle
- Dwarf palm fruit extract: Prostaplant, Permikson, Prostakur,
- Vitamin B and zinc also contribute to a decrease in the activity of 5-alpha reductase. To enrich the body with these elements in the diet should include fish, beef liver, legumes, soybeans, pumpkin seeds.
With the ineffectiveness or inappropriateness of conservative therapy, the prostate gland or adrenal neoplasms are removed.
Increase dihydrotestosterone levels with reduced testosterone can be stimulated by hormone production or by the administration of exogenous steroids. In the first case, chorionic gonadotropin, thioctic acid, antiestrogen drugs based on clomiphene citrate or tamoxifen are used.
If continuous replacement therapy is needed, exogenous testosterone is prescribed., which can be in the form of injections, tablets, gels, hormonal ointments or transdermal patches. The drug of the last generation is Nebido. To maintain a normal level of testosterone (respectively, and dihydrotestosterone), 1 injection every 3-4 months is enough. Main advantages: there is no negative effect on the liver, kidneys and prostate gland, there are no hormonal jumps.
Daily use of testosterone patches and gels (Androgel) also provides an increase in the level of androgens, but these forms are not very convenient due to the need to prepare the skin, the likelihood of irritation, and the inadmissibility of contact with the skin of other people (when using ointments and gels).
If a normal testosteronethen dihydrotestosterone preparations are used (Andraktim gel, tablets).
Dihydrotestosterone is the driving force of the male body. Keeping track of its level is as important as testosterone. Steroid preparations, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors should not be used without a doctor’s prescription, since their independent uncontrolled use can lead not only to hormonal abnormalities, but also cause serious illnesses.
DHT functions in women and men
The main functions of DHT in the male body are associated with the formation and development of the reproductive system and sexual characteristics. Dihydrotestosterone in men has the following effect:
- stimulates spermatogenesis,
- inhibits the secretion of luteinizing hormone in the anterior pituitary gland,
- affects the functional maturation of gonadotropic cells in the adenohypophysis,
- stimulates the development of the prostate gland and external genital organs in the prenatal period, promotes their growth in the puberty,
- forms secondary sexual characteristics,
- regulates the structure and development of the skeletal system, muscle growth,
- has a stimulating effect on the nervous system,
- regulates libido
- responsible for the production of sebum,
- affects hair follicles, is responsible for sexual hair growth.
DHT is also produced in the female body. The main source of dihydrotestosterone production in women is the adrenal cortex, ovarian cells, and conversion from steroid hormone precursors in the liver, muscles, skin, and adipose tissue.
The functions of DHT in the female body:
- affects carbohydrate, protein, water-fat metabolism,
- determines the development of the skeleton and skeletal muscles,
- regulates sweating,
- activates the sebaceous glands,
- forms a libido.
The most significant increase in the level of dihydrotestosterone is observed in the teenage period, the peak of its production falls on 25 years. With age, hormone secretion gradually decreases.
In the case of functional disorders, it is possible to normalize the hormonal balance without medical intervention using lifestyle correction.
- up to 10 years: 5–25 pg / ml in girls and 5–50 pg / ml in boys,
- from 10 to 12 years: 24-450 pg / ml in girls, 5-50 pg / ml in boys,
- from 13 to 18 years old: 24-450 pg / ml in girls and 250-700 pg / ml in boys,
- from 18 to 50 years old: 24–450 pg / ml in women and 250–990 pg / ml in men,
- from 50 years old: 10–181 pg / ml in women, 250–700 pg / ml in men.
Deviations in the secretion of DHT can lead to serious violations of the activity of various body systems.
Most often, a lower level of the hormone is observed in men after 30-40 years.
Causes of a decrease in DHT levels in men
- 5 alpha reductase deficiency
- androgen deficiency
- hypogonadism (genital insufficiency).
- chronic prostatitis
- Morris syndrome (testicular feminization syndrome).
Symptoms of a decrease in DHT levels in men:
- female fat deposits (thighs, buttocks),
- delayed sexual development in adolescents, disproportionate growth of limbs,
- development of a figure according to female proportions,
- reduced size of the penis, its abnormal structure,
- slow growth of hair on the face, in the groin, armpits,
- depression, emotional lability,
- fast fatiguability,
- lack of muscle mass
- impotence, decreased sex drive,
- reproductive disorders, changes in the spermogram.
Pathologies of the pituitary gland, ovaries, adrenal glands, and diseases accompanied by adipose tissue deficiency can lead to the development of androgen deficiency in women. DHT deficiency in women is characterized by a decrease in muscle mass, mood lability, a tendency to depression, a decrease in libido, and a decrease in skin tone and thickness.
When dihydrotestosterone is elevated
Elevated levels of dihydrotestosterone in men may indicate the following disorders:
- adrenal gland tumor
- genital tumors,
- benign and malignant tumors of the prostate gland,
- hypergonadism (excessive hormonal activity of the gonads),
- cardiovascular diseases.
Excess DHT can also be caused by taking medicines containing androgens.
The main functions of DHT in the male body are associated with the formation and development of the reproductive system and sexual characteristics.
Symptoms of increased DHT in men:
Possible causes of increased hormone levels in women:
- adrenal tumors,
- androgen-producing tumors in the adrenal glands or ovaries,
- malnutrition, obesity,
- pathology of the hypothalamus,
- taking hormonal drugs.
A physiological increase or decrease in DHT is observed during puberty, in pre- and postmenopausal women, during pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
If DHT is elevated, this can give rise to many pathologies. Excessively high levels of DHT in women is characterized by the following symptoms:
- diffuse head thinning,
- excessive sweating
- voice coarsening
- acne, seborrhea,
- male type skeleton development,
- hypertrophy of the clitoris and labia,
- menstrual failure, anovulation,
How to normalize the level of DHT
The main method of treating DHT secretion disorders is drug therapy. Specific drugs and the duration of the course of treatment are determined by the doctor.
The decrease in the level of dihydrotestosterone in clinical practice is carried out using steroidal and non-steroidal androgens. These drugs inhibit DHT synthesis or prevent its binding to target cell receptors. In case of premature sexual maturation in male children, agents are used that can reduce the secretion of the hormones of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. If dihydrotestosterone is elevated in women, drugs containing metformin and spironolactone are prescribed. With increased activity of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors of this enzyme are used.
If the deviation of the hormone level from the norm is associated with a tumor of the adrenal glands or testicles, surgical or radiation treatment of the neoplasm is necessary.
If the hormone level is lowered, hormone replacement therapy is prescribed.
In case of functional disorders, it is possible to normalize the hormonal balance without medical intervention using lifestyle correction: playing sports, correcting body weight, normalizing work and rest, and giving up bad habits. A balanced diet can increase the level of androgens to some extent - the diet should be enriched with vitamins, minerals and protein. It is important to avoid psycho-emotional stress, as the cortisol released during stress inhibits the synthesis of male sex hormones.