DHT and Hair loss

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We have heard and read a lot about DHT and its negative role when it comes to hair loss in both men and women. Here, we will try to explain what is DHT, how it causes hair loss, how one gets it, does its mere presence causes hair loss, how to diagnose and in the end what measures can be taken to remedy and possible reverse its effects on hair.

What is DHT

It is a sex steroid present in needed quantities in both men and women. Primarily present as a product of testosterone via 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.  Its production occurs in testes, hair follicles and in adrenal gland. It has more potent attraction and binding to androgen receptor then testosterone.

Normal levels are necessary?

DHT stimulates male genitalia during embryogenesis, i.e. Baby boy penis. In adults acts as primary androgen at hair follicles and prostrate. Deficiency cause multitude of problems both during fetal development and in adult life span including lack of pubic and body hair.  This is mostly caused by enzyme deficiency because DHT is not produced but rather as explained is result of testosterone conversion.

Does only natural increase DHT occur?

Synthetic or artificially made DHT derivatives are used as anabolic steroids (by bodybuilders).

How it Causes Hair Loss

High levels of DHT in blood cause hair loss? NO. The reason behind male pattern baldness is local, hair follicle level conversion of DHT resulting in miniaturization of hair follicles. This also explains reduction in hair loss when shampoo or topical applications containing anti-DHT ingredients are used in male pattern baldness related hair loss.  Also of note is that in female hair loss such effect is not solely responsible for hair loss but is definitely a major contributing factor.

Does our body need DHT?

Yes. Normal levels helps counter effects of estrogen, which if unchecked can result is breast development or gynacomestia in men.  DHT have positive effect on Lipido, nervous system and increased resistance toward stress and physical stress.  It also play role in sleep and dream experience, especially the wet dreams. A surprising part is its usefulness as necessary for body hair growth and beard growth.

What can cause an increase in DHT levels?

Both increased testosterone, the pro hormone for DHT and increased levels of enzyme responsible for conversion from testosterone to DHT can be the cause.  Use of anabolic steroids, disease such as BPH (benign prostrate hypertrophy) , genetic,

What are DHT conversion inhibitors

The primary goal in treatment medically is to reduce levels of DHT, this is done via blocking the enzyme responsible for its conversion. 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors as an *off label use. DHTconversion inhibitors commonly prescribed by medical professionals in MPB are finiastride (approved) and Dutasteride (off Label Use).

*Off label use describe usage of a pharmaceutical agent for an unapproved indication.  

Signs of high DHT

High levels can cause aggression, strong sexual desire, strong response to rejection or negative criticism, male pattern baldness,

Wrong Myths about DHT

DHT does not cause impotence because it plays no role in negative feedback for sex hormones production, that role is of testosterone.

MPB is passed genetically from mother to child and not from the father. So better look at your mother’s father pictures then your father.

How to find if one has high levels

Reference: http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/81479

The DHT blood test is also known as Dihydrotestosterone, Androstaner-3-one and Hydroxy-5α. Fasting is not required for this test

Measures to counter its negative effects on hair growth

Diagnosed primary by appearance, male pattern baldness also known as androgenic alopecia contributes to the majority of hair loss in men.  The hair follicles become over sensitive to DHT and result in shortening and decreased life span.  Characterized by receding hair line and thinning of crown, resulting in only rim mimicking horseshoe.

male-pattern-baldness-3 Male Pattern Baldness

Keep in mind that MPB is not a disease and as mentioned sole increase in DHT blood levels does not cause hair loss but rather sensitivity to DHT at follicle level, which can be due to many factors including genetic.

Treatments:

  1. Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
  2. Minoxidil (Rogaine, Precision Spray)
  3. Dutasteride
  4. Head piece
  5. Hair Transplant

Topical Hair Products that can be of help in MPB

Shampoos:

  1. Regenepure DR with Ketoconazole
  2. Regenepure NT with Saw Palmetto
  3. Minoxidil Topical treatments with 5% minoxidil (Rogaine, Minoxidil Spray)
  4. Hair gels
  5. Hair Creams

What will not help?

  • Laser treatment
  • Hair thickening solutions
  • Snake oil
  • Blaming your father

Conclusion:

DHT plays a major and pivotal role in male pattern baldness and proper treatment both medical and topical can help slow its progression and in many case revert to natural hair growth.  In my opinion the main thing is proper diagnosis, early intervention and then utilization of available means to start the treatment with the least chances of side effects. Topical treatment, since not systemic, can be the initial starting course.

At the end, always seek expert medical advice before initiating any treatment of topical remedy. 

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About Jack

I am a medical professional with over 10 years of medical experience in the clinical chemistry and medicine. I have extensive knowledge about hair loss, its causes, and treatment options both medical and non-medical. My aim is to share my knowledge with those who are suffering from hair loss and present to them the information, which can help them tackle hair loss and overcome in most cases.

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