DHT, the apex male hormone.
Testosterone is only thought to be a precursor hormone in the body for the synthesis of DHT, which is the most potent alpha hormone. It’s like cholesterol that’s the precursor to pregnenolone and testosterone.
Many of the beneficial effects of testosterone are actually through DHT, and blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT eliminates those benefits.
How DHT is created in the body
DHT can be created through 2 pathways.
#1 Testosterone is converted to DHT via the 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) enzyme in the body. Thus boosting 5AR can increase the production of DHT.
#2 DHT is produced via the backdoor pathway from other male sex hormones, such as DHEA, androstenedione, and androsterone. DHEA is converted to androsterone via 5AR, which is then converted to androstanedione and then DHT.
A few really cool facts about DHT and why it’s superior to testosterone
DHT is 2.5-10 times more potent than testosterone and here’s why:
- DHT has 4 times higher affinity to AR (androgen receptors) than testosterone
- The binding of DHT to the AR transforms the AR to its DNA-binding state
- DHT upregulates AR synthesis and reduces AR turnover
- The dissociation rate of testosterone from receptors is 3-5 fold faster than DHT (meaning DHT exerts a much more powerful effect on AR than testosterone)
However, high concentrations of intracellular T can shift AR binding away from DHT by mass action, as only 10% of T converts to DHT via 5-AR and DHT is roughly 7- to 10-fold lower in the circulation than T (R). So DHT is clearly outnumbered.
In the blood, DHT is also bound to SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) (5 times high affinity and longer binding half-life (43 sec) than T (12 sec)) and more weakly to albumin. In general, protein-bound DHT is inactive except in some reproductive tissues in which megalin, an endocytic receptor, acts as a pathway for cellular uptake of DHT when bound to SHBG.
And finally, DHT can’t be aromatized to estrogen and actually inhibits the aromatase enzyme (R) and blocks the estrogen receptors (R).
Ok, enough geeking out.
Let’s discuss why you even want high DHT in the first place.
As I mentioned, the benefits of high testosterone are mostly due to the conversion of DHT.
Having high DHT will make you feel:
- Calm and collected
- Confident & non-intimidated by others
- Fearless, but not reckless
- Protective of those you love
- Stress resilient
- Mentally quick and sharp
…and a host of other benefits as well.
DHT also plays an important role with:
- Sexual differentiation, including facial hair (beard growth), deep voice, pubic hair and other male characteristics
- Muscle mass, muscle strength and density
- Sex drive
- Sexual health
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels)
- Blood sugar levels (R)
- Cognitive function (R)
Low levels of DHT have many negative effects including:
- Long refractory period
- Erectile problems
- Ejaculation problems
- Mood disorders (anxiety and depression)
- Watery semen
If in doubt, check out my PFS article (a condition induced by finasteride (a 5AR blocker).
So yeah, it’s a good idea not to lower DHT, but rather optimize it naturally. You can with prescription medications, such as Andactrim, but that’s not proper treatment IMO and I’d rather not go that route. The good news is that you can do it naturally and everything I’m going to list will have a significant effect on DHT concentrations.
Some people think that testosterone and high DHT levels have side effects. Such as that it causes (or plays a major role in) prostate enlargement and cancer or contributes to male pattern baldness because it potentially causes the miniaturization of hair follicles.
I’m here to tell you that’s not true and on the contrary, high levels of DHT can be protective. Here are 3 articles you can read after finishing this article (links will open in a new tab).
- The truth about DHT: what the research shows
- Why DHT doesn’t cause hair loss
- Testosterone (and DHT) doesn’t cause prostate cancer
DHT is truly an important hormone we want to maximize alongside testosterone, dopamine and thyroid. Keep in mind that the body is complicated and that all hormones need to work together for all the benefits.
How to get high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) naturally
I’m going to start off with the most important things that you have to do on a consistent basis and then move on to things that you can do sporadically and inconsistently, but that will have additional benefits.
#1 Optimize testosterone production
Testosterone is one of the most important precursors to DHT production and the more you have the more can be converted to DHT.
Low testosterone can lead to lower levels of DHT. Some of the best herbs to increase testosterone include Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis, Fenugreek, Shilajit, etc.
I have already written a lot about this so you can just get my free ebook on boosting testosterone or read my article on boosting testosterone here.
10 most important fundamentals for high testosterone
#2 Optimize thyroid hormone production
Thyroid hormones are essential for not only testosterone production, but also conversion to DHT. In the hyperthyroid state, testosterone and DHT production is dramatically increased while their clearance rate is decreased. Hyperthyroidism affects DHT the most, as plasma levels are increased by 8-10 times over the average values found in euthyroid men (R).
Here are a few tips of optimize thyroid hormone production:
- Avoid goitrogenic foods (they inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid), such as cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, coy sum, collard greens, horseradish, kai-lan, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, rapeseed, rapini, rutabagas, and turnips.
- Avoid halogens, such as fluoride (found in drinking water, toothpaste and other chemical production), chlorine (found in swimming polls) and bromide (found in baked goodies)
- Avoid excess stress. Cortisol lowers thyroid hormone production as well as the conversion of T4 to T3. Cortisol also makes the body resistant to thyroid hormones.
- Don’t overtrain. Overreaching with proper deloading is still perfectly fine.
- Eat enough calories. A caloric deficit lowers thyroid hormones
- Eat enough protein.
- Eat lots of nutritious foods. A deficiency in vitamins and minerals (specifically zinc and selenium) can lower thyroid hormone production.
If you want an immediate solution for a slow thyroid, take a thyroid supplement in the meanwhile while you’re working on optimizing the rest. Here are a few options:
- TyroMax – a very high-quality glandular product
- TyroMix – 3mcg T3 & 6mcg T4 per drop, 360 drops. Take 2 drops per meal to gauge the effect.
Or sometimes you just need selenium, which is very important for converting T4 into T3.
#3 Eat carbs
Carbs, and especially insulin release, increase DHT production (R, R). But it’s not only the insulin that’s important, people on a low-carbohydrate diet have less DHT than people on a high-carb diet (R).
But don’t just start slamming down maltodextrin shakes, rather consume wholesome foods like milk, fruits and starches such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.
It would be good to first check your fasting glucose levels and then avoid carbs that make you go on a blood sugar roller coaster. Keep in mind that not all carbs are the same and if baked goodies give you low blood sugar symptoms, a banana or apple might not.
So experiment with different carb sources and even get a blood sugar meter so you can check your levels in the morning, during the day and a few hours after eating a certain carb source to see how it’s affecting you.
#4 Eat good fats
A good amount of fat in the diet is very beneficial for testosterone production. However, some fats inhibit the 5-AR enzyme and can lower DHT levels.
It’s the type of fat that’s important. Saturated fats increase testosterone production, whereas polyunsaturated fats lower it. Monounsaturated fat is mainly neutral toward testosterone levels.
Saturated fats are mainly found in beef, bison, goat, sheep and game fat, dairy fat, coconut oil, cocoa butter and MCT oil.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are found in high amounts of most nut-, seed-, and vegetable oils, with the exception of olive oil and macadamia nut oil.
So if you want to maximize testosterone production, eat a healthy amount of saturated fat sources and try to keep the polyunsaturated fat as low as possible.
Additionally, PUFAs potently inhibit 5-AR.
The more double bonds the PUFA has, the more potent it inhibits 5-AR.
- Linoleic acid (an omega 6), found in vegetables, seeds and nuts, has 2 double bonds.
- Alpha-linolenic acid, the “pre-cursor” to omega 3 found in flax seeds for example, has 3 double bonds.
- Arachidonic acid (an omega 6) found in eggs has 4 double bonds.
- EPA and DHA (omega 3s) found in fish oil have 5 and 6 double bonds respectively.
Which ones will have the most inhibitory effect?
That’s right, the fish oil, followed by arachidonic acid, linolenic acid and finally linoleic acid.
For conformation, this in vivo human study found the following: (from strongest inhibitor to weakest):
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) (found in evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, borage seed oil, and hemp seed)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (found in fatty fish and fish oils)
- Arachidonic acid (found mostly in eggs and poultry fat)
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil, perilla seed oil, Tofu, walnuts and walnut oil.)
- Linoleic acid (found in all vegetable, nut and seed oils)
- Palmitoleic acid (An omega 7, found in macadamia nut oil and sea buckthorn oil) ->
- Oleic acid (found in olive oil, avocados, and most other foods) ->
- Myristoleic acid
As you can see, this whole list is from PUFAs and some MUFAs here at the end. No saturated fat has the same potent inhibitory effect, except lauric acid (found in coconut oil), but which is actually less than a third as inhibitory as oleic acid.
So if you want to maximize DHT, avoid the PUFAs, simple as that.
#5 Keep inflammation low
Chronic inflammation is one of the most destructive things to health, androgens and longevity. Elevated inflammatory markers, such as IL-6 and CRP, have significant inhibitory effects on the synthesis of DHT by inhibiting 5-AR (R). Oxidative stress also has similar inhibitor actions (R, R).
Promoters of inflammation include polyunsaturated fat, high phosphate intake, excess iron and heavy metals, etc. I have elaborated more on this in my ebook (link provided above).
Anti-biotics, vitamin E, aspirin and a few other herbs are very effective at lowering inflammation and can increase DHT.
Sleeping is very important for your testosterone production (R). Under 7 hours of sleep, a night can negatively influence your testosterone levels as well as general health, energy levels and brain function. Testosterone is highest in the morning and lowest in the evening, but only after a good night’s rest.
Testosterone and DHT are mostly increased during the REM phase of sleep.
With too little sleep, or bad quality sleep, adequate amounts of DHT are unable to be replenished.
Here are a few tips to improve sleep:
- Sleep in a completely dark, quiet and cool room.
- Use blue light filters or blue light blocker glasses after sundown.
- Take time to relax for at least one hour before bed (e.g. drink a cup of tea and look at the stars or listen to relaxing music).
- Write everything down that’s on your mind (e.g. things you have to get done the next day) so that your mind can be cleared and relaxed so that it can “shut down”. Having a lot on your mind before you go to bed keeps your brain on “standby mode” and will have your mind repeating everything you have to do so that you don’t forget it.
- Be active during the day.
- Get sunlight on your eyes in the morning when you wake up.
- Supplements like magnesium, glycine, Ashwagandha, Valerian, theanine and Magnolia have been found to improve sleep quality when taken before bed.
#7 Lower estrogen
Estrogen is the most potent negative regulator of testosterone production and also has an inhibitory action on 5-AR (R). Keeping estradiol between 20-25pg/ml is a good goal.
Although people might still have high DHT in the presence of high estrogen, and this is because other potent inducers of DHT might also be elevated, such as hyperinsulinemia in diabetes.
Read more here to:
- lower the aromatase or alternatively, get my list of the top 6 aromatase inhibitors here.
- de-activate estrogen receptors
- increase estrogen detoxification
#8 Lower prolactin
Prolactin inhibits 5-AR in normal men (R). Luckily, it can quickly be reversed as 5-AR is reactivated within 48-72 hrs after normalization of prolactin levels. You can read more here on lowering prolactin here…
#9 Stay lean
Fat tissue contains enzymes that break down DHT into lesser potent steroids, which are actually able to activate the estrogen receptors and promote excess body hair growth. The more fat you have, the more androgenic hormones get broken down…
#10 Avoid 5-AR inhibitors
Natural DHT blockers include
- Soy products (containing genistein, daidzein)
- Green tea (green tea rich in epigallocatechin gallate has been shown to lower DHT in rats, but it did not in mice. Evidence in adult men is lacking)
- Pumpkin seed oil supplement
- Sulforaphane (R)
- Flavonoids in large doses (biochanin A, quercetin, myricetin, fisetin and kaempferol) (R, R, R, R)
- Black pepper (R).
- Rosemary (R)
- Panax ginseng (R)
- Beta-sitosterol. (R) (found in avocadoes, nuts, black cumin oil/black seed oil, pygeum, and stinging nettle)
- Azelaic acid (found in wheat, rye, and barley) (R)
- Reishi mushroom, (R) including other mushrooms, with white button mushroom being the least inhibitory.
- Saw palmetto (R)
- Pesticides. (R)
- DIM (is able to displace DHT from its receptor and is a estrogen receptor agonist) (R)
- Lignan. Lignans are compounds found in plant food sources. Lignans strongly inhibit 5-alpha reductase, and also lowers testosterone (R). Foods that are high in lignans include seeds (especially flax seed) and whole grains (breads, pastas, cereals etc.)
It’s a common belief that fenugreek lowers DHT, but that’s not the case. I’ve made a video for you discussing the science that it doesn’t increase prolactin or lower DHT.
#11 Exercise & being active
Exercise is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our health and androgens.
Exercise, when done right, stimulates the production of androgens in the muscles themselves as well as increases testicular testosterone production and conversion to DHT.
In this study, resistance training, including explosive exercises, significantly increased 5-alpha reductase. After 12 weeks of following the training program, the men experienced a 58% increase in DHT (R).
Not only weight training can increase DHT, but almost all kinds of physical activity (except the exhausting overtraining type), such as walking, jogging, springing, HIIT, swimming, hiking and so on (R, R, R, R).
So now that we discussed the low-hanging fruit of boosting DHT, let’s check out a few proven supplements.
Creatine supplementation in male rugby players is shown to cause a significant increase in DHT by 56% (after 7 days of creatine loading in rugby players), while testosterone levels were not affected (R).
Some people say that the boost in DHT is due to creatine increasing exercise volume and intensity and that this boost increases DHT, and not specifically the creatine itself, but regardless, creatine aids in boosting DHT.
Once you have done the loading phase for 7 days at a dose of 20g, you can reduce the dose to 5g and then stick to that dose indefinitely. There is no need to cycle creatine. And apart from its exercise performance, muscle building and androgen-boosting benefits, it’s also great for general energy levels and brain function.
Once creatine levels are saturated in the body it really doesn’t matter when you take it, but I still take mine post-workout, as there is a study that shows superior gains that way.
To get the best effect of creatine supplementation, combine it with exercise.
Since there is just 1 study on the effects of creatine and DHT, further research is definitely needed.
Boron is a non-essential mineral that increases testosterone and DHT. Some studies show that boron increase estrogen and others show that it decreases estrogen. So if you do get estrogenic symptoms from boron, it would be best not to take it (R).
For its DHT boosting benefits you have to take 10-12mg daily as 2.5mg daily had no effect on androgen levels (R).
I just take plain ol’ Borax for my boron, but here are a few good supplements you can use:
#3 Butea Superba
This herb can very potently increase DHT, but the effects go away about a week after you stop (as with most supplements) (R). It’s definitely a nice herb to use to experience the effect of high DHT and all the benefits that come with that.
- Butea Superba – (Amazon)
Regular coffee consumption boosts testosterone and DHT levels and caffeine supplementation at doses of 2-4mg/kg/day is able to boost DHT by 57% (R). The dose would be 160mg-320mg per day for an 80kg man, which is easily obtainable with 3 cups of coffee a day or 1-2 double espressos.
- Caffeine – (Amazon, Myhealthonline (South African orders))
Zinc intake is significantly correlated with total and free testosterone and DHT (R, R, R). An in vitro study shows that zinc inhibits DHT production, but this in vivo study (in actual humans) shows that zinc boosts DHT levels.
Zinc supplementation (120mg twice daily) in this clinical trial significantly increased DHT (19%), and also slightly increased testosterone in eugonadal men (490 to 750ng/dl), showing upregulation of the 5 alpha reductase enzyme even at very high dose zinc (R). You can read more on zinc here…
I’d definitely not recommend taking such high doses, but would rather recommend getting zinc from food such as organ meat, red meat and oysters, but if your zinc intake is still low, use only 30mg daily.
#6 Tribulus Terrestris
Men who took 250mg Tribulus Terrestris (TT) daily had a significant decrease in the percentage of body fat and an increase in lean mass as well as an increase in DHT levels (R). TT also increased total testosterone and DHEA-S, which is the storage form of DHEA (R). You can read more on Tribulus Terrestris here…
You want to make sure you get the good stuff. One of the active ingredients, namely protodioscin, is responsible for a lot of the benefits of Tribulus.
#7 Alfalfa sprouts
Consuming 50g of alfalfa sprouts for 4 week increased DHT hormone levels by roughly 140pg/ml on average or by 24% in middle-aged men (R). Although, alfalfa is also estrogenic, so I would not use or recommend it to boost DHT.
Ok, now that we discussed all the methods and supplements that’s been shown to actually increase DHT in humans, let’s enter some deeper darker more uncharted waters of supplements that can potentially boost DHT. These supplements are either proven to boost the 5-AR enzyme, but have not been directly tested to see if they increase DHT or not, or are indirectly involved in the synthesis of DHT.
#1 Boost IGF-1
IGF-1 stimulates the activity of the 5-AR enzyme (R) and some studies actually show that testosterone to DHT conversion in the skin (beard area) is IGF-1 dependent. Time to boost that IGF-1!
IGF-1 is an anabolic growth factor synthesized by the liver and boosts muscle growth and reduces body fat.
Milk consumption is able to dramatically increase insulin and IGF-1 serum levels, even comparable to high GI foods (R). Magnesium, zinc, protein, vitamin D, protein, DHEA, proper sleep and selenium also increase IGF-1 just to name a few.
One of the best ways to boost IGF-1 is with a product called Biopro-plus.
#2 Vitamin B1, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) is a co-factor used in anabolic reactions as well as for the 5-AR enzyme. Potentially, the more NADPH there is, the faster 5-AR can lead to a DHT increase (R).
Vitamin B1 and B6 work through the pentose phosphate pathway to increase the production of NADPH. More NADPH –> more DHT formation. You can read more on vitamin B1 here…
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and its derivatives are responsible for the synthesis of NADPH precursors (R). You can read more on niacinamide here…
So theoretically, vitamin B1 and B3 can increase DHT by increasing NADPH levels, the cofactor for 5-AR.
#3 Raw milk
Raw milk contains a host of different hormones, including 5-alpha-reduced steroids, so drinking milk can lead to higher levels of DHT (R).
But it won’t blow your DHT through the roof, however, as milk consumption only increases DHT slightly over time (R).
Morphine increases 5-alpha reductase mRNA, however, it also increases aromatase mRNA in the brain and gonads (R, R). Even if you get a boost in DHT, you’d most likely also get a boost in estrogen. Plus, morphine is an opioid agonist and opioids lower testosterone production. This is not something I’d use to boost DHT.
But if you’re still game for it you can try poppy seeds as it contains natural morphine and codeine. 100g poppy seeds equal 0.5mg-20mg of morphine (R).
Glycine, a very important non-essential amino acid, is shown to increase 5-AR in the brain leading to increased conversion from progesterone to allopregnanolone. You can read more on glycine here.
So glycine is more likely to boost brain alpha-reduced steroids through 5-alpha reductase type 1, instead of DHT through 5-AR type 2. People with anxiety or PFS might benefit a lot from taking a few teaspoons of glycine per day.
#6 Vitamin B6
Pyridoxine hydrochloride (the plain normal mostly available form of B6) significantly increases the activity of 5-AR, whereas pyridoxal hydrochloride had an inhibitory influence on 5-AR (R).
Pyridoxal phosphate, the active form of vitamin B6, showed modification of the enzyme, but the study did not specify if it was stimulatory or inhibitory. But from anecdotal experiences, people don’t experience low DHT symptoms from the active form of vitamin B6.
I recommend getting your vitamin B6 from food, but if you do want to take some, a good quality B-vitamin should have enough vitamin B6.
The prohormones that boost DHT most effectively are DHEA and androsterone.
Under ideal conditions (without inflammation or elevated cortisol), DHEA favors the DHT route instead of the estrogen one. Applying DHEA topically on the skin and especially the scrotum skin can boost DHT significantly as the skin expresses a lot of 5-AR.
Testosterone replacement therapy, especially scrotal testosterone cream, is known to significantly increase DHT, much more than injection or oral.
Androsterone is already 5-alpha-reduced and doesn’t require the 5-AR enzyme. It just needs to convert to DHT in the body.
If you want to play around with prohormones I recommend taking small doses of each, no more than 15mg of DHEA daily and 1-5mg of androsterone.
- Liquid DHEA – start with 25mg daily
- Androsterone – (Idealabs)
#8 Vitamin A
In this in-vitro study, all-trans-retinoic acid (the active form of vitamin A) increased 5-AR. Human dosage would be 500-700mg of all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), which would be a huge dose. Smaller doses of vitamin A should also have a stimulatory effect. Vitamin B2 is a cofactor in converting retinol to retinoic acid and should help with boosting 5-AR (R).
Foods high in retinol (animal form of vitamin A) are beef-, chicken- and lamb liver, eggs, full fat milk and cod liver oil.
Plant sources of vitamin A (beta-carotene) include green leafy veggies, pumpkin, butternut, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, etc.
#9 Have a drink now and then
Enjoying an alcoholic beverage every now and then increases 5-AR type 1 in the brain, which leads to higher allopregnanolone in the brain (R). However, chronic use of alcohol reduces the function of the 5-AR enzyme and can lead to low 5 alpha reduced steroids (R).
Sorghum seed extract is able to increase DHT by 54% (R). Sorghum contains goitrogenic substances though and has been reported to cause hair loss in some people, although others report only good effects.
Simple ways to consume sorghum are to make porridge/pancakes with the flour, use sorghum syrup or make a tincture of the flour or more specifically, the seeds.
Magnesium is essential for energy and steroid production and increases the enzyme 17β-HSD, which increases the conversion of 5α-Androstanedione / 3α-Androstanediol / 3β-Androstanediol to DHT. You can read more on magnesium here…
Most people are deficient in magnesium and can benefit from eating more magnesium-rich foods, such as cocoa, green leafy veggies, potatoes, etc, or consuming a good supplement.
#12 Vitamin D
Vitamin D is actually a seco-steroid and acts more like a steroid than a vitamin. Vitamin D further enhances the actions of androgens (e.g. DHT) by inhibiting its deactivation from androgen receptors by inhibiting the glucuronidation (a mechanism that inactivates and eliminates substances) of DHT, resulting in an accumulation of DHT to exert a more powerful effect (R). You can read more on vitamin D here…
Get your levels tested. If you’re deficient, take 5000IU daily until your levels are around 50ng/mL.
Nicotine boosts DHT by inhibiting the enzyme, 3α-HSD, which is the enzyme that breaks DHT down into 3α-androstanediol. The study was done in vitro on dog prostate though, but it might have truth in humans as well (R). Gums or patches are advised and not smoking.
#14 Boost histamine
Histamine significantly increases DHT synthesis (R). You can boost histamine with its precursor amino acid, histidine. Take about 500mg-4g. Combine that with beta-alanine (5g) and folic acid (800mcg) for synergistic results.
If you want a more subtle approach, use an H3 receptor antagonist, such as Pitolisant and/or Kutaj Bark (Hollarhena antidysenteric, which contains conessine).
- Histidine – take 2 caps in the morning or before your workout.
- Kutaja Bark
#15 Increase oxytocin
Oxytocin is able to increase 5-alpha reductase (R). Vitamin C is able to increase oxytocin levels (R). Oxytocin is also increased by pistachio nuts, exercise, laughter, meditation, relaxation, massage, slow music, etc…
Among phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, only phosphatidylserine is able to stimulate the 5 alpha-reductase (R). Phosphatidylserine is also able to lower cortisol at doses of 300-600mg and enhance mental function, so maybe that is a good dose to start for boosting 5-AR.
#17 NMDA activation
NMDA agonists increase 5α-reductase mRNA and DHT levels (91). Exercise, glycine, glutamate, pregnenolone and DHEA are NMDA agonists.
#18 Boost nerve growth factor
Nerve growth factor (NGF), which promotes nerve regeneration and growth, induces the elevation of 5α-reductase mRNA in the brain (R). Theanine, lithium, butyrate, exercise, nicotine, DHEA, etc., increases NGF.
#19 HDAC inhibitors
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) is a class of enzymes that regulate DNA expression. This in vitro study shows that HDAC inhibitors increase the production of 5 alpha-reduced neurosteroids, such as allopregnanolone and DHT (R).
Natural HDAC inhibitors are short-chain fatty acids such as butyric acid (found in dairy fat) and valeric acid (also found in valerian root), Trichostatin A, niacinamide, biotin, lipoic acid, garlic, vitamin E, CLA, and nicotine.
#20 Lower adrenaline
Adrenaline is usually secreted in a stressful situation and returns to baseline shortly after the stress has passed. However, with chronic stress and chronic adrenal stimulation, adrenaline will be chronically elevated.
Noradrenaline, in the pineal gland, increases both estrogen and lowers DHT, by increasing aromatase and blocking 5-alpha reductase, by 72% and 39% respectively (R). Substances that effectively lower excessive noradrenaline are sugar, salt, taurine, niacinamide, inosine, androsterone, magnesium, GABA promotors and vitamin B6.
Symptoms of elevated adrenaline include rapid heartbeat, cold hands and feet, feeling jittery, anxious and fearful, increased breath rate and heart rate, elevated body temperature and sweating.
#21 Some drugs
Carbamazepine, reserpine, diazepam (Valium – GABA agonist), phenytoin, phenobarbital, disulfiram, methylphenidate (Ritalin) and methamphetamine significantly increase the 5-alpha reductase enzyme in the diencephalon (the posterior part of the forebrain, containing the epithalamus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and ventral thalamus and the third ventricle) (R).
#22 Trichostatin A
Trichostatin A, an antibiotic, and also a SIRT1 inhibitor similar to niacinamide (vitamin B3), is able to boost 5-AR in glial cells in the brain (R). So maybe all SIRT1 inhibitors will have a positive influence on 5-AR in the brain, thus niacinamide will be effective in boosting 5-alpha-reduced steroids in the brain.
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endocannabinoid-like lipid mediator with extensively documented anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects.
It has been shown to stimulate 5AR1 in the brain and increase allopregnanolone (R). Through the backdoor pathway, allopregnanolone converts to DHT.
Apigenin can increase both testosterone and DHT. Apigenin inhibits 3α-HSD, thus preventing the breakdown of DHT into 3a-diol (R).
65 thoughts on “40 best ways to increase DHT (2023 update)”
Well, saturated fats increase insulin resistance, thus lower DHT. Just look at what countries have the highest rates of diabetes. Tokelau, Vanautu, New Caledonia… So it is clear that coconut oil is the culprit.
A low fat diet and especially a low saturated fat diet will lower androgens. Less testosterone means less DHT.
In terms of the saturated fat, there is a lot of interindividual differenses. I know of people that improves their health on 200g of animal and coconut fat while also eating 400g of carbs, and they’re not even active, and then there’s other people that do best on very low fat diets in total.
I don’t think looking at what certain cultures eat and then blaming just one food ingredient is the best approach. There are many other factors involved.
Also, I don’t think people should eat a ton of fat anyway. About 100g daily is more than enough.
“A low fat diet and especially a low saturated fat diet will lower androgens.”
Yes, I was wrong. I thought that good insulin sensitvity is good for DHT but it’s the opposite.
“Elevated levels of 5α-reduced androgens have been shown to be associated with hyperandrogenism and hyperinsulinemia.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20810561
And becuase saturated fat increases insulin resistance, it’s the best thing you can do if your goal is to have the highest level of DHT possible.
However, I’ve recently discovered that my fasting glucose is quite high so I will rather stick to olive oil and macadamia nuts which both have been proven in improve insulin sensitivity.
“In terms of the saturated fat, there is a lot of interindividual differenses. I know of people that improves their health on 200g of animal and coconut fat while also eating 400g of carbs, and they’re not even active, and then there’s other people that do best on very low fat diets in total.”
Maybe. But it depends what they replaced in their diet so in my opinion it’s too complicated to conclude it to such a simple statement.
I don’t think looking at what certain cultures eat and then blaming just one food ingredient is the best approach. There are many other factors involved.
Yes. That’s why we have meta-analysises of all studies done on this topic. The demographic thing is just support for what we know.
I would also like to add that raising IGF1 is not really a good idea if you want to live long. Mice with genetically lowered IGF1 lived 50% longer than normal mice and looked younger.
And that toluene thing is just for the record I suppose.
However, this website is probably the most thorough in the world on this topic and I’m really gratefull for that. 🙂
Someone shouldn’t try to promote insulin resistance to boost DHT. SFAs and MUFAs co-occur in food, and most food that’s high in SFAs are also high in MUFAs. They have a synergistic androgenic effect.
One should try to stay as insulin sensitive as possible, and although saturated fat can boost testosterone and DHT, each person is different and should eat the amount they can tolerate to not become insulin resistant.
Plus, not all saturated fat is the same. Although they fall under the same category, the all have different functions and are treated differently in the body due to their chain lengths.
IGF-1 is critacal for growth, repair and regeneration so it’s good to have some. When someone is not under stress and is eating a nutrition diet, the body will regulate IGF-1 levels accordingly. It’s also not possible to boost IGF-1 to pathological levels with natural supplements. When IGF-1 contributes to problems, it’s because there is a dysregulation of IGF-1, not because of the total amount of IGF-1.
Thanks for the nice words and I’m happy to have you as a reader.
a doctor advised me to take a spoonful of coconut oil every day to get out of Post Finasteride Syndrome
Any reason why he’d recommend that?
Alfalfa sprouts increase DHT as well, sulforaphan decreases.
Sweet, thanks for sharing.
In the study u refer to they used 120mg of zinc sulfate twice daily, not zinc itself. https://allderm.com/media/wysiwyg/fertil_plus/A._Netter.pdf
Zinc sulfate contains 23% of elemental zinc, so the dose used was approximately 55 grams of zinc a day. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-982/zinc
Yes indeed, there is no pure zinc on the market as far as I know. It’s the elemental zinc that counts. Same with magnesium. 1g magnesium glycinate equals 200mg elemental magnesium.
I took finasteride for 3 weeks in February
Immediately I got gyno symptoms so I quit
No real gyno developed just slightly more fat stored in breast
I had no sexual side effects then
However almost a full 3 month later in end of may
My penis completely stopped working
I get shrinkage in flaccid state it retracts in my body when bending or running for example something I had never experienced in my life
I tested everything came back normal
I am 34 very healthy male with good muscles
My penis literally shrunk is that possible and how to bring back the blood flow ?
What tests have you done? Also, what supplements have you already tried so far?
I have tried so many things. Its been like this since May. I tried all the supplements you listed plus many many others. No effect. I tried HCG recently but quit due to gyno symptoms within a week. I might give it another try. Man this is a disaster i walk my penis retracts.
Have you tried large doses magnesium + aspirin + zinc?
It probably fucked up androgen receptors like accutane does. There’s no test to test androgen receptors function.
Hey Hans, wanted to get your opinion/advice on this. I want to improve my beard to get it to grow thicker and maybe fill in some gaps. I know genetics are largely involved in this but I also know that Testosterone/DHT affects beard growth. Does boosting Igf-1 also help with this?
There is a study that shows that 5-AR is IGF-1 depedent. So yes, boosting IGF-1 will definitely help.
A bit late to the party here…
I’ve been researching glycine, and this is the only place I can find that states that glycine primarily effects 5-AR type1 as opposed to 5-AR type 2. Could you point me in the direction of a study backing these claims? Thanks man, great article!
Hey Patrick. Thanks for the positive feedback.
Glycine enhances the conversion of progesterone to allopregnanolone, which is through upregulation of 5-AR1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18367344/
Hi. Does this mean Fish Oil supplementation lowers testosterone/DHT since omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats? Arent they essiential?
Fish oil doesn’t necessarily lower testosterone, but it might be able to increase T because it’s much less inflammatory than omega 6. However, since they’re even more unsaturated that omega 6, they inhibit 5-AR to a greater extent than omega 6. Omega 3 isn’t essential, but if you do want to get some through your diet, eating seafood, such as oysters, shrimp, etc., once or twice a week should give you more than enough omega 3.
Excellent article ! It is very refreshing to read something that contain science instead of a bunch of garbage articles I’ve seen on other websites just saying that eating a bowl of spinach and nuts is what you need for testosterone lol. Also what is your thoughts on eating carbs specifically for DHT and T production and how often should they be consumed for optimal levels of DHT and T ?
Hey man, thanks for the positive feedback. Totally agree man, so much nonsense out there, so I try to make my content as scientifically condensed as possible.
I like carbs and always feel much better with carbs. I do think that everyone can benefit from a high carb diet, but some people just have to focus more on improving their insulin sensitivity.
For optimizing T and DHT, I think 40-60% of your diet from carbs is a good amount. I like to get my glycogen full first thing in the morning with carbs. Then I have lots of carb pre and post workout and then some more carbs before bed. I just have carbs all day long actually.
I’m grateful for you to share that! I am shocked to learn they are not essiential.
I actually want to stop taking fish oil every day and just have seafood once or twice a week but I am concerned about whether or not cooking destroys the omega 3s.
In addition to that. Does the canning process destroy the omega 3s in sardines and canned salmon.
Are they also destroyed in frozen salmon fillets?
I only ask because I keep hearing how fragile polyunsaturated fats like omega 3s are. Destroyed polyunsaturated fats are even worse for our health.
Cooking and canning oxidizes more of the O3 than freezing does, so fresh raw oysters would be the best. But cooked oysters or shimp should also be fine as not all of it is oxidized and most studies show that seafood consumption is beneficial regardless of if it’s cooked or not.
Hey man could u yell how best to boost 5ar especially which drugs to use from the ones u mentioned in #21(for long term usage since deficient in dht not T)
I really won’t mess with drugs to increase DHT. Have you tried androsterone, glycine, 11-keto DHT, Cistanche or Butea Superba?
I used Minoxidil for two months, and I discovered impotence, and it was found that it affects the androgen receptors 5α-reductase type 2 . What do you suggest is the best vitamin and supplement to increase that thing ? I want to return to my nature . Thank you for your efforts.
Butea Superba or Catuaba should get you there quickly.
But in the long term, increasing NADPH with niacinamide, methylene blue and boron can help a lot to increase DHT levels.
Hey Hans, thank you for everything you do! your work has always been very beneficial to me. I want to ask you something, if you had to choose 2-3 of these supplements to maintain good 5AR activity into old age… which one would you choose?
No rush because i’m 18, but i would love to keep high DHT/neurosteroids levels all my life!
Thanks man and it’s my pleasure. I’m glad you benefit from my content. I’d probably go with milk (and other IGF-1 boosters such as meat), niacinamide (for increasing NADPH) and nutrients dense food such as organ meat, oysters and eggs. In terms of supplements, niacinamide, glycine and caffeine are good 5-AR boosters.
Thanks for sharing the research. Just wondering, where can you get food grade methylene blue? Thanks!
IdealabsDC and Healthnatura stocks USP methylene blue if you can order from them. I haven’t looked for other vendors yet.
Amazing article, professional, well laid out. Seems egg, avo,pumpkin seeds are not ideal for DHT, correct? Three of my top favouritess
Great article. Thanks for posting it.
don’t use histamine….
this is dangerous, i prove it on my body….
How did you use histamine?
Hans, do you know how DHT is related to facial hair / unwanted hair like on ears, upper cheeks, etc…?
I hear prolactin can cause such growth and is observed in aging males.
Hair growth in unwanted places is often due to adrenal dominance. Excess estrogen and prolactin most likely also play a role, probably mainly by lowering cellular energy production.
I’d love for you to write about that as I haven’t seen it discussed from a bioenergetic point of view. All the focus seems to be on increasing hair growth! I have so much hair that I can give those in need, but it is unsightly in unwanted places and would like to change that.
You mentioned that you get your Boron from Borax. Can you explain exactly how you use the Borax. Do you mix it in water, add it to food? How much Borax per day do you recommend? Thank you!
I just take a pinch with food.
hi, you say to boost histamine, but doesn’t that increase in histamin cause an increase estrogen?
Boost histamine, as in eating histidine-rich foods, such as beef. Supps can help for someone that has low histamine, but I prefer to go without supps.
I’m starting to use topical dutasteride which will hopefully kill localized DHT in the scalp as my hair is thinning. I hope it doesn’t go systemic but perhaps getting back on creatine will mitigate any sides of DHT serum reduction?
I train with weights a lot but I don’t use creatine as i seem to shed more on it but it definitely gives me gains so perhaps it will have a nice balancing effect.
I would rather use a topical anti-inflammatory compound, since lack of blood flow, hypoxia and inflammation is the cause of hair loss and not DHT. Try C60 dissolved in MCT oil topical.
Hello you recommend Zinc but it has been found to downregulate Androgen receptors and inhibit it.
Yes that’s in prostate cells. It’s unlikely to happen elsewhere. Plus, zinc is crusial for normal androgen receptor functioning. “Any mutation of the cysteine residues would severely disrupt the zinc finger module structure and result in complete androgen insensitivity syndrome despite androgens binding normally to the ligand-binding domain” https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60071-3/fulltext
What do you think about this study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8610056/
“At a testosterone concentration of 580 nM as substrate for 5 alpha-reductase, the main fatty acids of the extract IDS 89 gave rise to a percentual enzyme inhibition in the epithelium and stroma as follows: 51% and 42% (lauric acid), 5% and 0% (oleic acid), 43% and 34% (myristic acid), 2% and 0% (palmitic acid), respectively. The inhibitory effect of lauric acid was noncompetitive and dose dependent up to a concentration of 0.2 nM, the maximal inhibition in the epithelium and stroma being 52% and 45%, respectively.”
Others have shown it doesn’t inhibit 5AR and in vivo studies in rats have shown that coconut oil doesn’t lower DHT.