Most people have a basic knowledge of the human hormonal system, especially when it comes to androgens such as testosterone and DHT. Many men are confused of the role of DHT and if it is a hormone we should increase or decrease.
DHT is known to be more powerful than testosterone when it comes to providing men with their masculine characteristics. DHT is known to be bound and active in the receptor sites for five times longer than testosterone. There are many functions that DHT is responsible for, but they mostly have to do with the development of male characteristics, and their upkeep throughout the adult male’s years. The importance of DHT is easily demonstrated through fetal development.
The 5-alpha reductase is a hormone that is necessary to convert testosterone into DHT. Lack of 5-alpha reudctase can lead to many problems. If a male has too little DHT while in the mothers womb, he will have a very small penis in his early days out in the open, and if the hormonal situation does not improve during pubery, a development of feminine characteristics is almost a guarantee. Those include lack of facial and bodily hair, a feminine voice, a small penis and a difficulty in gaining and maintaining muscle mass.
How Does The Body Produce DHT?
Testosterone in this case simply acts as a prohormone that is converted to the active androgen DHT by the action of the enzyme 5alpha reductase (5-AR). It’s formed primarily in the prostate gland, testes, adrenal glands and hair follicles.
DHT is a byproduct of natural testosterone production. About 10% of your testostosterone gets converted into DHT. It’s conversion and levels are controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. When your testosterone levels decrease, so does your levels of DHT, and vice versa.
With a higher testosterone production, you also get increased DHT levels. The relevant point to make is that a lot of the attributes we associate to testosterone are actually the result of high or low DHT levels. Those include masculine features such as a strong facial hair, ability to gain muscle, and a large penis – but you cannot increase your penis size just by increasing DHT as an adult. It does play a significant role during puberty development though.
The one possible negative effect of high DHT levels is acne, although this depends largely on genetic factors. The same is true for balding – higher DHT levels are correlated to increased likelihood of balding. But we have to take into consideration genetic factors, which are the most important factor when it comes to these two side effects – countless athletes and bodybuilders take hormonal performance enchancers and experience zero of these symptoms. The same is true for DHT levels – genetics play a huge role.
DHT And Muscle Mass
There is some controversy when it comes to DHT and muscle growth. Since it’s not found in skeletal muscle, it’s easy to believe that DHT doesn’t play a large role in gaining muscle, at least not directly. However, new research has shown that DHT does play a part, and that is through the absorption of amino acids by the muscle. It also improves protein synthesis, cell signaling, muscle contraction and relaxation.
DHT As An Anti-Estrogen
DHT directly inhibits estrogens activity on tissues. This DHT property is not discussed often enough. DHT acts as a potent anti-estrogen within the body. This is especially important for men who are prone to developing gynecomastia, water retention and gaining fat very easily. It does so through preventing aromatization of estrogen, not necessarily decreasing it’s levels.
It also acts as a converter of estrogen into testosterone and androstenedione. If there is no DHT present in the body, you can expect to have way more estrogen running havoc on your system – and developing male breast over time.
DHT And Prostate Hypertrophy
It was believed for some time that DHT causes enlarged prostate or at least plays some part in it. The fact is that the opposite is true. Enlarged prostate is the result of high levels of free testosterone and estrogen. DHT is the hormone to which about 10% of your testosterone converts to. DHT also controls the aromatization of estrogen, thus serving as an androgenic regulator in the body.
It’s easy to classify things as good or bad, black and white, and we often tend to do that with hormones. Testosterone is instantly considered good, and estrogen is definitely bad since it’s a female hormone that can contribute to the development of female characteristics. The reality is that for optimal health we need to have all the hormones working efficiently and in perfect balance.
With that being said, increased DHT as well as increased testosterone levels pose little risk to men, just like increased estrogen doesn’t pose a big risk to females. In fact, it can get us to look, feel and behave more masculine, and sometimes we need to enhance these male hormones, especially as they start to whither away with age.
Important points to remember
- DHT is known to be bound and active in the receptor sites for five times longer than testosterone
- DHT is more potent than testosterone at promoting libido and erection quality.
- About 10% of testosterone is converted into DHT
- DHT largely contributes to male the development of male characteristics such as hair growth, a deep voice, muscle development, energy levels, penis size etc.
- DHT prevents the aromatization of estrogen
- It is possible to increace DHT production
In the next article we’ll be discussing methods that you can use to increase your DHT levels completely naturally. So feel free to check it out and expand your knowledge on this topic.