DHT herbal blocker and natural supplements, do they block this hormone? by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Information on high and low DHT level
March 14 2014

 

Dihydrotestosterone is an androgen from testosterone through the action of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, whose concentrations are highest in peripheral tissues (genital skin and hair follicles). DHT is primarily responsible for the physical changes that occur during male sexual maturation and is thought to be related to sex drive as well as erectile capabilities in men. In addition, DHT has been associated with benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer.

 

DHT and hair loss
Male and female pattern hair loss is thought to be due to the effects of DHT on genetically predisposed hair follicles. Binding of DHT to the hair follicle results in gradual miniaturization of the hair and eventual hair loss. Finasteride is a 5alpha-reductase inhibitor approved for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Originally approved for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy in 1992, its approval was expanded in 1997 to include the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men at a dose of 1 mg/day. Finasteride inhibits 5alpha-reductase, thereby prohibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which is implicated in the development of hairless in some men. Reduction in DHT results in a significant improvement in subjective and objective assessments of hair growth and density.

 

Does anyone know of a topical herbal hair product for menopausal female with hair loss and high levels of serum DHT? If not, any leads on what herbs or otherwise one might use to make something topical? Any research or anecdotal evidence to support? Also, do you think long acting T3 vs. T4 supplementation works the same on the conversion of testosterone to DHT?
    I am not aware of a natural herbal product used topically that has been proven to work for hair loss although there are some companies working on such products and there may be one soon. I have not seen any research on the difference between long acting T3 versus T4 in terms of influence on the conversion of testosterone to DHT.


Natural and herbal DHT blockers

There are certain herbs that may be natural DHT blockers, but, at this time, no long term studies have been done to determine if taking certain herbs has an influence on hair growth. Saw palmetto may be a partial DHT blocker in prostate tissue. Some people claim the herb fo ti or the phytosterol beta sitosterol, sold as an over the counter supplement, work for hair loss, perhaps as natural DHT blockers, but I have not come across convincing long term human studies.

 

 I would love to know if DHT blockers as in products such as Shen Min are harmful to women.
    Not enough research has been done to determine the safety of Shen Min in women. Plus, it seems there are quite a number of products with this name that include Fo Ti herb but have different variations of other herbs.

 

DHT versus testosterone - how are they different?
Testosterone influences overt masculinization in the adult male, and dihydrotestosterone influences prostatic growth, acne, facial beard, and male pattern baldness. Inhibition of DHT in adults results in prostatic shrinkage and symptomatic relief in many men, without the serious side effects seen with conventional androgen-deprivation therapy.

 

Cause of headache?
Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2013. Dihydrotestosterone may contribute to the development of migraine headaches. To evaluate the possibility that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may play a role in the etiology of some people's migraine headaches. Finasteride 5 mg daily was given to a young woman with chronic migraines. The chronic migraine headaches almost completely disappeared shortly following therapy. However, symptoms returned shortly after stopping the finasteride due to dry eyes. DHT may be an etiologic factor in causing migraines since finasteride suppresses DHT secretion. Alternatively, the benefit could be related to some other property of finasteride possibly by increasing testosterone which may compete with estrogen at the blood vessel level.

 

Questions

Q. I, as I'm sure you're quite accustomed to hearing by now, found your internet articles extremely informative / content rich and seemingly free of commercial "taint/bias".  Within the "gist" of one of yr internet articles, predominantly based on "DHT" blocking and it's effect on "BPH" (which is not my issue, yet..), the "potential" positive "side-effects" on thinning hair was mentioned, although again I must admit....it was done in such a "non-commercial / self-serving / advertisement" style as to truly make it "palatable". Anyway, a mention of a "specific" clinical trial to test the effects of these "supplements" on men with thinning hair was done...(perhaps it wasn't Dr. Sahelian's artilce, if so I apoligize profusely, as The New England Journal of Medicine was mentioned). It had two groups "propecia" vs "natural supplement".. and compared the end results I believe after 52 weeks, etc. Somewhere within the "article", it was ascertained that a certain "combination" of supplements achieved the best "results" against "propecia" in the HAIR REGROWTH / THICKENING OF THE HAIR "arena"....again, this "combination of supplements / clinical test...was specifically for THINNING HAIR not BPH. Here were the "supplements" administered as a "combination pill": Saw Palmetto, Beta Sitosterol, Lysinine, Certinin, Vitamin E, and Biotin.

Q. As a definite fan of your website's extremely informative nature, and a newly subscribed member to your newsletter, I felt compelled to submit the following query: I've noticed a "slight", though perceptible "fading" of my sex drive since implementing saw palmetto on daily basis since 04/06. The "side-effects" of Proscar / Propecia are well documented and referenced throughout the web and yr own website particularly. BUT: if both propecia / saw palmetto approach the "minimazation of DHT in the body through the now commonly agreed upon process of "5 alpha-reductase inhibition" (regardless of TYPE 1/2). THEN: why wouldn't saw palmetto account for potential "side-effects" as well, just by virtue of a reduction in one's "DHT" in the body, regardless of natural/man-made chemically concocted "means". A reduction of"dht, should result in "effects" by definition of the process. i.e.....The most common NEGATIVE side effects are reduced libido, decreased ejaculate volume and gynaecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue). i.e.....The most common positive side effects now being the well-documented "potential" hair improvement benefits. "For those who feel they need to rely on finasteride for hair regrowth or to prevent further hair loss, but wish to minimize the side effects, you could consider taking half a 1 mg pill daily as opposed to a full pill.
     A. To boost libido, try Passion Rx."

 

Q.  Finasteride has a dual indication for BPH and male pattern baldness albeit in different dosages due to its effect on DHT. Do the ingredients that comprise the Prostate Power Rx formula have a similar dual action on DHT in hair and prostate?
   A. We have not done clinical studies to determine how Prostate Power Rx influences levels of DHT in hair or prostate.

 

Q. I have high level of DHT (that includes acne / hirsutism and hair loss) I’d like to know before I buy your products is it will be beneficial for me to take: Natural Progesterone cream, saw palmetto and licorice root. I’m on Armour (60mcgs) I have Hashimotto’s and a heart murmur since I was born. I guess I may have adrenal fatigue (Not PCOS).
Kindly let me know your opinion so I can buy the right products.
   A. We suggest you ask your doctor to read the pages on this website regarding acne and hair since we are not in a position to offer individual advice.

 

Q. I've been taking a DHT blocker product called Shen Min to deal with my thinning hair. I've also been taking LJ100 longjack 100, I was wondering if there would be any side effects because Shen Min product contains Saw Palmetto and pumpkin seed ingredients. Shen Min also contains other Chinese herbs. Can this product cancel the effects of longjack 100, being that it blocks DHT.
   A. Tongkat ali, or longjack, is quite potent and the sexual enhancing effects appear to overcome any limitations from other herbs. We are not familiar with the combination of Shen Min and tongkat ali, but we suspect that the tongkat ali would still be effective as a sex booster.

 

Q. I would greatly appreciate your perspective on the role of SHBG as an agent in the regulation of libido, free testosterone levels, and DHT levels in the male. Clinical opinions that I've found to date seem to conflict. Some theorize that decreasing levels of SHBG will result in higher levels of free-form testosterone and reduced levels of DHT (thereby generating heightened libido and performance), whereas others suggest that significant levels of serum DHT are beneficial---even necessary---in the enhancement of male libido and performance. The role of DHT in the etiology of BPH is a separate issue altogether, and not the focus of my interest in this inquiry.
   A. Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that binds to sex hormones, specifically testosterone and estradiol. When men take drugs that block the conversion of testosterone to DHT, libido is reduced. Such drugs include finasteride (known as Propecia or Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). Therefore it appears that reducing DHT levels reduces libido and sexual interest.

 

What is your recommendation for DHT blockers for women?
    As far as I know, finasteride can cause fetal malformations when used by women of child bearing age, and there aren't enough clinical trials to determine how effective it is for post menopausal women.

 

Please comment on herbs such as saw Palmetto, Stinging Nettle, etc. that are known for blocking DHT. I wasn’t sure if women should do the same as men. Also, I read on another site, that if the wrong kind of saw Palmetto is used for a man, aromatase takes over and is worse. Please comment and also comment on whether or not this is true for females.
    That there is not enough research yet to know the details of such questions, but at this time it does not appear that these herbs have any significant effect as DHT blockers in terms of effect on hair.

 

I am a 64 yr. old male. I am on bio identical hormone replacement therapy for testoterone. My DHT level has shot way up to 210. My doctor wants me to take Avodart. I would REALLY like to find another solution for lowering my DHT. Please help.
   Firstly one has to review the reason for taking testosterone replacement, and the dosage and perhaps less of a dose of it is needed, or maybe even none.