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.
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.
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.
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.
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". My query is as follows: 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":
Vitamin E, and
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."
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
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.
love to know if DHT blockers as in products such as Shen Min are harmful to
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.
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.
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.