DHT, or to give it its full name, Dihydrotestosterone, is a naturally occurring metabolite found in the human body and the most common cause of hair loss in both sexes. It’s a chemical derivative of testosterone produced in the prostate glands and testes of men, and in the adrenal glands and hair follicles of both men and women.
DHT occurs through the metabolism of an androgen with the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. This may sound worrying, but this is not a disorder and DHT is essential for men in adolescence. However, in later life, it can also be responsible for hair loss, and this is a problem. Luckily, there are ways to combat the effects of DHT on hair loss.
A Natural Occurrence
Testosterone is an essential hormone in both sexes. It is linked to healthy sexual behaviour, helps build protein and supports a range of metabolic activities, such as the production of blood cells, the formation of new bone material, the metabolism of carbohydrate and good liver function.
During maturation, researchers have concluded, that DHT is a crucial element in the development of mature male characteristics. These include the growth of facial hair and thickening body hair. Even in adolescence, however, DHT can have less favourable side effects. It is linked to acne, although it is not the only cause, but its post-puberty effects are the ones that trouble men the most. DHT plays a causative role in androgenic alopecia, better known as Male Pattern Baldness.
How Does DHT Lead to Hair Loss?
DHT doesn’t make your hair fall out, but it can restrict and slow down hair growth to such an extent that the end result is hair loss. All men produce DHT but some aren’t affected by it. Those men who have a genetic tendency towards hair loss, a tendency still being researched worldwide, are highly susceptible to these effects and need to take action against DHT formation in the scalp area if they want to protect against hair loss.
The damaging effects of DHT occur when it attaches to the receptor cells of hair follicles. At this level, DHT interrupts proteins, vitamins, and minerals from nourishing the hair follicles and leads to follicle shrinkage. This reducing of the follicles means a slower reproduction rate, essentially a shortening of the growing phase and a lengthening of the resting stage. The result is hair that becomes finer and thinner with each growth cycle until, ultimately, hair follicles stop producing hair altogether.
How to Combat DHT related Hair Loss
Although the problem is related to nutrition, diet alone cannot remedy DHT related hair loss, as the issue lies at the transmission of the nutrients at the scalp. Adding more of the vitamins and minerals needed for hair growth to your diet doesn’t help as DHT simply blocks them at the scalp level. However, there are two safe and reliable methods of combating this hair loss, by either inhibiting the production of DHT or increasing blood flow to the scalp. These methods can be used successfully alone or combined.