DHT & Why Its Causing You To Lose Your Hair!
If you’ve noticed your hair starting to thin or recede, it’s easy to stress over what’s causing it to happen. Is it stress? A bad diet? Unlucky genetics? Or is it a lifestyle factor you can fix through a change in behavior?
The reality is that hair loss in men is primarily caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT),
WHAT IS DHT?
Produced through the conversion of the more commonly known androgen, testosterone. DHT, also known as dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone that stimulates the development of male characteristics (an androgen). Almost 10% of the testosterone produced by an adult each day is converted to dihydrotestosterone, by the testes and prostate (in men), the ovaries (in women), the skin and other parts of the body. This figure is much lower before puberty; however, it's thought that the increased dihydrotestosterone production may be responsible for the start of puberty in boys, causing the development of the genitals (penis, testes, and scrotum) and growth of pubic and body hair. This hormone also causes the prostate to grow and is thought to combine with testosterone creating the expression of male sexual behavior. Dihydrotestosterone is many times more potent than testosterone, and many of the effects that testosterone has in the body only happen after it is converted to dihydrotestosterone.
In short, DHT is one of the many hormones that makes men, well, men. However, it's different from other male sex hormones like testosterone in several essential ways.
Your body produces DHT as a byproduct of testosterone through the 5α-Reductase enzyme -- an enzyme that converts a certain percentage of your testosterone into DHT in tissue such as the skin, liver, prostate and hair follicles.
Too Much Dihydrotestosterone?
The excess effect testosterone has on the body depends on both age and sex. Women with too much DHT may develop increased body, facial and pubic hair growth (called hirsutism), stopping of menstrual periods (amenorrhoea) and increased acne. Abnormal changes to the genitalia may also occur. In adult men, low testosterone may lead to a reduction in muscle bulk, loss of body hair and a wrinkled ‘parchment-like’ appearance of the skin. Testosterone levels in men decline naturally as we age. In the media, this is sometimes referred to as the male menopause (andropause).
DHT and the Cause of Hair Loss
According to American Hair Loss Association Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha-reductase, which is held in a hair follicle's oil glands. Many Scientists now believe that it's not the amount of circulating testosterone that's the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone than men, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And yes, when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem. Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider "normal" on a blood test, also though they are high enough to cause a problem. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
What to do about hair loss?
If you are someone or know someone, who is witnessing hair loss, bald spots, or a receding hairline, what you need are DHT blockers.
DHT blockers come in the form of shampoos, hair gels, vitamins, or Minoxidil, which is oil used on the scalp to help increase blood supply to the loss of hair follicles. It's said that DHT blockers can help slow down the process of hair loss, while others can help reverse the damage that has been done. Personally speaking, I am no stranger to the loss of hair. As you may recall I wrote about it last year, you can read it here. However, losing my hair is a pretty big deal. I never thought I would be someone going through it, especially being as young as I am, but it's happening. I've been going back and forth with myself debating on whether to go bald or continue to get buzz cuts, and buzz cuts it has been.
I hope this help someone.