DHT And Its Role In Hair Loss
To first understand the importance of DHT and its role in hair loss, you must first understand just what DHT is. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a steroid hormone in the testosterone family only in a much more potent form. It is manufactured in the liver and skin. An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts the hormone testosterone into DHT. This enzyme appears in two distinct chemicals forms, type I and type II. These enzymes both are catalysts in the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Although DHT does play a role in hair loss, it also has necessary functions in the human body. DHT plays an important and necessary role in the maintenance of the central nervous system as well as the prostate and testicles. Now that you know what DHT is let's go over DHT and its role in hair loss.
Ever hear the saying, too much of a good thing. Unfortunately, this is true for DHT and its role in hair loss. Not only can too much DHT cause prostate problems but it can also have an adverse effect on hair follicles. Basically, an over abundance of DHT in the scalp area can literally choke the hair follicles and inhibit the production of healthy hair, reducing your once thick and luxurious hair to peach fuzz. Overproduction of DHT is the leading cause of male pattern baldness and male pattern baldness affects approximately 40% of the male population. Because of this, DHT has been heavily researched and effective ways to slow down its production are being sought with great zeal.
Fortunately, there have been some advances in DHT research that have proven to be effective. The most well known of these advances lies in the production of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. As I mentioned before, 5-alpha reductase plays a key role in the conversion of testosterone into DHT. There are some medications on the market today that have proven to be effective in inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, therefore slowing down the conversion process. There are, however, some potential side effects of taking these medications, including a decreased sex drive as well as a decrease in sexual performance. These medications are also ineffective in women. Not everyone on the medications suffers from these side effects and the results can be dramatic.
Another agent that is currently being researched is the role of saw palmetto extract in the reduction of DHT levels. When taken orally, the saw palmetto extract acts as a natural inhibitor to the production of DHT. This effectively eliminates DHT and its role in hair loss in that person. There is a variety of the extract available on the market today and, unfortunately, there is no standardization in concentration and quality from one brand to another. If this is something you are interested in trying, make sure you buy your extract from a reputable company. For other suggestions pertaining to DHT and its role in hair loss, consult with your dermatologist for advise.