DHT Plays A Crucial Role In Androgenetic Alopecia

Male Pattern Baldness
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DHT - A Key Factor in Male Pattern Baldness

DHT or dihydrotestosterone (Full name: 5a-Dihydrotestosterone, abbreviated to 5a-DHT or just DHT) is a key factor in the Effect of Androgens on the body. Androgen functioning is also the key to male pattern baldness.

This explains the cruciality of DHT in the development of Androgenetic Alopecia.

The two Androgens, testosterone and DHT, bind to Androgen Receptors on the surface of cells. By binding to the androgen receptors, the androgens are able to stimulate and regulate the growth of cells and in doing so they can influence the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates.
Location and Origin of Formation
DHT is a biologically active metabolite of the hormone testosterone. Its primary locations of formation are the prostate gland, testes, hair follicles and adrenal glands.
The enzyme 5a-reductase causes DHT formation by means of reducing ?4, 5 double-bonds in testosterone. There are two forms of 5 alpha reductase, Type I and type II.
Influences of DHT
DHT is first produced in utero (before birth), by males. It causes the formation of male gender-specific characteristics. A lack of DHT production, which occurs in a very few people with a genetic mutation in their 5 alpha reductase enzyme coding gene, result in a child being born who is genetically male (XY), but who has outwardly female physical characteristics. Fortunately this problem can be corrected with androgen hormone supplements.

DHT is also be the cause of other Characteristics Generally Attributed to Males. They Include
  • Facial hair growth
  • Body hair growth
DHT - The primary Contributing Factor of Androgenetic Alopecia
DHT is supposedly the primary contributing factor in most cases of androgenetic alopecia. While testosterone is readily available in the bodies of adult men, it is DHT that is the main driving force behind androgenetic alopecia. DHT is an unstable compound compared to testosterone. It does not last very long before it gets broken down. However, DHT is around 10 times more effective in binding and activating androgen receptors compared to testosterone. So DHT is the main focus for finding new treatments to block and reverse androgenetic alopecia. Blocking one molecule of DHT has ten times more beneficial effect for treating androgenetic alopecia than blocking one molecule of testosterone.
Effects on Females
Females having increased DHT levels are likely to develop certain androgynous male secondary sex characteristics. They include hair above the lip and on the lower arms and legs. They also include hair on the body in a male pattern.
Medications for DHT
5 alpha reductase inhibitors are the most common medications used against DHT.

Finasteride is a type II 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. So it can reduce DHT levels at most by 70 per cent, but 30% of DHT is still produced by type I 5 alpha reductase which remains unaffected by finasteride.

Dutasteride apparently blocks both types of isoenzymes. It is likely to be more effective for blocking DHT production.

A single dose of some experimental dual type I and type II 5 alpha reductase inhibitors is very effective. It can reduce up to 95 per cent of DHT levels. Researchers are looking for more 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. Various plants sources and herbs have the properties to inhibit the enzymes.

Alternative Medications - Alternative medications for DHT include saw palmetto. The extracts of this herbal supplement inhibits both isoforms of 5-alpha-reductase. They block 5-Alpha-Reductase and reduce DHT uptake by hair follicles. They also reduce the binding of DHT to androgen receptors.