What Prevents the Conversion of Testosterone Into DHT?

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Introduction

DHT is produced when 5 alpha reductase and testosterone come together. The by-product of these two chemicals mixing is DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. DHT affects the hair follicles by damaging the healthy ones to the point that they begin producing thinner and thinner hair until eventually, these hair follicles stop growing any hair at all. When this happens, you experience pattern baldness. Pattern baldness can affect both men and women, although women are affected to a lesser degree because their bodies don't produce as much testosterone as men do.

Oral Finasteride or Propecia

Propecia is an FDA-approved medication that is a anti-androgen, and that was originally used as a treatment for prostate enlargement. However, it was later discovered that it also inhibited the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This discovery led to scientists figuring out that what caused pattern baldness was DHT affecting the hair follicles to the point that they stopped growing hair.

Azaelic Acid or Azelex

Azelex is another prescription medication that prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Azaelic acid, which is the main ingredient in Azelex, is actually found naturally in some foods in far smaller amounts. You can find it in wheat, barley, and rye. It is an acid much like vinegar in structure, although much weaker than vinegar. Azelex behaves as a competitive inhibitor to 5 alpha reductase, thus preventing 5 alpha reductase from interacting with testosterone to produce DHT. This means your hair follicles stay healthier and continue to produce more hair.

Foods

Some foods are natural DHT blockers because they are rich in zinc, which has been shown to inhibit DHT production. Those suffering from pattern baldness may want to consider adding foods that are rich in zinc, such as potatoes, yogurt, chicken and cereals. It's important to keep in mind, though, that these will probably only have a small effect on pattern baldness by themselves.

Herbs

Some herbs such as saw palmetto, stinging nettle, green tea extract, grape seed extract and several others have been found to help inhibit the production of DHT as well, by being natural DHT blockers. In the case of saw palmetto, for example, saw palmetto berries are high in fatty acids and sterols that are known to block 5 alpha reductase, and to bind or slow down DHT's effects on hair follicles. However, they are not as effective as prescription medications; and, just as with prescriptions, discuss it with your doctor before beginning to take herbs for pattern baldness. Herbs can interact with chemical medications, potentially causing medical complications; so talk any herbal medication regimen over with your doctor before starting one.

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