DHT was always thought to be converted from testosterone, however, recent data suggest that instead, it’s converted from Δ-androstenedione by 5α-reductase isoenzyme-1 to 5α-androstanedione, followed by subsequent conversion to DHT via the enzyme 17β-hydroxysteroid B3. The 5α-androstanedione pathway to DHT, therefore, bypasses testosterone entirely (1). Androstenedione → 5α-androstanedione → DHT.
Also, “DHT formation from 4-dione (androstenedione) increased gradually and was significantly higher compared to that generated from testosterone.” (2)
DHT can also be synthesized from 17-hydroxypregnenolone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone in what is termed the “backdoor” pathway and from 5α-androstane-3α, 17-β-diol (3β-Androstanediol or 3β-diol) via the intracrine reverse synthesis pathway) (60). Both 3α-diol and 3β-diol as estrogen receptor agonists. 3α-diol (also a GABA-A receptor agonist) has approximately 0.07% and 0.3% affinity to ERα and ERβ, respectively, compared to estradiol. 3β-diol has 3% and 7% of the affinity of estradiol at the ERα and ERβ, respectively.
In the liver, DHT is converted to 3α– and 3β-, 17β-androstanediol, and those metabolites have little androgenic activity (60), however, they can be reconverted to DHT in tissue when needed. Metabolic clearance of DHT is roughly 70% that of T, thus indicating a modestly longer residence time for DHT.
DHT is always thought to be 2.5-10 times more potent than testosterone, and it is according to these 4 reasons:
- DHT has 4 times higher affinity to AR (androgen receptors) than testosterone
- Binding of DHT to the AR transforms the AR to its DNA-binding state
- DHT upregulates AR synthesis and reduces AR turnover
- The dissociation rate of testosterone from receptors is 3-5 fold faster than DHT (meaning DHT exerts a much more powerful effect on AR than testosterone)
However, high concentrations of intracellular T can shift AR binding away from DHT by mass action, as only 10% of T converts to DHT via 5-alpha reductase and DHT is roughly 7- to 10-fold lower in the circulation than T (60). So DHT is clearly outnumbered.
In the circulation, DHT is also bound to SHBG (5 times high affinity and longer binding halflife (43 sec) than T (12 sec)) and more weakly to albumin. In general, protein-bound DHT is inactive except in some reproductive tissues in which megalin, an endocytic receptor, acts as a pathway for cellular uptake of DHT when bound to SHBG. Like I mentioned before, when a steroid is bound to SHBG, doesn’t make it useless, but it can actually still gain access to cells and exert its effect.
- can’t be aromatized to estrogen and also inhibits the aromatase (3), is an estrogen antagonist, inhibit estrogen receptors (77) and increases estrogen clearance
- Increases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and GnRH mRNA, which increases testosterone synthesis and the abundance of GnRH receptors (76).
- doesn’t affect prostate growth (4), and is actually protective, by lowering estrogen (5).
- is responsible for NOS-mediated penile erector (and not as much testosterone) (61)
- increases it’s own synthesis, by increasing 5-ar.
- promotes vascularity, by increasing eNOS through the PI3K/AKT pathway
- lowers prolactin (very beneficial for gyno) and stress-induced rise in ACTH and cortisol (anti-catabolic). (62)
- is anti-catabolic, and low DHT, even in the presence of normal testosterone can lead to increased catabolism. (6)
- greatly enhances your mood, well-being, calmness, assertiveness (anti-anxiety), cognitive performance (focus, learning, memory (spatial)) (63) etc…
- Boosts cognitive function by inhibiting GABAA, lowering serotonin & activating NMDA (which increases mental acuity) (7). This will give you that alpha male, unbothered, mentality.
- positively modifies synaptic structure and plasticity, increases BDNF, aids in the remyelination of nerves and significantly delays cognitive impairment (78).
- increases bone mineral density (especially the calcaneal bone) (81), red blood cell density (80)
- improves insulin resistance and diabetes (increases GLUT4) (79). Inhibition of 5-AR removes this improvement in insulin sensitivity.
- prevents fatty liver. Inhibition of 5-AR allows lipids to accumulate in the liver that causes fatty liver and liver dysfunction (R, R).
- inhibits fibrosis (lowers TGFβ and TGFβ receptors) (81, 82, 83)
- lowers cholesterol (84)
- is anti-inflammatory (inhibits IL-6, TNF-α, PAI-1, Cox-2, LOX-1 and TLR4) (85)
- is anti-cancer (testicular, prostate, etc…)
- prevents premature ageing, and overall very low quality of life (86).
- inhibits new fat cells from forming, fatty acid synthesis and lipogenesis and increases lipolysis and aids in muscle gains, yet is not nearly as potent as testosterone in that aspect (87, 88).
Normal ranges of DHT are between 30-100 ng/dl. (the most accurate measure of DHT is by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry)
Here follow 46 ways to increase your DHT.
Creatine supplementation is shown to increase DHT significantly by 56% (after 7 days of creatine loading in rugby players), while testosterone levels were not affected. (8)
This creatine loading was done with 20g a day, and 5g on the rest of the 14 maintenance days. So it would be a good idea to structure it around your workout.
1 pound of beef (450 grams) contains about 5gs creatine. You’d have to eat a lot of meat to ingest 20g of creatine for the loading phase. So getting a creatine supplement might not be a bad idea.
Also, creatine is supercharged by sodium bicarbonate. More about it here.
- Creatine monohydrate – 600g container
2) Vitamin B1 & NADPH
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) is a co-factor used in anabolic reactions. In the presence of NADPH, steroid 5 alpha-reductase converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). (9)
Vitamin B1 work through the pentose phosphate pathway to increase the production of NADPH. More NADPH –> more DHT formation. More on vitamin B1 here…
- Energin – 50mg B1 (Thiamine HCL) per serving, 30 servings. Also contains 15mg B2 (R5P), 100mg niacinamide, 6mg B6 (P5P), 1mg biotin. 99.9% purified form with greater than 90% absorption. Can be used orally or topically. 30 servings
- Thiamine HCL – 100mg per serving, 100 servings
3) Vitamin B3 & NADPH
SIRT1 antagonists induce endogenous AR expression and enhance DHT-mediated AR expression. (10) Only niacinamide is a SIRT1 antagonist. This can easily be achieved by 100mg niacinamide daily. Niacinamide is also a histone deacetylase inhibitor, which prevents a decrease in androgen receptors.
Vitamin B3 and its derivatives are responsible for the synthesis of NADPH precursors (11)
So it would be a good idea to enhance NADPH’s assistance in this conversion process, by ingesting some vitamin B3. More in niacinamide here…
Red meat, in general, is a great source of vitamin B3, with beef liver being the greatest. 100g of raw beef liver contains 83% of your DV of B3.
- Energin – 100mg B3 (nicotinamide) per serving, 30 servings.
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – 500mg per serving, 100 servings
4) Raw Milk
Raw milk is one of the best sources of protein that you can consume. It’s a complete protein, with a great ratio of macronutrients for testosterone production. It also has the most bio-available source of calcium, and calcium is much needed for muscle contraction and many other processes.
But it also contains a natural precursor to DHT, so drinking milk can increase DHT levels as well (12).
But it won’t blow your DHT through the roof however, as milk only increases DHT slightly over time (13).
But getting raw milk would definitely be a good investment. I can definitely attest to the DHT boosting effect of milk. After 1-2 months of consuming massive amounts of raw milk per day, my beard density and growth speed increased and I also got new beard growth on patches where there weren’t any hair before.
It might or might not come as a surprise, but IGF-1 stimulates the activity of 5α-reductase (14).
IGF-1 is an anabolic growth factor synthesized by the liver and boosts muscle growth and reducing body fat.
Milk consumption also results in a significant increase in insulin and IGF-1 serum levels comparable with high glycaemic food. (15) Magnesium, zinc, protein, vitamin D also increase IGF-1 just to name a few.
Fats are a must for high testosterone, excluding polyunsaturated fats AND monounsaturated fats, because both inhibit 5-alpha reductase.
The number and the position of the double bonds also affected the potency. Only compounds with double bonds in the cis configuration were active at low concentrations (< 10 JM), whereas the trans isomers were inactive even at high concentrations.
For example, the inhibitory potencies of the C18 fatty acids were, in decreasing order: y-linolenic acid (cis-6,9, 12) > octadecatetraenoic acid (cis- 6,9,12,15) > a-linolenic acid (cis-9,12,15) > linoleic acid (cis- 9,12) > oleic acid (cis-9) > petroselinic acid (cis-6).
Erucidic acid (C22: 1,cis-13) is inactive, whereas cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid was a potent inhibitor. Undecylenic acid (C11:110) and nervonic acid (C24:1 cis-15) were also inactive.
Also, a free carboxyl group is important, since the methyl ester and alcohol analogues of these inhibitory unsaturated fatty acids were either inactive or only slightly active. Prostaglandin E2, F2, and I2 were also not active, whereas the A1, A2, B1,,2 D2, E1 and F1 forms were somewhat active at 0.2 mm.
EPA, the omega 3, and its 15-lipoxygenase metabolite inhibited 5-α-reductase (89).
Carotenes, retinals and retinoic acid were also inactive. Phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, 3-diolein, retinol, 13-cis-retinoic acid, and 13-cisretinol were slightly stimulatory (16).
Also, in this in vivo human study these fatty acids inhibited 5-AR the following (from strongest inhibitor to weakest):
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) -> docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -> octatetraenoic acid -> arachidonic acid -> alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) -> linoleic acid -> palmitoleic acid -> oleic acid -> myristoleic acid, which are only PUFAs and MUFAs.
Even saturated fatty acids have been found to inhibit 5-AR (17). The relative inhibitory potencies for the 5a-reductase of saturated fatty acids are, in decreasing order, C12>C14>C15> C16>C18, yet palmitic (saturated, C16 chain) and stearic (saturated, C18 chain) acids were inactive on both isoforms.
This makes dairy fat, beef fat and MCT the safest.
Coconut oil, which is almost 50% lauric acid could potently inhibit 5-AR, however, a few people (ex PFS users) have reported that once they increased their metabolism and thyroid, coconut oil didn’t result in lower DHT symptoms anymore.
Saturated fatty acids are know to androgenic. For instance, caprylic acid is an androgen receptor agonist (18). Although most fatty acids inhibit 5-AR, longer chain fatty acids and especially their ester forms don’t inhibit 5-AR. By consuming more saturated fats, DHT will indirectly be increased. It’s also been found that when combining a saturated fatty acid (palmitic acid) with an unsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid), it had a synergistic androgenic effect (19). Here is a product that contains both, each in its methyl form, which will have no inhibitory effect on 5-AR. This product is designed to increase StAR which transport cholesterol into the mitochondria and potently inhibit aromatase, due to excess cortisol and inflammation. This product will go perfectly with androsterone (mentioned below).
So it would be a good idea to increase your insulin sensitivity. Eating the correct macronutrients and eliminating your deficiencies will contribute a big deal to improving insulin sensitivity.
Never let your blood sugar drop too low, but keep it constant through the day. Low blood glucose will increase cortisol to increase blood sugar levels. I maintain my blood sugar levels with a low carb diet. This way I have lots of energy, and my energy stays very constant through the day and I don’t have to eat every three hours as a pick me up. I also never experience a low and have amazing mental clarity throughout the day.
Boron, a non essential mineral that increases testosterone and DHT while decreasing high estrogen and SHBG levels (22).
Just make sure you get enough of it in one dose (a good amount would be 10-12mg daily), as a low dose of 2.5mg daily, has no effect on your androgens (23). I prefer the highly bio-available liquid form.
Just beware of estrogenic symptoms are some studies show boron to be highly estrogenic (however, most state that it lowers estrogen).
- Boron – 3mg per serving, 250 servings
9) Butea Superba
This is a herb found in South East Asia. It’s been found to significantly increase DHT production (24).
It could easily induce hyperandrogenism but can return to normal in one week if supplementation is stalled.
Morphine increases 5-alpha reductase mRNA, however, it also increases aromatase mRNA in the brain and gonads (25, 66). Get yourself some poppy seeds as it contains natural morphine and codeine. 100g poppy seeds equals 0.5mg-20mg of morphine (26)
Chronic caffeine ingestion (2-4mg/kg/day) increases DHT by 57% (27). The dose would be 160mg-320mg per day for an 80kg man. This is also achievable by drink 3 cups of coffee a day.
- ProLab caffeine – 200mg per serving, 100 servings
Your thyroid hormones (especially triiodothyronine (T3)) increases 5 alpha reductase. People with hyperthyroidism usually have higher levels of 5-alpha reductase. Increasing your thyroid hormones and increasing the conversion from T4 to T3 would increase 5-AR expression.
- IdealabsDC TyroMax – 3X strength thyroid powder. This means that one (1) grain of TyroMax is approximately equivalent to 3 grains of other NDT products such as Armour, Erfa, Wethroid, etc. TyroMax is a liquid dietary supplement containing natural dessicated thyroid (NDT) of porcine and bovine origin. It is USP quality, which means it is certified as suitable for human consumption. This product, while consisting entirely of food-grade ingredients, is sanctioned for external use only, 1/3 serving = 1 grain will last 90 days
- Kelp – 225mcg per serving, 500 servings
- Selenium – 200mcg (L-selenomethionine) per serving, 180 servings
Glycine, a very important non-essensial amino acid are shown to increase 5-AR in the brain leading increased conversion from progesterone to allopregnanolone. More on glycine here.
- Great lake gelatin – 16oz
Resistance exercise, including explosive exercises, significantly increases 5-alpha reductase. 12 weeks of resistance training increases DHT by 58% in elderly men. From 6.2pg/ug to 9.8pg/ug. (28)
All kinds of exercises actually increase DHT. It’s more about the fact of being active.
- Mild exercise increases androgen hormones such as DHT (29).
- Sprinting (30sec bouts with 90sec rest) results in acute increases in DHT (30).
- Endurance exercise (jogging) mildly increases DHT (31).
- Vigorous intensity cardio for 60 min 6 days/week increases DHT by 14.5% after 3 months (32).
And being physically active has more benefits than just DHT…
15) Vitamin B6
Pyridoxine hydrochloride significantly increases the activity of 5-AR, 3 alpha-HSD, and 17 beta-HSD, but pyridoxal hydrochloride had an inhibitory influence on 5-AR (33).
3α-HSD is necessary for the synthesis of neurosteroids (allopregnanolone, THDOC, and 3α-androstanediol) and is also involved in catalyzing the 3α-androstanediol (5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
17 beta-HSD is involved in the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone as well as reducing estradiol to weaker estrogen to be excreted from the body.
All forms of vitamin B6 are glucocorticoid (cortisol) antagonists and are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.
I would not advise using massive doses, and sticking below 10mg of PLP daily as B6 will also reduce androgen responsiveness. More on B6 here…
17) Vitamin A
In this in-vitro study, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) increase 5AR, which is due to the pretranslational up-regulation in delta4-3-oxosteroid 5alpha-oxidoreductase mRNA expression in ATRA-treated male rat liver. Human dosage would be 500-700mg of all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), which would be a huge dose. Smaller doses of vitamin A should also have a stimulatory effect. Vitamin B2 is a cofactor in converting retinol to retinoic acid via cytosolic retinal dehydrogenase and should help with boosting 5-AR (34).
- Vitamin A (as palmitate) – 25 000IU per cap, 100 caps
- Estroban – 5 000IU per serving, 30 servings. Also contains 1000IU vit D, 100IU vit E and 1.5mg K2 (MK-4)
- Vitamin B2 (R5P) – 36.5mg R5P (active form of B2), 60 servings
The following hormones are able to increase DHT levels. From strongest to weakest: 5a-androstanediol → androsterone = testosterone = androstenedione, progesterone and a few others (35). So, using something like androsterone could significantly increase your DHT, as not only does it increase 5-ar, but it’s also a precursor to DHT. Under ideal conditions (without inflammation or elevated cortisol), is up to 70% of DHEA is converted to DHT when applied to the skin, and DHEA also increase 5AR. Natural foods high in androsterone is pine pollen and celery root.
- Androsterone – 1mg per serving, 240 servings. (I suggest to stick to low doses, 2-3mg daily, and not to exceed 15mg daily)
- Pansterone – 5mg/5mg pregnenolone/DHEA, 90 servings. Excellent absorption topically. This product goes synergistically with androsterone as there is a powerful synergy between an unsaturated hormone (DHEA) and a saturated one (androsterone)
- Pine pollen – 2oz tincture, for sublingual use / Pine pollen powder – 33g
19) Antibiotics (tetracycline & doxycycline)
Tetracyclines have excellent non-antimicrobial pro-anabolic and anti-catabolic actions, and doxycycline has anti-inflammatory and pro-anabolic actions (35). Both effectively increase DHT and lower IL-6 and CRP, which are markers of inflammation. So inflammation has a negative effect on 5AR, and anti-inflammatory and anti-estrogenic substances will have a positive effect on 5AR.
20) Lower inflammation
IL-6 and CRP had significant inhibitory effects on the synthesis of DHT (inhibit 5-ar), an effective marker of inflammation (36) and oxidative stress (37, 38). With DHT in itself actually being anti-inflammatory (39).
21) Lower estrogen
Estrogen inhibits 5AR, stimulates prolactin and cortisol synthesis as well as increases the aromatase, which increases estrogen in a positive feedback loop (40).
Sorghum seed extract (S. bicolor crude extract) increase DHT by 54% (41). People report that it really increases their androgenicity, but increases hairloss though, possibly because it is a goitrogen (thyroid antagonist).
Magnesium increases the enzyme 17β-HSD, which increases the conversion of 5α-Androstanedione / 3α-Androstanediol / 3β-Androstanediol to DHT. More on magnesium here…
Zinc intake is significantly correlated with total and free testosterone and DHT (42, 43, 44). Zinc supplementation (120mg twice daily) significantly increased DHT (19%), and also slightly increased testosterone in eugonadal men (490 to 750ng/dl), showing an upregulation of 5 alpha reductase even at a very high dose zinc (45). More on zinc here…
25) Vitamin D
Vitamin D further enhances the actions of androgens (e.g. DHT) by inhibiting their deactivation from androgen receptors by inhibiting the glucuronidation (a mechanism that inactivates and eliminates substances) of DHT, resulting in an accumulation of DHT to exert a more powerful effect (46). More on vitamin D here…
26) Lose the fat
Adipose tissue (fat cells) are like factories which break down testosterone and DHT. The more you have of it, the more androgenic hormones get converted…
Testosterone then gets converted by aromatase to estrogen, and DHT is then also catalyzed to the inactive androgen 3α/β-androstanediol (3α/β-diol) by 3α/β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3a-HSD) also known as aldo-keto reductase 1C (AKR1C) (61).
Meaning the more body fat there is, the more testosterone and DHT breakdown there is.
The best way to lose body fat is by following a perfectly planned meal plan for you, with a perfect split of macro and micro-nutrients. Check out my Shredding eBook and training programs on how to get lean.
27) Increase testosterone levels
So, if about 5% of your testosterone gets converted to DHT, then the more testosterone you have, the more can get converted to DHT. When testosterone gets converted to DHT, testosterone then drops a bit, which then signals the hypothalamus, through the negative feedback loop, to release more GnRH to increase testosterone production. DHT also increases GnRH levels.
28) Eat carbohydrates
People on a low carbohydrate diet have less DHT than people on a high carb diet (47).
This is because carbs, glucose and fructose, is essential for NADPH production, which is a co-factor in 5-AR.
An overnight fast (of about 12 hrs) shows to increase testosterone and DHT levels (48). With that said, I guess it’s pretty hard not to do an overnight fast, as you’ll probably be sleeping… hopefully.
Sleeping is very important for your testosterone production (49). Under 8 hours of sleep a night can negatively influence your testosterone levels. Testosterone is highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.
So during REM sleep, your testosterone levels elevate again, and with it DHT.
And with little amounts of sleep, adequate amounts of DHT is unable to be replenished.
Although nicotine doesn’t directly increase DHT, it inhibits 3α-HSD, which is the enzyme that breaks down DHT into 3 alpha-androstanediol. The study was don’t in vitro on dog prostate though, but it might have truth in humans as well (60). Gums or patches are advised and not smoking.
32) Lower prolactin
Prolactin inhibits 5-alpha reductase in normal men (61). Luckily, it can quickly be reversed as 5-ar is reactivated within 48-72 hrs after normalization of prolactin levels. More on lowering prolactin here…
However, this study shows that prolactin directly stimulates the LH-induced 5 alpha-reductase activity in the testes and decreases of testosterone production in immature rat testes (67). However, this is an in vitro study, whereas the one above is in vivo in real men.
33) Tribulus Terrestris
Men who took 250mg Tribulus Terrestris (TT) daily had a significant decrease in the percentage of body fat and increase in lean mass as well as an increase in DHT levels (62). TT also increases total testosterone and DHEAS, which is the storage form of DHEA (63).
- Tribulus Terrestris – 1g TT per serving (minimum 45% Saponins), 60 Tablets
34) Cyclosporine A
Cyclosporine A (CsA) is also called cyclosporine and cyclosporin, and it is naturally occurring in nature and is used as an immunosuppressant. It was first synthesized from the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum in 1971. CsA increase DHT by increase 5-ar in a dose-dependent manner, with 100mg/kg being the strongest and increases DHT by 44.4% in mice (63). The human equivalent dose is 8.33mg/kg. However, CsA medication has quite a few side effects so I would advise against it.
35) Lower adrenaline
Noradrenaline, in the pineal gland, increases both estrogen and lowers DHT, by increasing aromatase and block 5-alpha reductase, by 72% and 39% respectively (64). Substances that effectively lower excessive noradrenaline are salt, taurine, niacinamide, inosine, androsterone and vitamin B6.
However, adding β-adrenergic agonists to glioma cells (a chemically induced glial brain tumor cell line) resulted in the rapid and transient elevation of 5alpha-R mRNA levels through the activation of the cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A-mediated signaling pathway (93). This could be how caffeine increases DHT. Forskolin also increases cAMP and might increase DHT levels.
Oxytocin is able to increase 5-alpha reductase (69). Vitamin C lowers prolactin, cortisol and anxiety and it increases oxytocin (68). Oxytocin is also increased by exercise, laughter, meditation, relaxation, massage, etc…
37) Drugs that have a positive influence
Carbamazepine, reserpine, diazepam (Valium – GABA agonist), phenytoin, phenobarbital, disulfiram, methylphenidate (Ritalin) and methamphetamine significantly increase the 5-alpha reductase enzyme in the diencephalon (the posterior part of the forebrain, containing the epithalamus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and ventral thalamus and the third ventricle). (70)
Trichostatin A, an antibiotic, and also a SIRT1 inhibitor similar to niacinamide (vitamin B3), is able to boost 5-ar in glial cells in the brain. (73) So maybe all SIRT1 inhibitors will have a positive influence on 5-ar in the brain.
38) Acute alcohol consumption, but not chronic
Among phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, only phosphatidylserine is able to stimulate the 5 alpha-reductase (74). Phosphatidylserine is also able to lower cortisol at doses of 400-800mg and enhance mental function.
- Phosphatidylserine – 200mg per cap, 60 caps
Histamine significantly increases DHT synthesis (75). You can boost histamine with its precursor amino acid, histidine. Take about 500mg. If you want a more subtle approach, use an H3 receptor antagonist, such as Pitolisant and/or Kutaj Bark (Hollarhena antidysenteric, which contains conessine).
Polyamines are ions with multiple positive charges. they that interact with negatively charged molecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. They are necessary for regeneration and growth, however, when overexpressed, promote the growth of tumors and cancer. Polyamine spermine (SPM) and spermidine (SPD), but not putrescine (PUT), increased 5α reductase gene expression (90). Polyamines can be increased via methionine, vitamin B12, and ornithine.
NMDA agonists increase 5α-reductase mRNA and DHT levels (91). Exercise, glycine, glutamate, and pregnenolone are NMDA agonists.
43) Nerve growth factor
Nerve growth factor (NGF), which promotes nerve regeneration and growth, induces the elevation of 5α-reductase mRNA through the expression of transcription factor Egr-1 (92). Theanine, lion’s mane, lithium, butyrate, exercise, nicotine, DHEA etc., increases NGF.
44) Toluene (methylbenzene)
Toluene, a commonly used industrial solvent, increases the immunoreactivity of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the brain, which in turn increases 5α-reductase (99). Toluene is sometimes used as a recreational inhalant (“glue sniffing”), likely on account of its euphoric and dissociative effects.
45) Histone deacetylase inhibitors
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) is a class of enzymes that regulate DNA expression. This in vitro study shows that HDAC inhibitors increase the production of 5alpha-reduced neurosteroids, such as allopregnanolone and DHT (94).
Natural HDAC inhibitors are short-chain fatty acids such as butyric acid (found in dairy fat) and valeric acid (also found in valerian root), Trichostatin A, niacinamide, biotin, lipoic acid, garlic, vitamin E, CLA, and nicotine.
46) 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
- Soy (genistein, daidzein)
- Green tea
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Flavonoids (biochanin A, quercetin, myricetin, fisetin and kaempferol) (50, 51, 52, 65)
- Black pepper (95).
- Rosemary (97)
- Panax ginseng (96)
- Beta-sitosterol. (53) (found in avocadoes, nuts, black cumin oil/black seed oil, pygeum, stinging nettle)
- Azelaic acid (found in wheat, rye, and barley) (54)
- Reishi mushroom, (55) including other mushrooms, with white button mushroom being the least inhibitory.
- Saw palmetto (56)
- Fenugreek (64)
- Pesticides. (57)
- DIM (is able to displace DHT from its receptor and is a estrogen receptor agonist) (58)
- Lignan. Lignans are compounds found in plant food sources. Lignans strongly inhibit 5-alpha reductase, and also lowers testosterone (59). Foods that are high in lignans include seeds (especially flax seed) and whole grains (breads, pastas, cereals etc.)