An athletic, muscular man has always been considered the alpha male.
In fact, there are hormones in our body that allows men to have body hair, low voices, and – most important – enhanced muscle growth.
One of these vital hormones is called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT for short).
DHT is the #1 hormone when it comes to being a man.
For the quick and dirty list of DHT supplements, here you go:
Best DHT Supplements
If you want to increase your male characteristics, the simple answer is to boost your DHT to a healthy, optimal level.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over anything and everything about dihydrotestosterone.
What is it, what are the benefits, does it increase normal testosterone, how much to dose, and what are the side effects?
We cover all of this, plus we review the top supplements available to you today.
Read on to discover why DHT will make you the most alpha of males.
What is DHT?
As we mentioned before, it’s a hormone found in all human bodies, men and women.
However, technically speaking it is an androgen produced by testosterone as a byproduct.
About 10% of testosterone is transformed into DHT by the prostate and testes.
An androgen is basically a male sex hormone, or a steroid hormone which regulates both the development and maintenance of male characteristics.
DHT does this by binding to androgen receptors in our bodies and triggering the processes for male characteristics.
How it’s made is as a byproduct of testosterone through the 5α-reductase enzyme.
Even though testosterone makes dihydrotestosterone, DHT actually has a higher affinity to bind to androgen receptors and will stay bound for five times longer than testosterone.
This enzyme can be found in skin tissue, liver tissue, prostate tissue, and hair follicles.
What Does DHT Do To Your Body?
DHT is a tissue metabolite of testosterone[*]. When present, the hormone stimulates the development of male characteristics, such as hair growth and the addition of lean muscle.
People that take DHT supplements are generally hoping to increase testosterone for fitness and performance gains.
After all, when more testosterone is present in your body, you are more likely to add lean muscle[*].
Dihydrotestosterone also promotes:
- Facial hair and body hair growth (chest, armpits, face, and pubic areas; also attributed to hair loss on head)
- A deeper voice
- Increased confidence and ego
- Enhanced erection quality
- Male sex organ growth (as well as prostate)
The key with dihydrotestosterone is balance. When there’s not enough of it in the body, it can lessen sexual performance and result in late puberty for young men.
That could be one reason you want to increase your levels of DHT.
How To Increase DHT
If you’re looking to increase your levels of dihydrotestosterone, you should prioritize:
- Getting as lean as possible – Studies show elevated T and DHT levels are more likely in leaner men.
- Lift heavy weights – Similarly, lifting heavy weights has been shown to have positive hormonal effects on men, elevating many of the natural sex and reproductive hormones. This can also have an effect on your recovery from workouts.
- Eat a quality diet – Since not eating enough calories and eating lots of sugar have been clinically proven to drop your levels of DHT, basing your diet around whole foods (meats, veggies, fruits, etc.) may help you elevate your natural DHT levels.
- Drink coffee – As if you needed a reason to drink more coffee, at least one study found the natural caffeine found in coffee and some types of tea can boost your DHT levels.
Short of supplements, which we’ll talk about later, the key elevating your dihydrotestosterone levels is to lead a healthy and fit life.
Keep in mind, however: studies show that abnormally high levels of DHT can be a problem. The following side-effects have all been documented:
- Slow the healing of skin after an injury
- Enlarged prostate
- Increased risk of prostate cancer or coronary heart disease
So it’s probably a good idea to focus on the fundamentals listed above and maybe consider supplements. Better to start slow and add based on the results you get.
But if you’re considering taking DHT for better physical performance in the gym (or bedroom), there are certainly some benefits to be gained if you take it correctly.
Benefits of DHT Supplements
If you were to supplement DHT synthetically, obviously you get a boost in dihydrotestosterone. This leads to an increase in all the effects DHT has on our bodies.
Here are some of the benefits:
One of the major advantages of having a healthy amount of DHT is its triple-threat effect on blocking estrogen.
Avoid gynecomastia – enlarged male breasts – by using DHT as either a competitor to estrogen receptors or as a destroyer of estrogen-induced RNA transcription before estrogen binds in your tissues.
Also, DHT inhibits the aromatase enzyme, the main creator of estrogen. And of course, with more DHT comes less need to create more.
This downregulates your hypothalamus and pituitary gland from making excess gonadotropins, which includes the raw materials to produce more testosterone and estrogen.
Plus, DHT cannot aromatize directly into estrogen, which allows us to ingest DHT exogenously without serious side effects from increased estrogen.
Healthy Prostate Growth
As you mature and continue to age, your prostate needs to grow at a healthy rate to ensure it does its job properly.
The king of androgens, DHT, is one of the main factors in the initial developmental growth of your prostate as you go through puberty.
Not only that, it’s adverse effects on estrogen keeps you free and clear from benign prostate hypertrophy.
Enhances Libido and Sexual Function
There have been multiple studies that if you take a DHT blocker, men could experience lower sex drives, erectile dysfunction, prolonged time to ejaculation, depression, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Conversely, a healthy amount of DHT allows your libido and sexual drive to remain alive and well.
Increases Strength and Muscle Growth
Being the top androgen hormone in your body, DHT is your #1 resource for the gains you find in the gym.
Allegedly, the small percentage of DHT you have is usually deactivated by another enzyme (3α-hydroxysteroid reductase)…and this happens quite quickly.
Well, for one DHT ups amino acid intake, especially in your fast-twitch muscle fibers and your LAT2, which is a coding gene for protein.
For two, it improves protein synthesis in your cells, as well as cell proliferation, cell signaling, and production of ATP (the main energy for cells).
DHT is the most important source for enhancing your workouts in terms of strength and muscle.
Improved Male Characteristics
DHT supplements will help with its main purpose – making you more male. Hair, voice, ego, and sexual function are all enhanced.
This will be more prevalent if you have a history of low DHT; however, if you don’t, be careful with the dosage, as too much could be an issue (see: Side Effects).
While there isn’t some huge laundry list associated with the hormone, DHT is massively crucial to a man’s overall wellbeing.
What it lacks in quantity in benefits it makes up for in quality; the level at which it blocks estrogen, ups strength and muscle size, and jacks libido is enough to make any man scurry for more DHT.
Does DHT Increase Testosterone?
In short, DHT doesn’t technically increase your testosterone levels.
However, the testosterone that is converted into DHT provides a more potent androgenic function for your body.
So, rather than increase testosterone numbers, DHT gives you more quality testosterone from what you already have.
Dihydrotestosterone is considered the king of all androgen hormones.
Therefore, it’s the king hormone for gaining solid muscle and massively improving your strength.
Instead of wanting additional testosterone, you should be looking for ways to enhance your DHT.
Dihydrotestosterone vs Testosterone
As we have previously covered, a small yet sizeable percentage of testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone.
The easiest way to think about it is, DHT is testosterone on steroids. So…a steroidal hormone on steroids.
With experts ranging from a 3x to 10x effect on libido and central nervous system activation for enhanced training performance, DHT is the best thing for a bodybuilder when compared to testosterone alone.
Both are extremely important for a man’s health and life, but when it comes to lifting heavy and getting big and strong, DHT takes the androgen cake.
Top DHT Supplement Reviews
Butea Superba Root
First up on our list of supplements is Butea Superba Root, from the people at Swanson Premium.
Butea superba root is a powder derived from a plant native to Thailand, China, Vietnam, and India.
Used for years in Asia to treat aging in men because of its pythoandogens, which mimics male hormones (especially for sexual function).
Specifically, Swanson’s Butea Superba Root supplement is the top product in the game.
One capsule with water daily nets you 400 mg of the root powder.
After two to three weeks of dosing butea superba root, you should see results in the gym (and in the bedroom).
For one of the most studied and praised supplements for DHT, go for butea superba root.
One of the various trace minerals that are wonderful for men (and women), boron gives you a lot of bang for your buck in terms of androgenic benefit.
As you may have discovered in our article on boron, boron is incredibly anti-estrogenic.
However, it’s also a mineral that increases serum DHT levels while decreasing SHBG levels (a glycoprotein that binds androgen hormones to estrogen).
Another advantage to boron is it improves circulation and nitric oxide in the bloodstream.
As for a supplement, Pure Encapsulations is your best bet. It is pure boron, with the inclusion of plant fiber and a veggie capsule.
Each 1-capsule serving gives you 2 mg of boron in the form of boron glycinate (again, you don’t need much to reap the rewards).
If you’re looking for a mineral that gives you so much for so little, look no further with boron.
One of the most popular supplements in the health industry, creatine monohydrate is notorious for massive gains. DHT might be the reason why.
The sheer number of studies conducted on creatine and its various forms is nothing short of astounding.
A massively famous study back in 2009 showed that after a 7-day loading period of 25 gram creatine monohydrate daily, “levels of DHT increased by 56%” and “ remained 40% above baseline after 14 days maintenance.”
Plus, the testosterone-DHT ratio jumped up by 36% in the first 7 days, and remained 22% above normal for the maintenance phase.
With all these studies comes all these supplements.
Thankfully, BulkSupplements hands-down takes the cake for optimized creatine monohydrate.
A ½ teaspoon serving gives you the 2500 mg…and their kilo package includes a whopping 400 servings! You could bump up your dose to something close to that 2009 study to see if your DHT goes through the roof too!
For optimized workout performance and heightened DHT, you have to give creatine monohydrate a try.
Known as the only natural herb that has actual androgens in it, including DHT, pine pollen is a solid option for your DHT supplement.
In fact, pine pollen has a ton of things hidden inside, such as vitamin D3, testosterone, epitestosterone, and androstenedione.
This can be translated to increased male sex hormones, least of which is DHT.
Plus, with studies confirming pine pollen could have anti-aging and antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties, it could be one of those all-encompassing superfoods that your body could really benefit from.
Pine pollen powder pills (say that five times fast) is the most effective way of getting your androgen boost.
Lost Empire Herbs has a fantastic supplement, netting you 1290 mg of pine pollen in 3 capsules.
And with 50 servings per container, you either go straight for almost two months or cycle for up to four months.
For the all-natural supplement to empower your DHT production, pine pollen is your new best friend.
A grain that’s actually part of the grass family, sorghum isn’t well-known in the supplement industry…but it’s about to be.
Hailing from Africa, it’s often used as a flour, but ranks behind rice, wheat, barley, and maize for crops in the continent.
However, sorghum is gluten-free and is amazing for upping your DHT. In a study from 2011, it was found that sorghum extract can increase 5α-reductase enzyme levels by 54%.
More enzyme, more production of dihydrotestosterone, more male characteristics and muscle.
While sorghum is usually used as a flour (it can be found in gluten-free baked goods and beer), there is a capsule supplement from Jobelyn.
Their capsules include 250 mg of sorghum bicolor leaf powder, and at 100 servings per bottle, you get a ton of health benefits for a great value.
Be the trailblazer and grab a bottle of sorghum supplement to increase your strength and gym performance.
An essential micronutrient for us humans, zinc provides regulation for over 100 enzymes. Can you guess whether or not it has an effect on 5α-reductase, and therefore DHT?
Interestingly enough, though, there is some slight confusion with zinc and DHT.
An in-vitro study with test tubes shows that zinc actually blocks the enzyme, which would reduce DHT; however, a study on live humans shows that additional zinc supplementation boosts dihydrotestosterone production, even if there isn’t a zinc deficiency.
The reason for the polar opposite results is most likely due to the first study being in-vitro via test tubes and the second being taken orally by humans.
In our opinion, believe in the study that closely resembles how you’re going to take zinc.
There are a bunch of zinc supplements out there, but our favorite comes from the labs at Thorne Research.
This zinc picolinate provides 15 mg (again, as a trace mineral you don’t need a lot) per capsule serving.
It gives you more than 100% of your percent daily value for two months with just one bottle.
Plus it doesn’t have many other ingredients, though it does include leucine, an essential amino acid used in the biosynthesis of proteins (a.k.a. additional muscle).
You need your daily zinc anyways, so why not boost your DHT too with this awesome supplement?
Lastly, we have the amide part of vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid.
A very scientifically dense element, niacinamide is part of a bigger compound that acts as a cofactor in anabolic/androgenic reactions within the body.
This means testosterone and DHT production are upregulated with the presence of niacinamide, seeing as the compound it’s part of is necessary for the production of the 5α-reductase enzyme.
Multiple studies have confirmed this, as well as improved androgen receptor signaling.
Thorne Research is back with the top niacinamide supplement available to all you guys out there.
Their formula gets you 500 mg of niacinamide in one pill, with nothing else but the cellulose for the capsule.
You can take one to three servings daily, so experiment with your results and threshold. Besides, they give you 180 capsules, so you’ll be set for a long time.
If you want to literally amp up the entire DHT process, from enzyme to hormone, niacinamide is a tough supplement to beat for optimization.
DHT Supplement Dosage
If you decide supplementing DHT is your strategy for getting swole – highly recommended – then you’ll want to supplement correctly.
The truth is, there are countless ways to optimize your DHT levels.
This makes pinpointing a specific dosage rather tricky.
For instance, both maintaining a healthy weight (low body fat) and zinc help you boost your DHT. But body fat percentage and milligrams of zinc are separate measurements.
As a general rule, for the non-supplement suggestions (which we’ll go over below), assume there’s a targeted range or habit you’ll want to hit consistently.
There are three all-natural ways you can essentially increase your DHT:
Staying at an ideal weight: How much you weigh – and specifically how much body fat you have – will result in how much testosterone you produce (ergo, how much DHT you make from that testosterone). Less fat, more T, more DHT. Simple as that.
Keeping a consistent resistance training regimen: Here’s a shocker – lifting weights helps stimulate hormone production. (We hope this isn’t actually a shocker to you.) One of the top recipients of this amazing benefit is testosterone, which translates to additional DHT.
Eating a nutritional diet: Caloric deficits and eating a wide variety of whole foods will aid you in your quest for more DHT. The nutrients found in most plants and protein sources can boost your hormones. But watch out: Certain foods, like pumpkin seeds and green tea, can inhibit 5α-reductase, which would decrease your DHT levels.
Like we said, these three are really hard to quantify as a dose. They act more like a goal to hit – 10% body fat, lifting four times per week, or eating your bodyweight times 12 for daily calories.
In our supplement reviews below, we suggest following the recommendation on the bottles. These amounts – unless otherwise specified – should suffice for your DHT needs.
DHT Side Effects
Finally, let’s look at some common side effects of taking a dihydrotestostone supplement.
DHT & Male Baldness
As is usually the case, too much of a good thing (in this, DHT) can cause negative side-effects. One of those for men is male pattern baldness, or a reduction in the hair that grows on your head.
Studies show that DHT may cause hair follicles to shrink, which can expedite how quickly you go bald. Most men are headed down this path anyway (studies show most men experience hair loss to some degree by age 50), but you may not want to accelerate the process.
Can You Reduce DHT?
In short, practicing a healthy lifestyle is the easiest way to reduce DHT naturally.
While things like exercise and a healthy diet can elevate DHT levels, the truth is that your body’s hormones typically reach an ideal state when your systems are healthy and functioning.
And if you’re taking a DHT supplement, you can always stop taking it and focus on the basics for a while. If your results in the gym seem to be diminishing, or you weren’t noticing side-effects, you can try taking it again.
DHT is by far the biggest hormone when it comes to being the ultimate male.
It’s a natural androgen in your body that’s proven to be more potent than testosterone alone.
The benefits are enormous, including naturally enhanced performance in your resistance training.
Choose your weapon when it comes to DHT supplementation, dose correctly, experiment smartly, and you could be on your way to unprecedented lifting heights.