Dihydrotestosterone is the supremacy of all androgens – the king of kings. Dihydrotestosterone, in simple words, is what makes a man a masculine man. Every man should increase dihydrotestosterone naturally for a greater life.
Dihydrotestosterone is a sex steroid and the strongest androgen hormone. The enzyme 5α-reductase synthesizes dihydrotestosterone from testosterone in the prostate, testes, hair follicles, and adrenal glands. Dihydrotestosterone, unlike other anabolic hormones, cannot be aromatized (converted into estrogen). Dihydrotestosterone has 2-3 times greater androgen receptor affinity than testosterone and has 15-30 times greater affinity than adrenal androgens.
Dihydrotestosterone gets a lot of hate for hair loss problems. The studies are all inconclusive though, some say the cause of hair loss is low testosterone, some say high dihydrotestosterone, and some say the dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio. Either way, even if it did cause hair loss, I’d rather be a bald badass than a relic with a full head of hair. If you’d rather be the relic then hop out of here, you’re a brainwashed emasculated man.
Now if you want to increase dihydrotestosterone naturally the 2 things that will increase dihydrotestosterone by far the most are being lean and staying away from 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. When it comes to increasing dihydrotestosterone these 2 things alone will increase dihydrotestosterone A LOT.
How to Increase Dihydrotestosterone Naturally
- Testosterone optimization in general (REM sleep 8-9 hours, eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, and training without overtraining)
- Get to a low body fat % (7-10%)
- Pine pollen
- Fix vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Vitamin D supplementation / sun exposure on a daily basis
- Zinc supplementation in moderate doses
- Eat plenty of quality carbs
- Eat quality saturated and monounsaturated fats
- Drink black coffee a few times a week
- Butea superba
- Avoid all soy products and anything with soy ingredients
- Avoid 5 alpha inhibitors
- Watch your fiber intake
- Resistance training and HIIT
Testosterone Optimization in General
Dihydrotestosterone is made from testosterone by the 5-alpha reductase enzymes. The more testosterone you have, the more that can be converted into dihydrotestosterone, so that’s why you want to optimize testosterone in general. The way you do that is by optimizing the 3 biggest impacts on your testosterone – REM sleep, eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, and training without overtraining. I’ve written a post on how to optimize those 3 here. Increasing testosterone will increase dihydrotestosterone.
Get to a Low Body Fat % (7-10%)
A fat man and dihydrotestosterone don’t click. As a rule of thumb, the fatter you are, the less dihydrotestosterone your body can produce. That’s because body fat induces aromatase activity (estrogen synthase). Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogens. Aromatase is responsible for the aromatization of androgens into estrogens. Let me put it in layman’s terms for you. Aromatase is the enzyme that takes your testosterone and other androgens and turns them into estrogens. What a shitty enzyme huh?
This study concluded that the regional distribution of fat may influence the metabolism of androgens in adipose tissue, with upper body fat tending to form a lower ratio of estrogens to 5 alpha-reduced androgens than lower body fat.
This study found that aromatase inhibitors give women more muscle mass.
This study found that aromatase inhibiting supplementation at a daily dosage of 300 mg and 600 mg does not completely inhibit aromatase activity, yet it does significantly increase free testosterone, increase dihydrotestosterone, and increase T/E ratio.
This study gave elderly men with low testosterone an aromatase inhibitor daily for 12 weeks and results were, total testosterone significantly increased (doubled in some), and free testosterone significantly increased as well. Estrogen decreased significantly and and LH levels increased.
As you can see blocking aromatase enzyme activity is real great if you want to increase testosterone and most importantly to increase dihydrotestosterone. The greatest way to block aromatase enzyme activity is to lose the damn fat. Get lean and stay lean. Do whatever it takes to reach 10-12% body fat or lower. This is the greatest thing you can do for your anabolic hormones, androgens, and manhood. Start doing intermittent fasting for 24 hours twice a week until you reach 10% body fat. I’ve written the greatest intermittent fasting post, see it here.
Bodybuilding supplements are shit. They’re filled with cheap chemicals to fill up more quantity. That being said, creatine is the exception here. Creatine is pure, it doesn’t have any other ingredients other than creatine itself. Its the most evidence based supplement out on the market, there’s hundreds of studies on it. On top of that, its got a great price (~$15) for a couple of month’s supply.
What got my attention though is creatine increases dihydrotestosterone by 56%. That’s a big increase to your dihydrotestosterone right there. Other than getting to 7-10% body fat and optimizing testosterone in general, not many things will you get you an increase like that.
This well known study done on college rugby players concluded that 3 weeks of creatine supplementation had some great results on dihydrotestosterone (DHT). After 7 days of creatine loading, or a further 14 days of creatine maintenance dose, serum T levels did not change. However, levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increased by 56% after 7 days of creatine loading and remained 40% above baseline after 14 days maintenance. The ratio of DHT:T also increased by 36% after 7 days creatine supplementation and remained elevated by 22% after the maintenance dose.
This study concluded creatine supplementation during training has been reported to promote significantly greater gains in strength, fat free mass, and performance primarily of high intensity exercise tasks. Although not all studies report significant results, the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that creatine supplementation appears to be a generally effective nutritional ergogenic aid for a variety of exercise tasks in a number of athletic and clinical populations.
This study concluded transdermal administration of DHT improves sexual function and may be a useful alternative for androgen replacement. As estrogens are thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of prostate hyperplasia, DHT may be beneficial, compared with aromatizing androgens, in the treatment of aging men.
This study concluded that creatine supplementation during resistance training is more effective at increasing muscle strength and weightlifting performance than resistance training alone.
Creatine isn’t a hyped up bullshit supplement, its a legit supplement backed up by hundreds of scientific studies. So get yourself some creatine monohydrate (purest form) and increase dihydrotestosterone.
Pine pollen is the only natural supplement/herb that has actual androstenedione and other androgens in it.
Examine says pine pollen contains Vitamin D3 at 200ng/g (8 IU per gram) while the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is at 10-300ng, Testosterone (80ng/g), epitestosterone (110ng/g), and androstenedione (590ng/g).
Now the availability of these androgens in pine pollen is not known. 590ng/g of androstenedione is a good amount though. Even if a fraction of that is available for the body to use, that would equal in a lot of DHT production from 5a-androstanedione.
This study says – pine pollen is an attractive agent with potential to reduce aging and attenuate age-related diseases in humans.
This study says pine pollen has some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in the body.
Note: The highest quality and biggest bang for your buck pine pollen product can be found here.
Fix Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Being deficient in any essential vitamin or mineral takes a hit on your overall hormonal health, so it makes sense that being deficient in any essential vitamin or mineral will decrease your dihydrotestosterone.
Here are the 11 most common vitamin / mineral deficiencies. (source)
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fats
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
Now you can buy all those vitamins / nutrients separately and increase your testosterone and overall health, but why would you waste that much money and deal with the inconvenience? Say the average vitamin supplement is $15 and you need to buy 11 different ones. $15 x 11 = $165. That’s a lot of wasted money. That’s one option though, the other is to get a quality multivitamin ($20-$40). You’ll be saving $125-$145.
Though a multivitamin is great, I’d get just a separate vitamin D supplement because all the multivitamins don’t have enough vitamin D for maximum testosterone levels. And if you’re worried about overdosing / vitamin D toxicity, you need to take 40,000 IU per day for several months before you overdose. Most multivitamins have 500-2,000 IU of vitamin D. And most separate vitamin D supplements have 1,000-3,000 IU. So you’re nowhere near overdosing.
Magnesium – This next study shows that supplementation with magnesium increases free and total testosterone levels in sedentary men and in athletes. The increases are higher in those who exercise than in sedentary individuals.
Vitamin E – This study found that the testosterone level was significantly elevated when supplementing with vitamin E. It was also showed that basal plasma testosterone increased in normal male subjects following oral vitamin E supplementation and the responsiveness of plasma testosterone levels to HCG was significantly higher during vitamin E supplementation.
Iodine – The study here found that the interrelationships between thyroid dysfunction and hypogonadism (condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone) in men and boys has to do with iodine deficiency. They were able to treat them with radioiodine therapy.
Calcium – This study’s results show that training results in increased testosterone levels in athletes and that the increase is greater if accompanied by calcium supplementation, which may be useful for increasing overall athletic performance.
With all that being said, the multivitamin I use and recommend is Mega Men by GNC. I’m usually skeptical when it comes to GNC products but Mega Men is an exception here because of the affordable price, high vitamin D content (1,600 IU per serving), the amino acid blend they put in, and the quantity of vitamins and nutrients in the multivitamin.
Vitamin D Supplementation / Sun Exposure on a Daily Basis
You can get vitamin D from the sun, food, or from a supplementation. The last one is the easiest since most people aren’t out in the sun at least 2 hours a day, without a shirt. If you are the exception then skip this, your vitamin D levels are good.
This study is in men taking 3,332 IU of vitamin D for one year, after bringing up serum levels past an average of 50nmol/L increased testosterone from 10.7±3.9 nmol/l to 13.4±4.7 nmol/l. Bioactive and free testosterone also increased. The study suggests that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels.
This study found that a month of vitamin D supplementation at 1332 IU was able to increase insulin secretion by 34.3% in type 2 diabetic patients. This increased secretion was significantly correlated with serum vitamin D levels.
Then this study found that in subjects with Vitamin D deficiency and impaired fasting glucose, 10,000 IU daily for 4 weeks was associated with an increase in insulin sensitivity.
This next study found that men with sufficient D levels (> or =30 microg/l) had significantly higher levels of testosterone and FAI and significantly lower levels of SHBG when compared to D insufficient (20-29.9 microg/l) and D-deficient (<20 microg/l) men.
This study concluded vitamin D deficiency in Australian men may contribute significantly to the development of hip fracture through the effects of secondary hyperparathyroidism, resulting in increased bone loss.
This study found that vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa.
And this study found that vitamin D is necessary for reproductive functions of the male rat.
Vitamin D is one of the greatest vitamins for testosterone and other androgens. I use this vitamin D supplement and it lasts me years. Its a highly concentrated tincture, just one drop gives you 2,000 IUs of vitamin D.
Zinc Supplementation in Moderate Doses
Zinc is a slick one, its found to decrease dihydrotestosterone in high doses, but in low-moderate doses (~11mg a day) it will increase dihydrotestosterone.
In this study the effects of zinc therapy on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and sperm count were studied in 37 patients with idiopathic infertility. In the first group (T less than 4.8 ng/ml; 22 patients), T and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) rose significantly after oral administration of zinc, as did the sperm count. Nine wives became pregnant, six within 3 months and three within 2 months of a second trial. In the second group (T greater than or equal to 4.8 ng/ml; 15 patients), T and sperm count were unaffected by zinc, while dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increased significantly.
This study found zinc supplementation of marginally zinc-deficient normal elderly men for six months resulted in an increase in serum testosterone.
This study found that 4 weeks supplementation of 3mg/kg zinc sulfate to elite wrestlers was able to preserve circulating testosterone and thyroid hormone concentrations, which declined in placebo due to the exhaustive workload.
Zinc supplements all come in 50mg doses because they assume everyone is taking them to fill a deficiency. So if you’re not deficient use about 1/5 of the capsule. Zinc picolinate is absorbed well by the body.
Eat Plenty of Quality Carbs
Quality carbs are starches like potatoes, white rice, buckwheat, and sorghum.
This study found that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet suppresses intratumoral androgen synthesis. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentration with the Low Carb diet was 58% that of the castration resistant prostate cancer bearing mice on the Western diet.
This study suggests if the free testosterone to cortisol ratio is utilized as a marker of training stress or imbalance it is necessary for a moderately high diet of dietary carbohydrate consumed to maintain validity of any observed changes in the ratio value.
This study found that testosterone concentrations in seven normal men were consistently higher after ten days on a high carbohydrate diet than during a high protein diet.
Carbs get a lot of hate, but as you can see they’re essential for testosterone, free testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone.
Eat Quality Saturated and Monounsaturated Fats
Just like carbs, fats are essential for testosterone, free testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone production. Not all fats though. Polyunsaturated fats and trans fats are known to lower testosterone levels.
Sources of great fats include eggs, animal meat, animal organs, avocados, coconut oil, and butter.
This study found that a high fat, low fiber diet resulted in 13% higher testosterone and 12-28% lower estrogen.
This study found that the higher the saturated and monounsaturated to other fats ratio, the higher the testosterone levels and vice versa.
Then this study found that vegetarians have less testosterone on average then non-vegetarians. Vegetarians don’t eat a lot of saturated and monounsaturated fats, instead they eat a lot of polyunsaturated fats found in plant based food.
Drink Black Coffee a Few Times a Week
Caffeine inhibits cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) breakdown. Higher cAMP levels in cells increase testosterone levels. So this makes caffeine pro testosterone. Caffeine increases cortisol as well, more than it increases testosterone. However somehow that increase in cortisol doesn’t affect testosterone, studies found that it actually increases it.
Look at the science behind this. This study found that caffeine increases 5-alpha reductase activity, which should increase dihydrotestosterone.
Black coffee is one of the things worth getting in organic form because non-organic coffee is one of the highest pesticide sprayed foods.
P.S. Get some high quality organic Peruvian Arabica medium roasted, ground, and vacuum sealed coffee from a trusted brand here.
Sorghum is a grain that mainly grows in India. You can make bread with sorghum flour and it tastes damn well. What does it have to do with dihydrotestosterone? Well this study found that sorghum significantly increases the 5-a reductase enzymes (by 54%!!) and that increase in the 5 alpha reductase enzymes should increase dihydrotestosterone.
Butea Superba is a herb from Thai medicine that has been found to increase dihydrotestosterone.
This study found a case of hyperandrogenemia (excessive levels of androgens in the body) due to ingestion of Butea superba. The patient was a Thai single male, aged 35 years, without any underlying disease. He reported a feeling of increased sexual drive after using Butea Superba. Laboratory investigations were performed which showed increased dihydrotestosterone (1512 pg/mL, reference value 250–990 pg/mL). Then one week after he stopped using the herb, the patient had no feeling of increased sexual drive and dihydrotestosterone had decreased to normal level.
The guy used a high dose (study doesn’t say exact number) to increase dihydrotestosterone over the reference range, but still impressive results.
This study concluded the plant preparation appears to improve the erectile function in ED patients without apparent toxicity.
This study found that orally administered Butea superba tubers have an androgenic effect on the reproductive organs of intact and ovariectomized rats, and exhibit anti-estrogenic activity on LH secretion in ovariectomized rats.
This study suggests that Butea Superba can ameliorate chronic stress-induced depression-like symptoms and that the effects of Butea Superba are mediated by restoring dysfunctions of the HPA axis and synaptic plasticity-related signaling systems and neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
This study found that Butea Superba plant extracts tested exhibited antiestrogenic activity.
And this study concluded that Butea Superba tuberous powder suspension at high doses in male rats exhibited adverse effects to blood chemistry, haematology, and blood testosterone level.
Results are looking good. Get a 30:1 Butea Superba extract here.
Avoid All Soy Products and Anything With Soy Ingredients
This is nothing new and most people know this, yet soy is everywhere. A lot of vitamins and mineral supplements have soy ingredients. So read the ingredients in what you’re consuming.
This study found that soy protein, regardless of isoflavone content, decreased dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and DHT/testosterone ratio with minor effects on other hormones, providing evidence for some effects of soy protein on hormones.
This next study followed a man for 2 years – a 19 year old type 1 diabetic but otherwise healthy man with sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet. This case indicates that soy product consumption is related to hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction.
Avoid 5-Alpha Inhibitors
Dihydrotestosterone is made from testosterone by the 5-alpha reductase enzymes, so inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzymes would obviously lead to a smaller and slower production of dihydrotestosterone.
To increase dihydrotestosterone naturally by a lot you need to avoid 5 alpha inhibitors like the plague. Here are the common 5-alpha inhibitors.
- Hair restoration products
- 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor drugs
- A body fat % higher than 15 is a natural 5-alpha inhibitor
- High estrogen levels
- High SHBG levels
- Pumpkin seeds
- Green tea
- Brown rice
- Hemp seeds
- Hemp oil
- Saw palmetto
- Giant Dodder
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
What?? I thought coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados are great for testosterone!!! Hold your horses, they are great for testosterone. However they’re not that great for dihydrotestosterone because of a component in them that inhibits 5-alpha reductase activity (study 1) (study 2).
Does this mean I’m dropping coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados? No. I just won’t be eating them on a daily basis, maybe even a few times a week.
Whatever you do though, stay away from hair restoration products since they use drugs that inhibit 5-alpha reductase activity and completely block dihydrotestosterone production. Would you rather be a bald badass or a relic with a full head of hair?
You can see this in people who’ve used hair restoration products – the lowered dihydrotestosterone is noticeable all over their faces.
Watch Your Fiber Intake
There isn’t any research directly saying that fiber lowers testosterone, but there’s a couple of studies involving fiber.
There’s this study on 43 healthy men that looks at the hormonal effects of going on a high fat, low fiber diet vs low fat, high fiber diet. The results were, the men eating high fat, low fiber had 13% more testosterone and 12-28% less estrogen.
The thing with this study is there’s nothing to make out of it. Its well known that a low fat diet lowers testosterone. So there’s no way to know if the fiber even made a difference.
That being said, I did some experimenting on fiber intake. I found that my focus, productivity, and overall well-being is better when I keep my fiber intake around the RDI amount (30-35g). Many other people came to the same conclusion.
There’s no evidence here, but remember if you consume more fiber that leaves less space for fats and carbs, which are known to increase testosterone. So I’d say most people should go for 25-35g of fiber a day.
Resistance training and HIIT
Everyone knows resistance training and HIIT increase testosterone and human growth hormone, most people don’t know that it will increase dihydrotestosterone a lot though.
The way you want to train is short, intense as hell, and use a lot of muscles. 3 stellar examples of this are short sprints, weighted high jump squats, and muscle ups.
This study found that 5α-reductase expressions were significantly restored by resistance training. The study concluded – progressive resistance training restores age-related declines in sex steroidogenic enzyme and muscle sex steroid hormone levels in older men.
This study concludes that testosterone increased in response to high-intensity cycling and resistance exercise.
This study found that short-term strength training elevates anabolic hormones.
There you have it – how to increase dihydrotestosterone and become mighty and macho.
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