Should I monitor DHT?

by West Conner

telly-savalasDr. Conner,
Should I monitor DHT? Can I do anything to keep it low? Is it ever an issue? Do you recommend I continue to take saw palmetto or does the science not support its use?


You can monitor DHT if you want to, but I don’t feel it’s necessary. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a byproduct of testosterone. You don’t want to try and keep it low.

DHT is very important to our bodies. Without the proper amount of DHT, a man would have no body hair. Without proper amounts of DHT, the male sex organs will fail to mature and low DHT causes low sex drive and impaired sexual function. Proper amounts of DHT are required for muscle growth and muscle strength. Studies show DHT helps regulate cholesterol levels and improves body composition.

DHT protects the male body against estrogens. DHT inhibits the activity of estrogens on tissues. Most likely, it does this by competitively blocking the estrogen receptor. Also, DHT has been shown to block the production of estrogens from testosterone by inhibiting the activity of the aromatase enzyme.

There are two issues men have with DHT, male pattern baldness and prostate enlargement. We’ll take these one at a time.

If you are genetically predisposed to go bald, you are going to go bald. There is no way to stop it. We know that when DHT binds to the genetically predisposed hair cell, it stops the hair growth. Having a high level of DHT does not cause baldness, genetics cause baldness. The drug finasteride is being used to slow down male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT. It will slow the progress of baldness only. Having a high DHT level will increase the rate of baldness only if you are genetically predisposed to go bald.

Many unknowing physicians blame DHT as the primary cause of prostate enlargement. Studies show the androgens-to-estrogens balance, along with overall androgen ratios, is the key factor with prostate issues. In other words, in cases of enlarged prostate, estrogen is the likely culprit. When the male body has high estrogen levels, it has a feminizing effect including wider hips, increased breast tissue, and enlargement of the prostate.

Doctors will prescribe medication to block DHT and/or testosterone thinking this will solve the prostate issue. All they are doing is shutting down the man’s testosterone level making him feel terrible. Men feel best with adequate levels of testosterone, DHT, DHEA, and estrogens.  Prostate issues are solved by lowering estrogens to normal levels.  Also, just so you are aware, enlarged prostate is very different from prostate cancer.

I would recommend you avoid saw palmetto, which can block the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Saw palmetto can also reduce androgen receptor uptake of testosterone and DHT, which just makes things worse. Instead, take nettle root or stinging nettle. It has some mild benefits of unbinding testosterone and DHT from the glycoprotein sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Nettle root also helps to block the conversion of testosterone into estrogens. Taking one prescription anastrazole weekly will work much better for both of these benefits.

Nettle root does work for prostate issues and has been shows to decrease nighttime urination frequency, improve urination power, and help shrink enlarged prostate tissue.

In summary, don’t worry about it…unless you want to slow down your Kojak look.


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