Has the sudden spike in hair loss been worrying you? Whether you have spotted drastic hair shedding or a chunk of hair strands on your pillow, it’s critical to know if elevated DHT levels are your culprits.
"An increase in Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)  levels has been one of the primary contributors for both male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
In this article, let’s understand how DHT causes hair loss and how you can treat it naturally with holistic Ayurvedic remedies.
What Is DHT? What Does It Do To Your Hair?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative of the testosterone hormone (male sex hormone). An enzyme called ‘5α-reductase’ is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT molecules in various tissues like prostate gland, liver, brain, skin along with hair follicles.
DHT is crucial for the development of male biological characteristics like facial hair, muscles, deep voice, etc. in an adult male. But, when produced in excessive levels, DHT molecules bind to your hair follicle receptors, blocking the blood supply to your follicle cells. This prevents the dermal papilla from receiving essential nutrients for hair growth, resulting in the miniaturization of your hair follicles.
While it is a very common hair loss factor in men, termed as ‘Androgenic alopecia’  (male pattern baldness), women too experience hair loss due to DHT imbalance (female pattern baldness).
At normal rate, about 10 % of Testosterone produced in men is converted to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by 5𝝰-reductase enzymes.
What Causes DHT To Increase As Per Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, hair loss is caused when there is an imbalance in the harmony of tridoshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha (biological energies in your body).
Hair loss due to increased DHT Levels is related to the imbalance of Pitta dosha  in Ayurvedic science. Wondering how?
Your body requires efficient metabolism in the liver to inactivate DHT and excrete it through urine, to keep DHT in balance. Deranged Pitta dosha affects the metabolism in your body, thus leading to the accumulation of DHT in hair follicle receptors.
Also, people whose innate Prakriti is dominant in Pitta dosha (by genetics) are more prone to experience hair loss due to a rise in DHT levels.
How To Reduce DHT Levels On Scalp With Ayurveda?
1. Ayurvedic Herbs That Control DHT Levels
A. Kumari (Aloe Vera)
Aloe vera contains linoleic acid  and phytosterols, which are potent inhibitors of 5α-reductase. Thus, it reduces the formation of DHT molecules in your scalp. Also, aloe vera treats your scalp conditions like itching, dry hair and dandruff while it keeps your hair well-nourished.
B. Krishna Tila (Black Sesame)
Krishna tila contains 41% of linoleic acid, 39% of oleic acid , 14.5% of lauric acid and lignans, which are well known as potential 5α-reductase inhibitors. Also, krishna tila aids in enhancing your hair’s natural color and provides a soothing effect to your scalp.
C. Grape Seed
Grapeseed contains 69.6% of linoleic acid and 15.8% of oleic acid. It is very helpful in inhibiting DHT production on your scalp. Also, it seals the moisture in your hair and treats dandruff.
D. Flax Seed
Flax seeds contain 53% of α-linolenic acid, 17% of linoleic acid and 19% of oleic acid along with lignans which act as DHT blockers in your hair follicles. It also saves your hair from free-radical damage with its rich antioxidant properties and promotes stronger hair growth.
E. Poppy Seed
The poppy seed contains 74.5 % of linoleic acid, which makes it a very good DHT inhibitor. The poppy seed also boosts collagen production on your scalp, which is needful in root strengthening and imparts a soft texture to your hair.
F. Kalonji (Black Cumin)
Black cumin contains 65% of linoleic acid and 25% of oleic acid to control the production of DHT in follicles. It also acts as a natural moisturizer for your hair while it treats dryness and hair fall.
G. Jatamansi (Spikenard)
Besides being a great stress reliever, jatamansi is also known for inhibiting the binding of DHT molecules to your receptors at follicles as it is a good source for lignans  and neolignans.
H. Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)
Brahmi, with its rich content of sterols (beta-sitosterol  and stigmasterol), aid in blocking the DHT at your follicle receptors. Brahmi aids in enhancing your blood supply by loosening the blood vessels on your scalp. Thus, it lets nutrients enter the follicles freely. It is best known for rejuvenating your nerve and scalp cells.
I. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Amla is a rich source of linoleic acid, oleic acid, and polyphenols  that aid in blocking DHT. Also, it is high in iron and protein, which helps you attain softer, shinier and voluminous hair.
J. Yashtimadhu (Licorice)
Licorice  contains poly estrogens, which reduces the production of testosterone levels and in turn, controls DHT levels in your scalp. Besides accelerating your hair growth, licorice is an effective scalp soothing herb while it treats scalp irritation, scabs and dandruff efficiently.
K. Fennel Seed
Fennel seeds contain trans-anethole and di-anethole, which work against the production of DHT in your scalp. With antioxidants and nutrients, fennel seeds provide deep nourishment to your hair.
L. Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus Pluricaulis)
Shankhpushpi is rich in linoleic acid and phytosterols like beta-sitosterol, which inhibits the production of DHT efficiently. It also aids in preventing premature greying and stress-related hair loss.
2. Ayurvedic Treatments With DHT Controlling Herbs
Nasya kriya, i.e. inhaling medicated oils into your respiratory tract, is one of the prominent Ayurvedic methods to treat DHT Hair loss. It is the fastest way for oils to enter into your nerve receptors.
"Through your olfactory system, the oils reach your blood circulatory system, from where the oil molecules can bind to your scalp receptors and change its chemical composition. Thus, it can prevent your scalp receptors from getting blocked with DHT molecules," says Dr. Zeel.
Performing Nasya regularly with anu taila or sesame oil, which are efficient DHT blockers, promotes healthy hair growth while keeping your Pitta in balance.
B. Oil Massage
Use Ayurvedic oils that contain DHT controlling herbal ingredients to massage your scalp and hair regularly. Warm oils applied to your scalp carry the DHT blocking herbs into the deeper tissues of your scalp. On the other side, massaging enhances the blood circulation to your scalp follicles. Thus, your hair follicles are nourished with essential nutrients while DHT binding is prevented.
C. Regular Hair Cleansing
Use hair cleansers containing DHT controlling herbs to wash your hair regularly. Ayurvedic hair cleansers unclog your follicles without stripping off the natural oils of your scalp.
While the herbal ingredients with natural DHT blocking properties enhance the free blood circulation to your follicles. The herbs may also help in widening your hair follicles, thus, boosting thicker and stronger hair growth.
D. Hair Packs
You can include Ayurvedic herbal extracts with DHT controlling properties in your hair masks. Regular application of hair packs with powerful Ayurvedic herbs not only treat your DHT hair loss, but also provide immense nourishment and conditioning to your scalp and hair.
Ensure you choose Ayurvedic herbs based on your current dosha levels for treating DHT hair loss. Thus, you can achieve enduring hair growth while keeping your doshas in balance.
3. Essential Oils
Including any of the following essential oils in your everyday hair care regimen also helps you keep a check on your DHT levels. You can add them into your hair oil, shampoo or hair masks:
- Rosemary oil
- Tea Tree oil
- Pumpkin Seed oil
- Lavender oil
- Saw Palmetto oil
- Peppermint oil
4. Ayurvedic Diet
Vegetables that contain zinc - spinach, kale, mushrooms, green peas, beet greens, sweet corn, etc. aid in blocking the production of DHT naturally.
Also, including foods like watermelon, mangoes, tomatoes, carrots, etc., which contain lycopene in your diet controls the DHT levels in your body. Other foods that promote your hair growth by naturally blocking DHT levels are legumes, bananas, soybeans, black pepper, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Avoid fast foods that contain artificial flavors, preservatives, packed foods, etc. as they increase the risk of high DHT production in your body.
5. Ayurvedic Oral Medications
"When digestive Pitta is imbalanced, the overburdened liver conducts an inefficient fat metabolism, which in turn affects DHT metabolism  and elimination," says Dr. Zeel. Also, it allows more free testosterone to get converted into DHT.
Ayurveda suggests the following herbal formulations for oral intake to increase the fat metabolic activity in your liver, thus achieving a balance in your hormonal synthesis and metabolism.
- Trikatu (Black pepper+long pepper+ginger)
- Pippali (Long pepper)
- Rohitaka (Tecomella undulata)
- Trivrit churna (Operculina turpethum)
- Aragvadha (Purging cassia)
- Triphala churna (Haritaki+Vibhataki+Amalaki)
Other Drugs Used To Control DHT
Finasteride and Dutasteride are the drugs that are popular inhibitors of 5α-reductase. These drugs help in reducing the DHT levels in your body by controlling the conversion of testosterone to DHT molecules.
Also, researches suggest that Ketoconazole, which is used as antifungal medication in general, aids in blocking DHT and boosts hair growth. The results are much better when it is used in combination with minoxidil, a widely known and frequently used drug to promote hair growth by widening blood vessels.
We strictly recommend you to administer any of the drugs and herbal medications mentioned in this article under the guidance of an experienced doctor and Ayurvedic practitioner.
What Are The Side Effects Of DHT?
The abnormal high levels of DHT hormones in the body may result in the following side effects:
- Slow healing of the skin after an injury
- Coronary heart disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer
- Hirsutism (facial and pubic hair growth)
- Amenorrhoea (lack of menstrual periods)
Some people may also experience conditions like excess sweating, aggression and sleep apnea due to an increase in DHT levels in the body.
How Do You Know If You Have Too Much DHT?
Androgenetic Alopecia can be identified by an experienced doctor based on the visual inspection of the scalp. Also, your family history of similar hair loss suggests the possibility of high DHT levels causing hair loss as it can be hereditary.
To analyze the DHT production in your body, you can take a clinical blood test or saliva panel test. In men (above 19 years), the normal DHT values range from 112 to 955 pg/ml while in women (between 20-55 years), it is less than or equal to 300pg/mL.
Does Exercise Reduce DHT?
Slow and steady exercises like yoga or jogging will contribute to balancing the DHT levels in your body. On the other side, studies claim that extreme exercises  like bodybuilding will boost the production of DHT as the overdoing of workouts aggravate Pitta dosha in your body.
Hence, to reduce the excess production of DHT, you should have a moderate and regular exercise plan for 3 – 5 days a week.
The Last Word
While you strive to combat your DHT hair loss, drugs that modulate your hormones may also have unwanted side effects. Whereas, Ayurveda, with its natural and medicinal herbs, help you keep the DHT levels in control without adverse effects.
At Vedix, we understand your underlying hair loss factors by analyzing your current dosha levels and craft a customized hair care regimen based on your hair needs.Know Your Dosha Now