Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is considered the master hormone that makes men the beasts that we are. It’s the very thing inside our body that makes us alpha and yes, it’s more manly than plain old testosterone. Both have similar functions but unlike testosterone, DHT is immune to estrogen conversion via aromatase enzyme. In fact, DHT is considered super testosterone since it can do what testosterone does but better.
DHT is responsible for the following:
- Body hair growth and linear beard growth
- Boosting mood, energy, and confidence
- Increasing cAMP levels in tissue which in turn stimulates lipolysis (fat burning) and enhances thyroid function.
- Promotes strength and nervous system function.
- Responsible for all masculine body and facial characteristics (wide jaw, broad shoulders, etc.)
- Increased DHT levels are strongly linked to higher brain GABA-levels, promoting that calm “alpha male” relaxation in any situation
- Even more potent than testosterone at promoting libido and erection quality
With all the benefits provided by DHT, only around 5% testosterone is converted to this superior form so naturally, the best way to increase DHT is to first increase testosterone. Here are a few yet scientifically proven ways to boost your testosterone and in turn get your DHT up and soaring!
1. Burn all the body fat
When it comes to maximizing DHT, you really have to get your body ripped. We’re not talking about insane single-digit levels but try to get it down to 15% if you want to maximize DHT production. Having a low fat percentage will also help prevent the extra adipose tissue won’t convert most of that T into estrogen by increased aromatase activity.
It has been well-documented that fat men have significantly lower testosterone levels than lean men according to several studies (1, 2, 3, 4) and not surprisingly accompanied with elevated aromatase activity.
And hey, if you got less fat you’ll also look sexier and prevent the worst thing a fat guy could have: manboobs.
2. Get your T up!
As mentioned earlier, the amount of DHT you have is heavily dependent on how much testosterone you have. Therefore logically, as your testosterone production gets higher, so does your DHT production.
Testosterone replacement therapy one direct way of directly increasing testosterone in the body. Studies show promising results when it comes to serum testosterone levels as well as DHT levels. (1, 2, 3)
3. Lift heavy and lift good
The benefits of resistance training no longer needs any extra praising but we just have to mention how great it is for a guy’s T levels. The boost each lift gives is more than enough to improve DHT levels.
4. Don’t jog, sprint!
Any type of exercise that promotes explosiveness is healthy for testosterone and DHT. A study shows DHT levels go through the roof after a good sprinting session. Another study notes all anabolic/androgenic hormones skyrocket with sprints, but it has to be an all-out spurt to actually stimulate DHT production. That means you gotta go fast as quickly as possible.
5. Wear a mask
Not just any mask but one of those funny-looking altitude masks. These masks help get your body adjusted to a low-oxygen environment but why would you want to simulate suffocation during training? As it turns out, intermittent hypoxia or short-term low-oxygen exposure promotes testosterone production through speeding up cAMP and other testicular enzymes. Low-oxygen states also boost testosterone-DHT conversion in the skin and hair.
6. Eat enough quality calories
Starving yourself (outside the context of intermittent fasting) is really bad for your DHT as in the case of bodybuilders who want to have that really veiny/dried up look. That involves extremely low-calorie meals + excessive amounts of exercise and often results to terrifyingly low levels of testosterone.
But you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to get extremely low levels of testosterone. A 7-year study (yeah, it can get that long) monitored two groups of men where one maintained a calorie-deficit diet and the other ate normal amounts. Unsurprisingly, long-term caloric restriction resulted to significantly lower testosterone levels than the normal calorie group. And low T = low DHT.
7. Maintain a stable carb level
I’m a fan of the ketogenic diet but it’s not as foolproof as it’s made out to be. A study noted higher carb intake (with a 2:1 carb-protein ratio) is associated with higher testosterone and reduced cortisol and low carb diets like ketogenic diets definitely don’t have this perk.
This is the reason why it’s important to cycle low carb diets or at least eat foods rich in testosterone-boosting vitamins and minerals during a low-carb cycle.
8. Moderate your protein
Protein is cool and all but it’s one of those nutrients that fitness enthusiasts take too much of. Sure, good amounts of protein is great for testosterone and consequently, DHT but too much can wreak havoc on your hormones too.
9. Get plenty of healthy fat!
Severa studies show increased amounts of dietary fat results in elevated levels of testosterone – and as to be expected – higher DHT levels too. (1, 2, 3) The types of fat you should be eating are saturated fat and monounsaturated fat. You should definitely avoid polyunsaturated fat as it has deleterious effects on testosterone.
Your fat sources should come from eggs, grass-fed butter, red meat, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados. Reduce the amount of vegetable oils (specially hydrogenated ones) since these are mostly polyunsaturated in nature.
10. Drink good coffee
No, we’re not pulling your tail. Coffee has been shown to be beneficial to testosterone and DHT. One rodent study notes a 57% DHT increase when they used human equivalents of 2-4 mg/kg caffeine.
Supplements you can take for more DHT
We love to eat nutrients but sometimes the food is just not available or too expensive for the amount we get. This is where supplementation comes in. We’re not going to list a lot but only the top 6 supplements you should probably consider buying even if you do have T-boosting ingredients in the fridge. We’ll focus mostly on studies that show testosterone boosting as high testosterone leads to higher DHT anyway.
1. Tongkat Ali
Tongkat ali is a popular men’s supplement because not only can it get your erections hard but it also raises testosterone by as much as 37%. The good thing is this supplement is as common as vitamins and minerals and you only really have to watch out for quality as well as the standardization of the extract.
Creatine is the number one supplement when it comes to fitness benefits and number of studies. Granted you can get good muscle without supplementing creatine but even the guys at the Paleo group admit creatine supplementation is good if done correctly.
For testosterone, creatine has been cited to increase testosterone levels in several studies, and it does so even at rest, without even needing the exercise induced testosterone stimulation to actually be effective.
Plain creatine monohydrate should do as even the more expensive ones have more or less similar effects.
Boron isn’t exactly your every day supplement but many multivitamins and minerals products are now including it in their roster due to its hormonal benefits specially for men. Boron optimizes T-helpers magnesium and vitamin D while fighting “T-killers” estradiol and sex hormone binding globulin. Research shows taking 10 mg Boron significantly raised blood testosterone levels in only one week.
Look for Boron available as amino acid chelate, it’s more bioavailable and could boost testosterone at smaller doses.
4. D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)
This sex hormone supercharger signals for testosterone raw material delivery, sparks testosterone synthesis, and boosts T-helper hormones. Human research shows 42% testosterone increase in just 12 days.
The form D-AA-CC is what you want but even plain DAA is decent.
Zinc is concentrated in testes, where it triggers testosterone synthesis, serves as a testosterone building block & neutralizes girly prolactin hormone. Zinc Citrate is great and it’s not as expensive compared to Zinc Picolinate.
6. Vitamin D
The vitamin from the sun! While nothing beats natural sunlight, taking vitamin D supplements will still benefit your testosterone. The best form you can take is D3 or as cholecalciferol which mimics the natural form we get from the sun. D2 isn’t bad but it’s not as efficient as D3.