5 Foods to Boost DHT Levels and 5-Alpha Reductase Naturally for Androgenic Benefits

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a controversial hormone. Even though it’s the male hormone of the male hormones and a lot more androgenic than testosterone, some are still scared that high levels of it could lead to hair-loss and prostate enlargement.

Whereas the prostate claim has proven to be inaccurate in multiple studies (for example: in this study, 10-fold increase in serum DHT levels had no significant effects on prostate size), the hair loss side-effect of DHT still remains partially unclear (even though in this study with 315 male subjects, it was noted that high DHT levels were associated with a -35% reduced risk of hair loss).

I’m not going to dig deeper into the subject of possible DHT side-effects in this post, since a bunch of men who already seem to understand the importance of having high DHT (amen brothers), have been asking for me to write more about the subject of boosting the king of androgens via good nutrition…

…And that’s exactly what we’re covering here today. How to squeeze out more DHT from your everyday diet.

NOTE: I would have loved to make this post “10 Ways to Get More DHT out of Your Diet”, but given the hysteria that surrounds the possible side-effects of the hormone (sigh), it’s really hard to find anything scientifically proven about boosting DHT, since everyone and their dogs are seemingly more interested in lowering DHT (If you want to fund the research on how to boost DHT, donate to the Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation.)

1. Eat The Right Kinds of Fats

eat the right fats to increase dht levelsDietary fat is one of the most important factors in healthy testosterone production, and not that surprisingly, also in dihydrotestosterone production.

This is because the increased intake of dietary fat boosts testosterone levels, and about 5-15% of that testosterone eventually converts into DHT by the actions of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.

Eating more dietary fat will also increase the levels of the 5-a enzyme needed for that conversion, so don’t forget to eat your damn fats.

I generally recommend about 25-35% of daily calories from fat in order to raise T and DHT levels. However, what’s more important than the amount of the fats, is the type of them…

…Because when it comes down to DHT boosting fatty-acids, all of them are definitely not created equal:

Different Types of Dietary Fat and DHT:
a) It’s a well known fact that PUFAs, aka. polyunsaturated fatty-acids (especially the rancid ones from processed vegetable oils) lower testosterone levels, and therefore also DHT levels. PUFAs also directly inhibit the formation of 5-alpha reductase enzyme in the following inhibitory potency: Gamma-linolenic acid -> Alpha-Linolenic acid -> Linoleic-acid -> Palmitoleic-acid -> Oleic-acid -> Myristoleic-acid.

b) Saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) and monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs) on the other hand seem to increase testosterone and DHT levels (study, study, study, study). However, certain saturated fatty acids can have a slight inhibitory effect on the 5-a reductase enzyme, at least if you believe this test-tube study where medium-chain fatty-acids (those commonly found in tropical oils such as: coconut and palm oil) reduced 5-a activity.

NOTE: That above study is not strong enough evidence for me to stop using coconut oil, since it has such beneficial effects on thyroid function, but if your only goal is to get high DHT, then perhaps don’t go crazy with the stuff.

Boosting DHT levels with dietary fat is very similar to that of testosterone. Just eat a lot of saturated and monounsaturated fatty-acids, while keeping your PUFA intake low. Also, if your goal is to maximize DHT production, then there’s some evidence that lowering the intake of medium-chain fatty-acids (coconut and palm oil) can be beneficial (but it’s not mandatory).

2. Eat More Carbs and Less Protein

more carbohydrates less protein to boost dht levelsThis flies directly into the face of many fitness enthuasists and protein bros…

…you should eat less protein, more carbs. At least that is, if you want to maintain high testosterone and DHT levels.

There’s a lot of evidence showing that diets higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein are great for testosterone production (study, study, study)…

…And one study in particular which showed that a low-protein high-carb diet was superior in boosting DHT levels when compared to a high-protein low-carb diet, due to the fact that higher carbohydrate intake was associated with increased production of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.

NOTE: If you’re looking to furthermore bump-up your DHT production via carbohydrates, then consider adding a grain by the name of sorghum to your diet, it increased 5-a enzyme levels by 54%.

I personally go by the carb to protein ratio of 3:1, and for me that is 60% carbs 20% protein. According to the study above, you could even go higher on carbs and lower on protein than the 2:1 example, but that could be detrimental for your gains in the gym.

3. Consider Organic Foods

organic foods to increase dihydrotestosteroneOrganic foods may not taste that different than conventional produce, and they’re a hell of a lot more expensive too.

Hence, why a lot of people claim that it’s just a waste of money..

From a hormonal point of view, it’s definitely not a waste of money to eat organic though.

Several pesticides generously sprayed on conventional crops have shown to be strong anti-androgens that work by disrupting testosterone synthesis, DHT conversion, and 5-a reductase enzyme activity in the body (study, study, study).

I’m not saying that you have to completely stop eating conventional foods, but if you want to limit your exposure to anti-androgenic pesticides, then it’s not a bad idea to invest a bit on the quality of the stuff that goes into your mouth.

4. Drink More Coffee and Less Tea

coffee increases DHT and 5-alpha reductase enzymeI have great news for all you coffee fanatics, and some rather bad ones for tea lovers.

First of, the bad news: green tea catechins, at least according to this animal study, have 5-a enzyme inhibiting effects…

…Even worse, in this rodent study, theaflavins from black tea lowered DHT levels by -72% and 5-a enzyme levels by -89%.

Then for the good news: Caffeine has the opposite effect, it has increased testosterone levels in few human studies, and in this rodent study, caffeine increased testosterone by 68% and DHT by 57%. According to another study, caffeine acts as a catalyst to the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.

Relying on the evidence above, more coffee and less tea = more DHT.

5. Avoid Soy and Other Phytoestrogens

soy phytoestrogens DHtIt’s a well known fact that phytoestrogen consumption increases estrogen levels, reduces testosterone levels, and has a negative impact on DHT conversion through the already lowered T, and also because many phytoestrogens act as 5-a inhibitors.

Therefore consuming high amounts of foods and drinks that contain phytoestrogens, such as: hops, flax, licorice, soy, etc, can easily become detrimental to your DHT levels.

The phytoestrogenic isoflavones (genistein, daidzein and glyciteinin) in soy are likely the worst offenders when it comes to DHT, since this study shows that men who consume a lot of these soy isoflavones (and also green tea!), produce high amounts of equol in their gut. Another study from 2004 shows that equol is a strong anti-androgen that binds and sequesters DHT from its receptor, rendering the androgen inactive.

Few other studies have shown that soy can reduce DHT (study, study).

So, to keep your DHT levels high and the receptor sites active, maybe cut down on the phytoestrogen consumption.


There you go, 5 simple ways to milk some more DHT from you everyday diet.

Add in few supplements that can increase the 5-a enzyme + lift some heavy weights, and you can soon see your DHT levels skyrocketing.

5 Foods to Boost DHT Levels and 5-Alpha Reductase Naturally for Androgenic Benefits was last modified: March 24th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala
Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
Ali Kuoppala
  • bahadur

    More coffee= low quality sleep … so i wont do that sleep is more important

    • TrainingMan

      Caffeine has a half-life of 6-8 hours, so if you just drink it at the morning or noon it probably won’t be a problem.

      • Denny_Lilly1

        Life is better with coffee and as TrainingMan said, just drink it in the morning and avoid it at night. Problem solved.

  • Ron Tafoya

    I’m currently eating about 40% protein, 40% fat, 20% carbs. Partly because I’m working with a small deficit to lower my body fat. I find fat and protein more satisfying than carbs, so I’m struggling with the idea of eating all those carbs at the expense of protein, because I think I’ll just end up being less satisfied and eat more overall calories. It’s like, I simply crave a certain amount of meat and eggs. And if I eat all those carbs, I’m still going to want the protein too.

  • John Martinek

    I personally wouldn’t drink to much coffee in the morning, as it raises my blood pressure, changes my behaviour from happy to, furious in at least an hour after drinking. Could someone please help me search for a healthier alternative for a more balanced energy boosting diet for mornings? The fact is I only drink one coffee with, no sugar I simply use international delight (a coffee whitener) which is used as a sweetener. Or how much coffee grinds is considered enough for two people? As I always used two table spoons of Folgers. I will over analyze this subject more in depth. I could help out with certain exercises to do that will boost metabolism. If anyone is interested let me know.

    • pixelzombie

      Try some pomegranate juice with l-arginine.

    • Al Pi

      Guarana, an exotic fruit from Brazil is known to have all the same effects as caffeine without all of the side-effects. I would highly suggest looking into that. However if you’re going to stick with coffee- at least choose organic coffee-beans with organic sugar/ no sugar, and organic milk/no milk. Also if you aren’t into the whole coffee sipping experience you could just take the pill form. I’m going to stick with kava kava tea however (despite Ali’s good advice) because it is the best natural anti-stressor out there (on the level of valium) and I am a very stressed person as well, and stress = low T, therefore for me it has more of a benefit than someone who is not a stressed out individual. Tell me what you find out, i’d love to learn more! Cheers!

  • Patrick

    First of all, coffee beans are a potent phytoestrogen, so part five contradicts part four of this article. Secondly, I have read contradictory studies on tea’s effects on DHT. There’s this trend where on hairloss forums everything seems to raise dht and on weightlifting forums everything seems to lower dht. It is like we are all just sort of paranoid by nature. On hair loss forums, everyone cites this study that says green tea raises dht by 74%. The point is, I am a long time coffee drinker, but I really enjoy the benefits of l-theanine in tea. I currently drink coffee and take l-theanine capsules. The main thing preventing me from switching to tea is this business about tea lowering your dht. Well I also love the taste and feeling coffee gives me. It is astounding how the internet has taught me, from reading many studies on the health effects of various foods, that no one–including medical professionals–seems to have any idea what they are talking about. Often times the dose of a food seems critically important and since rodents are much smaller than us and metabolize substances differently, it can be almost infinitely confusing as to how their experiences transmit to ours. To conclude, tea may or may have catechins that lower dht and coffee may or may not have powerful phytoestrogens that indirectly lower dht. There seem to be no conclusive studies that seem able to provide indisputable clarity on the matter. What do we do now?


  • Pieter Bekkers

    Anybody know the benefits of Yerba Maté and it’s effects on T? I am a coffee drinker, but want some variety in my routine and also avoid a certain dependability. Thanks for all the info! Great site Ali!

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  • Henry

    great site Ali! I really like all this information – however the title is misleading: “5 Foods to Boost DHT Levels and 5-Alpha Reductase Naturally for Androgenic Benefits” with the number 5 “Food” being to avoid pytoestrogens such as soy, which is an action (or rather inaction) and not a food!!