DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a byproduct of the male hormone
testosterone. A naturally occurring substance, DHT helps control
the development and functioning of the prostate gland, and
in most men, it's relatively harmless. However, high levels
of DHT can overwhelm the body, especially if a man has poor
blood circulation. Some studies have shown that DHT can damage
hair follicles, leading to male pattern baldness. Other research
has suggested that DHT can lead to an enlarged prostate or,
in extreme cases, cancer of the prostate gland.
the years, many drugs have been developed in the hopes of
blocking the effects of DHT, but these drugs have brought
with them a variety of unwanted side-effects. Researchers
in the U.S. and China recently discovered that the answer
to stopping DHT may be as easy as eating soy.
The scientists conducted a pair of experiments on rats. Both
sets of rats were injected with "equol," a molecule abundant
in soybeans and other soy-based products. While the equol
did not prevent DHT from being made, it "handcuffed" the hormone
by binding to and deactivating it.
"Directly binding and inactivating DHT without influencing
testosterone gives equol the ability to reduce many of the
harmful effects of androgens [male hormones] without affecting
the beneficial ones," said the study's lead researcher. Another
one of the study authors added that the findings "are of immense
Lund TD, Munson DJ, Haldy ME, et al. Equol is a novel anti-androgen
that inhibits prostate growth and hormone feedback. Biology
of Reproduction 2004;70:1188-1195.
Additional information about the benefits of sound nutrition
can be found at www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/nutrition.