Hydrotestosterone is a metabolite of testosterone, the strongest hormone in the body. However, it is not very anabolic, but it is very androgenic. It is important to know how DHT works, because most of the side effects caused by steroids (androgen) are manifested through this hormone.
In order to determine the physiological effects of any steroid we must also look at its metabolites, not just the initial active substance. It is important to note that testosterone potency is greatly increased in tissues that respond to endogenous stimuli when converted to dihydrotestosterone. Better known under the abbreviation of DHT, this hormone is 3-4 times stronger than testosterone, in terms of its binding to receptors. It is the most powerful steroid that is naturally found in our body.
DHT is synthesized in the body with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It is found in large quantities in the prostate, skin, scalp, liver and various regions of the nervous system and represents the body's mechanism to increase the androgenic effects of testosterone where needed. In these areas of the body a little testosterone will reach the tissue, most of it being converted to DHT.
In some respects, this increase in testosterone activity is not desirable because increased androgen activity in certain tissues may have undesirable side effects. Acne, for example, is caused by increased DHT secretion in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Accumulation of DHT in the scalp is responsible for baldness.
The place where the activity of 5-alpha reductase enzyme is reduced are skeletal muscles. If the same thing happens in the other tissues, where the enzyme is active, then serious problems could arise. A good example is a condition of men, rare, called pseudohermaphroditism. It is most common in the Dominican Republic.
Those with this condition are born with very low levels, or the complete lack of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. They have ambiguous genitalia, and are often raised like girls. When they reach puberty, testosterone levels naturally increase, but DHT levels remain very low. Muscles develop normally, but not the same with pubic hair, body hair, prostate and genital organs. Usually, sexual functions and libido are also affected.
Skeletal muscle tissue is different from other muscle tissues in the body. It does not contain the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, so DHT does not form in the muscles. In addition any small amount of DHT that forms or reaches the muscles, is rapidly deactivated by an enzyme called 3alfa-hydroxysteroid reductase. Therefore, the main androgen of muscle tissue is testosterone. However, DHT also has anabolic effects, but much lower than testosterone.
Although much attention is paid to the negative effects that may occur due to the androgenic hormone DHT, it also has proven beneficial effects. For example, it plays an important role in the proper functioning of the central nervous system, with neurons containing androgen receptors active. DHT has been shown to be more effective than testosterone in stimulating these cells.
The strong interaction between the central nervous system and the skeletal muscles, called the neuromuscular system, is very important for athletes. The ability of the body to adapt to training, and to activate nerve endings in muscles is due to the interaction with the non-muscular system. Inhibition of DHT during a steroid cycle may lead to decreased muscle strength and mass. This explains why athletes who use steroids and a 5-alpha reductase enzyme inhibitor Proscar, for example, have reported decreased steroid potency. If testosterone and androgen receptors in muscle were the only ones responsible for increasing muscle mass, the above would make no sense. Therefore, it is clear that DHT also plays an important role here, and we cannot just look at it as a mere side effect.
In short, DHT, due to its activity on the central nervous system, increases neurological efficiency, that is, strength, resistance to physiological and psychological stress, and maintains sexual function and libido.
It is also speculated that the decrease in performance, with the decrease of DHT levels, is also related to the decrease of IGF-1 levels, DHT being an important androgen in the liver (the place where IGF-1 is located).
Another role of dihydrotestosterone in the body, which is not much discussed, is its antagonism to estrogen (its function as an estrogen). Those who use Proscar find this on their skin, developing gynecomastia (breast augmentation in men). It manifests its function of antiestrogen by 3 methods:
competition with estrogen for specific receptors;
stopping estrogen formation from androgens by blocking the aromatase enzyme (the one responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen);
decrease of secreted gonadotropins by action on the hypothalamus / pituitary gland; thus, the raw materials for estrogen are no longer supplied.
Dihydrotestosterone can be both a friend and an enemy. As in everything, there must be a balance, and blocking it completely or leaving it unattended can have negative consequences, especially for those who use anabolic and androgenic steroids.