What are Anti Androgens?
Anti-Androgens consist of a set of sex hormone antagonists which prevent androgen receptors in the body from producing androgens such as testosterone and dihydrotesterone. The production of these androgens can cause a wide variety of problems from acne to prostate cancer, so the introduction of inhibitors are used as a treatment for these ailments. Largely a discovery of the twentieth century, anti-androgens have been used since the 1930s to treat symptoms directly related with the over production of testosterone in the body. Since then, they have become a market staple used internationally as more affordable methods of treating and maintaining serious threats to personal health.
List of Natural Anti Androgen Supplements and Herbs
Black Cohosh: Black cohosh is a herbal treatment first discovered by pre-contact Native American tribes, was first used as an acne treatment, but eventually became more widely used by Europeans as a general means of treating a variety of women’s issues, like hot flashes or menopausal concerns. Chemically, it bears similarities to estrogen, which is a naturally-occurring anti-androgen that counteracts the effects of androgenic hormones like testosterone. This is our Favorite Black Cohosh on the Market.
Red Clover: A 2003 study on the effects of Red Clover isoflavones on non-malignant prostate enlargement found that the herbal treatment effectively reduced the size of the prostate phenotype, effectively treating a swollen and potentially cancerous prostate. Warning: When it comes to treating Cancer by natural means always check with your oncologist. This is our Favorite Red Clover on the Market.
Green Tea: Since it is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor and due to it’s epigallocatechin content, green tea has been proven to regulate the production of DHT from testosterone. To reduce your testosterone production by roughly 20%, it is suggested that you take roughly 5 cups of green tea every day. This is our Favorite Green Tea on the Market.
Licorice Root: Licorice root is one of the most commonly advertised natural treatments for women experiencing the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a herbal anti-androgen containing phytoestrogen agents that work to reduce and regulate the amount of testosterone produced in the body. Common dosages vary anywhere from 3.5 grams to 7 grams per day, but it is highly suggested that you not go higher than this. This is our Favorite Licorice Root on the Market.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum, Lingzhi): The Reishi mushroom is a herbal 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which prevents the enzyme responsible for testosterone production in the body from achieving its purpose. An extract of Ganoderma Lucidum was used on rats, it showed that it might be a useful treatment for benign prostatic hyperpasia (BPH). The extract inhibited growth caused by testosterone to the ventral prostate. Reishi should be taken anywhere from 6 to 12 grams daily, and individuals undertaking this treatment should see positive results within 12 weeks. There are many other mushrooms that are anti-androgen but Reishi is by far the best. This is our Favorite Reishi on the Market.
Chaste Tea (Vitex agnus-castus): The vitex berry is an estrogen receptor which combats the presence of testosterone in the body and can therefore be used as an anti-androgen. The berry of the chaste tree can be used to make tea or can also be found as an extract. The standard dose for this treatment is between 150-250 mg per day, extracts may vary. This is our Favorite Chaste Tea on the Market.
Spearmint Tea: Although the effects of Spearmint as anti-androgens are not properly tested in clinical environments, it is gaining more and more ground as a treatment for PCOS. A 2010 study found that spearmint caused a “clear and significant alternation in hormone levels” when treating patients for PCOS, ultimately ruling that the herb has “potential for use as a helpful and natural treatment for hirsutism.” Dosages range drastically, from 0.5 – 500 mg per day, depending on age, extracts may vary in dosage. This is our Favorite Spearmint Tea on the Market.
Peppermint Tea: The effects of peppermint tea on testosterone and hormone levels in 2003, found that it exhibited positive benefits at reducing testosterone and increasing follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones in rats. Dosages for peppermint ranges from 450 – 750 mg per day, extracts may vary. This is our Favorite Peppermint Tea on the Market.
White Peony: Peony acts as an androgen synthesis inhibitor, which chemically alters testosterone into estrogen, thereby counteracting the effects of androgenic hormones in the body. This is achieved through 1200-1800 mg per day, extracts may vary in dosage. This is our Favorite White Peony on the Market.
Diindolylmethane: A member of the Brassica family, diindolylmethane is most often found in leafy greens like kale, broccoli, or cauliflower. It contains indole-3-carbinol, which helps to regulate the amount of estrogen in the body or, in some cases, increases it by inducing the aromatase enzyme to increase estrogen production. Suggested dosage is 100 mg per day, extracts may vary. This is our Favorite Diindolylmethane on the Market.
Saw Palmetto: Saw Palmetto, another androgen synthesis inhibitor, works to inhibit the enzymatic biosynthesis of androgenic hormones like testosterone or DHT. Saw Palmetto is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which prevents the production of androgenic hormones in the body. Taken in the wrong dosages, however, it can have the opposite effect, reducing the amount of estrogen in the body. Average dosage is 160-320 mg per day, extracts may vary. This is our Favorite Saw Palmetto on the Market.
Progesterone: Since it is a naturally-occurring 5-alpha reductase inhibitor in the body, progesterone can be taken with some of the smallest effects on the body when dosed correctly. The hormone blocks androgen receptors, preventing the growth of DHT and testosterone before they can be synthesized. The suggested dosage for this treatment is 400mg daily, taken orally and preferably at night, so that the hormone can work while the individual sleeps. This is our Favorite Progesterone on the Market.
Zinc: Zinc increases the level of progesterone in the body, which is a naturally-occurring androgen blocker. In a study completed in 2016, zinc was shown to have positive effects on alopecia and hirsutism in patients over the course of 8 weeks. Whereas other anti-androgens prevent the production of androgenic hormones in the body, zinc introduces a counterbalance to these hormones, achieving an overall balance in the body. Average dosage is roughly 50mg per day. Zinc is probably my favorite Anti-Androgen supplement, especially considering its other benefits. This is our Favorite Zinc on the Market.
Birth Control: Although birth control is not a natural supplement or herb we figured it needed to be included due to how common it is used for it’s Anti-Androgen purposes. It might be the most used Anti-Androgen out there. Birth Control has the hormones estrogen and progestin in it which is why it’s so commonly used. Generally it is prescribed to treat Acne, although its effectiveness is questionable, especially against other acne medications.
The Anti Androgen Diet
The most effective way to ensure that you are lowering the levels of androgenic hormones in your body is to make sure that you are incorporating anti-androgens into your daily routine. The best way to do that is through the anti-androgen diet, an unofficial collection of foods that are high in anti-androgens, which will help to regulate to your hormone levels throughout the day. These foods can be used in lieu of medications or herbs for individuals with less serious symptoms that want to make a small change to their daily routine, or it can be combined with herbal treatments to help treat more serious conditions. If you are considering using the Anti-Androgen diet it is imperative you check with your doctor.
List of Anti Androgen Foods
Peppermint/Spearmint: The effects of peppermint and spearmint have already been discussed in this article. Add it to your cooking for an anti-androgenic meal.
Soy Products: The science of soy as an anti-androgen comes from its goitrogenic properties, which allow it to inhibit activity in the thyroid gland and is thought to be essential in the production of testosterone in the body. This is our Favorite Soy on the Market.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed is a highly estrogenic food that can reduce testosterone and suppress the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which helps in the production of androgenic hormones. This is our Favorite Flaxseed on the Market.
Vegetable Oils: Due to of the refining process used to produce them, most vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFA), which has been shown to reduce testosterone in clinical tests. This is our Favorite Cooking Oil on the Market.
Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol directly corresponds to androgenic hormones in the body. A 2003 study confirmed this, concluding that chronic alcoholics tend to have a much higher testosterone level in the body than would otherwise be the case. As you can see, not all Anti-Androgen supplements are created equal. Taking alcohol for its anti-androgen effects would be counter productive as it’s a known carcinogen.
Sugar: Overconsumption of sugar has a direct effect on your insulin levels, which helps to regulate your sex hormones. By cutting sugar from your diet, individuals can effect a positive change on their hormone levels.
Caffeine: A 2012 study documented a correlation between caffeine consumption and enlarged prostate leading to cancer in lab rats. Concluding that “chronic intake from puberty increases androgenic signaling and cell proliferation in the rat prostate gland.” By cutting out caffeine as well as sugar, individuals will keep androgenic hormones safely in check. This is our Favorite Coffee on the Market.
Anti Androgen Benefits, Treatments and Uses
Acne: One of the most common symptoms of hyperandrogenism in women is the presence of acne on the skin, as the overproduction of androgen receptors in the body can lead to a similar overproduction of oil glands in the skin. By regulating the production of androgens in the body, individuals can control their acne problems. A 2006 study tested this theory in a clinical environment, finding that androgen receptor antagonists (ARA – androgens which directly block the receptor itself) reduced the increased presence of 5a-reductase, thus effectively treating relating dermatologic conditions like acne.
PCOS: In women, the overproduction of androgen receptors is also linked to polycystic ovary syndrome, in which the ovaries become enlarged and covered in small, painful cysts. This can contribute to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, including heavy bleeding and a lack of ovulation in the uterine lining which causes fewer periods. Scientists in 2013 argued that PCOS is highly linked with hormonal imbalances in the body, and that that effective treatment of women with androgen-excess disorders should consider correcting that imbalance using androgen receptor antagonists.
Hair Loss: One of the symptoms of excess androgen in the body is hair loss, sometimes resulting in male-pattern baldness. Because male-pattern baldness is highly linked with an overproduction of testosterone in the body, it is similarly thought that the use of testosterone blocking hormones will effectively treat hair loss. While the American Hair Loss Association does state that anti-androgen medication purchased through a doctor can sometimes be effective at preventing further hair loss, there is nonetheless no existing study that supports the notion that ARA’s will effectively bring an individual’s hair back. Therefore, treatment for this condition should be used cautiously and at a doctor’s discretion.
Prostate Cancer: The American Cancer society has turned to using what it calls “androgen deprivation therapy” (ADT) in cases of extreme cancer that cannot be cured by radiation or in extreme cases to make radiation treatment potentially more effective. Because prostate cancer is thought to be linked with the overabundance of testosterone and DHT, the target of these treatments is to lower their respective levels in the body. Due to the serious nature behind them, the most common forms of treatment consist of surgical or chemical castration, which the testicles are either removed or disabled using drugs. The use of LHRH antagonists like Degarelx, or CYP17 inhibitors like Abiraterone, have also been used with moderate success at reducing the rate of testosterone produced in the testicles. Warning: When it comes to treating Cancer by natural means always check with your oncologist.
Hirsutism: Because excess androgen in the body leads to male pattern hair growth/loss, it is also possible that men and women with high levels of testosterone or DHT in the body will experience hair growth in other places on the body, such as the chest or chin. Much in the same way that ARA’s can be used to block and regulate the production of androgen hormones to alleviate some of the symptoms of the male pattern baldness, they can similarly be used to prevent and regulate the symptoms of hirsutism, as well. A 2008 study found that the anti-androgen hormone treatments through Flutamide and spironolactone were both effective in reducing the androgen levels in the body, effectively treating hirsutism.
Anti Androgen Side Effects
The side effects of anti-androgens are going to vary based on a number of different factors (what treatment is being used, what dosage, size and weight of the person taking the treatment), however, general side effects associated with anti-androgenic treatment include mood swings, headaches, and loss of libido. You should always check with your doctor before taking any natural supplements. If you are pregnant or breast feeding you need to take extreme care.
Anti Androgens for Women
Anti Androgens are typically used by women who have naturally higher testosterone. Many women are afraid of having manly characteristics or negative affects that additional testosterone will have. High testosterone in women can lead to more masculine facial features, odor, and aggressiveness.
Here is a great video from the point of view of a woman who has dealt with higher testosterone than normal.
Anti Androgens and MTF Transgender Transitions
Due to the increasing amount of gender transitions, Anti Androgens are becoming more popular. When transitioning from male to female (MTF) it is important to suppress testosterone levels. Many people use anti androgen medications but others want to take on a more natural route due to the side effects that some medications can cause. However; since you’re suppressing testosterone side effects like depression might be unavoidable.
If you want more information on using Anti Androgens for MTF Transitions here is a video:
What is the Best Anti Androgen Supplement to Buy?
You might be thinking “Great, you just listed off about 19 Anti Androgen supplements and foods, but what is the best one to take?”
It’s a great question, and there isn’t a straight answer. Different Anti Androgens will be better for different things. Some treat Acne well, some treat PCOS well, some don’t.
However; If I had to choose one Anti Androgen that stands above the rest, specifically as an all around supplement: I would choose the Reishi Mushoom, which you can get here.