Beardbrand gets asked the question "what can I do to make my beard grow" every single day. As many of you have already experienced, the typical answer includes the words "patience" and "genetics."
But how exactly do genetics effect your beard? It all comes down to your hormones, specifically testosterone and dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Regular testosterone is converted to the more potent androgen hormone DHT.
The amount of DHT you have in your reproductive system directly effects your beard and hair growth patterns. There's tons of scientific research that I'm not going to cover. If you are interested in reading into the real nitty gritty information head over here.
What Is DHT
To summarize, DHT is a sex hormone that contributes to hair growth, muscle gain, fertility, etc. All men have this hormone to some degree as it is naturally produced. How your body reacts to the hormone also plays a role in beard and hair growth.
Men with higher levels of testosterone and DHT will typically have significantly more facial hair than men with lower levels. If your body is genetically prone to be sensitive to these hormones, you'll likely grow a beard at an earlier age than others.
Have you ever wondered why guys with the absolute best beards tend to be bald or balding? Having elevated levels of DHT can lead to a strong, healthy beard, but sensitivity to the hormone can actually lead to accelerated male pattern baldness. That's right, the same chemical that can benefit you hair growth and reproduction system can actually make you lose the mane up top.
The hair follicles begin to shrink with age causing your hair to thin out. It is said that high levels of DHT will expedite the process eventually leading to the closing of hair follicles and ultimately hair loss.
On the other end of the spectrum, guys with lower levels of testosterone have a better chance of keeping their head hair. That being said, just because you are in your 20's and still have a patchy beard, it doesn't necessarily mean you have low hormone levels. If your body is less sensitive to the effects of testosterone and DHT, you will see slower beard and body hair growth patterns.
Hope Is Not Lost
It's definitely a bit of a catch 22. The beauty about having lower testosterone levels and less sensitivity is you can supplement and boost your hormone levels. Natural testosterone supplementation can and will increase your stamina and ability to build muscle. However, it is not guaranteed to be converted into the androgen form DHT.
Unnatural alternatives such as anabolic steroids will cause you to grow more body and facial hair. This has been proven time and time again. However, this does not come without side effects. The use of anabolic steroids can cause your body to stop naturally producing healthy levels of testosterone. At this point, your body relies on the artificial supplements.
Always weigh your pros and cons and avoid making any irrational decisions. An article from Anabolicmen provided 6 tips below on how to increase your testosterone.
Sleep 7-10 hours per night, most of testosterone is produced during REM-sleep, and studies show how men sleeping for 4-hours have 50% less T than men sleeping for 8-hours. Research is clear on this, more sleep = more testosterone.
Eat enough food. Low-calorie diets have a nasty-side effect of slowing down the reproductive system, and with this your testosterone production will also suffer. Consider eating close to maintenance calories or slight surplus.
Resistance training has been proven in many studies to stimulate testosterone production, as well as increase the activity of androgen receptors in uptaking the hormones (none of those sissy workouts, use heavy weight and big movements).
Consume about 20% of your calories from protein (high protein diets lower T), 30% from saturated and monounsaturated fats (those increase T, but polyunsaturated kind lowers it), and the remaining 50% from carbs (preferably fruit and potatoes).
Aside from having a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, also consider supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin to maximize your body’s natural production of testosterone.
Consider few herbs and amino acids that are proven to increase testosterone levels by peer-reviewed studies (ashwagandha, phosphatidylserine, forskolin, mucuna pruriens, carnitine) and forget the one’s proven ineffective (tribulus, maca, etc.)
Another supplement option that I'm currently putting to the test is deer antler velvet from Antler Farms. Deer antler velvet has been in circulation for centuries. It is a natural testosterone supplement that benefits everything from joint support to muscle growth.
Antler Farm states, "Deer antler velvet can act as a natural adaptogen, restoring homeostasis to an unbalanced body by helping where it is needed. Deer antler velvet has an effect on many systems of the body given its complex chemical composition. The active ingredients in deer antler velvet are mostly precursors that are required by the body to process substances that maintain its health and wellbeing".
The velvet is 100% natural. This mean the supplement is free of any synthetic substances compounded in a lab. Velvet is consumed orally in pill or liquid form.
If you'd like to keep it even more simplified, you should consider taking zinc and vitamin D supplements. Both these vitamins have been proven to stem testosterone. Any over the counter multivitamin would be a good way to knockout two birds with one stone.
Also, if you have any useful information on this topic, share it in the comments! There is no such thing as too much knowledge.
To conclude, I'd also like to mention that your natural hormone levels is something that you can not control. We are all different and unique in our own way. Whether you have a patchy beard and a full head of hair, or a killer beard with nothing upstairs, work with what you have. It's up to you to be self confident and happy in your own skin. Remember, your style can do miracles to your overall appearance.