How to Lower Androgens: The Major Culprit Behind Hirsutism + Acne
Oh, androgens. If you have PCOS or Hashimoto's, you might be all too familiar with this word and with the trouble they can bring. Androgens are male hormones, namely testosterone and androstenedione. As women, we need testosterone, but too much testosterone and androstenedione can cause some unpleasant symptoms, such as excess hair growth, acne (due to the way testosterone interacts with sebum), and even deepening of the voice and other masculine features. One part of my health story is having high testosterone, and I was able to link this back to stress and my body prioritizing cortisol and testosterone over progesterone production. The answer to this situation is not just using a progesterone cream to raise progesterone but also asking things the way they are. Although there is a good chance you also have low progesterone and high androgens, its important to actually reduce testosterone production. If low progesterone is a problem, addressing that on its own will be an important step to take as well.
When the body is under stress, we lose sodium and potassium. A major loss of sodium and potassium leads to what is referred to as "adrenal fatigue", hence why the adrenal cocktail contains potassium and sodium. Low potassium levels are linked to acne (this is why Spironolactone is used for acne - it causes the body to hold onto potassium, but at a major cost), and low levels of sodium (and potassium) are often seen with hirsutism. More about minerals can be seen in a HTMA, which is what I often suggest for clients.
It's ultimately essential to restore mineral balance to bring androgens into a normal range. Still, there are a few actionable steps you can take now to lower cortisol, thus lowering testosterone and helping the body prioritize progesterone over testosterone.
Step #1: Balance Blood Sugar and Support Ovulation
The first step is to start with nutrition. By eating carbs and protein together, and not on their own, you will support the stability of your blood sugar in the most primary way.
Supplementation: For a two-in-one approach, Ovasitol (or this less expensive alternative on Amazon) will be a great option to support ovulation and blood sugar balance. The d-chiro inositol will be very instrumental in lowering testosterone, and the combination of the two will, over time, support a strong ovulation, helping the body prioritize progesterone over testosterone.
Step #2: Add In Aromatase Inhibitors
Aromatase inhibitors lower estrogen levels by stopping an enzyme in fat tissue (called aromatase) from changing other hormones into estrogen. These will help with excess testosterone, as well as carcinogenic estrogen, but it will not impact the ovarian production of estrogen.
Nutrition: Citrus fruits, chamomile tea, chlorophyll, cruciferous veggies (watch out for these if your gut is struggling), and fermented foods (also not great unless your gut is healthy), coffee, and orange juice are all great additions
Supplementation: passionflower, DIM (use only under the guidance of a practitioner, this is only a good option if your body is ready for it), grape seed extract
Step #3: Add In DHT Blockers
DHT is derived from testosterone.. DHT also plays a role in some of the same sexual functions and physiological processes as testosterone, but it’s much stronger. DHT can bind to an androgen receptor longer, increasing the impact of testosterone production throughout your body. By adding in natural DHT blockers, you limit the impact that testosterone has in the body. While not the complete answer to any struggles with high testosterone, these additions can bring significant relief.
Nutrition: Green tea, stinging nettle tea, lycopene (from tomatoes), food based B12/B6
Supplementation: saw palmetto, turmeric (can be used as a spice on food or in tincture form), vitamin B12 & B6 (desiccated liver or beef heart is a great source)
Although the steps in the article will be helpful and are so valuable, there are still reasons why you are struggling with high androgens if you are struggling, and figuring out "why" can be very valuable. Working 1:1 to figure out why will be worth it if taking some steps on your own is not getting you where you want to be. Please feel free to reach out and ask a specific question during the weekly Q&A, or reach out about 1:1. I am here to support and guide you!