5b-Androstanediol is a testosterone metabolite that is less androgenic than 5a-DHT and 5a-Androstanediol. It is metabolized via the 5-beta metabolic pathway. In contrast, the 5-alpha metabolism makes androgens more potent (= increased 5α-reductase activity).
It's important to look at this marker and compare it to 5a-DHT and 5a-Androstanediol. If your 5b-Androstanediol (this marker) is in a normal to low level and your 5a-DHT and 5a-Androstanediol are elevated then you can do things to lower the preference of your body to move towards that 5-alpha metabolic pathway. Please refer to the other testosterone metabolites (5a-DHT and 5a-Androstanediol) for further information. If your overall testosterone is elevated, please refer to the main testosterone biomarker.
Technically, 5b-Androstanediol can also be formed from DHEA metabolites without going through the testosterone pathway, but they generally tend to correlate with testosterone production.
- If your 5b-Androstanediol levels are low and your overall testosterone is low as well, please refer to the main testosterone marker for more information.
- If your 5b-Androstanediol levels are low, but your overall testosterone levels are normal (or even high) then your body is leaning towards the more androgenic 5-alpha metabolism. Please look to see if your 5a-DHT and 5a-Androstanediol levels are increased to verify this.
How to potentially address increased 5-alpha pathway preference:
If you are going down the alpha pathway towards 5a-DHT the symptoms are usually your typical PCOS-like symptoms like facial hair, acne, anger and irritation and hair loss on the head. Males might experience pattern baldness, prostate enlargement (BPH = Benign prostatic hyperplasia).
You might have completely normal levels of testosterone (please check your testosterone marker in this test to verity) and, yet, have a bad case of acne, are irritated or thinning scalp hair. If your 5alpha-DHT is increased this would be an indication that you are favoring the alpha pathway that’s quite aggressive on your skin, hair and other places. The reasons for your body choosing the alpha pathway can certainly be genetic, but it is often due to inflammation, blood sugar / insulin dysregulation, having extra adipose tissue, etc.. If you can address these underlying issues then your body will balance out the alpha and beta pathways and it will improve the symptoms.
In addition to addressing the underlying conditions (inflammation, glucose/insulin dysregulation, etc), there are things that can be done from a lifestyle perspective to mitigate the symptoms by blocking the alpha pathway, such as:
(before starting a supplement regime, please consult your doctor first)
- Saw palmetto
- Stinging and dwarf nettle
- Pygeum extract (bark)
- Reishi mushroom
If your 5b-Androstanediol levels are high and your overall testosterone levels are increased as well, please refer to your testosterone marker for more information. 5b-Androstanediol is a metabolite marker of testosterone and usually an indicator whether your body currently has a preference for the 5b (=beta) or the 5a (=alpha) metabolic pathway. The 5b pathway is believed to be less androgenic whereas the 5a pathway leads to 5a-DHT, which is the most androgenic hormone (3x more androgenic than testosterone) and can lead to various symptoms such as anger, irritation, losing scalp hair, increased facial hair, etc.
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