While this article won't focus on beard growth, we should all know by now that beards are the product of hormones — particularly the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Most people out there have heard of testosterone and know of some of its benefits, but DHT is a lesser-known, more potent form of testosterone and an important factor in many aspects of men's health (and beards). Increasing testosterone generally means an increase in DHT, which is what we'll be focusing on in the coming points.
How to Increase Testosterone and DHT
Eat clean and healthy
The types of food we eat can directly influence our testosterone levels. What we need everyday, in particular, is a good portion of healthy fats. This will be saturated and monounsaturated fats, a few examples being: avocados, eggs, butter (grass-fed source), olive and coconut oils, and red meats. You'll want your fat intake to be about 40% (20% protein, 40% carbs). This also means that you should somewhat limit protein and opt for carbs and fats.
Stop consuming so much sugar
Too much glucose intake leads to a spike in insulin, which is a cause of lowered testosterone. You don't need to cut it out of your life entirely, but limiting your intake by getting rid of the candy and soda could help tremendously.
Do some strength training and/or high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Go with high weights and make the session intense, or give sprinting a try in 30-second intervals. Intense training has been shown to greatly increase testosterone levels, as opposed to simple cardio like jogging (which tends to have no impact or possibly even a negative impact on T levels). Have some whey protein after a workout, within about 1-2 hours after completion, preferably as soon as possible.
Lose weight (body fat, not muscle)
Fat is linked with heightened estrogen levels, which lowers testosterone naturally as estrogen is synthesized from testosterone. Less testosterone and higher estrogen also means less DHT production. If you're doing the three points above, that should be sufficient to cutting the unwanted pounds.
This one might seem contrary to what certain individuals think, but caffeine itself has been shown to be healthy, and studies have also noted an increase of testosterone when taken before intense workouts. That's on top of the increase that happens when working out hard without the caffeine. If you drink coffee, that's great. Just remember to limit or exclude sugar from your cup of joe and go easy on the cream. If you can, drink it black; less calories, and much healthier that way.
Supplement with creatine and boron
Creatine is one of the most scrutinized supplements on the market. Creatine monohydrate is cheap, safe to use, and is an effective way of upping your testosterone and DHT levels. Boron, on the other hand, is not as well known but studies have also shown this supplement to increase testosterone. You'll need more than what labels tend to recommend, taking about 6-10mg per day instead of the standard 3mg. It's not bioaccumulative, so it won't build up in your system, and is only toxic at high amounts such as 25mg+ per day. Don't go near that range, of course.
Reduce your stress
This one is definitely easier said than done, but stress is a huge factor in many negative things in life, including the blocking of testosterone due to the excess cortisol that's released. If you have problems with stress, find ways to limit it. Perhaps take part in meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
These points are simple to follow, but ultimately very effective at giving your testosterone and DHT a boost, with one of the best side benefits: more beard growth. Stay away from over-the-counter testosterone boosters, as it's very unlikely that most products on the market will work other than being a placebo that potentially keeps you on the right track with the rest of these tips. Save the money and grab some extra gym gear or organic food to get your mind focused, and beard onward.