I've been trying to find some accurate info on saturated & monounsaturated fats (SFA & MUFA) & their affects on 5-alpha reductase. & i seem to be going round in circles.
It seems like some SFAs lower (or inhibit) 5-alpha reductase while other SFAs may raise it? So hopefully some of you out there will know, or can point me to some studies/research if available.
Ideally i am after a list of Fatty Acids (identified by carbons is fine, no need to name) & how they affect 5-alpha reductase.
more info: to give you an idea of what google throws back;
"Saturated fat can lower 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes testosterone into DHT..."
& "Diets high in saturated fat such as meat, milk and butter increase 5-alpha reductase."
I also found some reference to C12 & C14 (lauric & myristic acids) inhibiting 5-alpha reductase.
Edit: Palmitic Acid: I am now confused about the comments below on Palmitic Acid being really bad. i just looked up unsalted butter on NutritionData & it looks like it contains 21% palmitic acid (21.6g per 100g). & i thought butter was good stuff.
Wiki: "Short chain fatty acids such as those found in coconut and many palm fruits have also been found to inhibit 5α-reductase"
Reference for that says: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19353546 "Among the fatty acids we tested, inhibitory saturated fatty acids had C12-C16 chains, and the presence of a C==C bond enhanced the inhibitory activity. Esterification and hydroxy compounds were totally inactive. Finally, we tested the prostate cancer cell proliferation effect of free fatty acids. In keeping with the results of the 5alpha-reductase assay, saturated fatty acids with a C12 chain (lauric acid) and unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid)..."
Lauric acid (C12) is in coconut oil and breast milk. Palmitic acid (C16) is in palm oil and meat, butter, etc. Oleic acid is the main mono-unsaturated fat in meats (45% of lard for example). ALA is the primary omega-3.
So the best fats for inhibiting or lowering 5-alpha reductase, are coconut oil, animal fats and oily fish. Hmm... sounds very paleo.
Are you looking at lowering 5-alpha reductase for baldness or prostate? If baldness, look into Danny Roddy's 'Healthy Hair Diet', which is basically meat, fish, organs, coconut oil, tubers and herbs and spices... If prostate, these general guidelines (paleo or HHD) is most likely work well too.
Summary: eat paleo, try coconut oil.
EDIT: http://jap.physiology.org/content/82/1/49/F2.expansion.html This graph may also be useful to you, for generally raising testosterone. One assumes you want high testosterone but low DHT. If again shows that saturated and mono fats are best, and lots of them, but also lowering protein and upping carbs is good too (higher carb:protein ratio). This would back up the HHD method.
My best guess is you need to contact a board certified hair transplant specialist and ask them directly. Why? They use propecia and avodart more than anyone else and avodart blocks both pathways while propecia just blocks the short acting one.....to DHT. Coconut oil is what they have many of their patients on.