The Health Benefits of Pregnenolone

In this article, you will learn:

  1. What is Pregnenolone?
  2. Low Pregnenolone Symptoms
  3. Pregnenolone Benefits
  4. The Pregnenolone Side-Effects
  5. Pregnenolone Supplement
  6. The Pregnenolone Dosage
  7. Prenolone Reddit
  8. The Pregnenolone Reviews
  9. Hormonal Supplements
  10. Prenolone Cream
  11. The Pregnenolone Test

What is Pregnenolone?

Pregnenolone, a 3-alpha-hydroxy-5-beta-pregnan-20-one steroid, is a primary precursor or prohormone. It is synthesized in various peripheral steroid glands, brain, and lymphocytes.

This prohormone is produced naturally from cholesterol and in the peripheral steroid glands. These glands include adrenals, gonads, (male or female reproductive organs – testes and ovaries) and placentae (during pregnancy),

Further, it is also synthesized as a neurosteroid in the Central and Peripheral Nervous System. This synthesis typically takes place in neurons and glial cells. 

What Does This Hormone Do?

Pregnenolone plays an important role in hormonal balance as a primary precursor to several hormones. These include cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and progesterone. Further, this hormone helps to maintain the body’s stress response system.

In addition to this, there are studies showcasing that the hormone supports a balanced mood and enhances cognitive health.

This results from the transmission of messages between neurons. Thus, it has a great impact on both learning as well as memory processes.

Now, there exists solid evidence that Pregnenolone levels reduce with age. Therefore, rebuilding of this hormone level can help in supporting the overall functioning of the brain. Further, it can also provide an overall state of wellbeing.

Low Pregnenolone Symptoms

Pregnenolone is the first of all the steroid hormones made directly from cholesterol. Further, the formation of Pregnenolone acts as the first step to the complicated process of production of steroid hormones.

As mentioned above, the common steroid hormones include estrogens, progesterone, glucocorticoids, (cortisol), and androgens (testosterone.)

Thus, if Pregnenolone decreases in your body, it can lead to a generalized decline in all of the steroid hormones. Further, Pregnenolone also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It functions specifically in the brain regions responsible for memory.

Pregnenolone levels start decreasing progressively at the age of around 30 years. As per the Integrative Medical Centre (IMC) of Western Colorado, signs and symptoms of decreasing Pregnenolone are as follows.

I. Direct Effects of Low Pregnenolone

  • Declining memory function
  • Reduction in mental awareness

II. Indirect Effects of Low Pregnenolone

  • Fatigue and reduced mobility
  • Dry skin
  • Joint and muscle pains

Pregnenolone Benefits

Pregnenolone and its metabolic derivatives like DHEA in the brain improve learning and memory, relieve mental disorders. These include depression and regulate cognitive brain functions.

Likewise, studies showcase that Pregnenolone and its metabolites like DHEA play a protective role in various neuroinflammatory diseases. These include Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Further, it also helps with neuropsychiatric disorders like autism, schizophrenia, and depression. Accordingly, the following are the Pregnenolone uses or benefits. 

I. Repair of Enzymes

Dr. Ray Peat in one of his studies mentions that Pregnenolone increased the activity of an enzyme that converts cholesterol into Pregnenolone. 

He further asserted that steroids together with cholesterol have an anti-toxic effect. Likewise, the enzyme family of the one that converts cholesterol into Pregnenolone is important in our resistance to toxins.

Regulated amount of cortisol advocates the system. However, larger amounts of cortisol degrades the system. This is where Pregnenolone plays an important part.

It does not impact the rate of synthesis of these enzymes. However, it helps in stabilizing them against the normal protein breaking enzymes thereby increasing their activity.

II. Enhances Learning and Memory

There are animal studies that have revealed that Pregnenolone helps to improve memory. This results from regulating the NMDA and the GABA receptor activity in the brain.

N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)

Glutamate (Glu) and Amino Acid play an important role in the normal as well as abnormal functioning of your Central Nervous System (CNS).

Glu is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in your CNS. However, Glu is also an excitotoxin. And this can damage CNS neurons by too much activation of the excitatory receptors.

Now, Glu applies excitotoxic activity via three receptor subtypes. One of these receptor types is NMDA. Too much excitation of NMDA receptors results in acute CNS injury syndromes like trauma.

Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) 

GABA is an amino acid. It occurs naturally in your body and functions as a neurotransmitter in your brain. As you already know, neurotransmitters serve as chemical messengers in the brain.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This is because it discourages or holds back certain brain signals and results in reduced activity in your nervous system.

However, when GABA fixes to a protein, it becomes a GABA receptor in your brain and results in an overall calming effect.

This is really helpful to people experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress. 

III. Regulating Mood

As per research, Pregnenolone has also proved to be advantageous for regulating mood. It has a positive impact on neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity.

Synaptic Plasticity is a mechanism through which a neural activity resulting from an experience changes brain function. 

Such a change takes place through alterations of the synaptic transmission called synaptic activity.

One of the blessings of a mammalian brain is its plasticity. Plasticity refers to the capacity of the neural activity produced in the brain as a result of an experience to change neural circuit function.

Such a change further alters the successive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. 

In addition to this, Pregnenolone also performs many other functions relating to mood regulation. Further, it offers neuroprotection from free radicals that balances the stress response and improve cognitive performance.

A study included 15 adults who had mood imbalances. It concluded that the Pregnenolone levels in the blood of such adults were lower in those with low mood. This was relative to those in the control group.

Further, the study involved giving either Pregnenolone or Placebo to 70 adults with mood imbalances. As per results, the group receiving Pregnenolone showed greater improvement in mood relative to the Placebo group.

Similarly, an 8-week study compared 30 mg per day or 200 mg per day Pregnenolone, 400 mg of DHEA, and placebo.

This was a double-blind placebo-controlled study in which neither of the groups is aware of what treatment they were getting. In addition to this, the control group receives the placebo.

This study found that the participants receiving 30 mg of pregnenolone per day had increased reductions in positive symptom scores. Also, these people showed improvement in attention and the performance of the working memory.

However, groups receiving higher amounts of pregnenolone showed no improvement.

IV. Helpful in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder involves reduced social communication, typical behaviors, and limited interests.

One of the important symptoms of ASD is irritability. This irritability comes in the form of tantrums, aggressive behaviors towards others, and self-injury.

The most common treatment for ASD includes behavioral interventions. However, people seek pharmacological treatments for irritability when interventions prove ineffective.

Although, there are medications available that are effective in reducing irritability. But, there are severe side-effects of the existing medications approved by the FDA.

A model of ASD claims that some forms of ASD result from changes in excitation divided by inhibition (E/I ratio). And changes in the GABAergic pathways may change the EI ratio.

Thus, this may be an important strategy for the treatment of individuals with ASD. In addition to this, abnormality of Glutamatergic pathways have also been observed in people with ASD.

Thus, substances that can regulate these systems may prove right for treating ASD.

There is evidence that neurosteroids can prove to be helpful. And Pregnenolone is one such neurosteroid that can help in relieving the symptoms of ASD.

Also Read: What are the General Anxiety Disorder Symptoms?

V. Helps in Bipolar Depression (BPD)

Bipolar Depression is very difficult to treat psychiatric disorders. There exist some conventional antidepressants which are not effective for treating Bipolar Depression. And these may be harmful for the patient’s long-term mood stability.

Therefore, you need more options for treating Bipolar Disorder. As per studies, Pregnenolone may prove to be effective for treating individuals with BPD.

Pre-clinical findings claim that Pregnenolone can play an important role in anxiety and depression regulatory mechanisms. 

It may exert antidepressant effects on individuals with BPD. 

VI. Helpful in Treating Schizophrenia

Neurosteroid Pregnenolone and its derivatives improve learning and memory in rodents. 

In addition to this, Pregnenolone Sulphate positively regulates the NMDA receptors. Further, it could alter the hypothesized NMDA receptor hypofunction in Schizophrenia.

You must know that cognitive and negative symptoms in Schizophrenia are severe. Also, these highly correlate to reduced quality of life and functional outcome.

There have been reports that suggest that first and second-generation antipsychotic agents lead to improvements in cognitive and negative symptoms. 

However, according to new scientific studies these effects are limited. Thus, neurosteroid Pregnenolone is speculated as a favorable and novel agent of cognitive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia.

Pregnenolone and its Sulphate Derivative, Pregnenolone Sulphate, improves learning and memory in animal models. This improvement happens at physiologically right concentration levels. And the one that is present in the brain.

The Pregnenolone Side-Effects

There are certain precautions as well as side effects of consuming Pregnenolone supplement. Let’s have a look at each of these.

Precautions

  • Pregnenolone is not for use by people under the age-group of 18 years.
  • Pregnant women or women nursing children should also avoid its use.
  • Make sure that you keep pregnenolone supplements beyond the reach of children.
  • You must also ensure that you are consulting a physician or a licensed mental health professional before you consume this product. This is when you or any member of your family have a history of prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, prostate enlargement, low good cholesterol (HDL). Further, you must also consult a physician if you are already consuming any dietary supplement and Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug or a prescription drug.
  • Be very careful about the dosage as you must not exceed the serving recommended by your physician. This is because doing so may cause severe side effects.

Possible Pregnenolone Side-Effects

  • There are a number of potential side-effects of consuming pregnenolone supplements. These include:
    • Hair loss, 
    • Acne, 
    • Facial hair growth in case of women
    • Irritability
    • Aggressiveness
    • Higher levels of estrogen

Other Pregnenolone Side-Effects

I. Cancer Risk

As mentioned earlier, Pregnenolone is the parent hormone of sex hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen.

As we already know, consuming Pregnenolone or DHEA supplements can increase the level of sex hormones in our body.

Now, physicians raise issues about increasing sex hormones levels during later part of life. They are of the view that doing so carries theoretical risk of breast and prostate cancers.

However, there are studies that showcase that low testosterone levels in men increase the risk of prostate cancer.

In fact, there are  researchers who are proponents of Pregnenolone and DHEA supplements for maintaining testosterone levels in older men.

Thus, there are no convincing studies that showcase an increase in hormone-dependent cancer risk resulting from Pregnenolone or DHEA supplements.

II. Reduced High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or Risk of Heart Disease

There have been supplement manufacturers who caution about consuming Pregnenolone supplements. 

This is in cases you have a family history of low HDL cholesterol or heart disease. On the contrary, DHEA helps in decreasing cardiovascular risk factors and boosting HDL levels.

Thus, there are no convincing studies published to date that prove that increased cardiovascular risk factors result from Pregnenolone.

III. Rapid Heart Beat, Dizziness, and Blur Vision

One could also experience rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blur vision, or other related symptoms. In such a case, it is suggested to stop using Pregnenolone supplement and call for a physician immediately.

Some Pregnenolone manufacturers also caution you to stop consuming the supplement if you experience rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blur vision, or similar symptoms.

However, there are no published studies suggesting Pregnenolone or DHEA supplements leading to all the above mentioned effects.

IV. Overstimulation and IrritabilityIrritability

Higher levels of Pregnenolone may result in irritability, fatigue, and overstimulation. Further, as mentioned earlier, Pregnenolone supplement impacts GABA receptor Central Nervous System.

It is suggested that due to such an impact, Pregnenolone supplement may cause issues in people with a history of seizures.

Pregnenolone Supplement

As mentioned earlier, Pregnenolone is a prohormone that is synthesized in steroid glands, brain, and lymphocytes. As a precursor to it’s metabolic derivatives like DHEA and sex hormones like progesterone, Pregnenolone helps to maintain a balance between the hormones in the body.

This helps to control or regulate the cortisol driven stress response system , helps in the nerve cell growth and regulates mood.

In addition to its role as a prohormone, Pregnenolone is a neurosteroid found in high quantities in the brain.

Neurosteroids were initially defined as steroid hormones synthesized locally with the nervous tissue.  Later, they were reported as steroid hormone derivatives that lacked hormonal action.

Yet, they influenced the neuronal excitement. Neurosteroids were further categorized into natural – the one’s produced in the brain – and synthetic.

Thus, as a neurosteroid, Pregnenolone protects the neurons, improves myelination, and enhances cognitive health and wellbeing.

Therefore, Pregnenolone supplement needs to be given to individuals who have deficient hormone levels. Further, it also needs to be given to those who require it to maintain Cortisol to DHEA ratio.

Now, you must note that Pregnenolone levels are at their maximum level during youth. However, it begins to decline as you age.

As mentioned earlier, Pregnenolone is the parent compound of other important neurosteroids like DHEA. 

Therefore, decreasing levels of Pregnenolone can make your brain cells highly vulnerable to over stimulation by neurotransmitters like Glutamate. As a result, this can affect your mood and cognition. 

Why is Pregnenolone Supplement Needed?

As mentioned earlier, Pregnenolone is a steroid precursor, that is, a steroid starter material. It is made in the human body from cholesterol.

Therefore, in order to get Pregnenolone, one needs to have a good amount of cholesterol as well as other nutrients including Vitamin A, Thyroid hormone, and enzymes.

If any of these are insufficient, you will not have sufficient supply of Pregnenolone in your body. In a healthy individual, cholesterol gets converted to Pregnenolone.

You must know that both Progesterone and Pregnenolone activate their own synthesis. So, if you take them, your body’s ability to synthesize them does not get suppressed.

At times, short-term therapy helps in reviving the ability of your body to produce adequate amounts of both Pregnenolone and Progesterone.

However, this is clearly established in the case of Progesterone and not Pregnenolone. However, as per Dr. Ray Peat, a Phd in Biology, this is not clearly established with Pregnenolone as with Progesterone.

Further, as specified earlier, Pregnenolone is the mother of Progesterone and DHEA. That is, Pregnenolone gets converted into either Progesterone or DHEA depending on the tissue and the need.

Dr. Ray Peat calls Pregnenolone, Progesterone, and DHEA brain steroids. This is because the brain contains higher amounts of these steroids as compared to blood or other organs.

You must remember that the amount of these steroids in the brain reduces from its highest value at around age 30 to 5% of its original value at the age of 90.

Therefore, a Pregnenolone supplement may be helpful in increasing Pregnenolone as you age. Accordingly, the older you get or the sicker you are, the more is the chance for you to feel the impact of decreasing Pregnenolone in your body.

Progesterone and DHEA

Progesterone and DHEA act as precursors for other specialized steroid hormones. These include cortisol, aldosterone, estrogen, and testosterone.

If you take Progesterone, it will not result in increasing the level of these hormones in your body. In fact, Progesterone will counter the toxic effects of such hormones.

As per Dr. Ray Peat, taking the precursor of one hormone will help in correcting a deficiency but will not result in creating excess of such a hormone.

Pregnenolone In Men

But, it is suggested that an excessive intake of Progesterone can decrease production of testosterone and a decreased libido in young men.

Therefore, Pregnenolone is preferred as against Progesterone in case of young males. However, this inhibitory effect of progesterone on testosterone is not seen in older men, specifically those who are ill. 

Since Pregnenolone gets converted into Progesterone and DHEA, its effects will be similar to Progesterone and DHEA.

As per Dr. Peat, it is advantageous to take Pregnenolone in certain cases and Progesterone in others. But, at a general level, there exists an overlap in their effects.

Further, Dr. Peat says that Progesterone is a strong medicine much like thyroid and insulin. Whereas, Pregnenolone is an anti-aging food supplement much like a vitamin.

That’s why, Pregnenolone does not have a much deeper impact in crises like seizure. Whereas, Progesterone does have a deep impact.

The Pregnenolone Dosage

There is no sufficient scientific data that claims the pregnenolone dosage to be consumed. Although one must consume Pregnenolone after consulting a pharmacist or a physician or a healthcare professional before its consumption. 

This is because the concentrations for Pregnenolone vary. Therefore, the health professional must check that for correct dosage. In addition to this, oral Pregnenolone is preferred.

Further, Pregnenolone dosage depends on the level of the Pregnenolone deficiency faced by the patient.

In addition to this, it is also suggested that Pregnenolone dosage over 200-300 mg per day for longer durations can harm the liver and show symptoms of Pregnenolone excess.

Before taking the treatment, it is important to get Pregnenolone level tested. Health professionals recommend baseline blood testing of Pregnenolone level.

Additionally, simultaneous testing of other steroid hormones as necessary may also be tested. Also, blood testing of Pregnenolone levels is done on a periodic basis so that correct pregnenolone dosage can be given.

The commonly available Pregnenolone supplement comes in 10 mg and 30 mg doses. These are recommended not to be taken by pregnant or lactating women.

Pregnenolone Reddit

The latest Pregnenolone Reddit Review is posted in the Supplements subreddit. This talks about the Pregnenolone experience of a 27 year old who consumed pregnenolone tablets.

The individual suffers from PTSD and was not feeling well for some time since it was diagnosed. Consuming Pregnenolone helped him in certain areas and had side effects like increased anxiety for the initial few days.

The Pregnenolone Reviews

The following are the Pregnenolone Reviews provided on WebMD and amazon. As far as WebMD is concerned, people have provided ratings on the basis of ease of use, effectiveness, and satisfaction derived after consuming Pregnenolone.

Likewise, people have rated Pregnenolone by Life Extension 50 mg, 100 mg capsules on Amazon. There are many brands offering Pregnenolone tablets.

Some of these include:

  • Life Extension
  • Douglas Laboratories
  • Klaire Labs
  • Designs For Health
  • BioMatrix
  • longlifenutri
  • Amazing Nutrition, etc.

You can check their reviews on amazon.

Hormonal Supplements

Hormones are the chemicals generated by the glands in the endocrine system. The most important thing to remember is that once produced, they travel via bloodstream to the target organs or tissues.

Further, they act as messengers for the target organs and tissues giving them messages regarding what function to perform and when to perform.

Hormones are extremely important for controlling many of the body’s processes. Thus a hormonal imbalance can severely impact many bodily functions.

For example, they impact body temperature, heart rate, sleep cycles, mood and stress levels, etc.

Some of the common medical conditions caused by hormonal imbalance in men include low testosterone and prostate cancer.

Likewise, the medical conditions resulting from hormonal imbalance in women include early menopause, hormone replacement or birth control medications, TCOS, etc.

Therefore, there are a number of hormone supplements available as a part of treatment for hormonal imbalances both in men and women.

Some of the recommended hormone supplements include:

  • Probiotic supplement
  • Magnesium supplements
  • Omega3-s
  • Vitamin D3
  • Adaptogenic Herbs
  • Maca
  • Pregnenolone, etc.

Prenolone Cream

As stated earlier, the Pregnenolone levels start reducing in your body after 30 years of age. In order to boost Pregnenolone levels, the Pregnenolone tablets are preferred by individuals.

However, Pregnenolone is also available as Pregnenolone Cream. This helps in maintaining your Pregnenolone levels and supports cognitive health.

There are various brands offering Pregnenolone cream. Some of these include:

The Pregnenolone Test

The Pregnenolone Test is done to help detect and treat rare types of genetic conditions which affect the generation of steroid hormones.

Some of these genetic conditions are called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). Also, Pregnenolone tests may be recommended by health professionals to reject other conditions.

When Should You Get a Pregnenolone Test Done?

The Pregnenolone Test is recommended in the following conditions:

  • Ambiguous Genitalia – A condition when an infant has external sex organs that are neither clearly male or female
  • Low or High Blood Pressure
  • Low blood potassium
  • Symptoms of excess loss of salt
  • When 21-hydroxylase deficiency is rejected, the most common cause of CAH
  • When a teen does not develop secondary sexual characteristics or experiences delayed puberty

How is the Pregnenolone Test Done?

Much like other blood tests, a blood sample is taken from a vein. The health professional may require a morning sample and may or may not give you an ACTH injection.

This may be done to activate the steroid hormone release. 

What is Tested in the Pregnenolone Test?

Pregnenolone Test measures the Pregnenolone levels in your blood. This helps in finding out various types of CAH.

CAH is nothing but a set of inherited disorders related to the deficiency in enzymes necessary for steroid hormone production. 

Steroid Hormones generated by the three peripheral steroid glands control various important brain functions during human development. 

The peripheral steroidogenic glands that supply steroid hormones include adrenals, gonads, and placentae.

All steroid hormones are derived from cholesterol. These hormones are then transported via bloodstreams to the cells of various target organs. It is in the target organs that these hormones control a wide variety of physiological functions.

Steroid Hormones

Steroid hormones are grouped based on the organs that synthesize them. For instance, the steroid hormones that adrenal glands secrete are called adrenal steroids.

Whereas, the steroid hormones that gonads (male or female reproductive organs – testes and ovaries) and placentae (during pregnancy) secrete are called sex hormones.

Earlier research established that peripheral steroids, particularly sex steroids, influence human behavior to a great extent. 

Many studies have been undertaken to understand the impact of steroid actions on human behaviors like courtship, copulation, aggressive, and parental behaviors.  

The results of such studies established a relationship between the presence and stimulation of gonads, increased level of sex hormones like androgens, estrogens, or progestins in men and women, and showcasing of typical adult reproductive behaviors.

For instance, androgens influence the brain for male reproductive behaviors in humans. Hence, as per classical study, the brain is taken as the target site of peripheral steroids.

However, new research has established that the brain itself forms steroids afresh from cholesterol.

In other words, steroids could be synthesized from the beginning in the brain itself.  One of the many steroids that the brain synthesized afresh from cholesterol includes Pregnenolone. 

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