Pregnenolone, is an endogenous steroid hormone involved in the steroidogenesis of progestogens, mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens, as well as the neuroactive steroids. As such it is a prohormone, though it also has biological effects of its own, behaving namely as a neuroactive steroid in its own right with potent anxiolytic (anti-anxious) effects.
While pregnenolone benefits had been established and found safe to use as a pregnenolone supplement, it wasn’t until the 1990s that pregnenolone rose to prominence again – this time as an anti aging memory enhancer and an aid to boost memory.
Pregnenolone is a natural hormone that cannot be patented. Back in the 1940’s, when researchers started experimenting with it, they realized that it could be helpful for people under stress and it could increase energy in those who were fatigued. However, about the same time, cortisol, another closely related hormone, was discovered. Cortisol stole the limelight. When cortisol was given to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, there were outstanding short-term improvements. Photographs of these remarkable recoveries were circulated and the medical community was impressed. Scientists basically put pregnenolone aside to focus on cortisol. The structure of cortisol was altered to make similar molecules such as dexamethasone and prednisone, much more powerful steroids. Dexamethasone and other similar corticosteroids could be patented, and thus a pharmaceutical company could make a lot of money. Pregnenolone has stayed in relative obscurity since the 1940’s, with only rare mentions in the medical literature. There have been few studies published on pregnenolone in recent years, and only a couple involve human subjects.
Research cantered on the brain hormone factor and how pregenenolone benefits mental health and well-being as part of the complex steroid hormone production process. The scientific community was interested in how the pregenolone metabolic process could influence mental health, stress and depression, with pregnenolone supplementation perhaps acting as an anti depression supplement.
In addition to stress and depression, pregnenolone supplementation also entered the anti aging arena to address mental decline and memory loss, and act as a memory enhancer. As optimal levels of pregnenolone are known to be important for mental health and cognitive functions, pregnenolone therapy came to be viewed as an important anti aging product.
As a memory enhancer, the pregnenolone hormone action appears to aid knowledge acquisition and boost long term memory capabilities. A 1995 clinical study produced pregnenolone testimonials vouching for its effectiveness, particularly in relation to use of DHEA to improve memory capabilities. During this trial, pregnenolone was found to be a potent memory enhancer – and possibly up to 100 times more effective than DHEA.
Women embarking on the post-menopausal stage of their life may also find pregnenolone benefits them, as it offers a natural estrogen therapy and way to increase estrogen.
Pregnenolone, which is manufactured from cholesterol, undergoes further steroid metabolism in one of three ways.
Pregnenolone can be converted to progesterone. Aldosterone and corticosteroids are also derived from progesterone or its derivatives.
Pregnenolone can be converted to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) using a desmolase. DHEA is the precursor of androstenedione. Androstenedione is sex hormone precursor to Estradiol and Testosterone.
Neurosteroid activity (Brain)
Pregnenolone and its sulfate, like DHEA and its sulfate and progesterone, belong to the group of neurosteroids that are found in high concentrations in certain areas of the brain, and are synthesized there. Neurosteroids affect synaptic functioning, are neuroprotective, and enhance myelinization. Pregnenolone and its sulfate ester are under investigation for their potential to improve cognitive and memory functioning. Pregnenolone is also being considered as a potential treatment for schizophrenia.
Pregnenolone is used for Alzheimer’s disease and enhancing memory.
Pregnenolone has been shown to act as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor with slightly less potency than allopregnanolone. Accordingly, it has anxiolytic effects in animals, similarly to other neurosteroids like allopregnanolone and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone (THDOC).
In addition, Pregnenolone has been shown to activate the transient receptor potential M3 (TRPM3) ion channel in liver cells and pancreatic islets causing calcium entry and subsequent insulin release.
Pregnenolone is used for fatigue and increasing energy; Alzheimer’s disease and enhancing memory; trauma and injuries; as well as stress and improving immunity.
It is also is used for skin disorders including psoriasis and scleroderma.
Women use pregnenolone for lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast disease), a disorder of the lining of the uterus (endometriosis), symptoms of menopause, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Some people use pregnenolone for slowing or reversing aging, arthritis, and depression. It is also used for strengthening the heart, allergic reactions, ?detoxification,? lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), prostate problems, and seizures.
Very little is known about the safety of the supplements or the effects of long-term use. Some laboratory studies in cancer cells and animals have suggested that pregnenolone may stimulate the growth of hormone-responsive cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. The body uses pregnenolone to make steroid hormones such as DHEA and testosterone. High doses may cause aggressiveness, irritability, trouble sleeping, and the growth of body or facial hair on women. It also may stop menstruation and lower the levels of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol, which could raise the risk of heart disease. Other possible side effects include acne, heart rhythm problems, liver problems, loss of hair from the scalp, and oily skin.
Little is known about drug interactions, although some studies suggest it may interfere with the action of certain sleeping medicines or calming medicines (benzodiazepines). Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about any supplements or herbs you are taking.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use pregnenolone. Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.
Overstimulation and insomnia — low doses could be helpful for sleep when taken in the morning.
Irritability, anger or anxiety — low doses could actually ease a person into a relaxed feeling, while higher amounts may lead to irritability.
Acne can occur due to the probable conversion of this hormone into androgens.
Headaches are possible with high dosages or low dosages used over several days or weeks.
Possible scalp hair loss if used daily for prolonged periods. Pregnenolone converts into DHEA, which in turn converts into testosterone and possibly on to DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
Irregularities of heart rhythm, Heart Palpitations, even on as low a dose as 10 mg. This can be serious in the elderly or those with heart rhythm disturbances.
Unknown effects on the thyroid gland or other organs and tissues.
All in all, Pregnenolone therapy is usually very safe. As with DHEA supplementation, it is advised to get a blood test to determine if you have sub-optimal blood levels of pregnenolone before you choose to supplement.
** Each capsule supplies:
Pregnenolone 25 mg
RECOMMENDATION: One (1) capsule daily as a dietary supplement or as otherwise directed by a health care professional.
Contains: 90 Capsules
Product #: 8003
CAUTION: For Adult Use Only. Use under the supervision of qualified healthcare professionals. Not recommended for individuals under 18 years of age, pregnant or lactating women or any person who suffers from a condition such as breast cancer or prostate cancer that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen. Pregnenolone can affect other hormones. Do not take this product if you have a history of seizures.