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Pregnenlone , or 3-hydroxypregn-5-en-20-one, is made from cholesterol primarily by the adrenal cortex. The brain, liver, testes, ovaries and skin also convert some cholesterol to pregnenolone.
As a precursor of cortisol, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, pregnenolone deficiency affects the body’s ability to produce sex hormones in men and women. Pregnenolone also serves as a neurotransmitter.
Researchers sometimes refer to pregnenolone as a universal hormone. Pregnenolone is actually a steroid molecule. Creation of pregnenolone is the body’s first step in synthesizing steroids and hormones, including estrogens (all three varieties), progesterone, androgen, mineralocorticoids (crucial in the body’s regulation of electrolytes), corticosteroids (involved in managing the inflammatory response and metabolism.) Supplements may also be used to achieve those results.
Over the years, pregnenolone has been used to treat exhaustion, fatigue, arthritis and immune disease, and a host of other conditions. Because young, healthy adults demonstrate high brain concentrations of pregnenolone, advocates believe it’s an effective memory-enhancing and stress-reducing compound.
In a double-blind study reported by “Active Ingredients Used in Cosmetics: Safety Survey” published by the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Cosmetic Products in March 2008, a 0.5% pregnenolone acetate cream formula reduced visible wrinkles in elderly women. After discontinuing the cream, the subjects’ wrinkles reappeared. Researchers Sternberg et al. concluded that the pregnenolone cream provided temporary hydration benefits.
Other studies recapped by the report include:
The report concludes that pregnenolone shouldn’t be used in European cosmetic products. The effects of pregnenolone on humans remain largely unknown. For example, an anti-aging cream (1 percent pregnenolone acetate) introduced to the French market in 1992 was withdrawn the same year.
The Food & Drug Administration in the U.S. states that pregnenolone content in a cosmetic product can’t exceed 10,000 IU/ounce or 28 g (or a corresponding 0.18 mg/g or 180 ppm).
The body produces “dramatically less” pregnenolone by age 50, according to Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D., in “The Health Detective’s 456 Most Powerful Healing Secrets.” According to Uzzi Reiss, M.D.—the ob/gyn physician who treated Dr. Fuchs—in “The Natural Superwoman: The Scientifically Backed Program for Feeling Great,” the body’s decreasing production of pregnenolone affects memory and immune functions.
The National Institute on Aging recommends caution when considering hormones and hormone-like substances to treat illness or age-related conditions.
According to the American Cancer Society web site, pregnenolone is promoted for a wide range of uses, including treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, cancer, multiple sclerosis, obesity, premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
Pregnenolone’s ability to reduce and block the inflammatory response attracts use from athletic and weight trainers.
As a hormone precursor, use pregnenolone supplements to treat an established deficiency, under a doctor’s care:
Uzzi Reiss, M.D. recommends a supplemental dosage of 25 to 100 mg for most individuals with a confirmed pregnenolone deficiency. Proper dosage depends upon the individual’s height, weight, age, metabolism and other factors.
Daily dosage of more than 200 to 300 mg may adversely affect liver health. Pregnenolone supplementation may be contraindicated in persons with liver disease and other medical conditions.
Before treating an established pregnenolone deficiency, tell the doctor about any other medicines and supplements you take. Pregnenolone elevation was noted in a laboratory study in which rats were given Clozapine. Olanzapine also increased pregnenolone levels in rat brain and blood serum studies. Pregnenolone may interrupt the effectiveness of sleep- or calm-inducing benzodiazepines.
Low doses of pregnenolone may cause heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat in laboratory studies. Use of hormones, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, may interact negatively with pregnenolone. Find the best form of pregnenolone by using the supplement finder now!