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Pregnenolone

Pregnenolone

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  • Summary
  • Side Effects
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Pregnenolone Overview

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.

Potential Pregnenolone Side Effects

  • Liver Damage
  • Acne
  • Facial Hair In Women
  • GABA Suppression
  • Hair Loss
  • Heart Arrhythmias
  • Personality Changes
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Cancer

Other Names for Pregnenolone

Pregnenolona

Pregnenolone Nutritional Uses

  • Alzheimer's
  • Anti-Aging
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Hormone Synthesis
  • Immune Disease
  • Inflammation
  • Memory
  • Menopause
  • Metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • PMS
  • Sex Hormone Production
  • Stress
  • Wrinkles

Pregnenoline Studies

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:

  • Flood et al., 1992 (animal study, demonstrated effectiveness as a memory enhancer)
  • Vallee et al, 1997; Rupprecht et al., 1999 (animal studies, demonstrated the potential to reinforce neurotransmitter systems declining with age)
  • Akwa et al., 1991 (animal study, unclear absorption rates of various pregnenolone metabolites injected into rat brains; unclear absorption/metabolic pathway of pregnenolone compounds)

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).

Pregnenolone  and Aging

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.

Pregnenolone Uses

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.

Pregnenolone Side Effects

As a hormone precursor, use pregnenolone supplements to treat an established deficiency, under a doctor’s care:

  • Pregnenolone may suppress other neurotransmitters, such as gamma-amino butyric acid receptors (GABA). Epileptics should use pregnenolone only on a doctor’s advice.
  • Because pregnenolone is converted to sex hormones by the body, undesirable effects may occur in users. Some women report increased facial hair growth using pregnenolone or DHEA, according to Eric Braverman, M.D. of Princeton, New Jersey.
  • According to Cancer.org, use of pregnenolone may feed hormone-responsive cancers (such as prostate or breast cancer). Cancer patients shouldn’t self-treat with pregnenolone or any other supplement.
  • Pregnant or lactating women shouldn’t use pregnenolone. 
  • Personality changes or sleep disturbances may result from the use of pregnenolone.
  • Acne and oily skin, hair loss, heart arrhythmias and liver problems may occur with pregnenolone use.

Pregnenolone Dosage

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.

Pregnenolone and Potential Interactions

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!

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