Pregnenelone is a hormone, which is normally manufactured in the body from cholesterol inside the mitochondria of many different types of cells such as brain, retina, myelin sheaths, adrenal gland, liver, skin, thymus and testes or ovaries.
Pregnenelone can be converted into numerous other hormones as needed such as:
DHEA, Progesterone, Estrogens, Testosterone, Cortisol and Aldosterone.
Pregnenelone itself has a stimulatory action on brain function but exerts many other effects through the many different hormones it converts into.
Possible Causes of Low Pregnenelone Levels:
• Aging the average daily production of Pregnenelone is around 15mg in a young adult. However, by the age of 75, Pregnenelone production may be as low as 60% compared to age 30.
• Hypothyroidism having a hypo or low (underactive) thyroid can cause levels to lower
• Cholesterol lowering medications such as statins like Crestor and Lipitor
• Lifestyle factors such as: malnutrition, malabsorption, excessive exercise, vegetarian diets, sleep deprivation
• Corticosteroid treatment (such as cortisone or prednisone)
Pregnenelone is also considered to be a neurosteroid because the brain cells synthesize it locally. It crosses the blood-brain barrier, so Pregnenelone from circulation can be taken up by the brain cells when necessary. Supplementation with Pregnenelone in animals and humans has shown improvements in memory or cognition and it increased mental performance under stressful conditions.
Neuro-protective Effect: the local conversion of Pregnenelone to estrogens inside the brain is believed to have a protective benefit against neurodegenerative diseases.
Depressed and patients with social phobias have been found to have significantly lower blood levels of Pregnenelone than normal subjects.
Autoimmune Disease: Patients with various types of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma were found in many studies to have significantly lower blood levels of Pregnenelone, DHEA, androgens and cortisol, and even lower with cortisone therapy. A number of studies in the 1950’s have shown that supplementation with 50-600mg/day of Pregnenelone (oral or intra muscular injection) for more than a month, have brought about alleviation of their symptoms. Unfortunately, no studies have been done since then because of the popularity of corticosteroid therapy.
Skin Health: Studies with topical Pregnenelone have shown improved skin hydration. It is conceivable that oral Pregnenelone would have a similar effect since the skin tissue is very active in processing steroid hormones.
Menstrual Migraines: Since these are associated with low progesterone levels, Pregnenelone supplementation probably helps indirectly by improving progesterone levels commonly low in women.
Dosages: Due to its stimulatory effect Pregnenelone should be administered mostly during the first part of the day in order to best mimic its normal circadian production rhythm and because it’s excitatory action may interfere with sleep. Consult your healthcare practitioner to determine your blood level and your starting dose.
Symptoms of Pregnenelone Deficiency:
- Inability to deal with stress
- Lack of focus
- Memory decline