What is Pregnenolone?
- A neurosteroid (the steroids synthesized by the brain and nervous system in the body) produced by the adrenal glands.
- Acts as the grand precursor to other steroid hormones including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, estrogens, and cortisol.
- Made from cholesterol in the cells of both the adrenal gland and the central nervous system
- Smaller amounts is also produced in the liver, testicles, ovaries, skin, retina and in the brain itself
Generally, to get pregnenolone, the human body needs enough amounts of cholesterol together with other nutrients, including vitamin A, thyroid hormone and enzymes. If any of these are inadequate, it is difficult to obtain required supply of pregnenolone in the body. Pregnenolone cannot be derived naturally from our diet.
In the body, Pregnenolone is used as Pregnenolone itself, or enzymes in the cytoplasm converts pregnenolone to DHEA, which is then converted into Androgens (Testosterone), Estrogens and other steroids, and through another pathway, it is converted into Progesterone. This is why Pregnenolone is called the grand precursor hormone.
There are more than 150 different steroid hormones which are made from Pregnenolone in the body. Interestingly, there is a clear difference in the metabolism of Pregnenolone in males and females. In the males, pregnenolone that is produced in the testicles has high possibilities of converting into testosterone, while the pregnenolone created in the ovaries can possibly be converted into estrogen.
What are the functions of Pregnenolone?
- Responsible for the production of all other hormones, especially hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, androgens such as testosterone, DHEA, mineralocorticoids such as aldosterone and glucocorticoids such as cortisol.
Generally, pregnenolone does not play an important role in our body. However, it is essential in for the production of all other important hormones such as progesterone, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and others.
All these steroid hormones are necessary in our body as they play multiple physiological roles and are needed for the reproductive system to work appropriately.
Additionally, aldosterone which is reformed from pregnenolone aids in maintaining the sodium and potassium balance in our body.
Another pregnenolone hormone is Cortisone which influences the stress levels in humans.
What are the symptoms of Pregnenolone deficiency?
Like the sex hormones, pregnenolone production decreases with age. Hence, when pregnenolone decreases, sex hormones consequently decrease. This is because pregnenolone is a precursor hormone to sex hormones.
Therefore, when pregnenolone levels are low, sex hormones are not efficiently produced. Consequently, symptoms of pregnenolone deficiencies are related to symptoms of decreased male and female sex hormones.
- Decreased libido (due to decreased levels of estrogen and testosterone)
- Decreased secondary sexual characteristics (including absent underarm and pubic hair, dry eyes, hot flashes and fatigue).
- Decreased Memory and Mental Awareness
- Joint pain
- Fatigue and reduced mobility
What causes Pregnenolone deficiency?
- Stress : It is said that when an individual is stressed, the level of cortisol in the body increases resulting in a decrease in the level of pregnenolone.
- Low levels of estrogen in females (proven in a clinical study).
Pregnenolone deficiency leads to?
- Adrenal insufficiency
What are the benefits of Pregnenolone?
Pregnenolone provides not one but many benefits as this hormone is responsible towards the functioning of many steroid hormones in the body. Pregnenolone supplements help in fighting stress and many symptoms of fatigue. Following are some of the benefits of Pregnenolone
- Exhibits various effects on the central nervous system
- Essential for the good condition of the nerve and the brain
- Potent memory and learning skill enhancer
- Known to relieve arthritis
- Has been used to treat depression (antidepressant), relieving stress, improving mood and sense of well-being
- Encourages clear thinking
- Increases concentration
- Enhances alertness and promotes an overall better mental function/alertness
- Helps us to think clearer and faster
- Maintains brain capacity at maximum
- Increases the desire to learn and try new things (creativity)
- In some way, it influences the (psychic) energy levels
- Slows aging : Scientists believe that by raising the levels of Pregnenolone in the body a person suffering from premature aging can become more youthful
- May be beneficial in the treatment of cognitive and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia, cognitive symptoms in mood disorders as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Analysis indicates that Pregnenolone have a positive effect on Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, seizures, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Diabetes as well as on Autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus and Scleroderma, Heart Disease, Muscle Building, the Immune System, Cholesterol levels, vision and hearing, PMS, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, skin conditions and weight loss.
Pregnenolone has also been tested with assuring results in spinal cord and nerve injuries due to accidents or disease.
Other beneficial role of Pregnenolone includes
Depressed patients were found to have low levels of Pregnenolone in their cerebro-spinal fluid. This fluid circulates throughout the spinal column and brain, any major change in its chemistry is reflected in this spinal fluid.
The need for supplemental pregnenolone increases as we age. In fact, the older and/or sicker you are, the more likely you are to feel an effect from pregnenolone.
According to Eugene Roberts, a neurobiologist of the City of Hope Medical Center in Los Angeles and his colleague, James F. Morley, a biologist of the St. Louis VA Medical Center, the hormone pregnenolone may assist to restore impaired memory. These clinicians tested pregnenolone and other steroids on mice. At the end of the experiment, it is proven that pregnenolone is several hundred times more potent than any memory enhancer that had been tested before. In their report in the March 1992 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is stated that pregnenolone restores normal levels of memory hormones which decreases while aging.
Roberts indicates that pregnenolone was used in the late 1940's to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It was also helpful for people who were under stress and it could increase energy in those who were fatigued. However, about the same time, cortisol, another closely related hormone, was discovered. When cortisol was administered to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, there were outstanding short-term improvements. As a result, cortisol gained popularity among the medical community. Consequently, scientists nearly put pregnenolone aside to focus on cortisol. In conjunction with this, says Roberts, pregnenolone was never found to have any adverse side effects.
Pregnenolone also acts on NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors which encourages learning and memory by coordinating the function of the synapses on our neurons. Dr. Flood of the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in St. Louis writes "Pregnenolone is the most potent memory enhancer yet reported"
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Protection from cortisone toxicity
- Reduced exophthalmia in Graves disease patients
- Vegetable capsules pregnenolone.
Drugs that are used by patients to reduce their cholesterol levels carelessly obstruct the production of pregnenolone which may lead to impaired brain function. Pregnenolone has a unique capability to reconstruct the enzymes in the cytochrome P-450 system which is responsible for converting cholesterol into pregnenolone. Therefore, pregnenolone supplementation is essential for those who are taking cholesterol lowering drugs. Other enzymes in the P-450 system are vital to certain detoxification processes which are also stabilized by pregnenolone.
Pregnenolone doesn't affect the rate of synthesis of these enzymes, but it stabilizes them against the normal proteolytic enzymes, increasing their activity. This stabilizing action is a general feature of these steroids.
The typical effects of cortisol toxicity includes daytime euphoria, insomnia and hot flashes at night, osteoporosis, brain aging, atrophy of the skin and other signs of premature aging and adrenal atrophy (shrinking). It is believed that stress-inducing elevation in cortisone can cause diabetes in some people.
It is reported that pregnenolone can be used to withdraw from cortisone therapy over a one month period without developing "Addison" disease symptoms (from adrenal atrophy), because of its normalizing effects on the adrenal gland. In female patients, progesterone therapy may also be indicated.
In the 1950's pregnenolone was tested on patients with exophthalmos (bulging eyes) from Graves disease. It was reported that their eyes quickly receded to a more normal position in their sockets.
Since pregnenolone is a precursor hormone, it is a much safer therapy. Pregnenolone is recommended for everyone age of 40 onwards and even younger, if continuous health problems occur. This includes even the juvenile diabetic. This is because pregnenolone was shown to regenerate the beta cells of the pancreas in diabetic animals. If it works on animals, it's worth a try in humans.
Therefore, there is no doubt that right away pregnenolone will prove to be useful in the aging process and longevity. Moreover, it appears to play a very important role in improving the overall quality of life. Further human studies are required in order to know the exact and the extent of these effects on human beings.
Who should not take Pregnenolone?
As we know pregnenolone is a hormone, its supplementation must be done only under your doctor's supervision. pregnenolone should not be taken in the absence of a nutritional deficiency as it may affect the functioning of the endocrine system.
Do not take pregnenolone if you suffer from seizure disorders, as pregnenolone can suppress GABA activity, resulting in an increased central nervous system activity which may cause seizures in those with epilepsy.
You also shouldn't use pregnenolone if you are supplementing DHEA or if an individual is taking pregnenolone along with DHEA to treat adrenal fatigue, the dosage level of DHEA should be slightly reduced as some of the pregnenolone gets naturally converted into DHEA in our body. However in Eternal we will prescribe 7 Keto DHEA ( a non-converting) type of DHEA.