Pregnenolone Fact Sheet

Pregnenolone is the very first steroid hormone, made directly from cholesterol, and its formation is the first step to a complex process that produces all “steroid” hormones.  Common steroid hormones include estrogens, progesterones, androgens (testosterone) and glucocorticoids (cortisol). Therefore, a decline in pregnenolone can create a generalized decline in all of the steroid hormones.

Pregnenolone also functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and it works particularly in the area of the brain responsible with memory.  Many patients report an improvement in memory when taking pregnenolone.  After about age 30, pregnenolone progressively declines with age.

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnenolone Deficiency

Direct effects of Low Pregnenolone:

  • Declining memory function
  • Declining mental awareness

Indirect effects of Low Pregnenolone:

  • Fatigue and reduced mobility
  • Dry skin
  • Joint and muscle pains

Treatment

Requirements for monitoring therapy:

  • Baseline blood testing of pregnenolone level.  Concurrent testing of other steroid hormones as appropriate may also be tested
  • Periodic blood testing of pregnenolone levels to assure adequate dosing

Medications:

Pregnenolone may be found at compounding pharmacies and health food stores, concentrations vary widely so a knowledgeable professional should check that the dose is correct.

  • Oral pregnenolone is preferred
  • Pregnenolone is usually taken in the morning to help improve memory through the day
  • It may take 3-4 months until improvements are seen with memory and mental awareness
  • Dosing depends of the amount of pregnenolone deficiency

Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Pregnenolone

  • Oily skin
  • Excess of hormones derived from pregnenolone

Risks and Benefits of Treatment

Risks:

  • Doses over 200- 300mg daily for long periods can be harmful to the liver and can cause signs of pregnenolone excess
  • Caution must be taken in treatment if there is any preexisting liver disease

Benefits:

  • Improved memory, mood, multi-tasking especially when under stress
  • Enhancement of treatment of other steroid hormone deficiencies
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