What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Pregnenolone?

Pregnenolone has been called "the grandmother of all steroid hormones." The body manufactures it from cholesterol, and then uses it to make testosterone, cortisone, progesterone , estrogen, DHEA , androstenedione , aldosterone, and all other hormones in the "steroid" family.

One reason given for using pregnenolone is that the level of many of these hormones declines with age. By taking pregnenolone supplements, proponents say, you can keep all your hormones at youthful levels. However, pregnenolone levels themselves don't decline with age, 1 and there is no indication that taking extra pregnenolone will increase the levels of any other hormones. Furthermore, even if it did, that doesn't mean using pregnenolone is a great idea.

Steroid hormones are powerful substances,...

If you browse the Internet or read health magazines, you'll find pregnenolone described as a treatment for an enormous list of health problems, including: Alzheimer's disease , menopausal symptoms , Parkinson's disease , osteoporosis , fatigue , stress , depression , and rheumatoid arthritis . It is also supposed to help you lose weight , improve your brain power , and make you feel young again . However, like so many overhyped new supplements, there is little to no scientific evidence for any of these uses. Studies involving rats suggest that pregnenolone may enhance memory, 2 but there have been no human studies.

Safety Issues

Pregnenolone is a powerful hormone, not a nutrient we would naturally get in our food. You should approach this supplement with caution, as if it were a drug. For all intents and purposes, it isa drug. It would be best to consult your doctor before taking it. Pregnenolone is definitely not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease.

As noted above, pregnenolone may decrease the effectiveness of sedatives in the Valium family (benzodiazepines). This means that if you are using benzodiazepine drugs for sleep or for anxiety, they may not work as well.

Interactions You Should Know About

If you are using:

  • Drugs in the benzodiazepine family: Pregnenolone may decrease their...