(Health Secrets) Pregnenolone is a precursor hormone and is required to make other hormones, so having optimal supplies is truly critical. Pregnenolone, along with progesterone which is the other precursor hormone, is made in the adrenal glands as well as in the liver, ovaries and testicles. It can also be made in the brain and is involved in a variety of brain functions such as memory, concentration and mood.
The body can change pregnenolone into the hormones DHEA or progesterone depending on its needs at a given time. Either of these hormones can then produce androstenedione, the direct precursor to the other sex hormones including testosterone and the other androgens, and estradiol and the other estrogens. Progesterone can also make cortisol, the stress hormone, and aldosterone, the regulator of blood pressure. This process by which other hormones are made from pregnenolone and progesterone, which are made directly from cholesterol, is often referred to as the hormonal cascade.
Clearly, pregnenolone is an essential hormone. In the young, pregnenolone production averages about 14 mg per day. As the body ages, production declines until at age 75, the body produces about 40% of the amount produced at age 35. As this supply declines, the amount available to make other hormones also decreases.
Although several studies have found that oral pregnenolone reduces fatigue and increases endurance, its major claim to fame is its memory enhancement capabilities. According to Dr. Terry Hertoghe who specializes in anti-aging medicine, pregnenolone “improves memory because it clarifies thinking and stimulates concentration, prevents memory loss, reduces fatigue, fights depression, protects the joints, relieves arthritis, and speeds healing.” Pregnenolone accomplishes this by preventing the brain’s neurotransmission system from deteriorating, and promoting the release of the neurotransmitter acetycholine. Pregnenolone promotes growth of brain cells. The greater the number of brain cells, the greater the ability to retain memories.
Taking replacement precursor hormones that occur early in the hormonal cascade, like pregnenolone and progesterone, lets your body’s wisdom choose the hormones it will make from them to fulfill your needs. This is particularly important when you are under stress. When adrenal glands are fatigued by stress, they are unable to produce adequate levels of the sex steroid hormone, so levels of these vital hormones drop. The sex hormones are some of the most precious antioxidants the body has, and they help prevent the oxidative damage caused by cortisol. The lower the sex hormones fall, the more damage there is to organs and tissues. This damage leads to premature aging and degenerative disease.
Pregnenolone is available without a prescription in creams, capsules and sublingual drops. The usual dosage is 50 to 100 mg. Absorption is best if it’s taken with fat.