Pregnenolone is the foundation to the body's other naturally occurring hormones, but a lot of patients aren't familiar with this hormone by name. Your body converts pregnenolone into other hormones, including progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA.
Pregnenolone plays a key role in hormonal balance as a key precursor to cortisol, progesterone, and DHEA, which can later convert into estrogens and testosterone. Pregnenolone helps to maintain balance in the body’s stress response system. Pregnenolone supplementation is particularly important for patients who have deficient hormone levels found through testing, as well as those who need support balancing cortisol to DHEA.
If tests reveal that hormone levels are lower than ideal, many patients begin bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Specially-made prescriptions, called compounded prescriptions, can combine estrogen, progesterone, testosterone in strengths specific for patients' individual needs, and to complement integrative physicians' protocol.
Improving your diet or committing to regular exercise is go-to advice to reduce the natural side-effects of aging. But sometimes diet and exercise alone can't give you the results you need to feel the same as you used to.
That's because as you age, hormone levels decline, and imbalances cause a myriad of side-effects. For some, this causes memory loss, stronger feelings of stress and anxiety, and for others, it causes hot flashes, reduced muscle mass, disrupted sleep or decreased sex drive. In more extreme cases, patients experience debilitating conditions like arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and heart problems occur.
How is Pregnenolone used in the body?
Pregnenolone is a pro-hormone that is synthesized in the brain and adrenal glands, but also in the liver, skin, brain, testicles, ovaries and retina. Pregnenolone plays a key role in hormonal balance as a key precursor to cortisol, DHEA and progesterone, and helps to maintain balance in the body’s stress response system. Pregnenolone helps keep a normal balance between cortisol and DHEA in the body and as a result, modulates the cortisol-driven stress response system, support nerve cell growth and modulate mood. Specifically, when a high-stress lifestyle pushes the stress response system into overdrive, the rise in cortisol can ultimately deplete pregnenolone and reduce the availability of DHEA and progesterone.
Pregnenolone is a neurosteroid that is found in high concentrations in the brain where it protects neurons, enhances myelination and supports cognitive health and memory. In addition, pregnenolone has been shown to support a balanced mood and promote cognitive health by modulating the transmission of messages between neurons, influencing learning and memory processes. Since there is strong evidence that pregnenolone levels diminish with advancing age, restoring these levels may also help support overall brain function and sense of well-being.
Relieve Anxiety and Depression
Changes in hormones can trigger mental illnesses (the most well-known might be postpartum depression). Anxiety and depression can both be symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Antidepressant medications can come with a long list of adverse side effects like loss of sex drive, weight gain, insomnia, and more.
Studies have shown links between depression and a deficiency of pregnenolone. In patients with active depression, they also had lower levels of pregnenolone.
The way pregnenolone binds to GABA(A)-receptors in the brain can reduce anxiety and depression. Taking a daily dose may enhance feelings of well-being in men and women struggling with anxiety and depression. Talk to your doctor about adding pregnenolone to your medication regimen; it is not intended to replace anti-depressants or your other medications (including BHRT).
Enhancing Memory and Cognition
Memory impairment may be seen as an inevitability as you age, but memory loss can indicate a pregnenolone deficiency. Pregnenolone supplementation can boost the lagging neuro-chemical process found in Alzheimer's patients.
Brain Research Reviews published a report in 2001 that pregnenolone boosted memory and increased the ability to learn in animals.
Relieves Menopausal Symptoms
Menopause is a natural part of life, but there's no reason you has to live with the uncomfortable symptoms. Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal atrophy, anxiety, memory loss and insomnia. Do some of these symptoms sound familiar?
That's because menopause starts when the ovaries stop producing the same levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Everybody experiences the drop in hormones differently- some women may only experience a few hot flashes, whereas others may not be able to get a normal sleep cycle, or face a severe decline in sex drive (a low sex drive may also be due to painful sex or dry vaginal walls).
Since all steroid hormones are derived from pregnenolone, hormone optimization usually alleviates menopausal symptoms. Bio-identical hormones are the same chemical that your body naturally produces, so they react the same way in the body (patented synthetic hormones are also available, but are not bio-identical). Your doctor might prescribe vaginal estrogen or DHEA cream for targeted relief. Topical creams or sublingual troche combinations of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone (yes, men and women need testosterone!) are really popular and easy for patients to use. If you're having problems sleeping, your doctor might prescribe oral progesterone in addition to your combination cream or troche.
Talk to your doctor about using hormone therapy to alleviate your discomfort. Pregnenolone is available over the counter, but other steroid hormones are available by prescription only. Ask about bio-identical and dosage form options, too.
Supplemental pregnenolone mimics the pregnenolone made in the body. The raw material for pregnenolone comes from wild yams, grown in tropical regions like Mexico. Pregnenolone is usually started at 10 mg a day, and the highest over-the-counter strength is 30 mg. If you need higher doses, then talk to your doctor about getting a prescription compounded to the dose and form you need.
Choosing the right pregnenolone is important. Many brands are not regulated at all, which means they may not have any active ingredients. Look for brands that are GMP- and NSF-certified, and use products that are backed by scientific research. Folsom Medical Pharmacy carries only the highest-quality supplements, including entirely gluten- and GMO-free brands.
Now is the time to live your life to the fullest and feel your best. Evaluate our products for yourself. If you have questions about pregnenolone, if it's right for you, or will interact with your current medication regimen, call our pharmacist today.