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What is Pregnenolone?

By Amy Hunter
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pregnenolone is a naturally occurring substance in the body. It is a precursor to hormones that the body needs. The hormones DHEA (dehydroeplandrosterone) and progesterone are both derived from this substance, but its entire function is not entirely understood. Many scientists believe the function of pregnenolone is solely as a precursor to other hormones and that it is has no other function in the body.

Various medical studies have been conducted to better understand the use of pregnenolone in the body. The studies are conducted by supplementing with the substance. Some studies have indicated that supplementing with pregnenolone may increase memory. It may also improve the quality of sleep. These supplements may also help performance during stressful situations.

Topical creams containing these supplements may also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. While studies showed a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it is not known if the improvement is due to the supplement's function in the body. It may be simply due to the increased levels of hydration that would occur from using any cream.

Other medical studies have shown that people who have the lowest levels of pregnenolone in their brains also have the highest levels of depression. People who suffer from rheumatoid or osteoarthritis may find some relief with these supplements as well. Medical studies have suggested that these supplements may increase patient’s range of motion and reduce joint pain.

Pregnenolone is produced naturally by the central nervous system and the adrenal glands. It is also available as a supplement. Benefits of supplementation are still being studied, but typically the dosage is between 10 and 30 milligrams.

The qualities of pregnenolone are only beginning to be understood. For this reason, potential side effects are not fully known. Many doctors do believe that people who suffer from seizures should avoid taking these supplements. Their effect on hormone production also means that women of childbearing age may experience changes to their menstrual cycle when they begin supplementing with this substance.

Although there is no definitive proof that these supplements can be hazardous, there are some cautions for people who have hormone sensitive cancers. The relationship between pregnenolone and progesterone is not fully understood. For people with breast cancer, or other hormone sensitive cancers, or who have a high risk of developing these cancers due to heredity factors, supplementing is not recommended.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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