Supplement Spotlight: PREGNENOLONE
Pregenolone is a “parent hormone” that gives rise to important “neurohormones” that effect learning, memory, mood, stress and much more.
Pregnenolone, sometimes called the “mother of all steroid hormones”, is an interesting substance in the body that is a precursor hormone for other hormones like DHEA, cortisol, estrogen and testosterone (because it is a precursor to these important hormones it gets the name of “parent hormone”). The biggest area we use pregnenolone in the practice is to help patients boost their memory. As we age our memories start to decline in function and it can be very frustrating not being able to remember things that was once was easy. The normal dose I prescribe for pregnenolone is between 30 mg to 90 mg oral taken daily. Typically, in my patients it takes 2-3 weeks for them to start seeing improvement in their memory. Beyond the normal age related memory decline, I use pregnenolone along with pharmaceuticals such as Namenda and Aricept, to help treat patients suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but with these medications and supplements we can essentially slow the progression of the disease.
Not only does it help the brain with memory it also helps to support memory protective sleep, and can help with depression and generalized anxiety. I often use it alone or in conjunction with prescription anti-depressants and one of my other favorite supplements L-methylfolate. I often find that not only does it help treat the depression and anxiety symptoms but it also helps the related fatigue, mental fog, and even stress.
Other areas where we use pregnenolone is in the treatment of female hormone imbalances such as PMS. We often use it in our hormone replacement program to help treat the hot flashes and decreased libido in our post-menopausal women. It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol level which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. New research shows that it may also help with joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Lastly it can also be used to treat substance abuse in patients with alcoholism or cannabis addiction.
In summary, even though pregnenolone has been studied for almost 100 years it is an often underutilized and overlooked supplement that has many positive benefits, some we are just beginning to understand. The best thing about it is that it is a very affordable supplement with very few if any side effects. So don’t hesitate to ask your provider the next time you are in the office.