Pregnenolone is a chemical that is found in our bodies. It can also be made in a laboratory. People use it for medicine.
Some people use pregnenolone for slowing or reversing aging, arthritis, and depression. It is also used for strengthening the heart, allergic reactions, “detoxification,” lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), prostate problems, and seizures.
Because the body uses pregnenolone to make many hormones, pregnenolone was studied for stress, fatigue, and arthritis in the 1940s before lab-made hormones became available.
How does it work?
In the body, pregnenolone is used to make all steroid hormones. There isn't enough information to know how pregnenolone supplements might work.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Slowing or reversing aging.
- Endometriosis (abnormal thickening of the lining of uterus).
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
There isn't enough information to know if pregnenolone is safe when taken by mouth. It might cause some steroid-like side effects including overstimulation, insomnia, irritability, anger, anxiety, acne, headache, negative mood changes, facial hair growth, hair loss, and irregular heart rhythm.
Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Pregnenolone is converted by the body to estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't take supplemental pregnenolone.
EstrogensInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Pregnenolone is used in the body to make hormones including estrogen. Taking estrogen along with pregnenolone might cause too much estrogen to be in the body.
ProgestinInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Progestins are a group of hormones. Taking other hormones along with progesterone pills might cause too much hormones in the body. This could increase the effects and side effects of hormone pills.
TestosteroneInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The body changes pregnenolone into testosterone. Taking pregnenolone along with a testosterone pill might cause too much testosterone in the body. This might increase the chance of testosterone side effects.
The appropriate dose of pregnenolone depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for pregnenolone. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Devlin TM, ed. Textbook of Biochemistry With Clinical Correlations. third ed. New York: Wiley-Liss Inc., 1992.
George MS, Guidotti A, Rubinow D, et al. CSF neuroactive steroids in affective disorders: pregnenolone, progesterone, and DBI. Biol Psych 1994;35:775-80.
Steiger A, et al. Neurosteroid pregnenolone induces sleep-EEG changes in man compatible with inverse agonistic GABAA-receptor modulation. Brain Res 1993; 615:267-74. View abstract.
Wang M, Seippel L, Purdy RH, Backstrom T. Relationship between symptom severity and steroid variation in women with premenstrual syndrome: study on serum pregnenolone, pregnenolone sulfate, 5 alpha-pregnane-3,20-dione and 3 alpha-hydroxy-5 alpha-pregnan-20-one. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996;81:1076-82. View abstract.