Pregnenolone has been called "the grandmother of all steroid hormones." The body manufactures it from cholesterol, and then uses it to make testosterone, cortisone, progesterone , estrogen, DHEA , androstenedione , aldosterone, and all other hormones in the "steroid" family.
Steroid hormones are powerful substances, and they can cause harm as well as benefit. Long-term use of cortisone causes severe osteoporosis ; estrogen can increase the risk of cancer; and anabolic steroids (used by athletes) may cause liver problems and stress the heart. We really have very little idea what long-term consequences the use of pregnenolone might entail.
Actually, it is ironic that pregnenolone is legally classified as a "dietary supplement" at all. Pregnenolone is not a nutrient. It is a drug, just as estrogen, cortisone, and aldosterone are drugs. We recommend not using it until we know more about what it really does.
Pregnenolone is not normally obtained from foods. Your body manufactures it from cholesterol. Supplemental pregnenolone is made synthetically in a lab from substances found in soybeans.
A typical recommended dosage of pregnenolone is 30 mg daily, but some studies have used as much as 700 mg.
Pregnenolone is a powerful hormone, not a nutrient we would naturally get in our food. You should approach this supplement with caution, as if it were a drug. For all intents and purposes, it is a drug. It would be best to consult your doctor before taking it. Pregnenolone is definitely not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease.
As noted above, pregnenolone may decrease the effectiveness of sedatives in the Valium family (benzodiazepines). This means that if you are using benzodiazepine drugs for sleep or for anxiety, they may not work as well.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are using:
- Drugs in the benzodiazepine family: Pregnenolone may decrease their effectiveness.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -