Pregnenolone: The Misunderstood Wonder Hormone. Important for Memory, Cognition and Sexual Health
Pregnenolone is an Adrenal Hormone, essential to life as the root hormone for all other Adrenal Hormones. It is converted directly from cholesterol, then it is converted to progesterone and on to DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, Estriol, and Estradiol, just to name a few.
A hormone is a chemical entity that acts directly a class of signaling molecules. Inducing or inhibiting a gene to produce a protein, to cause a cell or tissue to behave in a predictable manner, or after having been secreted by one tissue, it would cause a tissue in a remote portion of the body to have a change in physiology or behavior.
Little understood as a primary hormone, low pregnenolone levels are often seen in patients with Adrenal Insufficiency, low levels may be present in patients receiving 'statin' drugs to lower cholesterol. Additionally, low levels occur in patients who receive oral, injectable and inhalational corticosteroids.
This Misunderstood Wonder Hormone is Important for Memory, Cognition and Sexual Health
Of note, low levels of pregnenolone may be associated with memory impairment and cognition, low levels of sex hormones and may be associated with dementia.
At Stages of Life Medical Institute, we have been testing our patients over the age of 60 for pregnenolone levels, and using a device called a "Cognivue" to assess cognitive impairment. Over the past 2 years, we have found that low levels of Pregnenolone were associated with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, and with treatment with pregnenolone, the cognitive impairment measured on the COGNIVUE improved in a matter of a few months.
Additionally, the use of oral pregnenolone can increase progesterone levels in women who have post menopausal hypogonadism, that is low estradiol and progesterone.
We monitor pregnenolone levels most commonly, twice yearly. It is an inexpensive blood test and yields a tremendous amount of value.
We typically start our patients on 60 mg twice daily, but it should be taken concurrently with a fish oil. The reason for this is that pregnenolone is oil soluble and the stomach is a water environment. Pregnenolone will not absorb well unless it is taken concurrently with an easily absorbed oil.
David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM
Stages of Life Medical Institute
1917 Boothe Circle
Longwood, Florida 32750