Pregnenolone is a supplement that everyone should read about. It can help by increasing mood, motivation, and brain function. Pregnenolone feels like a steroid for the brain.
What is Pregnenolone?
Pregnenolone and its sulfate (pregnenolone sulfate) are excitatory neurosteroids – they stimulate the brain .
Pregnenolone is the main steroid produced from cholesterol .
Ever since the 1940s, pregnenolone was reported to have anti-stress and mood-elevating effects on factory workers, students, and pilots.
Pregnenolone is the main precursor of many other steroid hormones .
For example, pregnenolone increases the level of other neurosteroids, such as pregnenolone sulfate and allopregnanolone.
Allopregnanolone is another molecule that increases the growth of neurons and decreases cell death and inflammation .
Like most products that can’t be patented, pregnenolone doesn’t have large clinical trials for various conditions. This is where self-hacking comes in – testing out if pregnenolone works for you.
- Great for cognitive enhancement
- Is relaxing and stimulating at the same time
- Increases motivation
- Increases wakefulness
- Increase hormones
- Good for libido
- Good for longevity
- May increase anxiety for some
- Can cause some sleep issues
Measuring Blood Levels
You can take a blood test to measure pregnenolone levels. High or low pregnenolone numbers can indicate that certain processes in the body aren’t optimal.
1) Is a Nootropic and Boosts Cognitive Function
Pregnenolone increases the growth of neurons .
Pregnenolone enhances myelination, enhances the formation of new synapses, and has neuroprotective properties. Myelin is a fatty layer that electrically insulates nerves, and is essential for their proper functioning .
Pregnenolone sulfate enhanced the survival of newborn neurons in adult mice .
Pregnenolone also improves neurological recovery .
Low blood levels of pregnenolone are found in the elderly, including those with dementia .
Pregnenolone sulfate decreases the activity of GABAA receptors, kainate, and AMPA receptors, and increases the activity of NMDA receptors .
This might be why pregnenolone increases anxiety in some.
By regulating microtubules, pregnenolone may increase neuronal development and plasticity of neurons during aging .
Pregnenolone boosts cognitive function for me and is one of my favorite nootropics. It goes well with infrared therapy/LLLT.
2) Improves Learning and Memory
Pregnenolone/pregnenolone sulfate resulted in better performance of mice and rats in various mazes .
Pregnenolone sulfate prevented learning and memory deficits induced by certain drugs .
Pregnenolone boosts learning and memory for me.
3) Stimulates Deep Sleep
Pregnenolone and its derivative allopregnanolone stimulated deep sleep in animal studies .
Low concentration of pregnenolone sulfate increased the amount of REM (paradoxical sleep), while high concentrations increased both REM and slow wave sleep (deep sleep) .
Pregnenolone increased the amount of time spent in deep sleep in human volunteers .
Deep sleep, in turn, helps consolidate memories.
Pregnenolone is more likely to worsen your sleep than benefit it. I have found pregnenolone (at 50 mg) delays sleep onset and results in less sleep for me. Other people also report insomnia from these doses.
4) Relieves Schizophrenia Symptoms
Elevations in pregnenolone and allopregnanolone after pregnenolone treatment in schizophrenia were correlated with cognitive improvements .
Treatment with pregnenolone sulfate reduced schizophrenia-like symptoms and rescued the cognitive deficits in mice .
Pregnenolone reduced symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder .
Low-dose pregnenolone together with antipsychotics reduced drug-induced side effects in schizophrenic patients .
5) Boosts Mood and Relieves Depression
Pregnenolone has significant mood-stabilizing effects .
It also enhanced the activation of neurocircuits that control emotion .
Blocking allopregnanolone impaired social and emotional functioning .
A synthetic pregnenolone derivative acts as an antidepressant in rats .
Depressive disorders are associated with neuronal abnormalities in brain microtubule function .
By increasing the formation and stability of tubules, pregnenolone increases neurite growth and can combat depression .
Pregnenolone boosts mood and motivation quite a bit. In fact, it increases mood and motivation more than anything else I’ve tried.
6) Is Anti-anxiety
Patients with anxiety disorder have significantly lower levels of pregnenolone sulfate .
Pregnenolone does have anti-anxiety effects, but I’ve had some clients tell me it increases their anxiety. For me, it makes me more emotional and more passionate. This includes good and bad emotions. For example, a breakup would feel worse if I’m taking pregnenolone, but you are more likely to fall in love, in my experience.
7) Balances the Immune System
Synthetic pregnenolone derivatives act as antiviral agents against the herpes simplex virus .
Pregnenolone suppresses immune cells to restore immune balance (homeostasis) .
8) Reduces Alcohol Preference and Intake
Also, pregnenolone treatment significantly reduced alcohol self-administration in rats .
9) Kills Brain Cancer Cells
Pregnenolone induced glioma cell death .
10) Protects from Cannabis Intoxication
Pregnenolone protects the brain from cannabis intoxication .
11) Other Benefits
Pregnenolone has anti-arthritic, anti-aging, and anti-fatigue properties. It also lowers cholesterol .
Pregnenolone and Weight Loss
Pregnenolone can be used by the body to make testosterone and other steroid hormones. Testosterone helps maintain and build muscle mass and boosts metabolism. This may help with weight loss, especially in men who are testosterone deficient [41, 42, 43].
Pregnenolone Side Effects
1) Can Impair Memory
Allopregnanolone impaired learning in rats .
2) Can Reduce Wakefulness
Pregnenolone sulfate promotes sleep and can impair wakefulness .
3) Can Cause Anxiety
I haven’t seen this in studies, but in some clients, pregnenolone can increase anxiety, even though it also has anti-anxiety actions.
Studies conducted in the 1940s and 1950s showed that pregnenolone at 25 to 500 mg/day was safe and well tolerated in humans, with minimal side effects, and did not affect weight, heart rate, blood pressure, menstrual cycle, or glucose levels .
I’ve been taking pregnenolone for 3 to 4 years, on and off and I really love it. However, it can take some time to figure out the right dosage. Pregnenolone doesn’t work for a lot of my clients. The most common issues with pregnenolone are that it gives people anxiety and they have more trouble sleeping.
For me, it will cause sleep issues if 1) I take too much, 2) I don’t exercise enough, or 3) I don’t exercise enough earlier in the day. Exercise makes pregnenolone convert to other hormones to produce cortisol. If I exercise later in the day with pregnenolone, it makes me more wired than usual (perhaps I have a larger cortisol spike).
I find when I was having chronic inflammation, I was deficient in pregnenolone. I’m not deficient now, but since I have a very heavy workload, I use more up, so in these times it’s useful.
Pregnenolone is very safe as far as toxicity.
Generally, if you do get a side effect from pregnenolone, you can stop taking it and it will go away. I’ve never heard of permanent negative effects.
I recommend starting out with 5 mg if you’re healthy and make sure to pay attention to your sleep.
If you have schizophrenia or chronic inflammation, you will want to take 25 mg a day (if your doctor thinks it’s a good idea).
Goes Well With
Pregnenolone goes well with aromatase inhibitors so that it doesn’t convert to estradiol.
My favorite aromatase inhibitors include:
Inhibiting cortisol production may also help.
When to Take
I recommend taking it right upon awakening and exercising in the morning, and on an empty stomach – so that it gets absorbed more quickly.
Ways To Increase Pregnenolone
- THC, the main active component of marijuana, substantially increased the production of pregnenolone 
- Stress 
- SSRIs and antipsychotic drugs used for treating depression and bipolar disorder: Clozapine, olanzapine, and fluoxetine (Prozac) elevated pregnenolone levels in the brain and blood of rats 
There are many dosages of pregnenolone you can buy. You can either buy a smaller amount or larger amount and break up the capsule.
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