Pregnenolone side effects, benefit, dosage danger supplement, research studies, safety, danger, caution and risks, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
You MUST read this page regarding pregnenolone side effects before you buy the supplements
June 9, 2014

Pregnenolone is a natural hormone that cannot be patented. Back in the 1940's, when researchers started experimenting with it, they realized that it could be helpful for people under stress and it could increase energy in those who were fatigued. However, about the same time, cortisol, another closely related hormone, was discovered. Cortisol stole the limelight. When cortisol was given to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, there were outstanding short-term improvements. Photographs of these remarkable recoveries were circulated and the medical community was impressed. Scientists basically put pregnenolone aside to focus on cortisol. The structure of cortisol was altered to make similar molecules such as dexamethasone and prednisone, much more powerful steroids. Dexamethasone and other similar corticosteroids could be patented, and thus a pharmaceutical company could make a lot of money. Pregnenolone has stayed in relative obscurity since the 1940's, with only rare mentions in the medical literature. There have been few studies published on pregnenolone in recent years, and only a couple involve human subjects.

Benefits and how it can help
Some people find pregnenolone improves energy, vision, memory, clarity of thinking, wellbeing, and often sexual enjoyment or libido. It may be considered a good brain enhancer in those who are deficient. Studies in rodents show it to be one of the most effective and powerful memory boosters. Pregnenolone may increase levels of acetylcholine in the hippocampus and other memory regions in the brain. Some women report lessening of hot flashes or premenstrual symptoms. However, this hormone supplement is not risk-free. For safer alternatives consider Mind Power Rx natural supplement as a mind booster, Passion Rx as a sexual enhancer, MultiVit Rx for more energy, and Eyesight Rx for better vision within hours or days.
   The major benefit of pregnenolone is that it can be used in tiny dosages as hormone replacement therapy as we get older to improve vitality, energy, visual clarity, and sexual pleasure. There is no proof that taking it will improve health, but it is an intriguing possibility. It is quite likely, though, that if too much is taken, pregnenolone side effects can occur which would be counterproductive. At this time we have no idea what the ideal pregnenolone dosage would be for hormone replacement, it may be as low as 1 mg.

Pregnenolone side effects, danger, risk, and the harm it can cause
Overstimulation and insomnia -- low doses could be helpful for sleep when taken in the morning. For occasional sleepless nights, consider Good Night Rx.
Irritability, anger or anxiety -- low doses could actually ease a person into a relaxed feeling, while higher amounts may lead to irritability.
Acne can occur due to the probable conversion of this hormone into androgens
Headaches are possible with high dosages or low dosages used over several days or weeks.
Possible scalp hair loss if used daily for prolonged periods. Pregnenolone converts into DHEA, which in turn converts into testosterone and possibly on to DHT. It can also be converted into progesterone.
Irregularities of heart rhythm, Heart Palpitations, even on as low a dose as 5 mg. This can be serious in the elderly or those with heart rhythm disturbances. We had a report from a woman who felt palpitations from as low as half a 5 mg tablet.
Unknown effects on the thyroid gland or other organs and tissues.

DO NOT TRUST ANYONE WHO SAYS PREGNENOLONE IS SAFE IN HIGH DOSES
Do not rely on blood or saliva testing to determine how much to take since you should not be taking more than 5 mg a few times a week anyway -- unless you have a proven adrenal gland dysfunction and an endocrinologist monitors you.

Dr. Sahelian says: I do not feel comfortable with the high dosages of DHEA and pregnenolone sold over the counter. I think a maximum of 5 or 10 mg is acceptable. Hormones are powerful substances that have significant short and long-term effects. They can be very helpful if used appropriately but can cause serious harm if misused. One of the side effects is heart palpitations or arrhythmias. Use hormones in low doses and for short periods of time. Take frequent breaks which I call 'hormone holidays. Use natural alternatives to hormones whenever possible.

buy Pregnenolone sublingual 10 mg, 120 Tablets (Cherry Flavored)
Sublingual means it melts under the tongue

Directions, dosage:  One tenth to one half (yes, 1 to 5 mg) pregnenolone tablet under the tongue as needed. You can break the tablet in small pieces. Do not exceed 5 mg per day. Do not take it for more than 5 days in a row without the advice of your physician. Supplementation may elevate your DHEA and progesterone levels, and DHEA can increase estrogen and testosterone levels. Do not take more than 2 mg daily (about a fifth of a tablet) for prolonged periods without medical consultation.

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To enhance your mental abilities without hormones, try Mind Power Rx.

 

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Eyesight improvement and better vision
A good number of individuals who have taken pregnenolone report enhancement of visual perception. Colors are brighter and clearer. Patterns are more noticeable. Looking becomes more enjoyable. However, not everyone seems to be attuned to this perceptual enhancement. Eyesight Rx is an exceptional natural product for vision enhancement.

Prostate gland, cancer
Q.
Do you think a man with prostate cancer can take pregnenolone?
   A. Although the effects of pregnenolone on the prostate gland are not as direct as testosterone, I don't recommend any kind of steroid hormone in a person who has prostate cancer.

Thyroid gland and hormones
I have not seen good studies in regards to the influence of this hormone supplement on thyroid hormone levels, but one should proceed cautiously.

What form is best?
Oral pregnenolone pills work well. Sublingual (sublingual means it melts under the tongue) is an excellent option by bypassing the initial liver metabolism that occurs after swallowing an oral pill. The cream form is also available.

Mind Power Rx
This natural mind enhancer is a sophisticated cognitive formula with a dozen brain herbs and nutrients. It combines a delicate balance of brain circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain chemicals that support healthy memory and mood, mental clarity, concentration, alertness and focus.
   Why buy all the individual herbs and nutrients separately -- at great expense -- when you can buy this excellent combination? The herbs in Mind Power Rx include: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng, Mucuna pruriens, and Reishi. The nutrients and vitamins in Mind Power Rx include Acetyl-l-carnitine, Carnitine, Carnosine, Choline, DMAE, Inositol, Methylcobalamin, Pantothenic acid, Tyrosine, and Vinpocetine.

 

What is a steroid?
A steroid is chemical substance with four carbon ring structures attached to each other in a very specific way. Cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, pregnenolone, progesterone, and estrogen are all steroid hormones that chemically look very similar to each other in terms of their backbone. However, they differ from each other in only small ways, and even tiny changes in the chemical make up of a substance can make enormous differences in how it functions and what role it plays in the chemical factories of our bodies. For instance, testosterone, the male hormone, is only slightly different chemically from estrogen, the female hormone. Yet that slight difference causes men to grow facial hair and women to develop breasts.
   Pregnenolone is converted in the body to progesterone and these two hormones have some overlapping similarities, but we still don't know exactly how their effects overlap. Pregnenolone is also converted into DHEA, which, in turn may convert into androstenedione, testosterone, and estrogens.

Q. My blood work showed an elevated cortisol level. But I had been taking 50mg pregnenolone a day for past 6 months. Could it be converting to cortisol and actually increasing my cortisol levels and doing more harm than good.? Also had a high estrogen level. I am 42 year old male.
   A. Pregnenolone can convert into cortisol and estrogen.

Q. Can DHEA convert to progesterone in some women, rather than estrogen and testosterone?
   A. Pregnenolone converts into DHEA and progesterone. DHEA does not convert into progesterone, rather it converts into estrogen and testosterone.

How is pregnenolone made?
There is a type of plant called a wild yam that is grown in certain parts of the southern U.S. and in Mexico. This wild yam contains a compound called diosgenin that is the precursor to steroid hormones. In a laboratory, diosgenin is converted into pregnenolone. Further laboratory processing can convert pregnenolone into DHEA. The human body does not have the ability (the required enzymes) to convert diosgenin (a six ring structure) into pregnenolone (a four ring structure). Therefore, if you swallow pills that are extracts of wild yams (diosgenin), you will not get pregnenolone or DHEA. The conversion has to be done in a laboratory. If you want to buy pregnenolone or DHEA, the bottles you buy must say that they contain actual pregnenolone or DHEA, not extracts of wild yams or diosgenin.

Can I take pregnenolone if I'm already on DHEA, estrogens, or other hormones?
Since both have certain similar effects (however, they have differences, too), you should lower your dose of DHEA when you go on pregnenolone. The lowering of the dose should by the same amount as the pregnenolone dose. Before you add it, though, make sure you try them separately to see what kind of effects they have on you. Once you know how you react to each separately, you can then combine them. The amount of conversion of pregnenolone to estrogens is not fully known. Do not exceed more than 2 or 3 mg of both in total.

Caution
We're still in the early stages of learning about pregnenolone and its full effects on the human body. It is best to proceed with caution until more information is available. This means using the lowest effective dose. There are some medical or psychiatric conditions where it can be used temporarily and then stopped. With this conservative approach, it is unlikely that many problems would arise. Our major uncertainty at this time involves the long-term use of pregnenolone as hormone replacement therapy, especially if high doses are used.
   Those who have already found pregnenolone to be helpful in terms of mood elevation, stress reduction, arthritis help, visual and auditory enhancement, and so forth, but are concerned about unknown long-term effects, may feel more comfortable using it only as needed and frequently taking time off from it. Taking these "hormone holidays" will mitigate any potential unknown risks.
   Daily use of pregnenolone over prolonged periods should be no more than 1 to 3 mg unless you are closely followed by a health care practitioner familiar with the clinical uses of this hormone. Current dosage available over the counter, such as 25, 50, or 100 mg are TOO high. If you purchase a 10 mg pill or capsule, take a portion of it if you plan to take it on a regular basis.

Testimonial side effects reported by users
Q. I recently tried a pregnenolone cream called Equalizer Plus sold on the hormone profile com website, with the intention of providing adrenal support through more natural means, as the oral steroids that my doctor prescribed did not agree with me (anxiety, depression, headaches). The website claims that the cream provides 18-20 mg of pregnenolone per dose (1 pump). After taking three doses in two days I was having the same strange headaches that I had while on the oral steroids. I immediately stopped using the cream. Within days after stopping I developed cystic acne. It has been over a week and it is still severe. How long do you estimate this will last and what can I do to accelerate the detox process? Will this have a negative, long term affect on my natural hormonal cycle, as the product claims to increase the affects of progesterone and estrogen in the body. I certainly do not plan on using Equalizer Plus ever again.
    A. It takes several days after starting this hormone, whether oral or by cream, to develop acne pimples. The skin problem should diminish and go away after a few more days or weeks. I doubt if any long term effect will occur if the cream is stopped.

Q. I have been taking pregnenolone 10 mg for one month. I stopped due to irritability, hair loss, anxiety, and wanting to be alone. It has been 2 weeks and I still feel anxiety, irritable and depressed but slightly better now.

Q. I took 20mg per day for about 2 months because I have adrenal exhaustion. I am female and 63 and developed the irregular heart rhythm about a week ago. I have been off of the Preg for 3 days now but still having  skipped heartbeats, although maybe not as many.

Withdrawal symptoms
I was given pregnenolone by a doctor. I did not know it was a steroid and I would not have taken it if I had known. One day I decided to look it up on the internet and found out it was a steroid. I stopped taking it three weeks ago and I have been having withdrawal symptoms such as terrible anxiety, nervousness, and restlessness. My chiropractor is helping me with natural supplements. The pharmacist said it could take 3 to 6 weeks. I was taking 30 mg for 6 weeks. This is a really mean drug.

Pregnenolone: Nature's Feel Good Hormone book
I just finished reading your book Pregnenolone: Nature's Feel Good Hormone written in 1997 where you seem so positive about cautiously taking DHEA and Preg. But on your current site you take and even more cautious route. Have you walked away from feeling that these hormones can benefit people over the age of 40?
    When I wrote the book in 1997 I was cautiously positive about using low dosages. I am still positive about the proper uses of these hormones and they have a role to play in medicine, but my dosage recommendations are now much, much lower and I ask users to take more frequent breaks and to have a good reason for taking them.

Blood level testing
Q. My husband is 55 years old, and recently had a physical with lab tests. Hormone testing was also done. Everything was in the normal range, except the pregnenolone, which was 441. He is in good health, takes 25 mg of atenolol daily, an OTC multi vitamin, and 2 ounces of liquid aloe at bedtime. Non smoker, very light alcohol, exercises daily. Do you have any info on what could be causing the hormone to be over twice it's normal value?
    A. There is no reason to do routine hormone testing on a patient unless there is a serious medical condition that makes a doctor suspect a hormonal deficiency or excess. Different labs are known to provide different results, particularly on blood tests, such as pregnenolone, that are not routine. The level of a hormone varies throughout the day and over time. The problem with doing tests that are not required leads to results that often lead doctors to do more unnecessary testing and there is no evidence that doing extra tests leads to improved health and longevity. A physician has to evaluate the whole person and make a decision regarding treatment based on the whole picture rather than an isolated result of one blood chemistry, hormone level, or test result. When a blood result comes back that is not expected, and there is no immediate health problems that are of concern, often a good option is to retest it a few weeks or months later by a different lab.

Do you know the half lives of pregnenolone plasma & biological? I am a medical doctor and appreciate your views and cautions.
   I don't know the exact half life, it could depend on the dosage used and the person using it, but clinically it seems to have an effect into the next day. Within the cell it could promote changes that may have an influence for several days whereas blood levels may return to normal within hours.

I had a blood test done and found to have high pregnenolone level, what should I do?
   I one time result of a high level is not an indication to treat. One should have it tested several times over a period of weeks or months to see if the results are consistent.

Little research in humans is available
Chronic pregnenolone effects in normal humans: attenuation of benzodiazepine-induced sedation.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004. Meieran SE, Reus VI, Wolkowitz OM. University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA,
In two preliminary studies, we sought to characterize tolerability and psychotropic effects of pregnenolone in humans. In Study 1, 17 normal volunteers received pregnenolone and placebo for 4 weeks each (15 mg PO per day x2 weeks followed by 30 mg PO per day x2 weeks, vs. placebo x4 weeks) in a within-subject, double-blind, cross-over design, with a 4 week drug-free washout period separating the two arms. Subjects' behavioral responses were assessed at the beginning and end of the 4-week pregnenolone arm and the 4-week placebo arm. Pregnenolone was generally well-tolerated but, by itself, had no significant effects on mood, memory, self-rated sleep quality or subjective well-being. In Study 2, 11 subjects from Study 1 received a single dose of diazepam (0.2 mg/kg PO) immediately following completion of Study 1 in order to assess, in a between groups design, the impact of 4-weeks' pre-treatment with pregnenolone (N=5) vs. placebo (N=6) on the acute sedative, amnestic and anxiolytic effects of this benzodiazepine. Pregnenolone-pretreated subjects showed significantly less sedation following diazepam; this effect was clinically apparent. Diazepam's amnestic effects were non-significantly attenuated, and ratings of anxiety were unaffected. These pilot data, based on small samples, raise the possibility that chronically administered pregnenolone antagonizes certain acute effects of benzodiazepines and may enhance arousal via antagonist or inverse agonist actions at the benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptor complex. Further larger-scale pregnenolone studies, utilizing a broader range of doses and experimental conditions, are warranted.

Interaction with marijuana
Science. January 2014. Pregnenolone can protect the brain from cannabis intoxication. Pregnenolone is considered the inactive precursor of all steroid hormones, and its potential functional effects have been largely uninvestigated. The administration of the main active principle of Cannabis sativa (marijuana), Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), substantially increases the synthesis of pregnenolone in the brain via activation of the type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor. This hormone, then, acting as a signaling-specific inhibitor of the CB1 receptor, reduces several effects of THC. This negative feedback mediated reveals a previously unknown paracrine/autocrine loop protecting the brain from CB1 receptor overactivation that could open an unforeseen approach for the treatment of cannabis intoxication and addiction.

Recent studies
Clin Schizophr Relat Psychoses. 2014 Feb 4: Adjunctive pregnenolone ameliorates the cognitive deficits in recent-onset schizophrenia. This study aimed to examine the effect of add-on treatment with the neurosteroid pregnenolone (PREG) on neurocognitive dysfunctions of patients with recent-onset schizophrenia (SZ) and schizoaffective disorder (SA). Sixty out-and inpatients that met DSM-IV criteria for SZ/SA were randomized an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 2-center trial. Participants received either pregnenolone (50 mg/d) or placebo added on to antipsychotic medications.  Compared to placebo, adjunctive PREG significantly reduced the deficits in visual attention measured with the Matching to Sample Visual Search task with moderate effect sizes. In addition, a significant improvement was observed from baseline to end-of-study with respect to the visual and sustained attention (Rapid Visual Information Processing, p=0.038) deficits, and executive functions (Stockings of Cambridge; Spatial Working Memory) among patients receiving PREG, but not among those receiving placebo. This beneficial effect of PREG was independent of the type of the antipsychotic agents, gender, age, education, and illness duration. Pregnenolone augmentation demonstrated significant amelioration of the visual attention deficit in recent-onset SZ/SA.

Physiol Res. December 2013. Pregnenolone sulfate activates NMDA receptor channels.

Behav Brain Res. January 2014. Pregnenolone sulphate enhances spatial orientation and object discrimination in adult male rats: Evidence from a behavioural and electrophysiological study.

Questions
Q. A California hormone specialist has got me on pregnenolone for about a year now. I am taking 150mg a day. I try to stop and I get depressed, paranoid and exhausted. How does one get off of it?
   A. I suggest you ask your doctor to read the information on this page. Going off gradually at 10 mg less each week may be an option.

Q. Now I'm really confused. After reading your web site and Ray Peat website (he's a physiological endocrinologist, PhD., with many years of research and consultation) I am in a quandary. You both say opposite things about pregnenolone and both seem to have equally good reasons! I'd like to know how to wend my way through these pros and cons.
   A. The consumer will find different viewpoints on the internet and within the medical community not just on pregnenolone but on just about any topic. We provide the information as we know best, it is up to you to decide whose info you trust more.

Q. I've been taking Pregnenolone 10mg for 2 days a week. I'm kind of a hairy guy. Do u think this would assist me losing my body hair and increase my libido.
   A. Pregnenolone may help with libido, but I doubt if it will reduce body hair.

Q. I read your advice on the pregnenlone, thank you! You mention to take hormone holidays. If I take 5 mg or less of pregnenolone daily, how many consistent days do you suggest to take it and how many days should I take the hormone holidays before taking it again. I appreciate your advice and books!
   A. There is not set dosage or frequency pattern since each person is unique. A general guideline would be to take as low a dosage that works for you and take as many "hormone holidays" as you can.

Q.  You mention in your information page; after taking pregnenolone 2 mg a day for five days take a hormonal holiday. How long do you recommend? Is 5 on and then 2 off a good plan? I am currently taking 5 mg.
   A. There is no right or wrong answer since each person is unique in their dosage, frequency, and length of a break. Most people don't even need to take a pregnenolone supplement. The best option is for you to read all the information on this page including pregnenolone side effects, and then discuss with your health care provider how much to take and how often to take breaks. Perhaps there are alternative supplements or herbs that could help you achieve your health goals without the use of pregnenolone or DHEA.


Q. After reading your articles and doing a tremendous amount of internet research, trying to filter through those simply intending to sell a product, those too academic for comprehension and those written in a comprehensible manner with the best interest of the client at heart, I have begun to take pregnenolone at the rate of 10 mg a day. I am a 58 year old male in excellent health. I practice and teach yoga and i also use my indoor rower three times a week. But for the last year or so i have been very tired -- 50 hours of work a week running a television station with all the issues, both public and private, associated with media work, leave me exhausted by the end of the week and though i am recovered by the weekend, i soon lose my reserves and end up in the same condition the following week. The pregnenolone, which i have now taken for 25 consecutive days, has made a tremendous difference. I feel better. I wake up alert and joyful and i carry my reserves through the week into the weekend. In general it has helped me. I do have high cholesterol which i treat herbaly. It is about 270. Since pregnenolone is manufactured in part by cholesterol i wonder if having it back in abundance in my body will reduce the cholesterol through a invigorated manufacturing process. Or the opposite. ( i take fish oil twice every day). In general do you think i am heading toward a fall or do you think i can continue the 10 mg indefinitely? I have taken the liberty of writing you because i love your newsletter and buy most of my supplements from Physician Formulas because they have more life in them. I especially like your curcumin tumeric. Thank you for insights you may be willing to share. p.s. I know you are on record with the advisory to take 5 mg pregnenolone a day for short periods of time but i also have found older information where you were less cautious --given that pregnenolone research is ongoing and the field is constantly changing i am asking what you currently recommend. Thanks again.
   A. Thank you for the positive feedback. Yes, pregnenolone can make one feel good, but I am concerned that one may pay the price later with potential side effects that I have listed above. There are many supplements that enhance mood and energy, and it would be best to use pregnenolone less frequently and to substitute other nutrients and herbs. For instance, MultiVit Rx has great energy enhancing properties. Mind Power Rx is excellent for mental energy. Carnitine and carnosine improve energy, so do some of the herbs such as suma, maca, muira puama, tribulus, ginseng, and others. So, the bottom line is that pregnenolone use should be limited, my thoughts are twice a week, and other supplements and products can be substituted to avoid the potential harm from excessive hormone intake. As a general rule, I prefer alternating different supplements as opposed to using one or two all the time.

Q. I have admired your work and awareness of alternative health issues. I have been a proponent of pregnenolone for several years and try to keep abreast of the most current information on this topic. I was interested in your observations regarding the use of pregnenolone and heart palpitations. I have observed this in myself, but after a few days it has subsided. I am wondering if the improvement in circulation may be a factor and that the body may eventually create more vascular system and then the palpitations subside. I have noticed both.
   A. I have come across some individuals in whom the heart palpitations from pregnenolone subsided, but others kept having them with serious consequences. I really do not know the mechanism of adaptation in some individuals who seem not to continue with the palpitations. Thank you for the positive feedback.

Q. I took 50mg daily of pregnenolone for about 3 years (1998-2001). Pregnenolone made me feel terrific - but, I now have no hair left anywhere on my body. Could it have been responsible?
     A. You are the first to report such a side effect from long-term use to this web site, I am not sure if the pregnenolone is the cause.

Q. I've been taking pregnenolone for the past two months for about 30mg/day. Although I've experienced elevation in energy and mental clarity, I've also experienced heart palpitation as a side effect. Even before I began to take pregnenolone, I was aware of the potential side effects by having visited your website. However, I've also noticed something else different about my body which wasn't mentioned anywhere in any articles. My resting heart rate seems to have slowed down to around 50 beats/min (I used to have normal heart rate around 70 beats/min) and I'm not a physically active person at all. I'm not sure whether pregnenolone played any part of it, but I couldn't come up with any other reasons. My MD told me it's not something I've to worry about even though I'm still feeling uncomfortable about it. I've stopped taking pregnenolone for the moment until I can be sure it's ok.

Q. I've been using pregnenolone for years and have found that it has a profound effect against aging. I started with 10 mg pregnenolone a day and have been using 100 mg per day for about 3 years now. I am an avid believer in exercise and have been exercising vigorously for 40 years, which includes 25 years of rugby and since retiring at age 46 from rugby, I've run about 5400 miles. I am now 55. I exercise 6 days a weeks, 3 days doing aerobic exercise and 3 days weight lifting. I find that I am able to exercise at levels close to what I was doing when in my 20s and 30s. I've read over the list of side effects experienced from pregnenolone usage and must say, to date, I have had none of these. I also take a regimen of vitamins, minerals, and herbs each day and have done so for 30 years. In reading your material on pregnenolone, it sounds like I'm one of the few who have taken Preg long term. If you could point me to other research related to pregnenolone, I would be grateful. If you or your staff have any specific questions about the effects of pregnenolone on me, I would be willing to talk or correspond with you. If my experiences could help shed some light on the long term usage of pregnenolone, I would be happy to share.

Q. Is Prenenolone a safe replacement for Prednisone, when Prednisone has been contraindicated for a medical condition?
   A. Pregnenlone is not a substitute for prednisone, they may have some overlapping effects but they also have quite different influences on the body. Pregnenolone is much less understood than prednisone.

Q. You may be interested in additional data backing up your cautions on your web page. I had been taking 50 mgs of DHEA and pregnenolone each for about 9 months when I went in for a routine physical exam. The exam turned up hyperthyroidism and atrial flutter - neither of which had existed in any prior physicals. So, another profound 'thanks;' this time for your internet article. With the information it contained, I was able to alert my physician as to the probable cause of both conditions which was most helpful in reaching an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, with medication and 2 cardioversions, both conditions have now been eliminated. As you might guess, I've learned a lesson about charging off on my own.

   A. Yes, playing with hormones can be dangerous.

Q. I am trying pregnenolone to help with PMS / PMDD and depression. I just purchased some and the label says "Do not take if under 40 yrs old". Can you explain this?
   A. Pregnenolone is a powerful over the counter hormone. There is no specific age cutoff for its use, but the body's production does decrease with age. There have not been studies to evaluate whether this hormone is appropriate for hormone replacement therapy. Most of the dosages available in stores are too high for regular daily consumption and can lead to side effects. It’s best this hormone be used under medical guidance, and only in low dosages. I consider any dosage over 5 mg to be high for long term use.

Q. I am a doctor writing from Germany. Do you hold the use of Pregnenolone in the treatment of the concentration-weakness of children?
   A. Pregnenolone is a powerful hormone and I would not recommend its use in children unless they have adrenal insufficiency.

Q. My son is 9 yrs old and suffers from a very rare condition called congenital adrenal hypoplasia. This basically means he has no adrenal cortex at all and receives replacement therapy of hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone.  The complexity of the other 40 odd hormones produced in the cortex and their pathways are such that these other hormones are not added to this replacement regime. If DHEA is the most abundant of hormones in the body and given the increased understanding of it and its interaction in the body, is not logical that some sort of replacement therapy would be offered to people suffering from adrenal insufficiency.  It would seem that a hormone related to moods, coping, blood sugar level management, stress, testosterone synthesis.......... would be needed by people who do not produce a drop. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
   A. The medical profession has not focused replacement of natural hormones for adrenal malfunction. Pregnenolone is the "grandmother adrenal hormone" from which all other adrenal hormones are made, while DHEA is the son of pregnenolone. It does seem reasonable to assume that perhaps replacing pregnenolone or DHEA might offer advantages that cortisones alone may not provide. The research on this is very limited but replacing or combining one or both of these hormones is theoretically a reasonable approach while under the care of an endocrinologist.

Q. I was wondering since Pregnenolone is a steroid, does it increase strength or mass?
   A. Pregnenolone is a steroid, and converts into progesterone and DHEA. Although I am not aware of studies that have tested it in terms of increasing muscle mass, it probably has some effect, although not as direct as androgens.

Q. Pregnenolone is nothing short of a small miracle to me! I am a 37 yr. old female who since birth has had allergies and many sensitivities. I also got sick a lot. You get the picture. After giving birth to 3 kids in 13 months ( I had Premie twins with health issues) I was left  with no mental or physical reserves. At that point I started having horrible mood swings, awful PMS, fatigue, and at really bad times would self injure. Of course I got help, counseling, different meds, relaxation techniques etc. I faithfully tired all with little help. The worst times however were my periods so one concerned Dr. tired different things but finally decided on doing a Hysterectomy. Then the problems slowly began even though I took Estratest. Problems as they appeared.

Fatigue- off and on
Horrible ( and I mean really bad) carb. cravings
Really low sex drive. No feelings in nipples etc.
Stomach problems: IBS, heartburn
Joint and muscle aches
Unexplained hives- This led to use of anti-histamines.
Weird nerve like pains in left wrist.
Extra hair growth then loss, weight gain then loss (sometimes weekly!)
Really high moods then low, this could switch within hours.
And last but not least the migraines which besides the pain it would cause me really weird things
like having to urinate tons right before the onset of one, and a feeling like my heart rate was changing.

All through this I was also sometimes depressed, anxious, and crabby a lot. I went to many doctors and was told my blood tests were normal (although they never did one to check hormonal levels) they just said all my symptoms were stress related which I sometimes wondered if that was all. I was put on Luvox for four years and while that helped for some things like the emotional elements I still had lots of the other things. I finally went off the Luvox, when I gained 40 pounds and felt really tired all the time.. After that I started over again in my quest to feel better. Now we're up to date and I started seeing my regular M.D., my migraine specialist, and a psychiatrist. All agreed that Depakote would help for some of my problems. I was able to take it for about 2 weeks. It triggered my IBS really badly! So they told me to stop. My psychiatrist said I probably had some kind of auto-immune disorder, but at the current time they didn't know what it was. This got me thinking and spending days on the internet researching.

I finally decided to try to buck-up my body naturally. I had only tried the usual vitamins so I went further, I started looking into mood enhancers etc. That's when I came across pregnenolone! When I read what pregnenolone was and what it did a light went on. I have never to this point been one to jump up and rush off to try something. I have had too many bad reactions to do that! But for some reason I had to try pregnenolone. OH MY GOD! I took 10 mg. and that very day (that's another thing the Docs could never fathom is how tiny amounts of meds could instantly cause a change) I felt different, better! My grandmother was always the same she could take 1/4 of the normal dose and have a good or bad reaction instantly. Anyway I have been taking 10 mg pregnenolone a day for 3 weeks. It is the longest period of time that I have had energy, no headaches, or awful food cravings in ten years. The jury is still out on my other complaints but feeling less stressed has got to be a helpful thing. Please if you ever have a frustrating, hyper-sensitive patient that needs a little balance in their bodies try the pregnenolone!

Q. What do you think about using pregnenolone cream ?
   A. It would be difficult to predict the amount of pregnenolone actually absorbed into the body when a cream is used.

Q. Is there a pregenolone liquid product available?
   A. I am not sure.

Q. Where is pregnenolone make, in the adrenals?
  A. Yes, pregnenolone is made in the adrenal glands. Pregnenolone is also made in the brain and sex organs.

Q. i'm a 16 yo female and i was told to take pregnenolone to help with anxiety and to facilitate growth (of height). I'm concerned about what happens if i stop taking this prohormone (5mg) after a certain period of time. since pregnenolone breaks down lipids to eventually create hormones, isn't it sort of messing with the body's negative feedback system, sort of like the fad diet pills that leave a person gaining back the weight after he/she goes off the pill?
   A. Pregnenolone is definitely not recommended for teenagers and we suggest you read all the cautions on this page before continuing the pregnenolone.

Thank you for your wonderfully informative book, Mind Boosters, I am reading it now. I was interested in purchasing pregnenolone in the 5mg dosage, but am having trouble finding pregnenolone in that dosage, mostly they seem to be 10 mg or higher. Can you recommend a pregnenolone brand that's available in 5 mg. I plan to follow the very reasonable protocol you suggest, taking one 5mg every other day as you suggested, with frequent "hormone holidays." I am 68 years old and on a pretty comprehensive supplement program. P.S. If you ever decide to do a medical research study on pregnenolone, I want to take part in it!
   We suggest using even lower dosages, such as a third of a 10 mg tablet 2 or 3 times a week.

I have FMS and CFIDS. Since all my preliminary health and blood tests turn out "normal" my HMO hasn't been much help for the last 13 years (yes 13 years of passiveness). Two years ago I finally hit the "wall". So, for the last two years I decided to do my own research and find out what's going on and how to help. I came across your site about a month ago and found your article on pregenenolone. Three weeks ago I started on 2.5, then 5, then 7.5 and found no improvement. In the last two weeks I went up to 10mg 2x a day, and 5 mg in the eve. I have found that to significantly decrease my fatigue. When I started on the 10mg 2x a day I increased from a D cup to a DD cup. I went up three cloth sizes and could no longer fit into my pants within 3 days! My face and skin is now saggy. I also noticed that fatty deposits are forming in my thighs. I have searched and searched online to figure out if this "weight gain" is a sign of over dose. Can you please tell me what you know that might help me evaluate this better? Is it a sign of too much estrogen or? For now, I am taking a "pregnenolone holiday" for a week to see if this helps.
   There could have been a hormonal imbalance since the dosage of pregnenolone that you took is very high. It is a good idea to take the pregnenolone holiday. There are many other non-hormonal ways to treat fatigue and pregnenolone would not be my first choice.

I'm long overdue on thanking you for your website and valuable info. I'm sure it was you that a number of years ago, wrote an article on pregnelone and how the doses available were too large. Because of that article, I took only half a tablet and bought the lowest dose I could find. Intending to come off the tablets after 3 months, I felt so good, I forgot. And while my blood pressure usually sits low, around 110/59 or so, I eventually had to believe it was 180 to 200 over whatever elevated diastolic figure, from the number of devices used that apparently were functioning properly because they read other peoples blood pressure accurately. So, I have you to thank for a 'heads-up' on pregnelone and taking care with what alternative remedies we use on yourself. Wishing you the best of good blessings in all that you do.

I just want to thank you SO SO much. A doctor prescribed me 100mg of pregnenolone and told me repeatedly that there were no harmful side effects, and I came across your site regarding it, which I've referred to for many things, but I immediately realized that I was in serious danger. Thank you very very much. The more I checked into it, the more I knew I was being steered way off the mark by the other doctor. Thank you SO SO much, I honestly think you helped save my life from avoiding that supplement. Thank you.