You’ve heard of estrogen and testosterone. You’ve probably heard of DHEA. But you’ve probably not heard of Pregnenolone. It’s pretty important, yet not super common. Understanding Pregnenolone is an incredible boost to your hormone knowledge because it’s a steroid hormone and it plays a massive part in a highly functioning body. Here’s a start to building your understanding.
Where is it produced?
In a few places, actually. Pregnenolone is produced in the adrenal gland, the brain, and the gonads (testes and ovaries.) Because it’s produced in multiple parts of the body you’ll see that it also can be beneficial to certain regions or it can be deficient and cause problems.
Common (yet not widely known) signs of low pregnenolone include-
- Moodiness, irritability
- Mood disorders like depression and anxiety- ranging from acute to chronic
- Headaches, migraines
- Tiredness, lethargy
- Cognitive disorders- concentration issues, memory lapses
- Joint Issues
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Reproductive health problems
While the cognitive functioning issues are not unique to the sexes, because they all respond to hormones in a similar way, the testes and uterus will respond differently to a low pregnenolone issue.
- The male sex can experience low libido, problems with the prostate, male menopause.
- The female sex can experience issues with menstruation. Low pregnenolone production issues regarding menstruation can result in irregular ovulation- like heavy flows or missed periods altogether. A person with ovaries can also experience a fairly common symptom- PMS.
Okay, That Narrows It Down
Because Pregnenolone is such an impactful precursor to hormones it can be a bit overwhelming to digest just how many ways its absence can affect the body. Pregnenolone production naturally decreases as we get older (about around the age of 30.) and can be affected by unhealthy habits. But don’t be alarmed. It’s possible to assist pregnenolone in the body- and when you do the benefits are certainly worth the effort. There are two ways to go about inspiring change- behaviorally and therapeutically with supplements.
Get a Doctor’s Note
While it’s possible to receive supplements for pregnenolone without a prescription, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before introducing a new supplement into your routine. Especially before taking a hormone supplement- hormones are precarious and easily adjusted with a relatively small change and can inspire massive changes. Before treating what you suspect is a pregnenolone problem, talk to a physician to rule out all other potential cases and be sure that hormone supplements are right for you.
A Common Culprit
Remember now the adrenal gland produces pregnenolone? It also produces the hormone cortisol. And when we’re overly stressed out the body produces more cortisol than we need. As the adrenals pump out stress hormones it fails to produce pregnenolone which leads to many of the issues listed above. By reducing our stress response and keeping cortisol at bay, we can naturally make more energy for the adrenals to make more of the good stuff.
Pregnenolone- The Good Stuff
When pregnenolone levels are in check there are incredible benefits.
- Improved cognitive functions like memory
- Leveled emotions
- Healthy immune system
- Regulated reproductive health
- Better, deeper sleep
- Managed weight
Hormones are pretty incredible- even if they can be tricky to understand. Most people go through phases at different points of life where they have to adjust and re-understand their hormones. It’s perfectly normal. As always- the best way to begin understanding health issues is by understanding yourself and your habits. And if you want to gain a greater understanding of your hormones, learning about Pregnenolone, the “mother” of hormones, is a great place to start.