A "New" Hormone for our Brain
Pregnenolone is a hormone that is found in higher concentrations in the brain than in any other organ of the body. Pregnenolone is a key to keeping your brain functioning at peak capacity. Some scientists believe it is the most potent memory enhancer of all time. It appears to make us not only smarter, but happier, along with a heightened sense of well-being.
Pregnenolone has long been ignored by the medical community because it appeared to have no independent function other than to break down into DHEA (then the other hormones). Like all the other steroid hormones, pregnenolone is synthesized (made) from cholesterol. Cholesterol is first made into pregnenolone and used in the body in that form. What the body does not use undergoes a chemical change which "repackages" into DHEA. DHEA is then broken down into estrogen and testosterone. Because pregnenolone gives birth to these other hormones, it is sometimes called the "grandmother hormone." Pregnenolone provides the raw material for these other hormones. As the level of pregnenolone declines, so will the levels of the other hormones that are made from it. William Regelson, M.D., has shown that pregnenolone is produced both in the brain and in the adrenal cortex. Like the other hormones, pregnenolone production declines with age. By the time you are 65, you are making approximately 60 percent less pregnenolone than you did in your 30s.
Pregnenolone Proven Safe and Effective
It was one of the first hormones studied and was proven safe and effective. Back in the mid-40s it was tested on students and workers and markedly improved their ability to learn and remember difficult tasks. It has been rediscovered in both animal and human studies, which indicate that pregnenolone may be the ideal memory-enhancing hormone and substance known, according to Dr. Regelson. This exciting research on pregnenolone and memory is being conducted jointly at two distinguished institutions, the Beekman Research Institute at the City of Hope Hospital and at St. Louis University School of Medicine.
In a 1992 animal study, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D., at the City of Hope, showed that pregnenolone was 100 times more potent than any other agent in improving memory. John E. Morley, M.D., from the University of St. Louis, involved in this study said, "It is clearly by far the most potent of the neurosteroids for improving memory by light-years. It has a much broader memory response than any of the other neurosteroids. This makes it almost an ideal agent for looking at memory and the consequences of the age-related deterioration of memory." Pregnenolone not only prevents impaired memory from declining further, it actually appears to restore it.
Today we know that apart from producing other hormones, pregnenolone also minimizes inflammation, repairs damaged brain and spinal cord cells, allows our bodies to deal with stress more effectively, and as we said it is a potent memory enhancer.
Due to recent legislation, pregnenolone, like DHEA, is now being sold over the counter and is available at nutrition stores. Pregnenolone is effective, well tolerated, and causes no known side effects. Human studies of this hormone have shown improvements in concentration, reduction of mental fatigue, and elevation in mood. Dr. Regelson feels the right approach is to take pregnenolone with DHEA because hormones work best when they work in tandem. Since these are hormones, I feel they should not be taken by teenagers.
- Regelson, William, M.D. and Carol Colman. The Superhormone Promise. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
- Flood, J. F., J. F. Morley, and E. Roberts. "Memory Enhancing Effects in Male Mice of Pregnenolone and Steroids Metabolically Derived From It." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 89 (1992): 1567-1571.
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