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You have heard that pregnenolone can have a positive effect on your memory functions and your mood? Are you looking for important background knowledge on how it works and want scientific facts before you decide to buy it? Then the following report is right for you.
In our big pregnenolone test 2022 we show you what effects pregnenolone actually has and what advantages and disadvantages different pregnenolone products have. We also explain the connection to yams and give you other important aspects to help you make an informed purchase decision.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Pregnenolone: Our Picks
- 3 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying pregnenolone
- 4 Decision: What types of pregnenolone are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate pregnenolone
- 6 Facts worth knowing about pregnenolone
- Pregnenolone is said to have positive effects on cognitive performance as well as mood. It is popular in the context of naturopathy, but its effect is also being scientifically researched.
- Pregnenolone levels decrease continuously in the late twenties. Therefore, it is recommended to take it especially in older age.
- Pregnenolone is a dietary supplement that you can buy in capsule form or as a cream. When taken orally, the active ingredient can be better utilised.
The Best Pregnenolone: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying pregnenolone
What is pregnenolone?
Pregnenolone itself is a metabolic product in the synthesis of cholesterol. It occurs naturally in the body and is mainly produced in the adrenal glands. It is also produced in the liver, brain, skin, male and female reproductive organs and the retina of the eyes (3).
Basically, the pregnenolone level of women and men is relatively the same, but age has a major influence on pregnenolone production. From the age of 10, the pregnenolone level rises steadily until it reaches its peak around the age of 28. After that, the pregnenolone concentration in the body decreases continuously (3).
Thus, the body of a 75-year-old produces about 60% less pregnenolone than that of a 35-year-old (4). This leads to the typical signs of ageing such as declining energy, deteriorated memory and a lower sex drive.
How does pregnenolone work?
It could also have other health-promoting effects on age-related processes. In addition, it could have a positive effect on depression or other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. However, more research is needed to really prove the potential of pregnenolone.
Especially in alternative medicine and homeopathy, numerous positive effects are attributed to pregnenolone. Accordingly, it is used for Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, premenstrual complaints and other clinical pictures.
Pregnenolone is particularly effective in improving memory. It is not only able to increase memory performance, but also counteracts Alzheimer’s disease (4).
Preliminary research has shown that pregnenolone may protect against age-related memory impairment. In 2001, a review of all research on memory and pregnenolone was published in Brain Research Reviews.
Pregnenolone often works indirectly, as it serves as a precursor for other steroid hormones.
Since it has already been shown that ageing processes and cognitive impairment are associated with decreasing DHEA concentrations, these neurosteroids probably play a decisive role in Alzheimer’s disease. This is why DHEA is often marketed as an anti-ageing drug. Although the administration of DHEA has been shown to improve memory in older animals, there are no clear findings in humans (6).
Women’s complaints: PMS, menopause
Both premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the menopause are the result of hormonal changes in women. In concrete terms, they lead to complex physical and emotional complaints such as mood swings or hot flushes. A low progesterone level in women is partly responsible.
Therefore, some researchers believe that the administration of pregnenolone could help alleviate these symptoms. However, research has not yet shown any clear positive effects from the administration of natural progesterone supplements (5).
A pilot study shows that the additional intake of 500 mg of pregnenolone per day led to a significant reduction in negative symptoms (7). Since this was only a pilot study with a few participants, the results can only serve as an indication. However, they are not yet confirmed.
A review from 2011 also showed a tendency for treatment with pregnenolone to have positive effects in schizophrenia patients. Here, too, the basis was only pilot studies with humans and some animal experiments (8).
In a 2012 study by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, preliminary findings showed that pregnenolone could help relieve depression (5). Pregnenolone could help combat abnormalities in certain areas of the brain and thus alleviate depression. However, the trial was only conducted using rats. Thus, the results have not yet been proven in humans.
Who should take pregnenolone?
In addition, there is evidence that pregnenolone can help with certain mental complaints. Especially in the case of depression or anxiety disorders, the intake of pregnenolone can lead to an alleviation of symptoms (5).
In summary, it can be assumed that pregnenolone has the following positive effects:
- Improves cognitive functions
- Improves learning and memory functions
- Has a calming and mood-lifting effect
However, many studies on the effect of pregnenolone date back a long time and there is still too little new research. Therefore, from a scientific point of view, the positive effects of pregnenolone cannot yet be fully confirmed.
Pregnenolone is often used in alternative or homeopathic medicine. For example, it is used to alleviate the following complaints: Allergies, arthritis, fatigue syndrome or women’s complaints such as PMS or menopausal symptoms.
Where can I buy pregnenolone?
Some internet suppliers are also not very reputable and do not have an imprint, for example. So check thoroughly where you order your pregnenolone. You can also buy pregnenolone at a pharmacy. However, you usually have to order the product first.
How much is pregnenolone?
Since there are not so many suppliers, the costs are relatively similar. Roughly, the price for 100 capsules is between about 20 and 40 euros. The concentration of the active ingredient has no direct influence on the price. For example, 25 mg capsules do not cost less than 100 mg capsules of pregnenolone.
If the products are sold specifically on sites dedicated to naturopathy, there are also variants with very low active ingredient content. For example, there are pregnenolone creams with a pregnenolone concentration of 1%.
What is the connection between pregnenolone and yam?
Instead of progesterone, yam is often used, which contains diosgenin that can slightly raise progesterone levels. The yam is powdered and put into capsules or used in creams.
Some suppliers market their yam products with the claim that they are able to improve DHEA or pregnenolone levels. This statement is not correct, as our human organism cannot convert the diosgenin of the yam root into the desired DHEA or pregnenolone (9).
Basically, the herbal hormone substitutes are much weaker in their effect than the actual hormones. However, this makes them very suitable for patients who are dependent on a longer hormone therapy.
What alternatives are there to pregnenolone?
Below is a brief overview of the hormones.
|DHEA||main precursor of the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone|
|Progesterone||female sex hormone|
Decision: What types of pregnenolone are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, the following two types can be distinguished in the use of pregnenolone:
- Pregnenolone capsules
- Pregnenolone cream
We will explain which form is best suited for you and what specific advantages and disadvantages each form of administration brings with it in the following sections.
What distinguishes pregnenolone cream and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Basically, pregnenolone has a low bioavailability and is quickly metabolised (10). When we take a tablet, only part of the active ingredient is available to our body. The rest is not released, is only partially absorbed or is broken down prematurely. This is called bioavailability.
The lower the bioavailability, the less active substance is actually available to our body after taking the tablet. In terms of pregnenolone, this means that only a small amount of pregnenolone can actually be used by our body. A large part is metabolised before the organism could absorb the active ingredient.
When taking 50 or 100 mg of pregnenolone orally, only a small part of the active substance is converted into testosterone. However, the proportion of metabolites of progesterone increases significantly. With regard to transdermal application – i.e. absorption through the skin – neither the testosterone nor the progesterone portions can be increased (11).
Pregnenolone creams are often sold in pump bottles to facilitate dosing. In this way, one pump shot always corresponds to the same amount of cream. The creams contain different concentrations of active ingredient.
It is usually recommended to apply one pump of cream per day. It is best to alternate the application site daily between different parts of the body such as the chest, abdomen or the inner sides of the arms and thighs.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of pregnenolone capsules?
Pregnenolone capsules are usually sold in plastic tins, and there are usually between 60 and 120 capsules in a pack. Low-dose pregnenolone capsules with about 25 mg of active ingredient are available, but also high-dose capsules with 100 to 200 mg of active ingredient.
As already explained in the previous section, the bioavailability of orally taken pregnenolone capsules is higher than that of creams. This means that more of the active ingredient reaches the organism.
Pregnenolone capsules are also easier to handle than creams. It is usually recommended to take one capsule daily with sufficient water or juice. It only becomes difficult if you find it hard to swallow tablets.
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate pregnenolone
In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate pregnenolone. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain pregnenolone product is suitable for you or not.
In summary, you should base your purchase decision on the following criteria:
In the following section you can find out more about the individual criteria and use this information for your decision.
We have already explained the advantages and disadvantages of pregnenolone in capsule or cream form in detail. Use this information again here to find out which dosage form makes the most sense for you.
In principle, capsules are easier to dose and they are better absorbed by the body. But especially for people who have problems swallowing larger tablets or capsules, pregnenolone creams can be a helpful alternative.
The bigger a tablet is, the harder it is to swallow. But the shape is also important. Longer tablets are easier to swallow than round ones.
Although pregnenolone creams are usually sold in pump bottles, which makes dosing easier, dosing with tablets is still more accurate. Here, the active ingredient contained per tablet is precisely stated.
With creams, not only the amount of product but also the absorption through the skin is more difficult to control. If you want to have full control, you should rather use pregnenolone capsules.
In addition to pregnenolone, capsules usually contain rice powder. The capsules themselves are either made of gelatine. In this case, they are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. However, there are also capsules made from cellulose, i.e. from purely vegetable raw materials.
In the case of creams, far more additional ingredients are used. Below you will find a list of ingredients for a pregnenolone cream:
Purified water, glycerine, caprylic / capric triglyceride, isopropyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate, stearic acid, pregnenolone, PHENOXYETHANOL and caprylyl glycol, C13-C14 isoparaffin and POLYACRYLAMIDE & laureth-7, cetyl alcohol, stearic alcohol, triethanolamine, lecithin, alpha-tocopherol
So if you value a product with few ingredients, you should rather take pregnenolone capsules.
Vegan / organic label
If you want your dietary supplements to be in line with your diet, it is advisable to look for the vegan or organic label.
As a rule, manufacturers clearly label products with these characteristics. If in doubt, you can of course ask the manufacturer directly.
Basically, you always want to make sure that the food supplements you take are safe. Pregnenolone products are often produced abroad. However, you can only be really sure that they meet German standards if they bear the Made in Germany seal.
When buying products from abroad, you should carefully check which standards are used in the production process to ensure that you are consuming a safe product.
Facts worth knowing about pregnenolone
How is pregnenolone taken and dosed?
Endokrinologie München recommends the following average dosages for men and women:
|over 40 years||15 mg / day|
|over 50 years||30 mg / day|
|over 60 years||30 – 50 mg / day|
At the same time, however, they point out that the exact dose can only be determined by regular hormone measurements under medical supervision. This is particularly relevant because the studies do not yet allow a clear recommendation on dosage.
Remember that dietary supplements are not tested as rigorously as medicines. So you cannot automatically assume that the recommended dose is the right one for you.
What are the side effects of pregnenolone?
Normally, no side effects are expected at the recommended dosage. People suffering from epilepsy should only take pregnenolone under supervision, as it can theoretically trigger seizures.
People suffering from hormone-sensitive diseases such as breast cancer should also avoid taking pregnenolone, which can affect hormone levels. If in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist what dosage is advisable for you and do not take unnecessary risks.
Image source: unsplash.com / Luis Machado
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Piper, T., Schlug, C., Mareck, U., & Schänzer, W. (2011). Investigations on changes in 13C/12C ratios of endogenous urinary steroids after pregnenolone administration. Drug Testing and Analysis, 3(5), 283–290. https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.281