Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Dec 2000

Q and A

Blood tests are key, Growth Hormone and more.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.


Q: What role does pregnenolone play in the body and how does it change as one grows older?

A: Pregnenolone is a hormone. Human beings naturally produce pregnenolone from cholesterol, that is why it's sometimes called the “Mother Hormone”—it is the very first hormone your body makes. From that, pregnenolone cascades down into other hormones, including DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, etc.

Somewhere around the age of 35 or so, the body’s production of many hormones—including pregnenolone—begins to decline. This decline is associated with many age related diseases and symptoms. That is why The Foundation recommends that people over this age consider supplementing with pregnenolone and/or DHEA.

According to the metabolic pathway, pregnenolone often converts directly into progesterone. But this may not occur in everyone given that each body does not convert pregnenolone in exactly the same way. That is why getting a blood test a few weeks after beginning to supplement with pregnenolone is important, given that it will help you determine what hormones are being increased and what dosage is best for you.

Q: I have been considering taking GastroPro, but would like to clarify one issue before proceeding. Your product contains polyenylphosphatidylcholine, yet I have seen other products that contain phosphatidylcholine. So, what is the difference between phosphatidylcholine and polyenylphosphatidylcholine?

A: Phosphatidylcholine is not the same as polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC). PPC is actually listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference of the United States and it is an approved treatment in many European countries for chronic liver disease. Others who would benefit from PPC include those who have Hepatitis C (but not Hepatitis B), liver cirrhosis or impaired liver function, pancreatitis or NSAID-induced gastritis and ulceration. Research suggests that PPC’s protection may extend from the liver to the stomach, pancreas and cardiovascular system.

Q: Can you tell me if Propylene Glycol that is used in antifreeze is the same that is used in cosmetics? What about Sodium Laureth—what are its uses and is it dangerous?

A: The Propylene Glycol that is used in antifreeze, also known as 1,2-propanediol, comes from petrochemicals. The Propylene Glycol found in cosmetics, which is used as a humectant, is vegetable-derived.

In reference to Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)—this ingredient is used to create foam and bubbles, and is found in most shampoos, cosmetic cleaners, bath and shower gels, bubble baths, tooth pastes and mouth rinses. The Foundation has not seen any valid studies backing the claim that this ingredient causes cancer—this chemical does not appear on any official list of known or suspected carcinogens. Further, the American Cancer Society recently published an article stating that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) do not cause cancer.

Q: There appear to be different kinds of Growth Hormone out there. I have just begun a body building/strength program and would like to build up muscle mass. Can you point out the differences?

A: There is only one type of real Growth Hormone (GH), a synthetic form, which can only be obtained through a physician. This synthetic Growth Hormone will help to build and maintain muscle mass faster if one engages in body building exercise. Keep in mind that the older a person is, the less Growth Hormone they have to release, so the injectable synthetic form works best in those who are older.

The other kind of Growth Hormone most people hear about is actually a growth hormone releasing product that can be purchased over the counter, such as The Foundation’s Natural Growth Hormone Releasing Formula, which helps your body release its own growth hormones.

Regardless of which form of Growth Hormone you choose, you still must engage in some sort of weight resistance exercise to build up muscle mass.