How Does Pregnenolone Support Brain Health?

How Does Pregnenolone Support Brain Health?

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

What does it mean to be “of sound mind”? Surely, brain power is a combination of street smarts, book smarts, insights and instincts…but did you know your hormones also play an important role in cognitive function and memory?

In particular, pregnenolone is key to brain health—and if your levels aren’t optimal (which can happen with age), there are a number of lifestyle tweaks you can make to achieve better balance, including taking pregnenolone in supplement form.

What is pregnenolone?

Man sitting at desk thinking about improved memory

If you are looking for a neurohormone with a whole host of health benefits, it is time to turn to pregnenolone, which impacts your mood, brain health, memory and sleep. Pregnenolone is one of the main neurohormones that your body produces in the brain, gonads and adrenal glands, sourcing it from cholesterol.

As with any other hormone, your pregnenolone levels decline as you age, especially for those entering their 30s. Your body relies on consistent and reliable operation of this and all hormones to stay healthy and achieve optimal wellness.

You can help  support your pregnenolone levels daily with a high-quality supplement. Not only will you help promote healthy pregnenolone levels, but by taking the recommended dosage, you may be able to help support other hormones as well, like progesterone and DHEA.

How does pregnenolone support brain health?

Older woman sitting on couch completing puzzle

Maintaining healthy pregnenolone levels can help support overall brain health and boost cognitive performance. Supplementing with pregnenolone helps keep your brain sharp by blocking the action of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that inhibits neurons from firing rapidly. The older we get, levels of neurotransmitters like pregnenolone and GABA can become unbalanced, making it harder for your brain to function at its optimal capacity.

Pregnenolone promotes healthy levels of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter required for healthy brain function. These levels decline over time and are critical for overall brain health and your ability to learn and retain new information. Acetylcholine also plays an important role in sleep and helps to control sleep cycles, especially within your REM phase of sleep associated with memory retention.

Supplementing with pregnenolone may also help protect brain cells, as well as stimulate the formation of new, healthy brain cells.

What is pregnenolone good for?

Older couple researching cognitive health on computer

Pregnenolone is a neurohormone and acts as a precursor to other hormones with brain and nervous system benefits. As you age, it is important to ensure optimal levels of pregnenolone to support youthful hormone and cognitive health.

Does pregnenolone help with memory?

Woman looking at photo to test overall memory

Pregnenolone helps generate new neurons in your brain, which can positively impact your overall memory and cognitive function.

Supplementing with pregnenolone can help encourage production of myelin, a fatty layer of tissue that protects nerve health and other cognitive functions.

Myelin production can support the formation of new synapses within the brain and boosts overall brain performance and health—including memory. You may notice that you remember things more quickly and more thoroughly when your pregnenolone levels are optimal.

How long should you take pregnenolone?

Woman holding pregnenolone capsule in her hand

Pregnenolone has been safely used for up to 12 weeks in clinical trials.

Speak with your primary care physician about the timeframe you should be taking this supplement and set up a start date and end date for your supplementation.

How do you support pregnenolone levels?

Older couple cooking together for better diet for hormone balance

If you are looking to support overall pregnenolone hormone levels, there are diet, stress management and lifestyle choices that will make a difference.

  • Take a pregnenolone supplement. This is an easy way to ensure your levels of this hormone are where they should be. Not sure whether you’re falling short? A simple lab test will give you a clear picture of where you stand.
  • You are what you eat. Diet plays an important role in how well your hormones are balanced. Healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, nuts, fish and chia seeds are directly related to your pregnenolone levels: as these fats metabolize, pregnenolone is formed.
  • Keep your already-normal blood sugar levels consistent. Make sure that you are eating throughout the day to keep your insulin levels within a normal, healthy range—this, too, promotes hormonal balance.
  • A balanced diet=balanced hormones. Generally, you want to make sure that your diet is well-rounded so you are consuming enough protein, fats, and carbohydrates—but by carbs, that doesn’t mean cupcakes! To support healthy levels of pregnenolone, choose fresh vegetables, especially cruciferous ones, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, radish and arugula.
  • Chill out. Your mental health can greatly impact your hormonal balance, so it is crucial to incorporate some self-care into your daily routine. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels naturally increase, and too much cortisol can impact your other hormonal functions. Make sure that you are maintaining healthy stress levels throughout the day by meditating, getting plenty of sleep or opt for a spa day for a little full body rest and relaxation.
  • Say namaste to healthy hormone levels. Gentle stretching, like yoga, can also greatly help your stress levels (and burn some calories in the process.)

What are the side effects of pregnenolone?

Older man talking with doctor about incorporating pregnenolone

As with any supplement, you should first speak with your doctor about your wellness goals before incorporating pregnenolone, as improper use can lead to unwanted side effects.

Make sure you are following the dosage on the bottle and not taking more than recommended. If you experience any adverse side effects, stop taking it immediately and speak with your doctor.

Happy couple with better energy and stamina

Are DHEA and pregnenolone the same?

DHEA and pregnenolone are both hormones, but each serves distinct roles in the body. DHEA is often confused with pregnenolone because the two play similar roles.

The main purpose of DHEA is to create sex hormones—in both women and men. It helps to improve overall mood and can help support memory, energy and stamina. DHEA also helps support brain cell reproduction, which is often why it is confused with pregnenolone.  

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