Pregnenolone is a
steroid hormone naturally synthesized from cholesterol, primarily
within the human adrenal gland. Like DHEA, pregnenolone serves as
an intermediary in the biosynthetic pathway between cholesterol
and the sex steroids, testosterone and estradiol.
This important hormone is
actually a precursor to DHEA and other anabolic hormones in the
body, and researchers theorize that supplements of this
building-block steroid may mean less DHEA is required.
Prepnenolone plays an
important role in balancing the biochemical mechanisms in the
body. Biochemical metabolism can be thought of as a dynamic
equilibrium between anabolic processes (those that break down body
tissue). In healthy, young individuals these processes are
maintained in optimum balance by an array of controls, which
include the steroid hormones. However, as the body ages, the
balance between these two processes alters. Levels of steroids,
such as DHEA and pregnenolone, decrease.
Pregnenolone has been shown
in a number of studies to have a positive effect on brain
function, including mood, memory, and cognition. Studies also show
that pregnenolone may be helpful for those undergoing extreme
physical and mental stress, such as athletes. Researchers believe
it may have the ability to increase energy and enhance the body's
recuperative abilities after exercise.