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Pregnenolone is a natural hormone produced in the cellular mitochondria from cholesterol. It is the hormone from which all steroidal (sex) hormones are made, including androstenedione, DHEA, oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Pregnenolone is thought to improve mental function and mood, and research indicates it may also be useful for treatment of PMS, arthritis, and stress.

Because pregnenolone is the precursor of all steroidal hormones, it has been suggested that boosting the body's pregnenolone levels through supplementation will offer the same health benefits as taking multiple hormone supplements. Preliminary research suggests that pregnenolone supplements may indeed offer some of the same benefits as DHEA supplements and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Like DHEA and HRT, pregnenolone has been reported to help slow the symptoms of mental and physical decline that are a natural part of aging. In fact, in one laboratory study pregnenolone was found to be 100 times more effective for memory enhancement than any other steroid or steroid precursor.

Pregnenolone used for the treatment of arthritis since the 1940s, when it was first discovered that it was effective against joint swelling and inflammation. Pregnenolone has also been used to treat symptoms of depression, fatigue, and anxiety, and is sometimes sold in combination supplements containing other natural hormones noted for their ability to promote sleep ease mental distress, such as melatonin and DHEA.

Some people swear that pregnenolone is a sort of fountain of youth, and that these supplements can help you lose weight, build muscle, increase your sex drive, and restore youthful vigour; however, such reports are anecdotal in nature. In addition, it is impossible to determine which hormones will be stimulated by pregnenolone supplements; taking too much could theoretically upset your hormonal balance, leading to unwanted side effects such as breasts in men or facial hair in women.

Pregnenolone supplements are available in capsule form at most pharmacies, health food stores, and online distributorships. Pregnenolone is also an ingredient in many combination supplements that claim to fight the effects of aging, promote sleep, or increase mental function. Daily doses range from 25 milligrams to 600 milligrams per day, depending on the condition being treated. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging, and consult your health practitioner before using this or any other substance to treat a serious medical condition.

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