Feeling Blue, Irritable and Cross? Low Pregnenolone May Be To Blame
If you’re a patient of ours at Robinhood Integrative Health then you’ve likely noticed all of the MDs here talk about hormones.
The reason why is simple.
Americans nationwide suffer from declining hormone levels.
I’ve written about this plenty, but a quick explanation is: environmental factors as well as the natural ravages of age cause our hormone levels to fall.
One of the main hormones you should be concerned with falling low is pregnenolone.
If you want to read a medical definition of pregnenolone I’ve got you covered.
“Pregnenolone also known as P5, is an endogenous steroid hormone. It is the precursor of the progestogens, mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens, as well as the neuroactive steroids. In addition, pregnenolone is biologically active in its own right, acting as a neurosteroid.”
So what does that mean in basic English?
First, pregnenolone is a hormone possessing strong steroid like properties, meaning it works to determine sex, improves your body’s Inflammatory response and affects growth regulation.
Second, pregnenolone is responsible for the formation of a wide group of other pregnenolone dependent hormones which include other steroid like hormones, sex-hormones, stress hormones and more.
This is why we call pregnenolone a “master hormone,” because if it’s missing or you’re deficient in it, the downstream effects are going to be near catastrophic.
Now that I’ve explained all that I want to show you why if you’re blue, irritable, or cross then low pregnenolone is to blame.
How Boosting Pregnenolone Levels May Improve Your Mental Health
Now that you understand pregnenolone role as a master hormone it means you understand that if you have the right amount of pregnenolone in your body certain health conditions might never develop.
It’s for this reason I’m happy to report that if you ever experience any of the following:
- Feeling blue
- Unexplained moodiness
- General apprehensiveness
- Feelings of “Over-Stress”
A lack of pregnenolone might be to blame.
The reason why these issues may form has to do with how pregnenolone interacts with your body’s neurotransmitters (neurotransmitter: a chemical substance that is released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure).
From what we know, falling levels of pregnenolone means misfires in your brain’s neurotransmitters go untreated. These misfires eventually manifest in various mental hang ups like irritability, apprehensiveness, “the blues” and more.
To make it easy for you to understand how pregnenolone affects mental health, do this.
Think of neurotransmitters as paperboys, and neurotransmitter receptors as the houses they deliver the newspapers (brain messages) to.
Receptors (houses) are all over your body.
They’re in the tips of your fingers, your stomach, your tongue and then they’re in your brain. Inside of your brain there’s a vast chain of receptors that help control mental function.
We believe pregnenolone helps to protect the paperboy(neurotransmitters) as he moves all over the brain delivering his papers (messages). With the right amount of pregnenolone in your brain his job is quite easy, which means brain function continues on as it would normally.
When you have inadequate pregnenolone levels, those neurotransmitters don’t arrive at the receptors with their messages attached.
Imagine a big vicious dog shredding the paper before it gets in readers’ hands. When the dog shreds the messages your mental health will suffer as a result.
Fortunately, if low pregnenolone levels are the reason messages aren’t making it to the receptors you can fix the situation.
Supplementing with even low levels of pregnenolone will help protect the paperboy so he can deliver messages safely.
There’s ample research to back this up.
Researchers at the VA medical Center in St. Louis conducted experiments with animals and found low doses helped animals exposed to a mild electric shock learned to avoid the electrical source quicker than those deficient in pregnenolone.
And French researchers tested the memory on mice by using a drug called scopolamine (which blocks a neurotransmitter associated with memory from making it to the receptor site) on the mice to mimic what it would be like to have low pregnenolone.
With scopolamine in play, memory formation was severely impaired. Then, when the scientists introduced pregnenolone into the mix, they found the mice were able to form memories in a short amount of time.
Sometimes The Signals Your Brain Sends Are Damaged If Pregnenolone Is Low
Now If the message the paperboy ends up delivering is damaged, then the message your brain is supposed to respond with is damaged as well.
Thus if you’re low on pregnenolone it might mean neurotransmitters are arriving at receptors with an incomplete message, a message that makes it so you’re crabby or sad when you really shouldn’t be.
If you’re curious how this works at the molecular level I’ll explain a bit further.
There’s a receptor in the brain known as the GABA receptor (GABA stands for gamma amino-butyric acid). GABA’s job is to “hang out in the brain” making sure neurotransmitters don’t get carried away sending too many messages at one time.
Too many messages is annoying (just ask your email inbox), and in some cases too many messages cause serious health issues.
Now the interesting thing about GABA is how it helps improve your mood.
GABA is known to produce a calming effect in your brain, kind of like barbiturates or anesthetics do. It does this by ensuring too many messages aren’t sent at one time.
Pregnenolone works with GABA by regulating how GABA performs in the brain. It doesn’t necessarily increase how much GABA there is per se, but it helps GABA do a better job of controlling how many messages are being sent.
That means in some cases pregnenolone might help GABA receptors open up and let certain neurotransmitters to bind to it, provided there aren’t too many at the present time...
In other instances, it might temporarily dampen its receptivity to neurotransmitters so it doesn’t become overwhelmed with too many neurotransmitters.
Either instance will make you feel calm and less moody.
Another pregnenolone/GABA relationship researchers are exploring (and is already showing promise) is how these two work together to help you sleep better.
One study showed when young men were given just 1 mg of pregnenolone before bed it meant the participants were much less restless as they slept.
Additionally the subjects entered into a kind of sleep known as slow wave (deep) sleep. This sleep period is best known for its strong restorative properties and is likely what helps strengthen the retention of memories for most subjects.
A similar study using 500 mg dosages of DHEA (a sex hormone made from pregnenolone) produced the same results.
And Speaking of Sex Hormones Like DHEA…
As I just alluded to above, pregnenolone leads to the production of a powerful sex hormone called DHEA, which has a phenomenal ability to help you fight the damages of stress.
I you don’t have enough pregnenolone that means you can’t make enough DHEA… and if you don’t have enough DHEA to help battle stress then obvious mental issues crop up.
Physiologically speaking when your body encounters stress a few things happen to you.
One of the first things your body does is produce a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is the hormone your body uses to help fight the negative effects of stress and it’s made from pregnenolone, just like DHEA is.
Because so many of us experience unending stress in our lives we’re encountering a problem where our body has to decide if it’s going to use the available pregnenolone in the body to produce more cortisol or if it’s going to produce DHEA.
Often times the body will produce more cortisol.
While that might seem like a good thing in light of all that stress you’re going through...the truth is high cortisol levels actually leads to all kinds of health issues including poor immune function, impaired memory, loss of brain cells and more.
If instead the body were to produce the right amount of DHEA it needed those symptoms are often times relieved.
So what happens if you don’t have enough pregnenolone in your body?
You guessed it.
DHEA levels suffer and elevated cortisol levels will continue and wreak havoc on your mental health.
The encouraging news here is a bunch of studies have shown pregnenolone supplementation to increase DHEA levels definitely has the clinical ability to help improve mood and relieve stress.
Numerous clinical studies show that people who have a difficult time regulating their moods suffer from low levels of pregnenolone.
Worse yet, those with mental health issues and those who have extremely low levels of pregnenolone typically exhibit the worst possible outcomes for their particular affliction.
A Final Thought On Pregnenolone And How It Affects Cognitive Health
The truth of the matter is pregnenolone and its effects on mental health are only a fraction of what it can do.
I didn’t even get into how pregnenolone helps improve memory… can improve your body’s response to inflammation… helps improve how the body responds to the ravages of age and more.
Please keep in mind, not everyone needs to supplement with this hormone.
To determine if you’re someone who would benefit from supplementation, you’ll want to get a blood test to determine your pregnenolone levels. Ideally, these levels should fall between 180 and 200.
Anything less, and you'll want to supplement. Please work with your healthcare practitioner.
Because I believe so strongly in pregnenolone’s health improving qualities we manufacture our own brand of pregnenolone.
Ours is special because it’s more bioavailable than most competing brands.
When patients take it and come back to get their blood levels tested we’ve found our pregnenolone does a better job of improving pregnenolone levels than any other brand we’ve worked with.
We’re running low on this at the moment so I recommend getting yours now before we sell out.