Pregnenolone

Optimal Result: 22 - 237 ng/dL.

Pregnenolone is a precursor to many critical steroid hormones in our bodies including:

- Progesterone

- DHEA

- Corticosteroids

- Estrogens

- Androgens (male hormones such as testosterone)

Pregnenolone as a supplement:

Pregnenolone can be valuable as an alternative treatment for improving memory and alertness, while reducing stress, depression and fatigue. Although the current research is inconclusive there are also claims that the hormone helps to prevent cancer, obesity, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Pregnenolone levels decline more than 60% as we age. Chemically modified or synthetic pregnenolone supplements are taken to counteract some of the typical signs of aging and increase the levels of DHEA and other steroid hormones, including testosterone, in the body. High levels can cause adverse side effects such as aggression, irritability, insomnia, and the growth of body or facial hair in women. Pregnant women should not take pregnenolone.

Pregnenolone and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)

High pregnenolone levels may be caused by an inherited condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). CAH causes a deficiency or dysfunction in the enzymes required to convert pregnenolone into steroid hormones. This can cause a deficiency of cortisol and an overabundance of male hormones or androgens. The pregnenolone test is often used in suspected cases of CAH for infants whose external sex organs are not clearly defined or for teens who do not develop secondary sexual characteristics or who has delayed puberty. If there is an enzyme deficiency in the steroid hormone process the levels of pregnenolone may be elevated. This can help to determine which enzyme is deficient or defective.

What is congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)?

CAH is a group of inherited disorders associated with deficiencies in the enzymes required for the production of the steroid hormones.

In congenital adrenal hyperplasia, one or more of the enzymes is deficient or dysfunctional and inadequate amounts of one or more final products are produced.

With CAH, the enzyme deficiency can cause a decrease in cortisol and/or aldosterone and, in some cases, an increase or decrease in androgens. Deficient androgens can cause male newborns to be born with external sex organs that are not clearly male or female (ambiguous genitalia) and can affect the development of secondary sexual characteristics of both males and females at puberty.

What are the causes of CAH?

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is caused by inherited defects in steroid biosynthesis. The resulting hormone imbalances can lead to life-threatening, salt-wasting crisis in the newborn period and incorrect gender assignment of virilized females.

What are the various Pregnenolone reference values?

CHILDREN

Males

- 0-6 years: not established

- 7-9 years: <206 ng/dL

- 10-12 years: <152 ng/dL

- 13-15 years: 18-197 ng/dL

- 16-17 years: 17-228 ng/dL

Tanner Stages:

- Stage I: <157 ng/dL

- Stage II: <144 ng/dL

- Stage III: <215 ng/dL

- Stage IV-V: 19-201 ng/dL

Females

- 0-6 years: not established

- 7-9 years: <151 ng/dL

- 10-12 years: 19-220 ng/dL

- 13-15 years: 22-210 ng/dL

- 16-17 years: 22-229 ng/dL

Tanner Stages:

- Stage I: <172 ng/dL

- Stage II: 22-229 ng/dL

- Stage III: 34-215 ng/dL

- Stage IV-V: 26-235 ng/dL

ADULTS

or =18 years: 33-248 ng/dL

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26433186

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25030803

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12918023

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8395958 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20070787

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20493557 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pcn.12150 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20493557 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008321

What does it mean if your Pregnenolone result is too low?

Pregnenolone is a crucial precursor hormone that serves as a building block for the production of other vital hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In females, a low level of pregnenolone can signify various health concerns and hormonal imbalances, potentially leading to specific symptoms. These may include fatigue, mood swings, decreased libido, irregular menstrual cycles, and difficulties with stress management.

Furthermore, low pregnenolone levels can impact overall well-being, cognition, and energy levels. 

Treating low pregnenolone levels in females typically involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medical interventions. Here are some common approaches:

→ Hormone therapy: Consult a healthcare provider to explore hormone replacement therapy options, which may involve supplementation with pregnenolone or other hormone precursors.

→ Dietary changes: Consume a diet rich in nutrients essential for hormone production, including healthy fats, cholesterol, and vitamins B and C.

→ Stress management: Implement stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and regular exercise to support hormone balance.

→ Adequate sleep: Prioritize quality sleep to promote overall hormonal health and well-being.

It's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before starting any treatment regimen to ensure personalized care and appropriate management of hormone levels.

What does it mean if your Pregnenolone result is too high?

Pregnenolone is used by the body in the production of all steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, cortisol and testosterone.  Pregnenolone is typically tested to aid in diagnosing a condition known as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). CAH is a group of disorders in which the body is deficient in one or more of the enzymes required to produce steroid hormones.

Elevated levels of pregnenolone typically indicate that one or more of these enzymes is deficient.

Infants with CAH may show symptoms such as high blood pressure, extreme loss of fluids or sex organs which are not clearly defined. 

Teens may experience delayed puberty, acne, oily skin and high blood pressure. 

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