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Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
Reduce Stress
Improved immune function
Achieving ideal weight.
Improved sugar metabolism

 Natural Hormones: Pregnenolone: The Grandmother of All Steroid Hormones 
What hormone --

Reduces stress
Provides a mild, calm, pleasant feeling
Improves energy, mental outlook and motivation
Increases mental acuity and awareness
Relieves arthritic aches and pains
Helps fight disease
Makes you feel younger and more vibrant
Pregnenolone (Preg for short) is a hormone that can improve the quality of life of a large segment of the population, but its potential has yet to be fully explored. Why is this?

Preg is a natural hormone which cannot be patented. Back in the 1940's, when researchers started experimenting with the use of Preg, they realized that it could be helpful for people under stress and it could increase energy in those who were fatigued. However, about the same time, cortisone, another closely related hormone, was discovered. Cortisone stole the limelight. When cortisone was given to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, there were outstanding short-term improvements. Photographs of these remarkable recoveries were circulated and the medical community was impressed. Scientists basically put Preg aside to focus on cortisone. The structure of cortisone was altered to make similar molecules such as dexamethasone and prednisone, much more powerful steroids. Dexamethasone and other similar corticosteroids could be patented, and thus a pharmaceutical company could make a lot of money by owning the patents.

Preg has stayed in relative obscurity since the 1940's, with only rare mentions in the medical literature. A review of Medline, the computer system that records all articles published in scientific journals, shows only a few studies published on Preg in 1995 and 1996, and only a couple involve human subjects.

Since mid 1996, public attention has slowly refocused on Preg. Why? Because Preg has become more readily available to the consumer through mail order vitamin firms, health food stores and even some drug and retail stores. (The publication of DHEA: A Practical Guide, a 30 page booklet, in July of 1996 also played a role in heightening interest within the supplement industry.)

You may already know that melatonin, a hormone made by the pineal gland, is sold without a prescription. So is DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a hormone made by the adrenal glands. How is it that hormones are now available without a prescription?

The Dietary Supplement Law of 1994
In October, 1994, a law was passed by Congress making it easier for companies and drug/vitamin stores to sell any vitamin, mineral, herb, nutrient, amino acid, food extract or any derivative of these supplements without FDA approval. As you can see from the diagram Preg is a derivative of cholesterol.

Cholesterol itself is derived from the foods we eat, such as meats, eggs, poultry, butter, and dairy products. Cholesterol is also produced by the body, especially the liver. Therefore, even though Preg is a steroid hormone, it is still considered a food derivative and thus does not fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA. The only certain way the FDA could pull this hormone off the market would be if there were reports of serious side effects. So far, there have been no serious side effects reported with this steroid.

What is a Steroid?
A steroid is any chemical substance with four carbon ring structures attached to each other. Cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, Preg, progesterone, and estrogen are all steroid hormones that chemically look very similar to each other. Structurally, they differ from each other in only small ways. However, even tiny changes in the chemical make up of a substance can make enormous differences in how it functions and what role it plays in the chemical factories of our bodies.

(Excerpted from Pregnenelone: A Practical Guide ISBN: 0895297779)
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 About The Author
Ray Sahelian MDRay Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He......more
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