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 Pregnenolone and memory  
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Natural Medicine Research by . View all columns in series
Ray Sahelian Pregnenolone is a hormone made by the adrenal glands, brian, and other organs. It is made from cholesterol and then used by the body to convert into DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones. Supplements of pregnenolone became available over the counter in 1995. Many laboratory studies performed on rodents have shown this hormone to be an extremely powerful memory enhancer. The mechanism for this action is not fully known but probably involves a number of mechanisms. One possibility is the effect of Preg on the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is known to be involved with memory.

In this study, pregnenolone was given to rats directly in the fluid bathing the brain. Following Preg administration, there was an increase in acetylcholine levels in the cerebrum. The increase in cortical acetylcholine reached a maximum thirty minutes after administration. This result suggest that Preg interacts with the cortical cholinergic system, which may account, at least in part, for the memory-improving properties of this hormone.

Comments: The crucial role that hormones play in the brain is gradually being discovered. Unfortunately there has been very little thus far on the role of pregnenolone in human cognition. Thus, safe and effective dosages have not yet been established. You will often find Preg sold in dosages of 5, 10, 25, 30, 50, and even 100 mg. Although the high dosages may be useful in certain conditions when used temporarily under medical supervision, I urge both consumers and health care practitioners to limit their dosages when taking Preg for the long term. The appropriate dosages for long term use may be as low as 1 to 3 mg. Preg is a powerful hormone and needs to be treated cautiously.

Darnaudery M. The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate increases cortical acetylcholine release: a microdialysis study in freely moving rats. J Neurochem 1998 Nov;71(5):2018-22

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 About The Author
Ray 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......moreRay Sahelian MD
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