Pregnenolone Steal

Pregnenolone Steal

Think of the metabolic chemistry of the body as a river. There are elements upstream which make their way downstream with a series of movements and interactions in between. Pregnenolone is a mid-stream hormone which was derived upstream from cholesterol and pantothenic acid, a B vitamin. Pregnenolone is the parent hormone of our stress hormones like cortisol and cortisone as well as our sex hormones like DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and so forth. Pregnenolone has to decide, depending on what's going on in the body at that time, which pathway to prefer. For example under stressful conditions, cortisol is in high demand and therefore the lion's share of the pregnenolone will be shunted or diverted there. This is because under chemical, physical or emotional stress, cellular damage is being done and cortisol is instrumental in the healing process . This is at the expense of sex hormone production. The innate wisdom of the body feels that if you are under extreme stress, of any kind, a good robust cortisol level is more important that a good robust sex life at that moment.

This is not an important issue with acuity stressful situations. The problem is when this stress response becomes chronic. With chronic stress, the sex hormones will always pay the price and be starved off from production. The sex hormones will remain out of balance until the stress is under control. So what the body does is try to create more pregnenolone to accommodate this long term stress reaction AND still have enough pregnenolone left to support the sex hormones, DHEA, the estrogens and androgens. That works fairly well unless a worrisome doctor decides to lower your cholesterol levels with statin drugs thereby reducing the amount of available pregnenolone. Since cholesterol is way upstream, artificially lowering it will starve both the stress hormones and the sex hormones with the latter being effected the most. In my opinion cholesterol has been vilified over recent decades and viewed as so dangerous it needs to be reduced at all costs and at all times. If you are eating, drinking and thinking as a healthy person should be, let the body do what it needs to do when it needs to do it. It knows best what it needs. Expect your cholesterol to be high under stress along with your blood pressure. This is normal and is the body's proper reaction to the environment it's in at that time. Focus on lowering your physical, chemical and emotional stress levels as best you can since stress is the root cause of pregnenolone steal. Short stressful periods, as I had mentioned, you need not worry about as much as the chronic long term stressors. Supplementation of pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone or progesterone can help in the short term since the stream has been blocked further up, however, the real answer is to address the root cause. The stress.

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January 25, 2023
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Drew Duquette

Dr. Drew C. Duquette, before practicing Functional Medicine in Bloomington Illinois, began his career as a Chiropractic Physician in 1980. He hails from Michigan, where he studied chemistry and biology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Duquette also holds a BS degree in human biology. His post-graduate studies in Functional Medicine have led him to develop a break-through system of highly effective traditional and alternative methods designed to help patients with serious chronic health needs. Dr. Duquette is a dynamic voice in the Functional Medicine community. He is the leading expert on treating Fibromyalgia, Migraine Headaches, IBS, Thyroid issues and other Autoimmune and chronic conditions, without drugs or surgery, in the Central Illinois area.