Low Pregnenolone Level

Low Pregnenolone Level: Overview

Pregnenolone is a hormone with its own actions, as well as being a mother hormone for sex and adrenal hormones.  All steroid hormones in the body (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, aldosterone, cortisol, etc.)  are made from pregnenolone.

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Causes and Development

Pregnenolone levels in the body decline more than 60% as we age.

Signs and Symptoms

Estrogen-deficient women often are low in pregnenolone, an essential hormone (derived from cholesterol) which is a precursor to progesterone.  Pregnenolone may be a significant contributing factor in depression.  Pregnenolone is abundant in the brain where it improves the transmission of nerve impulses and facilitates communication between brain cells.  In a sense, people who are depressed may have poor communication, neuronally speaking, between the different parts of their brain because they are deficient in pregnenolone.

Diagnosis and Tests

This hormone's level can be determined in the laboratory but it is an uncommon test.  Many holistic doctors will test for it and other hormones with a urine sample.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Low Pregnenolone Level:

Symptoms - Metabolic

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional


Symptoms - Mind - General

Conditions that suggest Low Pregnenolone Level:



A study found that depressed patients generally had low levels of pregnenolone. [Biological Psychiatry, 35(10): pp.775-80, 1994]

Cluster Headaches

Those suffering from cluster headaches often have pregnenolone levels that are below normal.

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Risk factors for Low Pregnenolone Level:

Lab Values

Low Total Cholesterol

Pregnenolone is made in the body from cholesterol.

Supplements, Medications, Drugs

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

Symptoms - Skeletal

Recommendations for Low Pregnenolone Level:


Laboratory Testing

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Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons

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Weak or unproven link: may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong counter-indication: often contraindicates
Strong counter-indication:
often contraindicates
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
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