Your life is much tougher than your mother’s or your grandmother’s was. You have much more stress than they ever did. And it never seems to let up.
Today’s world is fast-paced, pressured, and chaotic. That means cortisol – your body’s stress hormone – is constantly turned on.
Why is that a problem? Your body was designed to handle stress once in a while. But the continuous turmoil of modern life makes your system go haywire. Your body pumps out cortisol all the time.
That much cortisol is toxic. It causes brain cells to die and your brain to shrink. It destroys your immune system. It packs on belly fat and raises blood sugar. It decreases muscle mass. It accelerates skin aging.
All of that ages you quickly. It leads to depression… fatigue… mood swings… memory loss… poor sleep… fluid retention… thin, dry, wrinkled skin.
And the older you get the worse cortisol gets. You see, most of your youth-promoting hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone start dropping in your 30s. But not cortisol. It just keeps climbing.
But you’re not doomed to the aging effects of cortisol. There is a little-known hormone that counteracts it. I call it the “Master Hormone Balancer.”
I’ve been using it to successfully help the women who are my patients here at the wellness center reduce stress and inflammation. It’s also the raw material your body uses to make the hormones that keep you looking and feeling younger and calmer.
The Master Hormone Balancer is pregnenolone.
When you’re young your body makes lots of pregnenolone. That’s why young people are so good at bouncing back from stress. And they rarely show signs of hormonal imbalances.
But after your 30s your body produces much less. By the time you’re 75, you produce only 40% of what you did at age 35.1
Boosting levels of pregnenolone helps relieve stress. It brings cortisol back down to normal levels.
Pregnenolone can even help in the highest stress places on earth – at a stressful job. Just think about the demands placed on you in that environment. Yet, when researchers gave a group of women pregnenolone, they had less stress and better memories. They also felt less fatigued and had an enhanced sense of happiness and well-being despite their stressful environment.2
One high-stress job is flying an airplane. But pilots and students training on a flight simulator took 50 mg of pregnenolone each day for two weeks. They all significantly improved their flying skills. And they had less fatigue and performed better on actual flights.
Most doctors aren’t aware of the importance of the Master Hormone Balancer. Even anti-aging doctors sometimes focus too much on estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. But you need pregnenolone to naturally produce those other youth hormones. And to manage cortisol. It helps keep all your hormones in harmony.
And the Master Hormone Balancer keeps your skin looking younger, too. In one of the early studies done on pregnenolone and skin health, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania applied it in skin cream on about 200 residents of a seniors’ home. Over five years they found it helped restore youthful properties to aging skin.3
Today we know pregnenolone works to make skin more youthful because your skin relies on hormones to build itself and keep itself healthy. In fact, one of the reasons Korean women have skin and hair that look so youthful even into their 60s may be that they have more pregnenolone compared to other women.4
A blood test can show if your levels of this essential hormone are low. I like to see test results around 180 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) for men and around 200 ng/dL for women. But don’t worry if you’re low. You can restore youthful levels by supplementing.
At the age of 30 most people produce about 30-50 mg of pregnenolone a day. But you might not even need to take that much. Start with 5-10 mg and work your way up to 50 mg if you need it. As with all hormone replacement, low doses for short periods are usually best. If you think you need more than that, I recommend consulting a hormone specialist.
You can find pregnenolone in powdered form or as a tablet. You may also find it in a topical cream. This has the added advantage of making your skin appear more youthful.
You must use bioidentical pregnenolone. That means it has the exact same molecules as the hormone your body makes naturally. It will give you the safest and most effective results.
Here’s where you need to be careful. Pregnenolone supplements come from wild yams (Dioscorea villosa). They contain a compound called diosgenin. In a laboratory, diosgenin is converted into the hormone.
Some unscrupulous manufacturers out there are selling fake substitutes. They’re bottling diosgenin or “wild yam extract.” But your body can’t convert that into a hormone. The conversion has to be done in a laboratory. Make sure the label says the bottle contains actual pregnenolone.
Remember that pregnenolone can be converted to estrogen in the body. So if you’ve been diagnosed with any condition involving sensitivity to estrogen like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about taking pregnenolone.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Havlíková H, Hill M, Hampl R, Stárka L. “Sex- and age-related changes in epitestosterone in relation to pregnenolone sulfate and testosterone in normal subjects.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 May; 87(5):2225-31.
2. Roberts E. “Pregnenolone—from Selye to Alzheimer and a model of the pregnenolone sulfate binding site on the GABAA receptor.” Biochem Pharmacol. 1995 Jan 6;49(1):1-16.
3. Christopher M. Papa, M.D. “Effect of Topical Hormones on Aging Human Skin.” J. Soc. Cosmetic Chemists, 1967;18,549-562
4. Kim S, Lee S, Choi M, Joo K, Kim S, Koh J, Park W.”Characteristic features of ageing in Korean women’s hair and scalp.” Br J Dermatol. 2013;168(6):1215-23.