Pregnenolone cream is a form of hormone-boosting therapy commonly used by perimenopausal women. Men and women can also take this prohormone for fatigue, pain, and to boost testosterone. The prohormone is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone. Pregnenolone cannot be trademarked so many products sold on the market carry the name. Various strengths are available, ranging from 10 milligrams (mg) to 150 mg.
During perimenopause, estrogen levels tend to gradually decrease, leaving women with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and dry skin. Pregnenolone cream may boost Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels, which is thought to naturally boost estrogen. Testosterone levels can increase at the same time, leading to side effects including acne, facial hair growth, and irritability.
Men typically use this cream to naturally increase testosterone levels. This male hormone is responsible for some aspects of muscle growth and strength. Pregnenolone causes a chain of reactions in the body that convert the prohormone to progesterone and, eventually, to testosterone.
Deficiency is thought to be more common due to reducing cholesterol levels. Pregnenolone is synthesized in the body from cholesterol. Dietary guidelines typically promote low cholesterol levels, which can affect how much of the prohormone is developed by the body.
Levels of pregnenolone are also affected by age at a rate of about 1.5% per year. The prohormone peaks in the body at the age of 35 and then falls. By age 55, the body produces 30% less, and by 75 years that number jumps to 60%. This cream can help replenish this loss.
Pregnenolone cream comes with a risk of potential side effects. Common ones can include hair loss, aggressiveness, and increased estrogen levels in men. Skin irritation may also occur at the site where cream is applied. Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and blurred vision have been reported as severe side effects.
People with certain medical conditions or illnesses should not use pregnenolone cream. Conditions that may be affected include prostate cancer, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use this cream. Some experts suggest taking over-the-counter medications, natural supplements, or prescription medications containing the prohormone could also cause side effects.
Pregnenolone cream is a natural supplement and is not reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Strengths are available in 10 mg, and up to 150 mg, but there is no official suggested dose. Some severe side effects may be linked to toxicity, so users may wish to apply the product with caution.