Pregnenolone is a neuro-hormone that is stimulating for the brain [1], is neuroprotective, and can have a positive effect on memory and learning ability [2][3]. Although pregnenolone has been around since the 1940s, it has been used for anti-stress and mood enhancing (including things like anxiety and depression)[4].

Because pregnenolone is a hormone that cannot be patented, there have not been many clinical trials for treating specific health conditions. However, testing whether pregnenolone works for you can be a useful tool depending on your personal needs.

Also Known As

Pregnenolone sulfate, pregn-5-en-3beta-ol-20-one

Editors’ Thoughts on Pregnenolone

From anecdotal reports, it seems that pregnenolone is a very “hit or miss” nootropic supplement. For many people, it doesn’t work at all or actually has some side effects that cause more problems than solutions. However, for the people where it does work, it seems to work really well (almost like a wonder drug).

Pregnenolone is definitely a bit further down the nootropic and cognitive enhancement rabbit hole. It seems like anyone who is interested in using it should be very capable of tweaking doses, testing, and correcting as needed. Not only is pregnenolone highly personal, but it seems it is also quite specific (in terms of doses).

I’ve personally never taken it, but my colleague Joe Cohen at Self Hacked has many good things to say about it.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor

Benefits of Pregnenolone

The benefits of pregnenolone are primarily geared towards the brain and cognitive performance as it is a neurosteriod. The presence of pregnenolone (in the form of a supplement) signals to molecules to stimulate neuronal activity, which has a cascade of effects (and benefits) [5].

For one, pregnenolone stimulates the growth of new neurons (also called neurogenesis) [6]. For many years, scientists believed the number of neurons in our brain was fixed, but we now know that this is not the case and with the right raw materials, we can grow new ones.

Another study in the Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences showed that this neurochemical could stimulate the formation of greater myelination, which has a neuroprotective function throughout the body. Over 8 weeks, scientists discovered a host of benefits for patients with greater myelination (including prevention of certain ailments like schizophrenia) [7].

For elderly, this pregnenolone benefit against the signs of aging can go a long way. Pregnenolone improves neurological recovery from trauma [8] and combats some elements of dementia [9]. At a cellular level, evidence suggests pregnenolone protects against toxicity (which often kills brain cells) [10].

Protecting the brain from damage (especially in old age) is a novel pursuit, but there are enhancing effects for young adults as well. In one study from the Journal of European Neuropsychopharmacology, scientists found that pregnenolone could enhance memory formation and learning ability in animal models [11].

While there isn’t much evidence on humans, it is a positive trend to see animal studies on this neurochemical. In addition to learning and memory, there are benefits of pregnenolone for anxiety and depression. Studies show those suffering with general anxiety disorder (GAD) have significantly lower levels of pregnenolone than healthy adults [12].

Anecdotal evidence suggests many people experience reduced anxiety when taking pregnenolone supplements, but here is also evidence it does the opposite. This is part of the personalization that is required when using this neurochemical.

Finally, for people who struggle with getting high quality, deep sleep, pregnenolone is a useful tool. In animal models, this neurochemical stimulates greater deep sleep [13] and other studies show that pregnenolone improves REM and deep sleep in humans [14].

The benefits of pregnenolone are many and far reaching when it comes to our mental performance, but that doesn’t mean it comes free from side effects.

Side Effects of Pregnenolone

As with any good scientific inquiry, pregnenolone has some conflicting research. For some instances, pregnenolone side effects are opposite to the benefits. By that, we mean that while one person experiences a beneficial response to pregnenolone, another person might experience a contrary feeling.

According to some research, a side effect of pregnenolone is decreased memory retention and learning ability [15]. This is kind of scary coming from a drug that is purported to increase memory and learning.

The same is true for anxiety where many studies show decreased levels using pregnenolone, but anecdotal reports suggest many people experience the opposite.

This aside, there is evidence that pregnenolone is still a safe neurochemical to use. It was developed (or isolated) in the 1940’s and 1950’s making it quite old and well-researched. Studies on human dosing found minimal side effects and no adverse effects on weight, heart rate, blood pressure, or menstrual cycle [16].

Pregnenolone Dosage

From studies, pregnenolone dosage should start in the 5 mg range if you are healthy and paying attention to how much sleep you are receiving. For people who have chronic inflammation and other significant ailments, a higher dose up to 25 mg per day might be useful.

The good news is that pregnenolone has been tested from 25 – 500 mg / day on humans without many adverse side effects. While we do not recommend going that high with your dosage, it is a good sign that toxicity really isn’t too much of a problem.

How and Where to Buy Pregnenolone

The most common way to buy pregnenolone is in the form of sulfate. The pregnenolone supplements are not available in many local grocery stores so you may have to go online to purchase.

There are many online vendors with pregnenolone for sale, but many have higher doses than you need. In fact, the vast majority have 100 mg or more when the dose range should be 5 – 25 mg. This is one reason why it is useful to buy pregnenolone online when you can gauge the right (small) dosage for you.

We recommend Pure Encapsulations brand pregnenolone particularly because they have a lower dose range (10 mg) vs. many of the other products online that are 100 mg or more.

Pregnenolone Reviews

There are many pregnenolone reviews online discussing the results people have had taking this supplement. Many people who buy pregnenolone claim that the benefits are extremely positive or that they do not experience much at all. A smaller portion complain about the side effects.

Either way, it is important to take online pregnenolone reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone who creates a review of his or her experiences is doing so from an excited place. While it can be helpful to take these reviews into consideration for your own experience, they should not override the scientific evidence and your personal experience.

Selected Community Experiences

I don't know how this has happened but after 3 days of dosing 100mg sublingually a day, thoughts have cleared, vision has improved, I am “out of my head” so to speak, and very in the moment. Physically, I have a BOAT LOAD of energy. This at first made me slightly anxious, but it's a very mild anxiety minus the racing/intrusive thoughts that have plagued me seemingly every single day, every hour of this year. I feel ALIVE.” – CodeMaitre [17]

“…40 year old female. It's had a profound impact on my quality of life. I've suffered the past few tees from debilitating physical and mental fatigue and nothing helped. I take 50mg micronized pregnenolone every other day. Recently tried a topical cream version and that works great too, maybe slightly better.” – happypiggy [18]

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //
  2. //
  3. //
  4. //
  5. //
  6. //
  7. //
  8. //
  9. //
  10. //
  11. //
  12. //
  13. //
  14. //
  15. //
  16. //
  17. //
  18. Ibid.


Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.