Hey there, hormone enthusiasts! Are your hormones driving you crazy? Feel like your fertility, PMS or symptoms are cause your hormones are out of balance? Well you are in luck, cause we're talking about a fascinating phenomenon that can impact your hormone levels and overall health - pregnenolone steal! Sounds like a heist, doesn't it? But don't worry, no hormones were harmed in the making of this blog post.
So what is pregnenolone steal, you ask? Well, it's when the body prioritises the production of stress hormones, like cortisol and aldosterone, over sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. And no, this isn't a case of hormones playing favorites - it's simply a survival mechanism that helps the body cope with stress.
“Pregnenolone steal” is often the culprit behind the hormonal rollercoasters that affect so many women during PMS, perimenopause, and other female hormone imbalances. We think it’s normal because so many women are impacted, but it’s not normal. Instead, it’s a symptom of chronic stress that leads to pregnenolone steal — a mechanism in which stress robs the sex hormones to meet the high demand for stress hormones.
Chronic stress, inflammation, and pregnenolone steal are common underlying causes of PMS, a difficult perimenopause and transition into menopause, infertility, male menopause, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Cortisol and aldosterone are both stress hormones that are important for the body's response to stress. Cortisol is involved in the body's fight-or-flight response and helps to regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and immune function. Aldosterone is involved in the regulation of salt and water balance in the body.
While cortisol and aldosterone are important for the body's response to stress, an overproduction of these hormones can have negative effects on health. Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which can contribute to a range of health problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain.
But here's the thing - chronic stress can cause pregnenolone steal to go into overdrive, leading to imbalances in hormone levels and a host of pesky symptoms. For women, this might mean hot flashes, infertility, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. For men, it might mean fatigue, muscle loss, and decreased libido. Not exactly a party, is it?
But fear not, hormone heroes! There are some simple steps you can take to combat pregnenolone steal and restore hormone balance:
Take a chill pill - Managing stress is key to preventing pregnenolone steal. So make sure to incorporate stress-reducing practices into your daily routine, like meditation, yoga, or taking a relaxing bath.
Eat the rainbow - Eating a nutrient-rich diet full of colorful fruits and veggies can help support hormone production and balance. So load up on those leafy greens and berries, and maybe skip the drive-thru burger.
Get moving - Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and support hormone health. So whether it's a brisk walk around the block or a sweat session at the gym on the reformed, get that body moving!
Consider supplements - Certain supplements, like adaptogenic herbs (a few suggestions further on) and nutrients, can help support the body's stress response and prevent pregnenolone steal. Be sure to talk to us as your qualified healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplements.
When it comes to addressing pregnenolone steal, there are several naturopathic herbs that can be helpful in supporting hormone balance and reducing stress. Here are a few examples:
Ashwagandha - This adaptogenic herb has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to support the body's stress response. Ashwagandha may help to lower cortisol levels, reduce anxiety, and support healthy hormone balance.
Rhodiola - Another adaptogenic herb, rhodiola has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and may also help to support healthy adrenal function. Rhodiola has also been shown to support healthy energy levels and mood.
Licorice - This sweet root has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to support adrenal function and reduce inflammation. Licorice may help to reduce cortisol levels and support healthy hormone balance.
Maca - This root vegetable, native to Peru, has been shown to support healthy hormone balance and energy levels. Maca may also help to reduce stress and support healthy adrenal function.
Holy Basil - Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil is a sacred herb in Ayurvedic medicine that has been shown to reduce stress and inflammation, and support healthy hormone balance.So there you have it, hormone heroes - the lowdown on pregnenolone steal! With a little TLC and some healthy habits, you can keep your hormones happy and your body in balance. And who knows, maybe you'll even foil that pesky pregnenolone thief!
And of my personal faves: Chaste-tree, also known as Vitex agnus-castus, is an herb that is often used in naturopathic medicine to support hormonal balance. It has been traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), regulate menstrual cycles, and support fertility.
When it comes to pregnenolone steal, chaste-tree may be beneficial in supporting healthy hormone balance. This is because chaste-tree has been shown to have a regulating effect on the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones are involved in the production of estrogen and progesterone, two sex hormones that can be affected by pregnenolone steal.
Additionally, chaste-tree has been shown to reduce prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone that can be elevated during times of stress, and can contribute to the development of symptoms associated with pregnenolone steal.
It's important to note that chaste-tree should be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner, particularly if you are taking medications or have underlying health conditions. While chaste-tree is generally considered safe, it can interact with certain medications, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. It is also not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.
When it comes to addressing pregnenolone steal, there are several naturopathic nutrients that can be helpful in supporting hormone balance and reducing stress. Here are a few examples:
Magnesium - This mineral is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including the production of hormones. Magnesium has been shown to support healthy adrenal function, reduce cortisol levels, and improve sleep quality.
Vitamin B6 - This vitamin is involved in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and reduce stress. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in the production of progesterone, a sex hormone that can be affected by pregnenolone steal.
Zinc - This mineral is important for healthy immune function and hormone production. Zinc has been shown to support healthy testosterone levels, and may also help to reduce cortisol levels.
Vitamin C - This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that can help to reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of symptoms associated with pregnenolone steal. Vitamin C has also been shown to support healthy adrenal function.
Omega-3 fatty acids - These essential fatty acids are important for healthy brain function and hormone production. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, support healthy adrenal function, and improve mood.
It's important to note that while these nutrients can be helpful in supporting hormone balance, they should be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner, particularly if you are taking medications or have underlying health conditions.
Other key ways to support stress response include anti-inflammatory diet, restoring gut health, mediating chronic pain, promoting endorphins in the body, and managing autoimmunity.
Additionally, it's important to remember that addressing pregnenolone steal requires a multifaceted approach, which may include stress-reducing practices, dietary changes, and other lifestyle modifications.
Currently, there is no specific blood test that can directly measure pregnenolone steal. However, there are several tests that can indirectly assess the levels of hormones that are affected by pregnenolone steal. These tests include:
Cortisol test: This test measures the levels of cortisol in the blood, which is one of the stress hormones that can be produced at the expense of sex hormones during pregnenolone steal.
DHEA-S test: DHEA-S is another hormone that can be produced from pregnenolone. Low levels of DHEA-S may indicate that pregnenolone is being diverted towards the production of cortisol, which can be a sign of pregnenolone steal.
Estrogen test: This test measures the levels of estrogen in the blood, which can be affected by pregnenolone steal if the body is diverting pregnenolone away from estrogen production.
Testosterone test: Similarly, testosterone levels can also be affected by pregnenolone steal if the body is diverting pregnenolone towards cortisol production instead of testosterone production.
Healthy hormone levels aren’t only necessary for proper mood, energy and fertility; they also play a key role in brain health, inflammation, and more. If you have symptoms of pregnenolone steal, consult with us as your functional medicine practitioner to determine your next step.
So there you have it, hormone heroes - the lowdown on pregnenolone steal! With a little TLC and some healthy habits, you can keep your hormones happy and your body in balance. And who knows, maybe you'll even foil that pesky pregnenolone thief!
You deserve good health,