DHEA, Pregnenolone and Human Growth Hormone- the Mystery Hormones

What are these hormones and what do they do in your body?

 

DHEA and Pregnenolone are precursor hormones. This means that cholesterol makes pregnenolone-the mother hormone, which makes DHEA, which makes oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, amongst other adrenal hormones (cortisol, aldosterone). So problems or deficiencies in the making of these hormones can lead to problems with the hormones that we are familiar with; namely oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and stress hormone cortisol. DHEA is better known and many people know a little about it. It is even used in higher doses for fertility in women. Pregnenolone is not well researched and a lot more needs to be done. It is known as the ‘brain’ hormone as that’s one of its main function.

 

Problem making these hormones could be anything from nutritional deficiencies (remember that vitamins and minerals enable reactions to take place) to very low cholesterol (cholesterol is a building block), to problems with enzymes that help these reaction take place smoothly. Many of these problems are easy to handle eg good diet and supplementation. Then of course there's ageing, which causes a gradual decline over the years.

 

Growth hormone (HGH, Human Growth Hormone) is the ‘wear and tear’ hormone. It starts to decline from around 21 years of age. It gets its bad reputation from its use as an anabolic steroid (decrease fat mass but builds muscle mass) where it has been abused by ‘underground’ gym users and competitive sports people. This is due to the obvious advantage it confers to these people. There are also fears regarding its potential to increase growth of existing tumours within the body. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me as we have large amounts of GH in our teens and twenties (but low levels of tumours) and this switches the older we age ie less GH but more tumours in older people. Of course its not that simple as many other factors come into place. There have been a few studies on this subject, which a quick google search will uncover.

So, what do these hormones actually do in the body?

DHEA

  • it shifts the body to an anabolic or protein building state

  • It increases visceral (surrounding your organs) fat burning

  • Its an anti-depressant and improves mood

  • Improves sexual function and vitality

  • improves memory

  • increases energy

  • enhances the immune system

  • reduces insulin requirements

  • increases bone density

Pregnenolone

  • its a memory enhancer and cellular repairer

  • particularly important for neuronal cellular repair (brain)

  • improves ability to acquire knowledge

  • improves long term memory

  • as a precursor to steroid hormone cortisol, it supports functions where synthetic steroids are required, and in cases of adrenal burn out.

Human Growth Hormone

  • increase metabolism

  • better immune system

  • improves cell repair and overall tissue regeneration

  • increase muscle mass and decreased fat mass

  • increase energy and endurance

  • increased libido

  • better recovery after injury

  • better skin

 

Should we be replacing them? This really depends on one’s view. The same question can be asked of regular HRT (oestrogen/progesterone), testosterone and other hormones like thyroid, insulin etc. Who gets to decide which hormones should be replaced and which ones shouldn’t? Its not an easy question and there is no easy answer. Again, this blog’s intention is for you to question things and to inspire you to ask more questions, research more and come from a position of strength when attempting to answer these questions for yourself.