The term neurosteroids applies to those steroids that are both formed and accumulated in the nervous system. Pregnenolone, DHEA, and their sulfates are important brain neurosteroids that are involved in learning and memory, aggression and epilepsy, and modulation of responses to stress, anxiety and depression. Pregnenolone is also a prohormone used by the body to produce other steroid hormones.
Before it was pushed aside by the promotion of other hormones, pregnenolone had been shown to have a wide range of beneficial actions for people who were sick or under stress. These included ameliorating arthritis, countering fatigue, and generally improving the quality of life. During the past two decades pregnenolone and its sulfate have been receiving renewed attention. Many scientific studies using mammals and other vertebrates give strong experimental support to claims that pregnenolone can be used to enhance memory and reduce stress. There is also evidence that it lessens depression.
Pregnenolone should be avoided by those who are at risk for hormonally related cancers, lactating, or pregnant.