If you’re over 40 and fighting brain fog and fatigue, you’re in good company. It’s a common complaint for both men and women. And for many folks the cause can be traced back to a drop in an all too often overlooked adrenal hormone called pregnenolone that most conventional medicine doctors never even bother to check.
Pregnenolone protects your brain and enhances learning and memory.1,2 Research has shown it helps elevate mood and fight anxiety, depression and stress.3,4,5,6 Known as the “mother hormone,” your body uses pregnenolone as a building block to make a number of other important hormones including cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Yet as critical as pregnenolone is to our health our levels start to rapidly fall after age 40.7.8 In fact, according to experts by age 75 your levels could have plummeted by as much as 60 percent from their peak levels in your 30s!
You see, it’s not just the natural decline in pregnenolone we need to worry about. Your body uses pregnenolone to produce the stress-hormone cortisol, so we burn through our reserves of this critical hormone whenever we’re stressed. Meaning chronic stress can cause a pregnenolone shortfall, leaving your body unable to produce enough of other critical hormones.
The result is brain fog and fatigue.
Slash stress to protect your pregnenolone
Ask your doctor about checking your pregnenolone levels. If you find you’re running low (your goal should be between 100 and 150 ng/dL) you should work on restoring your numbers. And one of the best places to start is by reducing your stress and cortisol levels.
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage are all excellent ways to fight off fatigue and release stress.
A study published in The International Journal of Neuroscience found that therapeutic massage can reduce cortisol levels and raise the level of feel good hormones in your brain.9 Researchers say acupuncture can significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression.10 And meditation causes cortisol levels to plummet, according to research published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.11
Reduce brain draining cortisol levels
Supplements such as chamomile, ashwaghandha, and passionflower can help naturally reduce your stress causing brain draining cortisol levels to drop.12,13,14,15,16,17 And research shows vitamin C can reduce your body’s stress response.
A 1000 mg vitamin C supplement significantly lowered both cortisol and blood pressure in volunteers, according to a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.18 Natural sources of vitamin C include black currants, red bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, papaya and strawberries.
Omega 3 rich fish oil has also been shown to effectively reduce cortisol levels. When a group of men were given a fish oil supplement for three weeks their cortisol levels, as well as other signs of stress, dropped significantly according to a study published in the journal Diabetes and Metabolism.19
Reverse your brain fog and fight off that tired all the time feeling starting today by protecting your pregnenolone levels.
1. “Neuroprotection by the steroids pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrosterone is mediated by the enzyme aromatase, J Neurobiol. 2003 Sep 15;56(4):398-406
2. “Proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial of pregnenolone in schizophrenia,” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Sep;231(17):3647-62
3. “Pregnenolone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and schizophrenia: alterations and clinical trials,” CNS Neurosci Ther. 2010 Spring;16(1):32-44
4. “Pregnenolone for cognition and mood in dual diagnosis patients,” Psychiatry Res. 2010 Jul 30;178(2):309-12
5. “A TRP channel-steroid marriage,” Nature Cell Biology 10, 1383 – 1384 (2008)
6. “Brain distribution and behavioral effects of progesterone and pregnenolone after intranasal or intravenous administration,” Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 Sep 1; 641(2-3): 128–134
7. “Neuroactive steroids: new biomarkers of cognitive aging,” J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Jun;85(2-5):329-35
8. “Steroid synthesis and metabolism in the nervous system: trophic and protective effects,” J Neurocytol. 2000 May;29(5-6):307-26
9. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.
10. “Acupuncture is effective to attenuate stress and stimulate lymphocyte proliferation in the elderly, Neurosci Lett. 2010 Oct 22;484(1):47-50
11. “Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on adaptive mechanisms: changes in hormone levels and responses to stress after 4 months of practice,” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1997 May;22(4):277-95
12. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” J of Clinical Psychopharma.: August 2009 – Volume 29 – Issue 4 – pp 378-382
13. “Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study,” Phytomedicine. 2000 Dec;7(6):463-9
14. “A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults,” Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262
15. “An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),” J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec 1; 20(12): 901–908
16. “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam,” J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001 Oct;26(5):363-7
17. “Passionflower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double-blind randomized controlled trial,” J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001 Oct;26(5):369-73
18. “A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 159, 319-324
19. “Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men, Diabetes Metab. 2003 Jun;29(3):289-95
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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