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What are the Most Common Pregnenolone Side Effects?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are both good and bad pregnenolone side effects. Side effects include increased libido, greater clarity, increased brain function, and better memory. Others include heart palpitations, irritability, night sweats, anger, and insomnia. These can range from mild to severe, depending on the dosage.

Very few studies have been conducted on the use of pregnenolone, so its side effects have not been well documented in many cases. One reason for this is that it's a naturally occurring hormone and steroid. This means that it cannot be patented like a drug or altered hormone, and therefore does not offer the same monetary benefits to drug companies. Pregnenolone is available in supplement form, however, and has been noted to cause both good and bad effects.

Positive effects of the hormone can include increased sex drive for both men and women. This is primarily important for middle-aged individuals during menopause or in the later years, when men are most likely to struggle with sexual dysfunction. It is thought that higher libido is caused by an increase in testosterone initiated by the pregnenolone. This may also the be cause of other positive effects, such as increased memory and brain function.

Unfortunately, there are also a number of negative side effects that can be dangerous or even life-threatening in some individuals. These can include insomnia, anger and irritability, acne, headaches, hair loss, heart irregularities and palpitations, and possible effects on the thyroid gland and other organs. This hormone can also be converted by the body into testosterone and progesterone, both of which could have effects on the reproductive system if taken for extended periods of time.

Some of these side effects, such as hair loss and headaches, occur only with extended or excessive use. Others, like heart irregularities, can occur on even a very low dose. For this reason, those with heart conditions and the elderly should not take pregnenolone unless directed by a medical professional. Safer methods of addressing hormonal imbalances, decreased libido, and impaired memory are available. Those with thyroid disorders or a family history of such disorders should discuss the use of pregnenolone with a healthcare professional.

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Discussion Comments
By anon988371 — On Feb 10, 2015

I have been taking pregnenolone for three months, in order to help alleviate the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. It works. I took half the capsule, dumping half of it out. They are 50 mg capsules from piping rock, and I recommend you buy from them.

I take half a capsule once a day. Visit the schizophrenia forums about pregnenolone and see how it helps us. I hear many people are having problems with higher doses. See the research review articles to see how it helps. It is called "the treatment of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia". My impairments are gone! My memory went from the 30th percentile to the 71st percentile in memory tests and increased in planning tests too.

I can remember what I said a minute ago, whereas before, I could not remember anything I said a minute ago. My attention improved too. Schizophrenic people have less of this hormone in their hippocampus, so it makes sense to supplement with it if you have a thought disorder. We need a system where people do research on things that are good and not lucrative to make things like this supplement more available.

Also, I might have to lower my antipsychotic dose because they make me too drowsy now, and preg helps with positive symptoms too, like paranoia. I want to share this drug with everyone who suffers from cognitive impairments. I don't need to make a ton of money.

Some people are trying to alter the drug so they can patent it and sell it, and shame on them, but can we blame them when the systems in place cause and encourage this behavior. Let's start a revolution: preg for the people!

By MirandaM — On May 15, 2014

I have a friend who takes Pregnenolone (don't know how much), and, boy, did she undergo a major change in personality! She is always angry, she says she can't sleep, she gets killer headaches now, and she is a real mean dude now.

She makes awful, rude and nasty judgmental comments to her friends now. However, she has lost a few friends now. But she claims that it keeps her younger, and she also get Botox and lip fillers. She also doesn't eat much as she says that keeps her younger looking. Is it really worth it?

By anon947628 — On Apr 26, 2014

Does Pregnenolone balance hormones or does it increase estrogen levels? I want to balance; I don't need anymore estrogen. I am 44 years old, and I might have too much estrogen. Would Pregnenolone be good for me?

By anon933865 — On Feb 18, 2014

Good article. I have experienced both the good and bad side effects, from taking enough and too much pregnenolone.

By anon357365 — On Dec 03, 2013

I'm a male, 38 years old, very athletic and on TRT therapy and my doc decided to put me on Arimidex 1.25mg because my estrogen level was very high and Preg 25 mg.

Maybe it's the estrogen blocker, but I was feeling great before I got on these. Now I have constant headaches and my libido has dwindled to nothing. I don't even think about sex anymore. I was on Prozac years ago and it made me feel exactly the same way. I want to blame it on the estrogen blocker, so I will discontinue and see what happens. I will say this, as soon as I started the preg, my hair was coming out quite a bit after about a week.

By anon342336 — On Jul 19, 2013

I suffered with severe pain in my abdomen and lower back for seven years and was treating my condition through chiropractic treatments and massage therapy. I did not have insurance, fortunately! So I was forced to seek wisdom and understanding about nutritional healing. My pain became so severe that I ended up going to a doctor (hormonal, gynecologist, nutritionist). After paying cash and taking tests and with the bills starting to accrue, I decided to start juicing and flooding my system with high dosages of vitamins and minerals. After doing this, I also started taking brine salt baths (Himalayan) and over one month, became 50 percent better.

I forgot to mention that at the point of seeing a physician I had become bedridden and had been prescribed hydrocodone, taking 10mg twice daily. That was the severity of my illness! But the real change came when I started supplementing with pregenolone, kind of by accident. I purchased a bottle through Amazon which was 100mg. I started taking this and immediately – in less than six hours -- all my pain disappeared! Now remember, I have been having chronic pain for seven years! That's a lot of days, hours and minutes of low quality of life.

I have studied the safety and recommended dosage, so I do understand there is a lot of uncertainty about pregenolone (as this is how I got to this forum). My caution is that I supplement three days per week at 100mg daily. I cannot say as to how long I will do this (on a short or long term basis), yet my reason for posting this is to offer credible reference to the life changing effects that pregenolone has given to the hemeostasis of my body. I hope to encourage and offer hope to anyone who is unsure if pregenolone can help them. It has changed my life!

My outlook is positive, cheerful and hopeful. I have energy and have eliminated all pain in my lower back and abdomen. I would say that is much safer than taking two hydrocodones daily and not seeing any decrease in pain. Pharmaceutical drugs are poison –phamicikia in Greek means poison. So I feel safer going the natural route and as a matter of fact, the reason we do not know more about this hormone is because all research was stopped when Big Pharma (Merck) started pushing synthetic hormones like prednisone.

I hope I have alleviated some fears concerning the effectiveness and safety of this hormone. All glory goes to God. Jesus is the great physician, and the Bible states that "man’s wisdom is foolishness unto God." God is wisdom and he is the source of all true wisdom, understanding and revelation.

By anon327572 — On Mar 28, 2013

As a doctor of pharmacy, I find it very unsettling that just anyone can log in here and give advice on taking what is a precursor to nearly all hormones. Over the counter supplements are unregulated, and can contain literally anything, as long as it doesn't kill you. Use caution, common sense and talk to your health care provider before taking hormones.

By anon307173 — On Dec 03, 2012

I was taking 25mg of dhea and my hair on my head started coming out by the handfuls. I was terrified and knew other people that took the same dosage and had no issues at all. It also caused hair to grow on my face. I quit taking it and the issues resolved, but it took a while.

I was going to try pregnenolone, but I now hear it has the same side effects. I also read that pregnenolone increases estrogen and shouldn't be taken if you are doing any estrogen replacement or if you are estrogen dominant (which most of us are just from all the crap in our food and lotions and shampoos and on and on). So what's the scoop? I wanted to take it for memory and anti aging benefits, but the side effects aren't worth it to me. Anyone else have any of these issues?

By anon275319 — On Jun 17, 2012

I'm a 47 year old male, 6'4 315 pounds and I take 100 mg of Pregnenolone, along with 50 mg DHEA daily and .75 cc of cypionate weekly.

It changed my whole mood. I have more energy, feel better, am always in a good mood, and have a better sex drive. The other day, however, I ran out of Preg and I went on vacation without buying more, and boy what a withdrawal I went through: anger, irritable, high anxiety, and I even accused my wife of flirting, and it got me extremely jealous, and I've never been jealous in my life.

So if you start on it don't run out, because you will feel the side effects within about two to three days.

By anon274418 — On Jun 11, 2012

The only side effect I experienced was a rash, (pregnenolone has a half life) because I took too much.

I backed the dose down to 50mgs and had no problems.

By anon161333 — On Mar 19, 2011

would buying pregnenolone over the counter be the same as having the compound pharmacy make it for you?

My doctor is doing blood work to see what I am lacking, as far as hormone levels and then he will discuss this pill with me. But my friend who has just gone through all of this said that the same pill is costing her 80 bucks a month. Is this something that someone else has came across? Please answer back.

By anon156028 — On Feb 25, 2011

I have no comments on pregnenolone, only a question. I have read many adverse effects of this "hormone" supplement, being it causes hair loss and facial hair growth to begin with.

I am on 5 mg 2x weekly. I am wondering if this will cause hair loss, as I have only been taking it for two weeks now and don't notice any reactions, but bald is not good for me as I don't have much hair anyway. Someone's comments are very welcome!

By anon154914 — On Feb 22, 2011

@Googlefanz: There are a few reasons, not the least of which is that a lot of folks these days who have thyroid and adrenal 'issues'. Some of which just come with living in this crazy life, others that are the result of living in this crazy life.

Anyway, pregnenolone is effectively an adrenal precursor, and folks who are suffering from hypothyroidism (a lot of us, many undiagnosed) might take a thyroid supplement, but are unable to process it well, due to depressed/suppressed adrenal function (panic attacks, way too much coffee all the time, dealing with too much traffic for too many years, etc etc) so taking low to mild doses of pregnenolone can provide a proper path for the thyroid to be processed, restoring the balance.

By anon150471 — On Feb 08, 2011

I am currently taking pregnenolone and i love the effects. I sleep better and wake up much more refreshed, both physically and mentally. I have experienced no side effects. I'm a 40 year old woman and I take 100mg a day.

By anon146679 — On Jan 27, 2011

I took pregnenolone for a while, and experienced most positive, and negative side effects. Initially I took so little, that I felt nothing. I began to increase dosage until I reached excess and backed off. I was able to find a "balance" point that worked for me eventually.

I then went to a doctor, and was diagnosed with low testosterone, for which I was prescribed androgel. Of coursem the pregnenolone had little to do with my low T, but I stopped taking it anyway, and the testosterone replacement was far better.

I'd strongly suggest men get tested, and as androgel can be quite expensive, ask your doctor to call in your prescription to a compounding pharmacist. A compounding pharmacist can make an identical gel to androgel, for about 1/10 of the cost of androgel. I experience awesome energy, libido, and the positive mental benefits of proper testosterone replacement (I had been slightly depressed for a few years, but T replacement seemed to clear that up), which for me, has been a God send.

By anon145056 — On Jan 21, 2011

10 mg helps me to sleep very well.

By anon137162 — On Dec 26, 2010

From a supplement user for 40 years, the solution seems pretty simple. If you get any mild negative side effects (like the more severe ones you get from, so readily, taking prescription drugs) don't take it the next day.

By anon136227 — On Dec 21, 2010

Taking pregnenolone isn't usually a choice. It is a result of some other imbalance in the body. It is not a steroid that "Hulks" you. It balances the hormones and makes the imbalance balanced. Unfortunately, there are side effects that come along with it. They are worth the risks to make the day to day normal.

By pharmchick78 — On Dec 17, 2010

Great article -- I'm glad to find such a balanced article about the side effects of pregnenolone. It seems that whenever people start talking about supplements and side effects, whether that's the right fish oil dosage or the common garlic side effects, it always turns into this very biased thing with the article either being clearly for or against the product.

However, you not only managed to avoid being biased in your article, you also presented a very good overview of the pros and cons of taking pregnenolone supplements.

Very well done.

By StreamFinder — On Dec 16, 2010

Reading about all these different side effects of pregnenolone really makes me wonder how "in the mood" I'd be feeling with insomnia, headaches, and crazy anger swings.

That always seems to be the case with fertility drugs, right? Watching the commercials for the myriad libido enhancers you see on TV, they all sound great until you get to that part at the end where the guy starts talking really fast about all the side effects.

And if all those side effects really occur when you take the drug, then seriously, how much can it actually help your libido. I guess it would be OK if you're into angry sex, but other than that I can't really see how it would be all that great.

But then, I've never been in that situation. Has anybody who's actually taken this got any input? Is it worth it to go through the side effects to get the end result?

By googlefanz — On Dec 14, 2010

So this may be a silly question, but why would someone take pregnenolone to begin with if it can have all those wonky side effects? I mean, I can understand someone wanting to take pregnenolone supplements for steroid effects, I guess, but it kind of seems like more trouble than it's worth, to be perfectly honest.

I mean, there are other ways to boost your libido and even your brain function without having to risk going into "Extreme Hulk" mode, and especially without having problems with your thyroid.

That can really mess you up, I mean, messing with your weight and your sleep schedules and everything.

So what is so great about pregnenolone that people would risk all that to take it? I mean, sure, every supplement has side effects, but those seem a little extreme.

By anon116497 — On Oct 06, 2010

I was taking dhea and my libido was fantastic. I had to stop because my prostate was bothering me. pregnenolone is the mother of dhea, but it should be tried.

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