What is the difference between Pregnenolone and DHEA?

I am confused as due to low DHEA levels, I have been recommended to take DHEA however, a couple of people have suggested Pregnenolone might be better.

Who fares best on Pregnenolone?

Who better suits DHEA? Also, does DHEA develop in to female hormones in addition to male hormones?

Sorry if I sound dizzy - really don't want to start taking something and end up down a dead end again

24 Replies

I pasted a whole chunk about this in hogie s thread yesterday. Have a look at dr myhills site as the chunk I pasted was from there. Just google dr Myhill, pregnenalone.

Xx g

Thanks G, very helpful. However, I am still perplexed - I have probably used this analogy elsewhere but, if a woman got on well with a combined pill that is more progesterone than oestrogen based, would it stand to reason that she would probably be ok on DHEA? In another article it states

"We do know that it is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen, yet DHEA itself is classified as an androgen (a male sex hormone). In the weird world of sex hormones, this kind of paradox is not unusual. Another hormone that is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen is the female hormone progesterone (whose immediate parent in this complex web of biochemical pathways is pregnenolone). "


I am still waiting for the penny to drop entirely. Being told by a homeopath to take it because they have had no issues with it does not reassure me that this is right for me or that I am taking the right thing having now looked in to it more.

For me, DHEA converts into some estrogen and some testosterone. I can't take testosterone directly without getting 'roid rage so this is Ok for me. I also take progesterone. If you need more progesterone, pregnenolone might be better.

There's a diagram here:


and this article is quite easy to understand


Hi Angel

When I had both hormones via the pill, that was when I was at my best and never suffered with these symptoms so on the surface, DHEA sounds best for me. My only concern is, how do I know how I will convert it? I will look at your links to see if they enlighten me

In what form do you take progesterone Angel of the North and does it enhance or counteract the testosterone in DHEA?

No idea. It's all in one combined lozenge, but my bloods are apparently good and no 'roid rage.

Two really good posts Angel. Thank you for posting them they are just what I am looking into at the moment.

I'm reading a lot about Pregnenolone as its the grandmother hormone. That means it can be used to make many of the other hormones, cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone.

From what I've read DHEA is better for males to take as it results in more testosterone. it is suggested in books that people take a larger dose of Pregnenolone supplemented by a small dose of DHEA.

A useful book I've found on the matter are Dr Lam's book.

I'm planning to just take Pregnenolone starting from a small dose and gradually working up and looking out for signs of too much cortisol and/or sex hormones.

I have been taking DHEA fir years. My gp tells me it wont do me any good but won't do harm. I would also like to know if the other drug you mention is better.

Pregnenolone and DHEA are not drugs, they are hormones. :)

Hello. I am on Armour Thyroid and had a thyroidectomy for Pap cancer in 2000. Did fine on Armour then after some stress in 2007 started getting migraines. Went to a holistic doctor and he prescribed DHEA 10mg compounded time release. It took my headache immediately away. Now if I start getting foggy headed or vision gets blurry I take a DHEA and it clears up. Take one most everyday. I also take a selenium 200mg with my dinner time dose of Armour 30mg. take 60mg in am. Been getting anxious feeling about 3 hours after taking morning Armour. Took a cinnamon capsule and a Vit C with calcium and a Vit E metagenics and two ibuprophen and my head has settled down. Does this sound okay. Also have been taking Adrenal Complex and that seems to be helping my energy. Tried other NDTs and they all made me weak after 1-2 weeks and Armour made me feel best. Holistic Doctor retired. He had also prescribed pregnenolone but I read that raises your cortisol and mine had been high awhile back. I feel better on the Adrenal Complex. I just hate when I get the anxious jitters but what I took today helped. When the anxious feeling hits I can't think. Do others have this and how do you resolve it. Karen

Giving up gluten helps lots of people Muffin. I did that 20 years ago but have now almost completely given up concentrated carbohydrate and that is best of all. Anxiety gone and best of all headaches gone!

Btw I am hypo on 150 mcg Thyroxin

Hi DHEA and Pregnenalone are two different hormones. If you have measured low on DHEA then you should take DHEA if advised to. Capsules are better and sublingually, ie under the tongue (empty the contents). DHEA is necessary for good adrenal function.

Pregnenalone is different altogether. It is the precursor to all hormones. To say that they are the same isn't right. Pregnenalone can convert to many hormones that is why it should be given under strict medical guidance. If your oestrogen for example is high then taking pregnenalone could make it higher if your body converts it that way so my advice would be to take what your practitioner has told you and to leave pregnenalone alone unless your practitioner has specified that you should take it.

Thanks Gismo, appreciate your advice. when you say sublingually ie under the tongue (empty the contents), can you clarify what you mean?

Also, do you take DHEA - what is your experience of it?

Whilst I do believe it will have some benefits, I suffer already from acne (greasy skin) and am concerned this will trigger another bout of it hence I do not wish to start on 50mg - do you have any thoughts/experience on this?

Hi You're welcome. Yes sublingually is under the tongue. I don't know how much you take but I am taking 12.5 mgs. I buyer 25 mgs from Biovea, open the capsule and empty half of the capsule under my tongue. This way it bypasses the liver and gets into the bloodstream much better.

If your adrenals are low and you have been advised to take DHEA then you should take it.

Your acne and greasy skin sound like an adrenal/thyroid problem. Did your doctor advise 50 mgs? If he did then your adrenals are low.

Something is wrong with your metabolism if you have acne like that, I had it dreadfully and it wasn't until my hormones were balanced that it went. It will not trigger it and get worse it should make it much better. Are you on thyroid hormone as well?

Hi Gismo, it is a natural practitioner that advised me to take it following recent bloods - DHEA samples coming back low. The plan is to start on NAX, which I am taking, Similase and then add in DHEA next week. According to her and I assume she gets this info from Geneva labs, my thyroid will need treating and we will look at this after DHEA treatment.

I have since had my results looked at by a private GP who tells me that they are in range and are fine so I am quite confused and bemused to be honest.

I believe my hormones are out of whack and have been for 5 years - ever since I stopped taking the combined pill which is when my issues came to fruition. I also think my metabolism is shot too.

How are you feeling taking it? What benefits do you notice?

That sounds a good plan. If the adrenals are low then they need to be supported before thyroid hormone. Geneva labs are really good and the one I use. Ignore your doctor, he has no idea about thyroid. This applies to most doctors and although I sound like I am blanketing them all I am not. There are some that care and do treat properly but very few as they are under the GMC umbrella that says blood tests rule, ie TSH which in some cases isn't worth the paper it is written on, and T4 which if not utilized properly will not work.

I would go by this practitioner she sounds as though she knows what she is doing.

Your metabolism is your hormones, there is no difference. The pill is given for heavy periods when in fact it can be a thyroid problem. They put me on the pill at 11 years old through heavy periods and acne, when it should have been a good thyroid hormone.

I have no gland and so on thyroid medication and adrenal support and I feel good.

Oh, 11 years old!!! I was 15 when put on the pill whic I thought was young and I didnt have my mums consent but, as you say and I have come to know, if the results are in range, they wont treat people hence I guess both of us being given the pill.

I really want to put things right and the doseage you take is what I was looking at at least to start with. How long before you noticed improvement? Weight is another huge issue of mine and although I appreciate the pill does not prevent this, my hormones and as a result my metabolism must have been balanced whilst taking it and I never had this issue then so, I hope that DHEA can give that balance so that I can tackle this and that my body responds by dropping the weight - it is so demoralizing doing healthy eating/weight loss plans and following it to the letter and seeing those besides you shed lbs whilst you may even gain despite following things rigorously.

I am not sure of when you will see an improvement but if your thyroid isn't being treated then that needs to be treated also. I'm not sure your health practitioner will give you NDT but if you are suffering thyroid symptoms and your pulse is low before getting out of bed then perhaps you should be looking at balancing your thyroid as well. Don't eat complex carbs, no ready meals just good food, plenty of veg not too much fruit, nuts and meat and exercise.

Hi Gismo

The plan is to treat the thyroid after starting on DHEA. The health practitioner dosent prescribe but can only advise what to get so not sure how I will be recommended to treat this. I am sticking to the plan for diet - 3 meals a day and no snacks (that's hard) only green stuff and proteins. I am not allowed fruit or anything that raises blood sugar. No carbs. Also exercising 3 X a week. My second week in and I don't believe I will lose any weight. Not being pessimistic, just noticing that clothes are feeling tighter. I lost 1lb last week however, these few years, I have only been able to lose weight 2 weeks of any month and last week was one of them. Most 'normal' people being overweight would have lost more. All I feel is hungry but I will persevere because I want to demonstrate to people that there is an issue with me. Over time I have tried eating like this and had no results - not sure why I am expected to now. Maybe it will be different when the DHEA kicks in

The DHEA is important but your thyroid needs treating as it sounds as if your metabolism is low if you are doing all that good diet and exercise. The thyroid and the adrenals balance each other out. Weight loss will only happen when the "fire" comes back into your metabolism. You could try NDT but if it doesn't work then the ratio of T4 and T3 is not good for you so you could try it separately.

Sorry to keep ppumping you for information Gismo, I took NDT in the past but my levels got very high. A doctor said that I didn't have thyroid illness and I stpped taking it. I was initially prescribed hypo by DR P on symtoms. Anyway, would happily try it again but what do you mean if it doesn't work then try T4 and T3 separately?

Oh it's no problem. OK so if you took it and your levels got high then it didn't go into the cells and didn't convert properly.

NDT has a certain amount of T4 and a certain amount of T3 contained within it. If your body doesn't like all that T4 and can't convert it in the liver where it takes place then it just sits in the blood. It has to convert into T3 and then it goes on it's way into the cells.

What people don't understand is it doesn't matter what you take as long as your body utilizes it properly. If there is too much T4 you won't feel very well, you can't cut NDT down as you cut the T3 down as well so T3 and T4 taken separately gives you the chance to change the ratio.

I was on T4 for so long my receptors on the cells went to sleep, so to speak, I had to have rather large doses of T3 to "wake" up the receptors to give me a metabolism. I could not have done it on T4 and I was going toxic in the blood. I lay in bed for 18 months on T4 governed by the TSH and nearly didn't make it. My private doctor said with a pulse of 42 I only had a couple of weeks to live. So you see what actually happens in the body is much more important that continual reliance on blood testing, symptoms and body temperature and pulse are the way to go, always have been.

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