Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pregnenolone - an effective OTC anti-inflammatory therapy for autism?

Pregnenolone is the true mother hormone, being derived from cholesterol and the precursor of all steroid hormones. 

It is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.  It is  also claimed that supplementing with Pregnenolone will increase IGF-1, which I found interesting, given my very recent post on IGF-1 therapy in autism.  
In the late 1940’s and 1950’s successful studies were carried out into the use of Pregnenolone in the inflammatory condition of arthritis. 

As we found in recent posts regarding the vagus nerve, all inflammatory conditions (autism included) share much in common.  A treatment that is effective against neuroinflammation in one condition should be tested in the others.
Interest was high in Pregnenolone because it was cheap and free of troubling side effects.  Alternative steroid treatments, for example with Prednisone, can have major side effects.

In an earlier post I referred to the successful use of the steroid Prednisone in ASD in the US.  Wider adoption, and the lack of clinical trials, are held back by the fear of side effects.

"... Dr Michael Chez, of the Pediatric Neurology and Autism Neurodevelopmental Program, Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento California.  He wrote a paper I have already referred to in this blog called:-
In that paper he talks of his knowledge of the effects of prednisone on children with autism and he mentions the dosage used.
Treatment was usually prescribed with daily prednisone doses of 2 mg/kg/day for 3 to 6 months. Limitations to therapy were usually Cushingoid side effects. As in other chronic conditions requiring steroids, pulse dosing was tried with steroids in the form of prednisone or prednisolone at 5 to 10 mg/kg twice per week.

Long-term success with no dependence or minimal Cushingoid effects has been noted in several hundred patients treated in this manner (Chez, unpublished data, personal communication).
In all, 17 of 32 patients showed response to prednisone after 2 to 4 months of treatment (53%). Improvements were seen on EEG and in language skills of the patients. Other steroid treatment series of regressed language in autistic spectrum patients diagnosed with LKS variant showed improved language with pulse-dose steroids."

 Pregnenolone Studies
If effect, Pregnenolone seems to be a weaker, but much safer, alternative to Prednisone.  Some people with arthritis currently take it. 
Pregnenolone is indeed already one of hundreds of fringe treatments for autism.  There are some very good reasons why it should be effective. 

Stanford University are currently running a clinical trial of Pregnenolone on adults with autism. It is the same researcher that worked on their study on NAC in children with autism.  It is nice to know that the adults with ASD have not been forgotten; after all, children have a habit of growing up.

A Study of Pregnenolone in the Treatment of Individuals With Autism

The next time I receive a question on this blog asking for a potentially effective OTC anti-neuroinflammatory “supplement” for autism, I will know what to suggest trying.


  1. Have you tried pregnenolone fir your child?

    1. Not yet. I have got hold of some. Its use is meant to be for adults, but that in itself does not mean as much as it should. It appears that there are many ways of achieving the same thing in autism, and the best option is the one with the least side effects. I discussed pregnenolone with an Endocrinologist, she was shocked it was available without prescription. She was treating a girl who had failed to enter puberty with pregnenolone. This might explain why Stanford are testing it on adults with autism. My child is currently doing really well and so I will wait and see the result of the study.

  2. Very interesting. I have used pregnenolone with estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone since menopause. I have three kids with mild ASD and they use risperidone which raises the natural hormone prolactin. I noticed the pregnenolone really helped my skin issues, but maybe it has helped a lot more! Inflammation definitely affects the pituitary and that would affect hormone levels. I hope this works out. I feel incredible with the hormones and an anti-inflammatory diet.

    1. Hiya kitty did you have any weight gain with the hormones you mentioned regards Lynne


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