Can pregnenolone increase testosterone?

Can pregnenolone help to increase testosterone?

Although pregnenolone is the precursor to all other steroids (e.g. testosterone, cortisol, etc.), supplementing it doesn’t lead to higher testosterone.

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Quick recap on pregnenolone

Pregnenolone is created inside the mitochondria from cholesterol.

Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) transports cholesterol from the outer to the inner mitochondrial membrane.

Once cholesterol is inside the mitochondria, it’s converted to pregnenolone by the CYP450scc enzyme. Once created, pregnenolone is transported out of the mitochondria where it’s then converted to other steroids such as progesterone, DHEA, etc.

Pregnenolone is produced mainly in the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain and to a lesser extent the skin.

Although pregnenolone is also produced in the gonads and brain, most circulating pregnenolone is derived from the adrenal cortex.

Pregnenolone is lipophilic (fat loving) and readily crosses the blood–brain barrier to increase pregnenolone levels in the brain.

Does pregnenolone increase testosterone?

Pregnenolone supplementation in humans doesn’t seem to increase testosterone at all.

Let’s look at the only human study that investigated the effect of pregnenolone on testosterone.

In this study, they gave men pregnenolone in escalating doses.

  • Visit 1: Two-week single-blind placebo lead-in phase, one placebo tablet twice each day (all pts),
  • Visit 2: Randomization to PREG 50 mg twice each day (100 mg/day total) or placebo for 2 weeks,
  • Visit 3: PREG 150 mg twice each day (300 mg/day total) or placebo for 2 weeks,
  • Visit 4: PREG 250 mg twice each day (500 mg/day total) or placebo for 2 weeks,
  • Visit 5: PREG 250 mg twice each day (500 mg/day total) or placebo continued for 2 weeks.

Here are the hormonal changes that happened.

As you can see, pregnenolone supplementation was very effective at increasing pregnenolone, progesterone and allopregnanolone (5AR metabolite of progesterone), but didn’t affect any other hormones (except a 16% increase in DHEA-S).

Progesterone increased roughly 4 fold to an average of 2.17ng/ml (average serum range for males 0.10–1.17 ng/ml), which is above the reference range, but less than or comparable with those achieved in the human male brain (R).

How to dose pregnenolone

The problem with pregnenolone is that it has poor oral bioavailability, has a short half-life, and is quickly metabolized into other hormones.

If you want to increase your levels (of pregnenolone or progesterone) here’s what doses to use.

A single oral dose of 175mg of pregnenolone approximately doubles serum levels over the course of 4–8 h (R).

Pregnenolone levels decrease by approximately 60% with age (R).

Thus, depending on your age, 250-500mg daily for 4 weeks would likely produce pregnenolone levels that are close to those observed in young adulthood or up to twofold higher than typical young adult levels (R).


Pregnenolone has many benefits, such as memory and mood enhancement, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, increasing libido, feelings of well-being, boosting stamina, etc.

However, it doesn’t increase testosterone. There is no available research yet on transdermal (topical) pregnenolone and testosterone, but it’s likely that topical pregnenolone won’t be more androgenic than oral pregnenolone.

If you want to maximize your testosterone, focus on eating the right foods and implementing the right lifestyle habits.

>1000ng/dl Testosterone: My Step-by-Step Guide on How I Do It Naturally!

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