Review of Pregnenolone — Nature’s Feel-Good Hormone by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Enchanting Pregnenolone:
Intimations of Immortality


By Will Block

“I n addition to memory enhancement . . . [pregnenolone and other neurosteroids] . . . play an important role in returning some of the alertness and enchantment with life normally felt in our youth that so gradually diminishes over the decades.” (Emphasis added.) So writes Ray Sahelian, MD, in his new and greatly expanded book, Pregnenolone: Nature’s Feel-Good Hormone.

There was a time when meadows, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light . . .
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore; –
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things that I have seen I now can see no more.

These words, taken from the opening of William Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality” from Early Recollections of Childhood, begin a lament about the lost joys of childhood and the vision — the glory and the freshness of a dream — which fades as we age and as the adult persona becomes severed from the primal spirit of our youth. Wordsworth’s poem is also an exhortation to the creative soul within each of us. It is a call to keep that spirit alive. This is that ineffable essence of youth which makes us intuitively creative and hopeful and “apparelled in celestial light” when we are new to the world. Maintaining this clarity of vision is by no means an easy task, yet if only we could boost ourselves to a higher level …

100% Convinced

According to Dr. Sahelian, “I am 100 percent convinced that taking pregnenolone (PREG) leads to changes in awareness and alertness.” Moreover, among other areas of the body, pregnenolone can be made in the eyes, and when Dr. Sahelian takes PREG, “I notice an improved visual clarity . . . within an hour of dosing.” Can PREG allow you a view of the “celestial light” and “the glory and the freshness of a dream?”

From the chapter entitled “The Author’s Personal Pregnenolone Experience,” he writes that after taking 30 mg of PREG, “a mellow, steady, persistent feeling of well-being … had imperceptibly come on … I normally feel good, this was different, and better … Flowers seemed … brighter and prettier … my attention focused on the architecture of the homes … I started noticing the patterns of the stones, the shapes of the windows, doorways, porticos and other details … the palm trees … appeared Caribbean island-like picturesque. Everything seemed more beautiful and intriguing. I felt a sense of child[like] wonder, that ‘everything was okay.’ How special and enchanting life could be!” (Emphasis added.)

If, as it seems, PREG can restore some of the components of our youthful vision, how is this possible? What is the explanation for these renaissance-like effects? According to Dr. Sahelian, the answers, as of now, are still unclear, but we know that PREG has mixed functions on the principal brain inhibitory neurohormone, GABA. In the retina of the eye, PREG may operate on GABA receptors, and in the brain, it may interact with many other receptors, the functionality of which declines with age as brain cells die.

PREG has also been found to arouse the brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, the role of which, in part, is to govern synapse function and form in the flow of neural communication. This signaling is essential to the process of learning and memory. Certain aspects of aging are directly associated with the diminishing quality and number of these receptors.

Another element of PREG’s function is its influence on the acetylcholine (ACh) system. ACh is involved in memory, and the decline in its production has been shown to be closely tied to Alzheimer’s disease. But perhaps the biggest influence of PREG, according to Dr. Sahelian (quoting researcher James Flood) is PREG’s ability to “. . . exert [its effect] . . . by serving as precursor for the formation of a panoply of different steroids, ensuring near-optimal modulation of transcription of immediate-early genes required for achieving the plastic changes of the memory process.”

Is it possible that supplementing with PREG can slow down or even reverse some of these aging processes, including mental decline? Chapter by chapter, section by section,

citation by citation, anecdote by anecdote, this is the inexorable conclusion toward which Sahelian’s book hurtles us.

Can we know such things merely by examining studies in laboratory animals (which comprises the bulk of the experiments to date) or by measuring our levels of PREG or other hormones? The latter option is untenable because you cannot measure PREG’s ability to increase, say, getting a job promotion or the influence of PREG’s mood-changing ability on improved relationships and concomitant happiness. Aside from full-scale clinical trials, which may be slow to come because of the unpatentability of PREG, the only way to know the benefits of this extraordinary hormone is to try it. One may first submit oneself to test for hormone levels, although this is not definitive because of the differences in local tissue metabolism as well as the imprecision of the age-related curves and the differences with which we individually decline.

Although PREG offers many fantastic benefits and, in the opinion of most researchers, is without serious safety concerns, one should proceed with caution, especially if you are younger than 40 to 45 years old. Dr. Sahelian airs the few known and relatively inconsequential side effects and considers the possibilities that long-term use may have some as-yet undisclosed adversities. Do they prevent endorsement from a medical professional who tags himself a “moderate voice in the evaluation of cutting-edge supplements?” No. For occasional use if “under age,” and for low-level use (not more than 20 mg) thereafter, Dr. Sahelian lives up to his reputation for conservative, responsible nutrient usage. The possible applications? Age-related cognitive decline, stress, hormone replacement therapy, arthritis and autoimmune disease, neurological help, PMS, and fatigue are but a few of the specific uses. Whatever the case, Dr. Sahelian recommends professional monitoring along with testing (although testing is still in its infancy).

Not Just Another Intelligence Agent

But what really stands out about Pregnenolone—Nature’s Feel-Good Hormone is the “feel” that the author has for the creative possibilities and PREG’s ability to synergistically recapture a nascent sensuality along with improved mood and cognitive wherewithal, while reducing stress and increasing energy. PREG is involved with much more than just intelligence enhancement. In the poetry of Wordsworth, once again,

O joy! that in our embers.
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!

What lives on in us is the remembrance of the “en­chant­ment” we knew as children. Then, as now, in Words­worth’s metaphor, this is the “fountain light of all our day.” It is the fuel of inspired living, and PREG may be able to offer you this gift.

Enhanced Vision and Auditory Perception

As with all of Dr. Sahelian’s books, Pregnenolone — Nature’s Feel-Good Hormone is well-researched, well-organized, and especially clear. You may not agree with everything Sahelian says about pregnenolone but you’ve got to appreciate how he’s refined the format that he’s established for his books. Dr. Sahelian states, “I am 100% convinced that PREG provides me with enhanced visual and auditory perception. Colors are brighter and clearer, with greater contrast; shapes are more defined; nature is more beautiful . . . It’s just a wonderful experience to look at things as if you’re seeing them for the first time.” (Emphasis added.) Not only is the color chosen for the jacket of the book brighter and clearer, the content is more refined and more highly stylized. Ray Sahelian published an earlier version of this book, actually as a booklet; here, his ideas are greatly expanded and his list of references is double that of the earlier work.

In my reading of this book, it was as if I was encountering much of the material for the first time. I’m inclined to think that PREG is working, not only for the writer but for the reader as well.

I urge you to buy this book, and to study it. It could be one of the most important purchases you’ve ever made. By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, this review is a rave.


Will Block is the publisher and editorial director of Life Enhancement magazine.

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