DHEA and Pregnenolone May Be Used Together

Q I just ordered both DHEA and Pregnenolone. My chief complaints are menopausal symptoms, and I’m wondering if it’s redundant to take both simultaneously.

Susanne, Carbondale, CO

A As sex hormone precursors, both DHEA and pregnenolone are important for the homeostatic regulation of female sex hormone balance. One study with postmenopausal women concluded that DHEA may be a beneficial adjunctive to estrogen replacement, helping to achieve a desirable balance with other steroid hormones.1 In a review in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the authors wrote, “[for] women who suffer persistent loss of well-being, fatigue, and, most commonly, loss of libido, despite adequate estrogen replacement, treatment with DHEA [should be viewed as] an alternative means of replacing androgens in older women.”2

Pregnenolone counteracts the potential masculinizing effects of DHEA. In this regard, it may be more important than DHEA for a woman’s hormonal balance. Long-time DHEA researcher William Regelson writes that some researchers who have pondered the question of whether pregnenolone alone is able to reverse the age-related decline of all “superhormones” (including progesterone and estrogen) believe that “a combination of pregnenolone and DHEA working together will do the trick.”3 In other words, these two hormones appear to work in harmony. Given the upside and support from a growing body of literature, it makes good sense to take them along with progesterone.

Note: Women using Progesterone-DP may want to supplement with both DHEA and pregnenolone (or use DP-Transdermal Cream) on the days when they do not use Progesterone Transdermal.

  1. Buster JE, Casson PR, Straughn AB, Dale D, Umstot ES, Chiamori N, Abraham GE. Postmenopausal steroid replacement with micronized dehydroepiandrosterone: preliminary oral bioavailability and dose proportionality studies. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1992;166(4):1163-8.
  2. Davis SR, Burger HG. Clinical review 82: Androgens and the post-menopausal woman. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996;81:2759-63.
  3. Regelson W, Colman C. The Superhormone Promise. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996.