Allo Allo

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Allo Allo

Let’s talk about ALLO. Don’t worry I’m not about to embark on a rendition of a British sitcom. ALLO [Allopregnanolone] is a derivative of the hormone progesterone.

ALLO is a wonder “hormone” + Neurosteroid because:

  1. It can cross the blood brain barrier (and be made in the brain), and
  2. Bind to GABA-a receptors. GABA is our major inhibitory neurotransmitter, bringing calm, anti-anxiety & soothing to the nervous system. FUN FACT: the pain anti anxiety medication Gabapentin is a derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.

Back to ALLO, it’s made from progesterone in two steps: first, the enzyme 5α-reductase (SRD5A2) converts progesterone to and intermediary product 5α-dihydroprogesterone (5α-DHP), then another enzyme 3α hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3α-HSD) converts 5α-DHP to allopregnanolone. Interestingly, in individuals that have a genetic glitch (termed SNP / polymorphism) on this 5alpha reductase gene the activity of the enzyme by the same name is decreased, resulting in less conversion of progesterone to the wonder molecule ALLO-P. What is SUPER interesting is that this SNP (that slows down the conversion and thereby availability of ALLO-P) occurs in 71% of Europeans! & only 40% of Asian - could this be a significant contributing factor to the belief that menopausal symptoms are a 'Western' phenomenon? I certainly believe it has a part to play.

What is also interesting here is that certain nutrients / supplements are 5α-reductase inhibitors: saw palmetto, quercetin, flaxseed, EGCG, stinging nettle. So in a context of low ALLO plus a genetic SNP on 5alpha reductase (slowing it down) taking additional inhibitors may not be well placed at all. There is also growing evidence to suggest that the hallmark symptoms of PMDD - mood, anxiety and irritability, often exacerbated by stress - reflect suboptimal GABA a-R sensitivity to ALLO.

I am super excited to be using this newly added gene to the Lifecode Gx Hormone panel in my clients to help unravel their PMS/ PMDD & Perimenopause areas of vulnerability.

T x