February 10, 2014
CYP11A1 is the key cytochrome P450 enzyme class that is responsible for converting cholesterol to pregnenolone, the hormone from which all steroid based hormones such as progesterone, the estrogens, testosterone, and cortisol are formed.
One herbal compound that has been shown to increase CYP11A1 is the Chinese formulation Yangjing. While traditionally used as a kidney tonic, research is being published investigating it as a natural testosterone booster by way of increasing the activity of CYP11A1 system.
However, it is postulated that increasing the activity of CYP11A1 might be deleterious in patients with asthma and significant food allergies such as to peanuts. In these studies, in fact, decreasing CYP11A1 has experimentally been shown to decrease allergic responses by decreasing the formation of pregnenolone.
Attempted manipulation of this cytochrome enzyme could cause unexpected health problems and should never be attempted unless under the care of a physician.