Prolactin is a hormone secreted mainly from the anterior pituitary gland. It’s also released from other tissues such as decidua, prostate, mammary gland, adipose tissue, brain, and immune cells.
- in the long term reduces the ability of the tuberoinfundibular neurons to synthesize dopamine (R).
- is inversely associated with fasting glucose and insulin and insulin sensitivity (R, R)
- increases estrogen receptors (R)
- promotes inflammation and fibrosis of the heart, liver and other organs.
- stimulates the release of parathyroid hormone, which promotes bone loss and calcification. It’s also pro-inflammatory and anti-thyroid.
- promotes autoimmune diseases (R), including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis and cardiomyopathy.
- promotes gyno
- decrease beard growth (R)
- is associated with anxiety, hostility and depression (R, R)
- inhibit steroidogenesis (R)
- stimulates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (R). It increases CRH and ACTH, which will lead to higher cortisol levels.
- stimulates adipogenesis and inhibits lipolysis, which contributes to fat storage (R)
- reduces libido and desire
- promotes acne
- increases fatigue
- increases unwanted hair growth (R)
- promotes muscle loss (R)
- increases adiponectin, which increases SHBG, thus lowering free testosterone.
Main prolactin stimulators include estrogen, low dopamine/high serotonin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), plasma osmolarity and physical or emotional stress and low ATP production (1).
The Optimal timing of a blood test is 2–3 hours after waking, as serum prolactin levels are higher in the afternoon than in the morning. Hyperprolactinemia is diagnosed when blood prolactin concentration is greater than 25 ng/ml. Prolactin levels between 4-7ng/ml would be optimal. A prolactin test is also great for showing tissue estrogen stores as estrogen in the blood doesn’t indicate stored levels.
A good place to start would be to:
- Lower estrogen
- Increase dopamine/lower serotonin (the receptors 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C specifically)
- Optimize your thyroid
- Ensure optimal mitochondrial health
- Keep stress as low as possible
- Extra supplements lists
1) Lower estrogen
The main ways to lower estrogen include: I) detoxification and excretion from the body, II) inhibit aromatase, III) reduce estrogen receptors and IV) eliminate estrogenic compounds from your life.
I) Detoxification and excretion
Bile acid binds to estrogen and the bile then binds to fiber and is excreted from the body via feces. Good fiber sources include the insoluble fibers, such as cellulose and psyllium husk. Carrots and bamboo shoots also help to clean the gut.
Methionine, lecithin, taurine, caffeic acid (found in coffee), androsterone stimulate bile circulation to eliminate estrogen. Be sure to keep your methylation working optimally with betaine (A), vitamin B6 (A), glycine (A) and vitamin B12.
- Read more on detoxifying estrogen here.
II) Block aromatase
Both testosterone and DHEA can be converted to estrogen via aromatase. Getting strong aromatase inhibitors will ‘spare’ testosterone and DHEA so that it can rather be converted to the more powerful androgen, DHT. Read more here about 30 ways to inhibit the aromatase…
4 most powerful aromatase inhibitors include:
Zinc deficiency significantly increases the aromatase. Taking a too high dose of zinc can inhibit 5-alpha reductase. If you eat a low to moderate protein diet, you can definitely benefit from this mineral. (2) Depending on your protein intake, I advise to start with 30mg and work up to 100mg/day. More on zinc here…
b) Vitamin E
Many people are deficient in this vitamin, and it’s now being realized that vitamin E is not just an anti-oxidant, but can also be seen as a hormone-like vitamin A and D. Much more research needs to be done on this vitamin. Vitamin E is amongst the strongest prolactin inhibitors and also powerfully inhibits the aromatase. More on vitamin E here…
Eating lots of polyunsaturated fatty acids and having inflammation drastically increases the need for vitamin E, and it’s very well tolerated. A dose of 200IU can be sufficient for a healthy individual to lower estrogen and prolactin, but a higher dose, 600-800IU may be needed for more unhealthy individuals or those who train insane.
- IdealabsDC TocoVit – 37IU per serving, 700 servings, mixed tocopherols extracted from wheat germ oil including all the plant sterols, such as octacosanol (allergy free). This product gives results like no other.
- Vitamin E
c) Vitamin K2
A rather ‘new’, but very potent vitamin, has a significant impact on steroidogenesis and blocks the aromatase powerfully. Best to use transdermally directly on the scrotum in liquid form for maximal absorption. This will allow it to function directly where you want it without it being used by other tissue first before reaching the testes when taken orally. This also requires a much smaller dose, such as 1mg a day would be enough if taken with a cAMP promoter (caffeine), but if alone, between 3-5mg. More on vitamin K here…
- Vitamin K2 MK-4 – take 1 cap, about 8 hours away from your vitamin E dose.
It’s known to increase testosterone and DHT by increasing cAMP and blocking the aromatase. Caffeine, or coffee, would work synergistically with vitamin K2 to block the aromatase. Caffeine is one of the most effective aromatase blockers. 300mg a day would be effective in inhibiting the aromatase. More on coffee here…
III) Reduce estrogen receptors
Reducing/abolishing estrogen receptors will reduce the effect/strength that estrogen has on the body. Read more on blocking estrogen receptors here.
a) Vitamin E
Not only does it inhibit the aromatase, but also interacts and blocks estrogen receptors. Dose would range between 200-600IU.
b) Vitamin A
Retinoic acid (the hormone form of vitamin A) directly interacts with and reduces estrogen receptors. A good dose would be 5000IU a day, but more can be taken to reduce estrogen and it’s receptors rapidly over a short period of time. More on vitamin A here…
Caffeine and its derivatives directly bind and down-regulates estrogen receptor expression, but a higher dose is required to inhibit the aromatase, such as 800-1000mg. You can work up to that dose over a few weeks. (3)
A form of niacin (vitamin B3), inhibits SIRT1, which in turn decreases estrogen receptor alpha expression. The minimum dose to inhibit SIRT1 would be 100mg. (4) I advise starting with 100mg a few times a day. More on niacinamide here…
IV) Last but not least, avoid estrogenic foods, plastic, BPA and chemical products, etc… as those contain xenoestrogens, which are even a lot more harmful than natural estrogens and are very toxic to the body.
2) Increase dopamine
Dopamine directly antagonizes prolactin, and elevated prolactin decreases dopamine and increases serotonin, which can result in feelings of depression, no motivation, no will-power, etc and vice versa. Read here on 53 ways to increase dopamine… One of the reasons is that activation of the serotonin receptor, 5-HT2A, increases phospholipase C, which cleaves phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) into diacyl glycerol (DAG) and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3). IP3 leads to in intracellular calcium spike, which then spikes prolactin. Serotonin also directly increases prolactin, so antagonizing serotonin will lower prolactin. More on lowering serotonin here…
Macuna pruriens is the highest natural source of L-dopa, which is directly converted to dopamine. Natural sources of L-dopa rarely have side effects, unless high dopamine is seen as a side effect, which only results in lots of energy, feelings of euphoria, motivation etc.
b) Vitamin D
Natural sunlight or vitamin D supplementation significantly increases dopamine, which is why you might always feel better and happier on a sunny day. A good dose would be 1000IU+. 10 000IU+ a day might be needed to fix a deficiency.
c) Tyrosine + Phenylalanine
These two amino acids are the precursors to dopamine as they’re converted to L-dopa by the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) has better absorption than tyrosine itself. Start with 500mg or higher tyrosine and/or 2g phenylalanine.
d) Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a cofactor in many reactions, including in the decarboxylase enzyme which converts tyrosine and phenylalanine to dopamine. A dose of 10mg a day would be needed to ‘force’ more tyrosine/phenylalanine into dopamine. More on B6 here…
3) Optimize thyroid
a) Desiccated thyroid: This is the whole thyroid in powder form, that will give your thyroid all the building blocks and materials to function optimally. It’s been shown to improve hypothyroidism and speed up metabolism. 1 capsule could be used a day to improve thyroid.
- IdealabsDC TyroMax – 1 grain natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) of porcine and bovine origin per serving, 90 servings.
b) Vitamin A
Retinoic acid increases thyroid effectiveness as well as thyroid hormone T4 conversion to T3. T3 is the active thyroid hormone that does all the important functions. A dosage of 5000IU a day will be sufficient.
Your body makes thyroid hormones from iodine and tyrosine. Once, before iodized salt, most people were iodine deficient. I, however, prefer pure salt without iodine and to consume my iodine from natural sea sources such as kelp/dulse/oysters, etc…
This trace mineral also increases the conversion of T4 to T3 and also increases glutathione which in turn contributes to thyroid health. Brazil nuts are the highest natural source of selenium, however, I do not advise to consume brazil nuts for their selenium as they are high in PUFAs and PUFas are very bad for your health.
4) Mitochondrial health
Hyposmolarity, and insulin resistance increases prolactin (5).
Osmotic stress diminishes cell productivity and may cause cell inactivation. ATP production increases as osmolarity and insulin sensitivity increases. Glycine, creatine, taurine, betaine, etc., are all great osmolytes.
A decrease in ATP can lead to elevated prolactin, as the body can see it as a starvation stressor.
Supplements that increase ATP production:
Creatine is a well-known osmolyte, which increases intracellular ATP production. It’s also a powerful DHT booster. 5g a day of creatine monohydrate is a good dose.
Also, an osmolyte, which helps with fuel metabolism and decreases inflammation, will help with ATP production. 1-3g a day of glycine is a good dose. Glutamate also increases prolactin and glycine antagonizes glutamate. More on glycine here…
Magnesium has a function in every tissue of the body, making it a very important mineral, as it regulates more than 300 genes in the body. Magnesium is primarily involved in the increase in intracellular energy, ATP. Magnesium lowers prolactin in response to stress, by blocking the NMDA receptor. More on magnesium here…
This ‘good for everything’ nutrient functions similar to the thyroid by increasing metabolism, thermogenesis, uncoupling proteins (UCP2) and energy expenditure. Caffeine makes the mitochondria more effective and healthier and increases ATP production.
e) Cordyceps Sinensis
A compound that has long been used in Chinese medicine is known to decrease central fatigue and increase ATP via the mitochondrial electron transport chain.
This supplement is specifically designed for ATP and as a side benefit, also potently lowers serotonin and increase dopamine.
- Cardenosine – 15 servings, it’s meant to be used every other day, else it’s way too stimulating. (product is stimulate free) Smaller doses can also be taken, until personal preference is met.
5) Get rid of stress
Chronic stress is one of the worse things you can do to yourself. Elevated cortisol increases the aromatase, fat storage and prevents the liver from detoxing, inhibits proper digestion and nutrient absorption, increases prolactin, etc. Elevated adrenaline and noradrenaline also act on the alpha-1 adrenergic receptor, which activates PLC and spikes prolactin.
Adaptogenic herbs are well known to increase resilience to stress and lower the rise in stress-induced cortisol. Adaptogenic herbs are also great for your adrenal gland and thyroid health.
- Sunlight, vitamin D, emodin (Lapodin), pregnenolone, theanine, ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea, Relora, etc., all work great for reducing cortisol.
- Inosine, androsterone, thyroid (ThyroMax), magnesium and vitamin B6 all work great at lowering adrenaline.
Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and antagonizes glutamate and aspartate, which is excitatory neurotransmitters. It also has a powerful anti-anxiety effect. Glycine will help you feel more calm and confident and in control of yourself.
b) Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is anti-adrenaline and anti-glucocorticoid (cortisol) and pro-GABA (which is anti-anxiety). Pyridoxine interacts with glucocorticoid receptors to down-regulate their activity. (6) Pyridoxine HCL also inhibits prolactin by a mechanism not involving dopamine (7) 25-50mg/day would be effective to exert this effect.
6) Other things that lower prolactin
Overactive PTH leads to significantly lower testosterone and higher prolactin (9, 10, 11) The higher prolactin could be to PTH which suppresses the thyroid and now thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) increases to pick thyroid back up, but also increases prolactin. More on calcium here…
DHT is potently anti-estrogen and also lowers prolactin. More on DHT here…
c) Progesterone & 5 alpha dihydroprogesterone (5a-DHP)
Progesterone and it’s 5 alpha-reductase metabolite, 5a-DHP, reduces prolactin. 5a-DHP was twice as effective as progesterone at lowering prolactin (70% reduction) and the human equivalent dose is 0.3mg/kg (which is a pretty big dose). (12)
d) THC (cannabis)
THC users have lower plasma prolactin compared to non-users. (13) The study used injections though.
e) Methylene blue
Methylene blue is a blue dye and it’s able to lower estrogen-induced prolactin release (14).
Hyperventilation quickly reduces CO2 and increases prolactin. Try to nose breath at all times (15).
g) Chaste tree
Also known as agnus castus, lowers prolactin via activating dopamine receptor D2. It also lowers serotonin (16).
h) Avoid Sauna
Sauna increases prolactin, possibly via the loss of electrolytes (17).
i) Tribulus Terrestris
In this human study, 750mg Tribulus Terrestris extract (112.5 mg of protodioscin) supplementation daily reduced the prolactin levels by 60%, from 17ng/dl to 7ng/dl after 12 weeks (18).
- Tribulus Terrestris – take 2 caps each morning
j) Opioid antagonism
Opioids, by activating their receptors, stimulates the release of prolactin. Gluten, milk, rice, spinach, soy and a few other foods are sources of opioid receptor ligands that can activate the opioid receptor (R). The best natural opioid receptor antagonist is coffee, and it’s not due to the caffeine, but due to the 4-caffeoyl-1,5-quinide (R).
k) Lower inflammation
Inflammation increases the release of prolactin. Vitamin E, aspirin, anti-oxidant rich foods, vitamin D, methylene blue, androgens, etc., will help to lower inflammation and prolactin.
l) Chill out
Prolactin secretion increased with anger from humiliating experiences (R). Learn to cope with humiliating situations on a more mature level, or realize that the other person has issues and is immature and want to take it out on other people. This way you realize that the insult was nothing personal.