Prolactin, the pesky man-boob inducing, water retention promoting, infertility and cancer causing hormone is all about to get eradicated in this article.
Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary in small amounts under normal conditions, but can be significantly increased due to various reasons. The normal range for prolactin is 2 to 18ng/mL and anything above 25ng/mL is considered hyperprolactinemia. The optimal range is at 10ng/ml or less.
The half-life of prolactin is about 15-20 minutes, so if you block its synthesis, you can drop it rather quickly.
Let’s discuss some side effects of chronically elevated prolactin.
- 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.
An acute increase in prolactin, induced by a sauna for example, is much less harmful, or might even be beneficial, compared to chronic elevation.
Things that stimulate prolactin release: serotonin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), gonadotropin-releasing hormone (TRG), vaso-intestinal peptide, opiates, neurotensin and substance P, oxytocin, angiotensin 2 (R).
Let me start by giving you the best strategies that you can do to lower prolactin for good. If you just take supplements, but not fix the root cause, prolactin will always rebound. So here is what you do.
#1 Lower estrogen
Estrogen is a potent inducer of prolactin secretion. The main stimulators of estrogen include stress, insulin resistance and inflammation, so focusing on those to lower estrogen is a good start. While fixing those you can also use natural aromatase inhibitors as well as increase the detoxification of estrogen through the liver.
Additionally, you have to be very vigilant about avoiding estrogenics found in the environment, such as:
- Plastics; found in all plastic products, such as plastic bottles, plates, cups, utensils, food wrapping, etc., as well as in our water, including from natural sources.
- Cosmetic products
- Air (soot and exhaust gas is highly estrogenic); using an air filter if you’re living in a place with dirty air is very important.
- Mold; found in coffee, cocoa, grains, and other improper stored food. Animals fed moldy grains (which is always) also have mold in their meat, fat, eggs and milk.
- Processed food; containing emulsifiers, gums, red dye, such as red meat, salmon, fruit juice, tomato paste, chilli sauce, etc.
A very good book to learn more about this is Estrogeneration by Dr Anthony Jay.
#2 Fix thyroid
The hypothalamus releases Thyrotropin–releasing hormone (TRH), which stimulates the pituitary to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which signals the thyroid to increase thyroid hormone production, namely T4 and T3.
TRH and TSH are potent stimulators of inflammation and prolactin, so you want to lower it as fast and best you can. There are a variety of reasons why TRH might be elevated, so I encourage you to read this article of mine:
Additionally, parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is elevated due to low vitamin D and calcium, also antagonizes the thyroid gland and can lead to an increase in TRH and TSH. Getting adequate sunlight on a regular basis is a great way to increase vitamin D and lower PTH, TRH and TSH.
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#3 Lower stress
Chronic stress promotes insulin resistance, gut issues, inflammation, estrogen issues, low androgens, and also prolactin secretion.
Most of the time by just lowering stress you can significantly lower prolactin levels. There are so many good, easy and effective ways you can lower stress, which I outline in this article:
#4 Increase dopamine
Dopamine is the main antagonist of prolactin, but dopamine isn’t only increased with supplements. A lot of anti-stress methods also increase dopamine, so check out my article on boosting dopamine for free, easy and effective ways to increase dopamine and lower prolactin:
#5 Restore metabolic function
This ties in with optimizing thyroid hormone production. A low ATP state, whether it be due to low thyroid hormones, too little food, vitamin or mineral deficiencies or faulty cellular function, leads to elevated prolactin levels.
We want to ensure our bodies are producing optimal amounts of energy at all times in order to keep prolactin low.
There are a variety of ways to improve cellular function and some include:
- Moderate intensity or high intensity interval training to create new mitochondria
- Use vitamin B1, biotin, magnesium, Pyrucet to optimize glucose oxidation
- Use methylene blue, vitamin C, vitamin K2, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid (ALA), vitamin E, PQQ and succinic acid to promote proper electron transport chain function. It would be best to combine vitamin C, E, ALA and CoQ10 for proper function instead of just one or the other.
- Use energy promoting supplements, such as ginseng, cordyceps sinensis, Ancient Peat, Cardenosine, caffeine, etc.
#6 Optimize cellular hydration
A dehydrated cellular state can lead to an increase in prolactin. But it’s not only drinking water that’s important, it’s holding onto the water that you drink that’s important.
First off, you need albumin in the blood. Sodium binds to albumin, which ensures adequate hydration in the blood. Then you need optimal hydration in the cell, and things that promote cellular hydration are called osmolytes.
A couple natural osmolytes include creatine, betaine, glycine, taurine, proline and urea. Supplementing those can greatly aid in cellular hydration.
#7 Minimize EMF exposure and damage
The reason for this is that EMF activates the voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the body, which allows calcium to enter the cell.
Intracellular calcium is excitatory and stimulates the production of prolactin, glutamate (which is excitatory), nitric oxide, aromatase, inflammation, and it drops ATP production, etc, etc. Excess intracellular calcium is very undesirable for health.
EMF is one of the most potent stimulatory of VGCCs, thus it can lead to chronically elevated prolactin if you’re chronically exposed to EMF.
Some of the simplest ways to mitigate the damage of EMF is to use:
- 400mg-2g magnesium per day.
- Block the production of nitric oxide with methylene blue, lysine, taurine, glycine, etc.
- Boost Nrf2 with dark colorful veggies, fruits, spices and nuts (such as cocoa).
- Boost uncoupling, with aspirin, salt, carbs, protein, calcium, etc.
If you want to learn more about mitigating the negative effect of EMF, check out my article on that subject:
#8 Increase DHT
DHT, the most androgenic, manly hormone, is actually really protective against excess prolactin and is able to lower prolactin.
If you want to learn how to boost your DHT, check out my article on it:
#9 Increase Carbon Dioxide (CO2) & don’t hyperventilate
Carbon dioxide is a direct antagonist of serotonin and once CO2 drops, serotonin increases. Hyperventilation promotes the excretion of CO2. Serotonin in turn induces the release of prolactin. So what you want to do is focus on nose breathing only and optimize your metabolism (to increase CO2 production). If you feel anxious, focus on deep breaths. Once you have inhaled, hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Do this for about 4-6 times and you’ll feel a lot better.
#10 Avoid opioids
Opioids, by activating their receptors, stimulate the release of prolactin. Gluten, milk, rice, spinach, soy, cocoa and a few other foods are sources of opioid receptor ligands that can activate the opioid receptor (R), but milk and gluten are the two most potent opioid agonists. But if you’re not getting any negative effects from your high quality dairy products, there might be no need to cut it out. 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).
Opioid antagonistic drugs, such as naloxone, is also effective at lowering prolactin (R).
#11 Lower inflammation
Inflammation increases the release of prolactin. To see if you have inflammation, check your hsCRP. If it’s above 0.6, there might be some low grade inflammation going on somewhere in your body.
The most common promotors of inflammation are excess iron, omega 6 fatty acids, phosphate and elevated CRH, TSH & PTH.
Vitamin E, aspirin, anti-oxidant rich foods, vitamin D, methylene blue, androgens, vitamin C, NAC, glutathione, etc., will help to lower inflammation and prolactin.
Eating gut irritating foods are often also a major cause of inflammation. Gut irritation and inflammation can be induced by allergic foods, such as dairy, eggs, gluten, pre-biotic rich foods (high FODMAP), rough fibers, eating under stress, not chewing properly, SIBO, SIFO, or some other sort of parasitic or bacterial infection.
#12 Chill out
Keeping calm is always a good virtue to have, not only because it’s more mature, but also because prolactin secretion increased with anger from humiliating experiences (R). It’s not just humiliation that increases prolactin, but anger in general. It also doesn’t have to be a live situation, it can also be due to reliving maddening experiences in your own head.
Now that we have discussed some of the main and most important strategies to lowering prolactin, let’s dive into supplements that can immediately help to lower prolactin.
#1 Vitamin D & calcium
Overactive PTH suppresses testosterone and increases prolactin (R, R, R). The high prolactin could be due to PTH which suppresses the thyroid and this leads to elevated TRH and prolactin. More on calcium here…
#2 Progesterone & 5-alpha dihydroprogesterone (5α-DHP)
Progesterone and it’s 5 alpha-reduced metabolite, 5α-DHP, reduces prolactin. 5α-DHP is twice as effective as progesterone at lowering prolactin, but if you apply the progesterone on the skin, most of it will convert to 5α-DHP, because of the high expression of 5-AR on the skin (R).
- Progesterone – (IdealabsDC (product: Progestene & 5α-DHP))
One of the active components of weed, THC, can help to lower prolactin, however THC is actually estrogenic and once you stop with weed, you get an overshoot of prolactin. Men that have quit weed end up with higher prolactin that men that didn’t use weed.
#4 Methylene blue
Methylene blue is a blue dye and it’s able to lower estrogen-induced prolactin release (R).
#5 Tribulus terrestris
I’m personally a huge fan of this herb. 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 (R).
#6 Vitamin E
Vitamin E is very effecitive at lowering prolactin. Doses of 400-800IU can be used daily to lower prolactin. I prefer a mixed tocopherol high in alpha-tocopherol, such as wheat germ extract.
Aspirin can greatly help to reduce the rise in prolactin due to a stressful event (R).
50mg of zinc per day is able to quite significantly lower prolactin in uraemic men, from ∼29ng/ml to ∼11ng/ml (R). Even as “little” as 25mg per day in normal individuals is able to lower prolactin (R).
#9 Other Herbs
A few herbs that is effective at lowering prolactin include:
- Shakuyaku-kanzo-to (R)
- Zhuangyang (R)
- Withania somnifera (R)
- Fructus Hordei Germinatus (R)
- Resveratrol (R)
- Kolaviron from bitter kola (R)
- Chaste tree/Vitex (120mg daily will increase it, whereas 480mg will decrease it) (R)
- Chamomile (R) (5ml chamomile syrup x2 daily)
Metergoline is probably one of the safest drugs, and less safe anti-prolactin drugs include cabergoline and bromocriptine.