Learning more about Prolactin
“Why Prolactin Can Ruin Your Day”
Most people have never heard of the peptide hormone, Prolactin. The name seems innocent enough, but thislittle neuroendocrine peptide can give you a whole of host of problems that you never thought possible.
Prolactin’s primary job in the body is to aid in breast development, and, after pregnancy, Prolactin produces breast milk. Now if you are a man reading this article, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I have Prolactin problems?” Well, unfortunately, men and women are basically the same human template, and Prolactin production is part of life for both genders. Basically, 3 hormones play roles in both male and female bodies: Testosterone, Progesterone and Estrogen. It’s the varying amounts of these hormones, as well as the ratio they are produced in that really affects a great deal of the physiological and endrocrinological (hormonal) differences between men and women.
So what effect does Prolactin, the peptide hormone, have on these three primary hormones in the human body?
Prolactin production is adjusted in the body by all three of these hormones, however, Estrogen is the primary mastermind behind Prolactin production. Prolactin is basically a female hormone, but it does serve a purpose in men, though its purpose may not be considered beneficial by most men. For example, primary surges in Prolactin occurs after orgasm in males to let the male body know its “done”. In fact, the surge in Prolactin insures this feeling by immediately reducing sexual desire as well as erectile response. Basically, Prolactin acts as an “off” switch — not exactly a beneficial function in most men’s minds, though surely there are women that are quite thankful for this biological hiatus. That being said, high Prolactin levels are a common cause of impotence and loss of sexual desire in both men and women.
Sex is just one area where Prolactin may have negative effects on the body and mind. In addition to this, Prolactin also demands increases in food intake — this is why the urge to raid the fridge after coitus is not uncommon. Studies in animals indicate that high Prolactin can increase food intake by as much as 20%. Studies with Prolactin suppressors in humans have shown significant decreases in food intake and fat loss, even where Prolactin levels are not considered to be “elevated”.
For men, Prolactin presents an additional issue. It can cause and aggravate gynecomastia, which is the clinical term for female breast development in men. Prolactin’s effects on gynecomastia are worse when there is existing breast tissue from puberty and/or when there is high level of Estrogen present already. Also, as mentioned before, when high levels of Estrogen are present in this case, production of Prolactin in the body is further encouraged, thus compounding problems at hand and making the ordeal cyclic.
Prolactin surges and spikes can be dealt with through several mechanisms.
The first way to deal with Prolactin surges and spikes is to reduce your body’s level of Estrogen. In women, this generally means losing body fat, since the more body fat a woman has, the more Estrogen her body produces.
In men, loss of body fat and/or the use of an aromatase inhibitor, like Aromatase Inhibitor for Men (AIFM), can reduce the level Estrogen in the male body, thus suppressing the effects of Prolactin as well. However, though aromatase inhibitors will do wonders for men, its use in women is not recommended at this time.
Some SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) and Phytoestrogens (natural SERMs) may also be of benefit for women and to a lesser extent men, however, the downside to using SERMs is the Estrogenic components may cause other issues, like increasing adipose (fat) tissue storage. The SERMS can do this by upregulating the A2 adrenoceptor (Estrogenic fat). Overall, a SERM may help reduce your prolactin levels through its anti-estorogenic actions, but it may also cause unfavorable stubborn fat storage because of its estrogenic actions.
The second way to deal with Prolactin surges and spikes is to increase Dopamine or dopaminergic activity. An increase in Dopamine would help Polactin spikes because it stops Prolactin’s effects by inhibiting its release of Prolactin into the body at all. Dopamine levels in the body can be increased by using supplements, like Neurogenex, and with European nootropics, like Selegiline and Hydergine. You can also use Dopamine agonists, like velvet bean (l-dopa), some extracts of tribulus and vitex, as well as drugs like nicotine, cabaser or bromocriptine (however, please don’t smoke, if you want to use nicotine as a Dopamine agonist – chew nicotine gum or lozenges).
So which option is best for you? Of all these options, Cabaser has the highest dopaminergic potency and is strongest at Prolactin suppression, followed by Bromocriptine. Selegiline, Hydergine and nicotine are all moderately strong inhibitors of Prolactin, though nicotine’s mechanism toward Prolactin inhibition and Dopamine production is different from the others. Amongst the herbal options, Vitex is the most potent suppressor, at least in women. Vitex’s effect in men is not as well established. Neurogenex suppresses Prolactin via the nicotinic and acetylcholine pathways.
These pathways then affect Dopamine transmission, and the potency of the Dopamine transmission here ultimately depends on the individual. Neurogenex, when combined with supplements or Dopamine-increasing drugs, like selegiline, is a fairly potent suppressor of Prolactin. Dosing of these compounds can vary from person to person based on individual needs, so please visit www.afboard.com/forum to get more information about how to dose correctly or ask questions to meet your specific needs.
The third way to deal with Prolactin surges and spikes is to avoid overheating. High body temperatures, especially hot-headedness, increase Prolactin release. Men with puffy nipples may be aware of this since heat worsens puffiness; this is the direct result of increased Prolactin release. So, when exercising, make sure to keep your head cool, and drinking COLD water can help as well.
Studies indicate that even if the body’s core temperature does increase, so long as the individual’s head is cool the prolactin surge is significantly blunted.
The heat-induced Prolactin surge is also significant when it comes to food intake. Overheating during exercise will cause a Prolactin surge which can lead to greater consumption of calories following exercise. This echoes the body responses described earlier, including the increased adipose (fat) storage that could be induced as well.
We hope you have come away with a basic understanding and summary of the ills of Prolactin as well as some of ways in which you can avoid or decrease Prolactin levels. Future articles will delve into the individual topics regarding Prolactin’s effects on sexual desire, adiposity and gynecomastia, as well as other elements and effects of Prolactin-reducing regimens