Testing your prolactin levels is relatively more practical and affordable than testing for testosterone and other sex hormones. Since prolactin levels are a reflection of your general hormonal health, periodic testing for it is a good way of getting an initial view of your hormonal and overall health status.
Prolactin is a peptide hormone produced in the pituitary gland. It's mostly known for promoting milk production (lactogenesis) and breast development in women. However, prolactin has over 300 functions overall in both men and women, meaning it's truly a multipurpose hormone.
Although at a lesser extent than gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), prolactin interacts with the luteinizing hormone receptors found in the Leydig cells of the testes. This interaction results in an increased production of testosterone. On the other hand, due to unknown reasons, prolactin decreases GnRH production.
Aside from this, prolactin moderates the production of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) by the immune system. It promotes the inflammatory response and suppresses the anti-inflammatory response of the immune system. This is useful in situations when an inflammatory response would be more appropriate than an anti-inflammatory response—for example, in case of infection.
Prolactin is responsible for the body’s metabolism of certain nutrients. It enables sodium, chloride, and calcium to pass through intestinal epithelial membranes. In the kidney, prolactin helps the organ to retain sodium, potassium, and water.
Moreover, prolactin is partly responsible for that sense of gratification after sex. It does this by countering the effects of dopamine, one of the hormones responsible for sexual arousal. In fact, prolactin levels are a possible indicator of the degree of sexual satisfaction and relaxation.
Your prolactin levels can tell a lot about your hormonal health. Also, it's relatively more affordable and practical to monitor, compared to other hormones. That's why regular monitoring of your prolactin is advisable to make sure the levels of your sex hormones, especially testosterone, are within the normal range.
Here are some health indicators based on prolactin levels:
For men, normal prolactin levels range from 5 to 25 ng/mL. Beyond this range, men can experience infertility, low sexual desire, decreased testosterone, and erectile dysfunction.
To get your prolactin levels back into the optimal range, exercise and healthy sleep are extremely effective. Moderate supplementation with mucuna pruriens, ginseng, uridine, and ginkgo biloba have also been observed to aid in getting normal prolactin levels.