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Prolactin is a hormone which is best known for being responsible for milk production in lactating mothers. However, it is a hormone that is present in both men and women. When prolactin is elevated, it affects ovulation and menstrual cycles. This is why you've probably heard that breastfeeding women can't get pregnant (although this is not 100% true, many lactating women do get pregnant). Prolactin can have an effect on other hormones involved witht the reproductive system. Prolactin supresses FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and another hormone called GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) which are necessary for ovulation.

If you are trying to conceive, and you have elevated prolactin (unrelated to pregnancy), this could be problematic because of the suppressed FSH and GnRH. Hyperprolactinemia, can also cause discharge from the breasts. Men may also experience infertility as a result of elevated prolactin. It can lead to problems with sperm production and erectile dysfunction.

If you have symptoms of hyperprolactinemia, of course, you should talk with your doctor because there are certain tumors that can cause this condition and it can be caused or made worse from some prescription medications. Women with thyroid disorders or PCOS may also be at higher risk for elevated prolactin.

However, in addition to medical therapy, there are natural ways to deal with this condition.

They include:

1. Eating foods high in vitamin B6 - this includes chicken, salmon, potatoes, spinach

2. Increasing intake of zinc - you may take a supplement or eat foods like beef and beans which are natural sources of zinc

3. Vitex or Chasteberry (click here to learn more)

4. Vitamin E (this may work even better if combined with vitamin B6 as mentioned above)

5. Eating foods high in phytoestrogens - The theory here is that higher estrogen levels will supress prolactin. Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogens which are weaker than the ones produced by your body, but they are considered safer than synthetic estrogens which may be prescribed from your local pharmacy. These phytoestrogens bind with the estrogen receptors in your body so the stronger and sometimes more harmful estrogens can't get in. Phytoestrogens are thought to help reduce breast cancer and other estrogen dominant conditions. Foods high in phytoestrogens include: soy, flax seeds, many nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, many beans like kidney, chickpeas, green beans, and other foods like broccoli, cabbage and sprouts.

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