Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. Its major function is to stimulate milk production in women after childbirth. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between high Prolactin levels and the health of our hair – or lack thereof. It has been observed that higher levels of serum Prolactin are associated with excessive hair loss in the human body.
Hyperprolactinemia, i.e. high levels of Prolactin, is a normal change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but in non-pregnant women it can be a sign of disease. This condition leads to progressive hair loss because of its effect on the levels of testosterone in the body.
Prolactin acts by increasing the receptors of Luteinizing Hormone in the Leydig Cells, testosterone producing cells that are found in men‘s testicles and women’s ovaries. The increased testosterone secretion can cause hair loss in certain individuals because their hair follicles are genetically more sensitive to the elevated levels of the hormone, which causes the follicle to shrink.