Low prolactin levels are associated with visceral adipocyte hypertrophy and insulin resistance in humans - PUBMED 2020


Mar 26, 2016

Low prolactin levels are associated with visceral adipocyte hypertrophy and insulin resistance in humans


Purpose: Low prolactin (PRL) serum levels are associated with glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes in adults, and with metabolic syndrome and obesity in children. In obese rodents, PRL treatment promotes insulin sensitivity by maintaining adipose tissue fitness, and lack of PRL signaling exacerbates obesity-derived metabolic alterations. Since adipose tissue dysfunction is a key factor triggering metabolic alterations, we evaluated whether PRL serum levels are associated with adipocyte hypertrophy (a marker of adipose tissue dysfunction), insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome in lean, overweight, and obese adult men and women.

Methods: Samples of serum and adipose tissue from 40 subjects were obtained to evaluate insulin resistance index (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)), signs of metabolic syndrome (glucose levels, high-density lipoproteins, triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference), as well as adipocyte size and gene expression in fat.

Results: Lower PRL serum levels are associated with adipocyte hypertrophy, in visceral but not in subcutaneous fat, and with a higher HOMA-IR. Furthermore, low systemic PRL levels together with high waist circumference predict an elevated HOMA-IR whereas low serum PRL values in combination with high blood glucose predicts visceral adipocyte hypertrophy. In agreement, visceral fat from insulin resistant subjects shows reduced expression of prolactin receptor. However, there is no association between PRL levels and obesity or signs of metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: Our results support that low levels of PRL are markers of visceral fat dysfunction and insulin resistance, and suggest the potential therapeutic value of medications elevating PRL levels to help maintain metabolic homeostasis.

Article: Low prolactin levels are associated with visceral adipocyte hypertrophy and insulin resistance in humans - PubMed


Sep 24, 2016
Serotonin the happy Hormone. Prolactin the slimming hormone that makes insulin sensitivity.
Peat wrong on all accounts.


Jul 29, 2014
Just floating some ideas here...

Prolactin has some interaction with glucose levels, presumably related to the metabolic requirements of lactation. I believe high blood glucose levels can temporarily suppress prolactin whereas injecting an individual with insulin can raise prolactin (study). During a fast (when blood is drawn) individuals with higher glucose levels may have suppressed prolactin, albeit temporarily. Studies appear contradictory to each other on the subject.

The individuals with lower prolactin in this study seem to have less metabolic syndrome, lower TSH, lower cortisol, lower BMI, lower relative fat mass, but higher fasting glucose and were on average 7 years older than the high prolactin group (see chart from the study, below).

1 confounding factor I can think of is that premenopausal women have higher prolactin due to higher hormone levels. Naturally they would be healthier than older women. I think results need to consider differences between men and women and between cycling and non-cycling women, as pointed out by this paper...

"However, long-term prospective data evaluating the relationship between prolactin and future type 2 diabetes risk remain limited, and existing evidence has been inconsistent. Some studies reported an inverse association between prolactin and type 2 diabetes risk, particularly among women, while a few others reported null or positive associations in men and women combined."

Sex and age may help explain inconsistent study results.



Feb 13, 2016
Too much iron & cortisol can cause low prolactin. Sugars tend to balance prolactin, preventing it from going too low or too high. This relates to what @schultz was talking about relating to glucose, iron/cortisol causes hyperglycemia, whereas sugar (specifically fructose) tends to not raise blood sugar as much as starch. And post-menopausal women have higher iron than pre-menopausal.
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