Prolactin is a hormone produced in the body by the pituitary gland.  In women, this hormone increases by 10-20 times during pregnancy and is responsible for producing breast milk.  After birth, levels will stay high if breast-feeding, otherwise levels will return to normal if not breast-feeding.  Men and non-pregnant women also produce prolactin at normal levels though it is unclear what its role in the body is.

Early in 2014, researchers from Italy examined the levels of prolactin in a group of children newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease (CD) versus a group of healthy children.  They found that prolactin levels were significantly higher in the group with CD than in healthy kids.  Additionally, the younger the patient, the higher the level of prolactin and the older the lower the level of prolactin.  Researchers believe these abnormalities are tied to changes in the levels of inflammatory cytokines caused by CD. Cytokines are basically chemical messengers in the body which tell cells how to react.   The children with CD were placed on a gluten-free diet and after 6 months, researchers noticed that levels of prolactin had decreased.   This study appears to provide more evidence of how a gluten-free diet can help to minimize the consequences of Celiac Disease such as elevated prolactin levels.

 

Reference: Delvecchio, et al. Prolactin may be increased in newly diagnosed celiac children and adolescents and decreases after six months of gluten-free diet. Horm Res Paedeatr. 2014 Mar [published online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24603159

 

 

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