Breastfeeding, Hormones, and the Role of Myo & D-Chiro Inositol - Legendairy Milk

Breastfeeding, Hormones, and the Role of Myo & D-Chiro Inositol

By: Sabrina Granniss, IBCLC


5 min

Did you know that your milk supply is initially driven by your hormones? In fact, your hormones play a critical role in many of the body’s functions, including fertility, breast development, and milk supply. The endocrine system is a signaling system that releases hormones to specific areas of the body. The control center for this system resides in the hypothalamus and pituitary. Messages are received, and hormones are released based on the communication feedback loop. If hormones are out of balance, it can have negative impacts on health and the milk-making system. While it can seem like a complicated and sensitive balancing act, there are many ways you can help improve your hormonal communication and signaling to help improve your lactation success, including diet and lifestyle adjustments and taking Myo and D-chiro Inositol.

Hormones During Lactation

Prolactin and oxytocin are two important hormones during breastfeeding. However, they do not act alone. Insulin, thyroid, and other hormones are also key players in milk production. If the hormone levels are out of balance, the proper signals may not be sent, and the milk supply can suffer.

When estrogen and progesterone are elevated during pregnancy, they suppress prolactin. After your baby is born, Estrogen and progesterone significantly drop, and prolactin increases, peaking around 10 days postpartum, during which time colostrum transitions to mature milk. (1)

Prolactin messages the pancreas to increase insulin production. This is significant because insulin levels drop in the early postpartum period, and insulin promotes the breast's sensitivity to prolactin. (4) It is as if these hormones are performing a dance together. The increase in insulin sensitivity ensures that all energy is directed toward making milk for the newborn.

Breastfeeding during the middle of the night is critical for promoting milk supply. Effective and frequent milk removal signals both oxytocin and prolactin to be released. When milk is removed, more milk is made and stored for the next feed, thanks to prolactin. Because prolactin secretion is naturally highest during the middle of the night, milk removal during the hours of 11:00 pm through 5:00 am is critical for establishing and maintaining milk supply. (2)

Oxytocin is released as your baby nurses or during pumping stimulation. This stimulation sends a signal to the cells, and they contract, releasing milk. Oxytocin is a quick-acting hormone triggered by thoughts, feelings, and sensations. (3) As soon as you think of your baby, hear them cry, or feel their suckling, oxytocin sends the message to contract the milk-holding cells in the breast, releasing the milk for your baby to be fed. 

Thyroid and Hormone Health?

The thyroid gland plays a major role in lactation by secreting hormones that regulate prolactin and oxytocin. The pituitary gland makes and releases TSH after getting the message from the Hypothalamus, which secretes TRH. Next, the thyroid gland responds and secretes T3 and T4. T4 is the non-active form of thyroid hormone, and T3 is the active form. Several vitamins and minerals play a critical role in thyroid function and the conversion process of thyroid hormones, including the following: (5)

  • Iodine

  • Selenium

  • Vitamin A

  • Zinc

  • Iron

  • Vitamin D

Hypothyroidism is the underactive or underproduction of thyroid hormones or the cell's ability to let the thyroid hormone in.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid: (6)

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty losing weight

  • Fertility difficulties

  • Hair loss

  • Constipation

  • Brain fog

  • Muscle weakness

  • Depression

  • Low milk supply

Hyperthyroidism is too much thyroid hormone production. While most mothers experience growth of breast tissue and a full supply, they may experience delayed milk ejection reflex or letdowns. (10)

Symptoms of hyperthyroid: (10)

  • Weight loss

  • Hair loss

  • Perinatal mood disorders, including anxiety

  • Longer labor and delivery

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Severe engorgement

  • Impaired milk ejection reflex

Insulin resistance occurs when cells resist taking in glucose, elevating the glucose level in the blood. Because insulin has a relationship with prolactin, people with insulin resistance may have a difficult time making and maintaining their milk supply.

Symptoms of Insulin resistance: (7)

  • Irregular ovulation

  • Higher testosterone levels

  • Difficulty losing weight

  • Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT)

  • Low milk supply

PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can affect fertility, growth of mammary gland tissue, and milk supply. Not all women with PCOS have a decreased supply but are at a higher risk for compromised supply. Women with PCOS have a higher risk of insulin resistance.

Symptoms of PCOS: (9)

  • Irregular or infrequent menstrual cycle

  • Fertility difficulties

  • Miscarriages

  • Excessive facial or body hair

  • Elevated androgen hormones

  • Acne

  • Excessive hair loss

  • Weight issues

  • Low milk supply

Benefits of Taking Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro While Breastfeeding

Myo-inositol is found in the body and in many foods, such as fruits, nuts, and beans, although it can be difficult to get enough from food alone for some people. It is made in the body from glucose and is involved in many important functions. (14) Myo-inositol helps signal glucose to be taken up by cells and out of the bloodstream and provides structure to your cells. (15) Myo-inositol is considered a safe and natural insulin sensitizer. It can help support insulin sensitivity and endocrine function. (11)

Myo-inositol can benefit women who are experiencing a low milk supply, especially due to thyroid imbalance, PCOS, and insulin resistance. It is considered safe and compatible with breastfeeding with very low risk to the breastfeeding baby. (8)

D-chiro Inositol promotes glucose storage and glycogen synthesis. It is produced by Myo-inositol with the help of a specific enzyme and is highest in the liver and fat tissue. (12)

The naturally occurring ratio of Myo-inositol to d-chiro inositol in the body is a 40:1 ratio. Women with PCOS may be less efficient with converting myo-inositol to d-chiro inositol, which can have a role in causing insulin resistance. Because they work together, taking a high-quality supplement with both myo and d-chiro inositol with a 40:1 ratio is recommended. (13)

Benefits of taking Myo-inositol & d-chiro inositol 40:1:

  • Natural support for PCOS

  • Helps support insulin sensitivity

  • May help reduce the possibility of developing gestational diabetes (16)

  • Supports mood and energy

  • Supports prolactin and oxytocin levels

  • Helps increase milk supply

Legendairy Milk offers both chewable tablets or capsules of Myo inositol & d-chiro inositol in the optimal ratio of 40:1, providing natural support for hormone levels during fertility and lactation.(17)

Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning new supplements. 

Your hormones orchestrate a symphony of signals, nurturing not only your baby but also your own well-being. Your endocrine system is a messenger system, relaying crucial instructions from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to every corner of your body. These messages, carried by hormones like prolactin, oxytocin, insulin, and thyroid hormones, are important for success during lactation. Despite its complexity, nurturing this hormonal harmony with diet, lifestyle adjustments, and natural supplements like Legendairy Milk’s Myo and D-Chiro Inositol supplements support you during your breastfeeding journey.


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