Often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone”, Oxytocin is a neurohypophysical hormone that helps us forge social bonds with other humans. Oxytocin also plays an important role in “pair bonding” in most mammals.
The best part about oxytocin is that we naturally produce it with any form of human contact. Anything as simple as a handshake or a hug will release small amounts of oxytocin. Once released, a bond is forged and researchers say the release of oxytocin instantly establishes trust between two people.
Oxytocin – The Love Hormone
Studies have shown that oxytocin is associated with helping couples establish a greater feeling of intimacy and attachment. This is why some people prefer to call Oxytocin, “the love hormone.”
While that might sound a bit cheesy, there is actually some truth to the nickname. Oxytocin, along with norepinephrine and dopamine, are believed to be essential to human pair bonding.
Other studies have shown that oxytocin may increase the desire for couples to gaze at one another. Oxytocin may help create sexual arousal and help men maintain their erections as well.
The reason behind this is because oxytocin levels spike in your brain when you are sexually aroused or stimulated – which is a primary factor in achieving an orgasm. Plus, during an orgasm, the brain experiences its’ highest spike in oxytocin, which may explain why some couples like to cuddle after sex.
Pain Relief – from a Hormone?
Believe it or not, oxytocin may also help heal wounds faster thanks to its’ anti-inflammatory properties. A few studies have found that increased oxytocin levels can relieve pain – almost any kind of pain. Anything from headaches to cramps to general body aches can be relieved through a spike in oxytocin.
Although the exact mechanism is not necessarily known, studies have linked pain relief to oxytocin spikes, so the next time your body aches, it may be a good idea to ask your partner for some intimacy.
Oxytocin and Weight Loss
Although studies have not been conducted in humans, researchers have found that oxytocin deficient mice more often than not became obese later in life, even with a normal food intake. Scientists suggest that oxytocin deficiencies may cause metabolic changes that cause obesity, both in mice and in humans. Even more telling was that mice given oxytocin infusions saw their weight return back to normal.
Unsurprisingly, oxytocin was also found to reduce stress levels, which cause cortisol spikes, thus leading to an increase in fat storage. Oxytocin also may help improve digestion, which is also affected by stress.
Depression and Oxytocin
Oxytocin’s first use as actual to treat depression on mothers suffering from postpartum syndrome. Researchers found a direct connection between low oxytocin levels and postpartum depression. In fact, researchers claimed they could predict postpartum depression if the expectant mother had low levels of oxytocin during pregnancy.
New studies suggest oxytocin may be able to treat people with clinic depression and anxiety disorders.
As of right now, there are no real supplements that can naturally raise oxytocin levels. There are a few products found on Amazon that claim to contain “homeopathic oxytocin”, but science has debunked these products as worthless.
The only way to take oxytocin is through a nasal spray that is not typically sold over the counter. The brand name for this product is Syntocinon and it is truly the only way to raise oxytocin.
In addition, there are no known herbal extracts that raise oxytocin either, so avoid falling for these scams as well. If you think your oxytocin levels are low, then speak to your doctor. Don’t fall for these common oxytocin scams.