Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

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How do we form bonds and social connections? What makes people fall in love and what happens in our body’s biochemical processes during sex?

Why are some people more loving than others? Recent developments in anti-ageing medicine have recently begun to shed light on these questions, revealing that an amino acid known as oxytocin plays a central role in human social behaviours and interactions such as socialising, emotional attachment, sexual activity, and team-building.

Casually referred to as “the bonding or cuddle hormone,” and even “the love hormone,” oxytocin is essential to human connections.

At the recently-concluded 3rd International Congress on Anti-Ageing, Aesthetic and Regenerative Medicine organised by the Society for Anti-Ageing, Aesthetic and Regenerative Medicine Malaysia (SAAARMM), some insights into the oxytocin hormone were shared. Here are some of the highlights.

Love and bonding

Oxytocin is probably the most well-known hormone for its effects on social behaviour. It can claim responsibility for:

• Why mothers love their babies

• How generous you feel

• Whether you trust the person next to you

• Team bonding and cohesion

• Orgasm, sexuality and sensations of intimacy

• Monogamy

It is easy to see why scientists and doctors are studying oxytocin for its effects on divorce rates! On an emotional level, poor levels of oxytocin lead to reduced feelings of romantic bonding and a general lack of “closeness.”

In teams and groups of people, a low level of oxytocin is thought to lead to poor feelings of team bonding ― the combination of testosterone and oxytocin has been shown to be related to an individual’s ability to behave aggressively towards an opposing team WHILE being protective to their own team members.

This is why even the military are interested in oxytocin ― for its role in selective aggression. Some people think this even plays a role in how racism and other “us-and-them” mentalities arise.

On a functional level, poor levels of oxytocin are thought to be associated with a range of conditions including:

• Hypertension

• Erectile dysfunction

• Autism

• Social anxiety

• Depression

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder

• Schizophrenia

Oxytocin therapeutics

How can oxytocin be used as a therapeutic tool? As with all hormones, it is important to find an anti-ageing certified expert and, most importantly, an experienced individual who can recognise and distinguish patterns that arise from various hormonal scenarios.

In the previous articles we specified the prerequisites for such applications to engaging a suitable coach familiar in all aspects of anti-ageing medicine.

Hormones are an incredibly complex part of our body’s machinery and it takes experience to know how to interpret the necessary hormone profiles and symptomatic patterns. It takes even more knowledge and experience to know how to translate that into a clinical application!

Oxytocin operates in humans where it also promotes parent-offspring ties. And where pair bonding is concerned, whether or not we are in the elite three per cent of species forming unconditional monogamous relationships remains to be established.

But it has been shown that plasma oxytocin levels are higher in people who are falling in love.

While all of these oxytocin-mediated behaviours are important to pair bonding and parental attachment, they also play a greater role in human social interactions outside the realm of partnerships and families.

This points to potential social applications of supplemental oxytocin, not only in forging closer relationships with partners, but also in building deeper ties with friends, associates and colleagues, and even enabling otherwise withdrawn or shy people to become more outgoing and gregarious.

Interestingly oxytocin also plays a major role in social bonding between animals and humans. Human-animal interactions including pet ownership have positive effects including mood promotion, anxiety relief, improvements in mental and physical wellness and reduction of chronic stress parameters such as lowering of the stress hormone cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Studies have confirmed the cortisol-lowering and chronic stress reduction effects of sublingual and intranasal oxytocin as well as its anxiety-relieving effects.

Oxytocin’s mood enhancing actions also extend to depression relief.Menopausal women should seek coaching under guidelines as this can potentially affect the symphony of all other hormones.

Oxytocin ― the sexual enhancer?

It is known that oxytocin levels are higher in new lovers and that oxytocin levels increase at sexual climax in both genders. For those who wish to improve their love life, supplemental oxytocin is reported to enhance libido, arousal and sexual climax in both males and females.

Imagine an agent that not only forges a deeper connection to one’s partner, but also improves sexual performance! This would make oxytocin a superior sexual enhancer to drugs like Viagra or Cialis, which only aid the physical aspect of romantic encounters.

Oxytocin is also interesting in that it is one of the rare instances of positive feedback you will find in biology, i.e. you can never get enough of it! Oxytocin stimulates sensations of intimacy and generally makes you want to cuddle someone.

At the same time, physical touch causes more oxytocin to be secreted. So, do someone a favour. Give them a hug.

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