Our body can produce a long list of hormones, altering our state of mind and body in the process. But perhaps none of them are as infamous and noted for their potency as oxytocin. But what is it, exactly?
Also called the love hormone, oxytocin is mainly responsible for our sense of bonding with other human beings, regulating social attachment. However, it also fulfills many other crucial functions within the body.
Read below to learn more about oxytocin and its deeply varied effects and uses.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone produced naturally by our brains and stored in the pituitary gland.
It is naturally released in many scenarios, such as during sex, over the course of pregnancy, and after childbirth. The female body also keeps secreting a lot of oxytocin while breastfeeding, which has been shown to promote healthy bonding between mother and child.
Sometimes, oxytocin is used artificially as a supplement. In these cases, it is either prescribed oral medication or injected into a muscle. It may also be given as an infusion.
The most prominent use of oxytocin regulates kinship, sexual bonding, and attraction. This is why it’s often called the “love hormone,” but the truth reaches quite a bit farther.
In women, oxytocin plays a vital role during the reproductive cycle. The brain releases this hormone toward the end of pregnancy to stimulate contractions within the uterus. Throughout labor, blood oxytocin levels are some of the most crucial determiners of a positive outcome in childbirth. Hence, without healthy oxytocin levels, healthy delivery often isn’t possible.
But oxytocin’s functions don’t end there! Even after childbirth, oxytocin continues to be released into the woman’s bloodstream to prevent excessive bleeding. This is why artificial oxytocin is often used to prevent miscarriages when the mother is considered at risk.
How Oxytocin Can Help Men
The above can help shed light on the uses of oxytocin, particularly in the female body. But what about men? Does oxytocin fulfill any unique functions within the male physique as well?
Oxytocin is a vital hormone not just for women but in particular for men. Its functions include the regulation of sperm and testosterone production, as well as moderating social bonding and attraction within relationships.
In short, men should rest assured that oxytocin plays a vital role for them, not merely for the female reproductive cycle. The list of oxytocin’s many benefits is even longer than the above!
- In addition to providing a modest degree of pain relief, oxytocin has been tried with success in preventing several types of cancer, as well as genital herpes.
- Oxytocin lowers blood pressure, making it vital for those suffering from HBP.
- Oxytocin may also help with certain heart conditions in some people – consult your doctor to find out whether this would work for you.
- The “love hormone” also plays a vital role in the fight against stress and anxiety – a benefit for everyone, not only men or women!
Possible Oxytocin Side Effects
While oxytocin produced naturally within the body generally gets absorbed with no issues and apparent side effects, things can get more complicated. In some instances, abnormalities can cause oxytocin levels that are too high or too low – and when the hormone is taken as an artificial supplement, the risks of side effects increase dramatically.
- The most common side effects of an oxytocin overdose are nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
- In men, high oxytocin can cause urinary issues.
- In extreme cases, jaundice, sinus damage, and hemorrhaging are possible
- Low oxytocin levels can lead to stress, feelings of loneliness, and depression, as well as problems socializing or connecting to loved ones
- In addition, an oxytocin deficiency is often linked to poor sleep quality, sudden weight gain, and nerve pains
How Do You Increase Oxytocin?
Before we answer the question regarding precise dosages, we first need to clarify how one increases their natural oxytocin, to begin with. While oxytocin is common as an artificial supplement, it is usually injected – and its primary use remains to stimulate healthy contractions in women during labor.
Oral supplements are not an option with oxytocin, as this hormone is completely broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and cannot be digested.
If you’re interested in taking oxytocin as a casual, daily supplement, you have two main options: increasing your oxytocin levels naturally and taking oral sprays.
Naturally Increasing Oxytocin Levels
How can you get your body to release more oxytocin? Though it may sound hard, this is very simple! Since oxytocin is tied to pair bonding, kinship, affection, and sociability, these areas are what you should concentrate on to boost your oxytocin. No, really!
- Give hugs! This simple act of kindness can make us feel closer to others, immediately improving oxytocin levels in the short term.
- Listen to pleasant music.
- Share activities and spaces with those you love and feel close to
- Meditate, or work out
- Say “I love you” – this one phrase has been proven to increase oxytocin within the blink of an eye!
These and many more pleasant activities can stimulate your body to produce additional oxytocin. All in all, being positive and engaging with those around you in a spirit of love and appreciation matters!
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are the one over-the-counter oxytocin supplement currently available. This works the same way if you have used a spray for nasal congestion. Ask your nearest pharmacy or your GP for more information on your area availability.
What is the Correct Oxytocin Dosage?
If you have read this far, you are probably interested in supplementing your current diet with oxytocin to improve your health.
While this is a great idea, using oxytocin as a supplement can be risky if you don’t understand the rules regarding the dosage of this particular hormone.
Are you ready to learn more about this medication and how to get started? Contact the hormone specialists at EVOLVE today!