Cart

Your cart is empty

Continue shopping now

Oxytocin: The "Love" Hormone That improves Our Quality of Life

 

By: Dr. Will Cole

 

Many of my patients in my telehealth functional medicine clinic want to learn more about the inner workings of their health. A common question I get is what exactly drives our feelings and emotions and if that can be defined scientifically. And it all comes down to our brain chemistry.


Influenced by internal and external triggers, our brain releases a variety of chemicals known as neurotransmitters that control how happy or sad we feel. It also controls that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we’re in love.


You can thank the specific neurotransmitter, oxytocin for that. Oxytocin is released by your brain's pituitary gland and is the powerful hormone that surges during orgasm. This is one of the main biological reasons why sex is a bonding experience for couples. Therefore, oxytocin is also known as the “love” hormone.


But oxytocin is so much more than that. In fact, the release of oxytocin has been linked to a variety of health benefits that can seriously improve your overall health. Let’s take a look at why we should encourage this neurotransmitter to flourish.

 

1. Improves sleep

 

Administering oxytocin has been shown to improve quality and duration of sleep, as well as cardiorespiratory homeostasis. However, additional research needs to be done on oxytocin’s exact role in managing sleep apnea.

 

2. Alleviates pain

People struggling with chronic pain have been found to have lower levels of oxytocin. In studies looking at individuals dealing with cancer, IBS, and back pain, oxytocin was able to relieve the pain associated with these conditions.

 

3. Boosts immunity

Your gut contains close to 80 percent of your immune system and your gut and brain are inextricably linked through the gut-brain axis. For example, those feelings of butterflies in your stomach are caused by oxytocin. When oxytocin is released, your body’s immune modulating T-regulatory cells are given a boost.

 

4. Curbs cravings

While underlying hormone imbalances are often a factor in weight gain and weight loss resistance, there can also be a psychological component for some individuals. In regards to binge eating, oxytocin has been shown to reduce the urge to eat for pleasure rather than hunger and can actually increase feelings of satiety.

 

5. Lowers inflammation

Chronic inflammation is one of the main underlying contributors to most modern day health problems. Oxytocin lowers inflammation through its ability to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6.

 

6. Calms anxiety

Oxytocin has been shown to lower anxiety levels even in cases of severe anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

 

7. Reduces heart disease risk

When your body releases oxytocin, it lowers inflammation, blood pressure, stress and anxiety, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

 

8. Strengthens relationships

As we mentioned earlier, oxytocin is commonly referred to as the “love” hormone for its ability to increase bonding in romantic relationships. In fact, studies have shown that the release of oxytocin can increase monogamy in couples. But is also linked to childbirth. During labor, a mother’s body releases oxytocin to help the uterus contract and get ready for childbirth and then assists in strengthening the bond between mom and child once they are born.

 

How to boost oxytocin

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to influence your own brain chemistry and boost oxytocin naturally.

 

1. Reconnect with your loved one

Simply connecting with your partner on an emotional level can increase oxytocin. Keep the fire burning with words of affirmation, acts of service, spending time together doing something you both love, and connecting with meaningful conversation.

 

2. Physical touch

Any sort of physical touch can boost oxytocin, not just sex. Cuddling, hugging, kissing, and just holding hands is enough to give your love hormone a little boost.

 

3. Get a massage

Going back to physical touch, even non-romantic or sexual touch can release oxytocin. Research has shown that even just 15 minutes of massage is enough to boost oxytocin in both the person receiving the massage and the person giving the massage. 

 

4. Meditate

Focusing your meditation practice on someone you care about - known as loving-kindness meditation - is enough to boost oxytocin.

 

5. Cuddle with your pet

Physical touch isn’t limited to human connection, as taking time to pet your dog can also release oxytocin in both yourself and your dog!

Learning how oxytocin is released in the body just goes to show us that health and our journey as human beings is not one that should be experienced solo.

Previous
Next

The Wellness Club

How Alcohol Effects Your Gut

How Alcohol Effects Your Gut

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: Megan Tomlin @gooodmoodfoood By now, almost everyone knows that alcohol is not the healthiest thing for our minds and bodies. But what do we know about the effect that alcohol has on our gut microbiome health? Before I answer this, there are a few terms I want to define for...

Read more
The Unseen Mental Health Challenges High Achievers Face

The Unseen Mental Health Challenges High Achievers Face

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

 By: @ericabassotherapy It's hopeful to see how much society has progressed in embracing mental health discussions. But as a mental health provider, I still notice gaps in our understanding of accurate mental health information. We can all get better at recognizing signs of mental health struggles and feeling empowered to seek support when needed. As a licensed...

Read more
The Importance of Skin pH for a Clear, Healthy Complexion

The Importance of Skin pH for a Clear, Healthy Complexion

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @drmelissa.co The concept of the skin barrier has become a part of many skincare aficionado’s vocabulary, but what does it really mean?  It is important to remember...

Read more
The Ancient Ritual of Oil Pulling

The Ancient Ritual of Oil Pulling

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @emily_campbell Oil pulling has been an ancient ritual in India and is a sacred practice that has roots in ancient Hindu texts and scriptures. Known in Sanskrit as Kavala Graha or Gandusha, the regime of swishing around 1 tbsp of oil for 15-20 minutes and then spitting it out is primarily used for its oral health benefits. This simple regime has been...

Read more
The Mental Health Benefits From Travel

The Mental Health Benefits From Travel

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @ericabassotherapy We can all probably recall that moment when you’re finally feeling relaxed on vacation and you hear yourself expressing, “I need to do this more often!”. Despite the research that supports the mental health benefits of taking regular vacations and traveling, it’s been found that a significant number of American workers don’t take all of their allocated...

Read more
High Intensity Exercise: Good or Bad?

High Intensity Exercise: Good or Bad?

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By @coreflexpilates founder Chris Bardawil HIIT or high intensity interval training has become a pretty normal part of modern training, its something you have probably already done without even realising it. It was popularised over a decade ago with Crossfit and now modernised in many forms of classes we see at gyms as well as being seen all over the web with HIIT routines and...

Read more
5 Benefits of Reformer Pilates

5 Benefits of Reformer Pilates

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @coreflexpilates, founder Chris Bardawil Reformer pilates is everywhere, it's not just all over social media we are also seeing our favourite celebs doing it. The reality is reformer pilates has been a staple of many people’s exercise routines for over a decade now, and for good reason.

Read more
Burnout: What Is It and How to Recover

Burnout: What Is It and How to Recover

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @drmelissa.co Burnout is a concern I see often in clinical practice. Although it is not a diagnosable disease, it is a syndrome, meaning it is defined by a set of symptoms, but does not have a consistent progression or clear treatment plan. In other words, burnout is a very real issue, but may look different from person to person and require...

Read more
Nutritional Support for Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism

Nutritional Support for Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

  By: Megan Tomlin @gooodmoodfoood Did you know that up to 60% of cases of Hashimoto’s disease go undiagnosed? Or that women are 5 to 8 times more likely to have a thyroid condition? Knowing these facts, it is shocking that so many of us are still unclear about...

Read more
Are Collagen Supplements Worth Taking? A Dermatologist Weighs In.

Are Collagen Supplements Worth Taking? A Dermatologist Weighs In.

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @dermahealthnutrition The pursuit of youthful, glowing skin is a timeless quest. It fuels a booming industry of skincare products, treatments, and supplements, including collagen, all claiming to improve the signs of ageing. Here's what you need to know to navigate the abundance of collagen powders, capsules, and liquids.  Skin ageing is a multifaceted...

Read more
Sporty & Rich Wellness - Collagen-Rich Foods vs. Supplements

Collagen-Rich Foods vs. Supplements

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

By: @coreflexpilates founder Chris Bardawil What is the best way to boost your body's collagen production? Supplements or diet, here is a run down of the basics to help you navigate your way around understanding collagen and how you can boost your body's supplies. Collagen...

Read more
The Power of Spending Time in Silence

The Power of Spending Time in Silence

Translation missing: ko.blogs.article.by Taylor Davis

@emily_campbell In today’s age, even if you don’t live in a hustling and bustling city, you may still experience constant noise. We have become so accustomed to noise everywhere we go, including our homes. Without knowing it, you may prefer “background noise” to block out any unwanted thoughts or feelings that pop up....

Read more