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What is oxytocin? It is known by nicknames such as 'love hormone' and 'cuddle hormone.' Scientists know it as a neurohormone or neuropeptide.
This amazing molecule goes far beyond helping relationship bonding, boosting libido in men and women, longer and more intense orgasms, increased confidence, alleviating fear and anxiety, supporting relaxation and sociability!
For example, knowledgeable medical doctors are finding it can significantly diminish pain and increase sense of well-being for fibromyalgia sufferers! A big plus, considering that it has no toxicity and benefits far beyond pain relief.
In addition to its research-proven support of sexual attraction, social bonding, orgasmic function and alleviating fear and anxiety, many other studies show it to be a major player in supporting healthy body functioning. Even without its renowned emotional benefits, this neurohormone is well worth considering!
Oxytocin is unique among hormones. If you supplement a hormone such as testosterone or human growth hormone, the body will downregulate - i.e. will make LESS hormone.
When you supplement oxytocin, however it UPREGULATES! This means the more you take, the more you make.
WHEN OXYTOCIN IS TAKEN AS A SUPPLEMENT IT TENDS TO INCREASE THE BODY'S CAPACITY TO MAKE MORE OF IT!
Below are some highlights from an NYU study entitled 'Oxytocin Enhances Hippocampal Spike Transmission by Modulating Fast-Spiking Interneurons' (Aug. 4, 2013).
What the title means in plain English is that this versatile neurohormone reduces 'static' in the brain so thinking becomes clearer. The NYU study builds on findings in a Swiss study that showed that oxytocin stimulates inhibitory neurons - nerve cells whch release a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA is a molecule that calms down excitatory brain cells and reduces anxiety.
“Oxytocin has a remarkable effect on the passage of information through the brain,” says Richard W. Tsien, the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. “It not only quiets background activity, but also increases the accuracy of stimulated impulse firing. Our experiments show how the activity of brain circuits can be sharpened, and hint at how this re-tuning of brain circuits might go awry in conditions like autism."
So one answer to the question, what is oxytocin? is that it supports mental clarity. It does this in two ways: by reducing background noise / static / interference - AND by sharpening accuracy of impulses / information traveling through the brain. I must comment that this research is corroborated by my personal experience.
In researching what is oxytocin, I must admit to being stunned when I learned about some of the oxytocin hormone benefits that can rejuvenate and keep you younger.
Did you know, for example, that it includes stimulating stem cells to build and repair your heart, also to help bone marrow stem cells build new bone and ward off osteoporosis? I didn't!
Below for your consideration, a few of these studies:
Danalache BA, Paquin J, Donghao W et al. Nitric oxide signaling in oxytocin-mediated cardiomyogenesis. Stem Cells 2007;25(3):679-688
Paquin J, Danalache BA, Jankowski M, McCann SM, Gutkowska J. Oxytocin induces differentiation of P19 embryonic stem cells to cardiomyocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002;99(14):9550-9555
Bouchard F, Paquin J. Skeletal and cardiac myogenesis accompany adipogenesis in P19 embryonal stem cells. Stem Cells Dev 2009;18(7):1023-1032
Elabd C, Basillais A, Beaupied H et al. Oxytocin controls differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells and reverses osteoporosis. Stem Cells 2008;26(9):2399-2407
Oxytocin hormone benefits include blood sugar regulation. This has implications for those who need to lose weight.
Lee B, Yang C, Chen TH, al-Azawi N, Hsu WH. Effect of AVP and oxytocin on insulin release: involvement of V1b receptors. Am J Physiol 1995;269(6 Pt 1):E1095-E1100.
Bobbioni-Harsch E, Frutiger S, Hughes G et al. Physiological concentrations of oxytocin powerfully stimulate insulin secretionin vitro. Endocrine 1995;3(1):55-59
Aging (Albany NY). 2011 Dec;3(12):1169-77. Peripheral oxytocin treatment ameliorates obesity by reducing food intake and visceral fat mass. Maejima Y, Iwasaki Y, Yamahara Y, Kodaira M, Sedbazar U, Yada T.
The School of Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Australia was home to research reviewing studies of how oxytocin levels predict possible risk for substance abuse. Their findings indicate that more oxytocin lowers probability of addictive behaviors. This is because an abundance of the neurohormone enhances social bonding and lowers stress and anxiety. People who can more easily enjoy bonding with others are less likely to turn to drugs as a substitute for real pleasure and connectedness.
Topical oxytocin reverses vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized pilot study. Jonasson AF, Edwall L, Uvnäs-Moberg K. Menopause Int. 2011 Dec;17(4):120-5. doi: 10.1258/mi.2011.011030. Epub 2011 Nov 25
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