The Neurobiology of Trust

ShareBy Paul J. Zak If you were asked to fall backward into the arms of a stranger, would you trust the other person to catch you? Such a situation, a common exercise in group therapy, is a bit extreme. But every day most people place some degree of trust in …

Oxytocin (Part 1/5)

ShareFeeling is the central organizing principle of human behavior. You can measure feeling in the brain, in the body’s biochemistry, in mother’s milk, in saliva and in spinal taps. We can measure it in brain chemicals such as serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine. Feelings are all encompassing, and love is …

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Oxytocin – The Neurochemical of Everything Good

ShareOxytocin has been a favorite focus in my e-newsletter before. (Healing and Awakening into Aliveness and Wholeness at www.lindagraham-mft.net.) Oxytocin is the brain’s naturally occurring hormone of “tend and befriend” (Healing Heartache, Sept. 2008), the molecule of motherly love and attachment (The Neurobiology of Feeling Unlovable, Feb. 2009), the neuropeptide …

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Problems Sleeping? Oxytocin Could Help You Sleep Better

June 13, 2013 Oxytocin and Sleep Comments Off

Can't sleep? Oxytocin can help.It’s a common problem. You feel tired, so you go to bed. However, once you get into bed, you find yourself lying awake for hours on end unable to get yourself off to sleep. Forget counting sheep; there may be a better, more effective solution to sleep problems.

Oxytocin influences sleep processes 

Although there haven’t been any direct studies linking oxytocin to curing insomnia, scientists do know that oxytocin influences sleep processes, and there is plenty of evidence to back this theory up. A recent study by Blagrove et al, 2011, [1] found that oxytocin levels peak at around five hours after the start of sleep, typically during the REM stages of sleep. The study found that oxytocin levels are correlated with stages of light Stage Two sleep.

Solution for disorders that impact on a person’s sleep

Higher levels of oxytocin in the body have therefore been suggested to lead to a better effectiveness at getting to sleep and staying asleep. Many studies have found that oxytocin can be an effective treatment for disorders that affect sleep, such as depression and social anxiety (MacDonald et al, 2011) [2]. As a result of these findings, it is suggested that oxytocin administration (in the form of an intranasal spray) may also be an effective treatment for direct sleep disorders such as insomnia and dream disorders.

Calming for nightmares

Oxytocin is regularly associated with encouraging emotional bonds between both mothers and their children, and between partners. Research has demonstrated that the hormone connects social relationships in waking life.

The way oxytocin affects people’s sleep is said to be similar to the way it affects their relationships; current evidence from many scientific studies has concluded that oxytocin attenuates amygdalar hyper-responsivity to negatively valences emotional stimuli (Kirsch et al. 2005) [3]. This finding would suggest that, due to the fact that nightmares are linked to abnormal amygdalar activity, taking a dose of oxytocin nasal spray may help the person to sleep and may alleviate the severity of nightmares. It is a theory that Dr. Tammy Tucker, a family physician based in Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas, agrees with whole-heartedly. In her program and book, which promotes general health and wellbeing, she firmly states that oxytocin levels are closely linked to sleep – as well as several other health issues – and that a way of improving sleep quality is by taking a dose of oxytocin nasal spray or drops.

Improves sleep quality and amount

All of this promising research suggests that oxytocin modulates social emotions in dreams. This exciting prospect will no doubt lead to further research, hopefully leading to clues as to how the brain generates dreams and dream content. This would enable us to interpret our dreams more clearly; it could suggest that a person’s dreams are an extension of his or her social cognition.

But what does this mean for those people that are suffering from the crippling effects of insomnia? In short, it means that oxytocin could be found to significantly modulate sleep and sleeping patterns. If this is the case, it could be possible to manipulate a person’s oxytocin levels in order to improve their sleeping ability and quality.

Simple to procure, simple to administer

The simple, self administration capabilities of oxytocin in the form of a nasal spray or sublingual drops, add to its appeal as a treatment for insomnia and other disorders that interfere with our sleep patterns.

Oxytocin Factor is a non-prescription supplemental oxytocin in either a sublingual liquid, which is dripped underneath the tongue, or a nasal spray for quick and convenient application. Online reports and testimonials are proving highly positive in favor of its benefits in relieving stress and anxiety.

For more information contact Bryan Post, Managing Editor of Oxytocin Central info@oxytocincentral.com or call (405) 476-1983

***

[1] http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dream-catcher/201108/oxytocin-sleep-and-dreams

[2] http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/02/20/treating-depression-with-the-oxytocin-the-love-hormone/35027.html

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16339042

 

 

 

Oxytocin and Trust – University of Zurich Study

Could Oxytocin Help People to Trust Others?

Trust is something that most people strive to achieve. It is an essential part of forming meaningful and deep relationships, both at work and on a personal level. Without trust, the act of maintaining a relationship can be extremely hard work and unrewarding for those involved.

Can Oxytocin Help Us Trust Again?Trust is something that can often take many years to build up. However, it can be instantly broken; for example, in a marriage if one partner has an affair, it can be extremely difficult to win back that trust. In many cases, it can prove to be impossible.

For those people who have been betrayed in the past, it may be difficult to form trusting relationships with new friends or partners going forward. In extreme cases, where a person has been betrayed, they may start to avoid social interactions with other people. This can often lead to social phobias and disorders.

Is there a cure for not trusting people?

The good news is that there may be help out there for those that find it difficult to trust others. A new study [1] by the University of Zurich in Switzerland has been carried out to establish the brain’s response to breaches of trust, and how it reacts following those breaches.

Oxytocin has a role to play

Oxytocin, which is often dubbed the “love drug” by many scientists, is thought to play a key role in helping the brain to recover following cases of betrayal. Oxytocin is a natural hormone that is released by the brain to help people bond with others. It is the hormone that helps bring on labor during childbirth, and the production of milk in lactating mothers. It is responsible for that strong bond between mother and child. Aside from this, oxytocin has also been found to strengthen the bond between partners during and after sex, and higher production levels can be triggered by many types of touching, such as kissing, cuddling and orgasm.

Oxytocin is integral to the formation of trust

It has been suggested that oxytocin also has an integral role to play in the formation of trust. The Zurich University study, led by Dr. Thomas Baumgartner, “highlights the neural mechanisms through which oxytocin acts to facilitate trust behavior by investigating what happens in the brain when trust breaks down.”

Oxytocin helps people to forgive and forget

Two groups of participants were given either an oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo. The researchers used functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan and monitor each person. The subjects were then asked to act as “investors” in a trust experiment spanning multiple rounds and involving several different “trustees.” They were then asked to play a risk game, where they were to invest sums of money with each trustee. In between rounds, the participants were told that around 50 percent of the investments they had made had resulted in bad investments due to a breach in trust. Those that had received the placebo then played on with a decreased level of trust. The group that had received oxytocin, however, played on investing similar sums of money and with similar levels of trust.

A promising result for those with trust issues

The Zurich University study has promising results for the health industry, as well as those members of the public that can relate to the problems experienced through not being able to trust others. Trust is essential to building social relationships, and breaches of trust have a significant effect on our social behavior. Understanding the relationship between oxytocin and trust will be an important step forward for those looking to provide treatment for people with trust issues.

Oxytocin Factor is a non-prescription supplemental oxytocin in either a sublingual liquid, which is dripped underneath the tongue, or a nasal spray for quick and convenient application. Online reports and testimonials are proving highly positive, with results ranging from improvement to complete eradication of the problem.

For more information contact Bryan Post, Managing Editor of Oxytocin Central info@oxytocincentral.com or call (405) 476-1983

[1] http://www.neuron.org/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS0896627308003279

 

 

 

Belly Fat? Cortisol versus Oxytocin and Weight Loss

Weight gain is perhaps one of the most challenging health issues a person will ever have to face during their lifetime. Whether tackling the more serious condition of obesity, or just dealing with the more regular day to day issues of weight control, finding a solution to the issue is much debated among physicians, health professionals and of the public alike. Can oxytocin help with weight loss?

Oxytocin and weight lossThe fact is: weight gain is commonly associated with stress. When a person becomes stressed, the body reacts by releasing higher levels of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is an important hormone in our bodies, produced in the adrenal glands. It is essential to maintaining glucose metabolism, regulating blood pressure, keeping a healthy immune system and triggering an anti-inflammatory response. Stress typically secretes cortisol into the bloodstream, earning the hormone the common label of “the stress hormone,” meaning that it is present in the body at higher levels during the “fight or flight” response to stress. Increased levels of cortisol result in several defensive mechanisms during periods of stress, such as heightened memory, increased pain thresholds, increased immunity and increased short term energy levels.

… Continue Reading

The Love Hormone Oxytocin and Aging

April 23, 2013 Oxytocin and Aging Comments Off

Doctors will often tell you than the route to a healthy and happy life is to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. While this is always good advice, the fact is that this will only go so far for people who have underlying problems. For people who have a temporary problem in their lives, promoting a healthy lifestyle is often the answer, for people with inherent problems, the only way to address them is with medical prescriptions and supplements.

Oxytocin diminishes stress to fight aging

Oxytocin diminishes stress to fight aging

Take hormone imbalance for instance. Bodily hormones are responsible for so many chemical processes which underlie the mental disposition of an individual, alongside many physical processes. Hormones are responsible for our growth, our mood and emotions, our sexual activity and health, the stabilization of our metabolism, puberty, reproduction, pregnancy and menopause. Thus, the endocrine system is crucial for our survival and health, and, because many crucial hormones are secreted in the brain, and our brain activity and response to external stimuli can affect hormone release, your mind and your environment are very important to the health of the individual at large. This makes tackling hormone deficiencies highly important.

… Continue Reading

Oxytocin and Addictions (drugs, smoking)

March 17, 2013 Oxytocin and Addiction Comments Off

Our nervous system and our endocrine system are both hugely influential over our lives. The way we think, talk, act, remember, believe and function within a social society are all heavily influenced by the secretion of hormones from glands in the brain and body, which have been designed and refined over the course of human evolution to kick in when we need them, and deliver the beneficial effects that we all know so well.

Oxytocin and Drug Addiction

Chemical use and addiction is intimately involved with hormone production, and neurotransmitter function within the brain. Take cocaine for instance. This substance blocks neurons from re-taking the hormones dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine that it releases across a synapse. This leads to excess hormones in the synaptic gap, causing elevated bodily responses from the elevated hormone levels, such as increased energy and confidence.

Oxytocin is a hormone similar to the ones Can Oxytocin Help with Nicotine and Drug Addictions?mentioned here, and so it makes sense to assume that oxytocin could certainly have effects on those suffering from drug addictions. This has been an area in need of research for a long time, but oxytocin has been shown to inhibit certain drug functions (Kovacs et al., 1998), while being at least partly responsible for the action of drugs like MDMA. These effects are not as important as the positive effects that oxytocin could have at the larger social and emotional scale of drug dependence however, in a field which is lacking just as much research. A link between oxytocin and dopamine is suggesting that control could be placed on addiction, and especially the social forces that preclude addictive behavior, by use of oxytocin.

… Continue Reading

Oxytocin Helps Group Thinking and Working

Oxytocin & Working Together

 

Oxytocin, which has been scientifically found to have many benefits such as weight loss, better sex and improved sleep, has now been found to help people work together in groups. A recent study, The “Herding Hormone; Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity” published in the journal, Psychological Science, has found that members of a group are influenced by “horde mentality” and tend to agree with each other.

Love hormone

You may be wondering what the benefits of this finding could be. The stimulation of in-group conformity could lead to several positive outcomes. Oxytocin is the naturally occuring hormone that is often referred to as the “love hormone.” The oxytocin factor is what leads to sociability, trust, generosity, empathy and closeness between people. It is also responsible for creating that unbreakable bond between mother and child, as well as contributing towards fidelity and togetherness in long term relationships.

… Continue Reading

Study Suggests Oxytocin “Longterm Treatment” for Autism

February 19, 2013 Oxytocin and Autism, Research Articles Comments Off

Oxytocin's Possible Use for Autism

 

Oxytocin, which is often referred to as the ‘love hormone,’ is a peptide that is used to help new mothers lactate, and is also credited as helping to form that unbreakable bond between mother and child. The hormone, which has been involved in the treatment of many health issues, has since catalyzed numerous scientific and psychological experiments to further investigate its many possible uses. Due to its bonding capabilities, oxytocin has been linked to social relationships and – excitingly – could have possibilities as a treatment for many forms of psychiatric or developmental disorders, including autism.

Around one in every 110 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Affecting the daily lives of millions of people across the world, scientists are yet to determine either the cure or the cause. Autism Spectrum Disorder can have mild to severe affects on development; therefore devising strategies to cope with them remains a major issue for the health industry, as well as for the families of those affected.

… Continue Reading

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ShareIt is my goal in therapy to help patients love and have the capacity to receive love; all else is secondary. Love makes us strong for our progeny. We need sex to enhance love, have progeny, and vice versa. It is the natural outgrowth of love. What we too often …

Oxytocin (Part 4/5)

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ShareAnother hormone, vasopressin, contributes to male nurturance of offspring – it makes for caring fathers. It also has pain-killing effects and helps make animals venture out and be more exploratory. If vasopressin is blocked, there is immediately less paternal behavior. When injected directly into a section of the brain of …

Oxytocin (Part 3/5)

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ShareBonding is the most positive aspect of human relationships. We learn how to bond emotionally in adulthood through early bonding in childhood, as simplistic as that sounds. It cannot be taught! And it certainly cannot be taught in later life. Attachment is pretty well set in our childhood. It is …

Oxytocin (Part 2/5)

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ShareOxytocin is found only in mammals. When it is high, one experiences a sense of relaxation, rest, and growth, repair and healing, loving behavior and emotional-attachment. Love and nurturing early in our lives are necessary for optimum health, and healthy brain development cannot take place without it. It isn’t just …

Oxytocin (Part 1/5)

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ShareFeeling is the central organizing principle of human behavior. You can measure feeling in the brain, in the body’s biochemistry, in mother’s milk, in saliva and in spinal taps. We can measure it in brain chemicals such as serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine. Feelings are all encompassing, and love is …

Oxytocin Promotes Social Attachment, Beginning with Mother and Child

1 Apr 2011

ShareBy Maureen Salamon Oxytocin’s nickname as the “cuddle hormone” is well-earned, since many studies have proven its ability to promote attachment not just between mother and child, but among groups. One of the primary bonds among mammals, of course, is between mother and baby, and much research has focused on …

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