Oxytocin —the so-called “love hormone” — is being increasingly shown to trigger a wide variety of physical and psychological effects in both women and men.
The hormone’s influence on our behavior and physiology originates in the brain, where it’s produced by the by a structure called the hypothalamus, and then transfers to the pituitary gland which releases into the bloodstream.. Like antennas picking up a signal, oxytocin receptors are found on cells throughout the body. Levels of the hormone tend to be higher during both stressful and socially bonding experiences, according to the American Psychological Association.
In recent years, we’ve been bombarded with studies about the hormone oxytocin — researchers have demonstrated it increases trust and helps aid in social bonding. It has even garnered a reputation as the “love hormone.” But what good is it for? Despite all these findings, the hormone’s medical use remains limited to obstetrics — it is used to induce labor and aid in breastfeeding.
The other night I received an e-mail, “Bart Simpson was given oxytocin to help calm him down with his dog…not my usual nightly viewing!” At first I thought it was one of those spam messages that begin with the funny somewhat poetic statement but then turns to garble. No, this one came from one of my mentoring students, so I read it again. Then it made sense and I was like, “Holy cow…they are talking about oxytocin on The Simpsons!” Well not quite. … Continue Reading
by Jessica Wright
A drug already in clinical trials as a tanning compound raises brain levels of oxytocin — a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in social bonding — researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Higher levels of oxytocin can help animals recognize their mates and turn to a friend for help, according to two posters presented at the meeting.
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