All you need is love! And maybe a little Oxytocin too!

During this unique time in our lives when we are being told to isolate and keep our distance, I believe the level of anxiety and depression we are experiencing as a result has never been higher. The truth is that our body is not designed to be separate and alone, as we are social creatures and we depend on love, touching and affection to feel connection, and in fact our brains even produce a hormone to encourage it! What is this magical hormone you might say? It’s Oxytocin! Oxytocin has been labeled “the love hormone” and for very good reasons. If you haven’t heard of it, you have at least felt it and the first time was at the very beginning of your life, when you were born. How cool is that?! Oxytocin is a neuropeptide hormone that is produced by hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Oxytocin influences the autonomic nervous system and the immune system and has been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are Oxytocin receptors throughout the body, including the brain and spinal cord, where it impacts the nervous system to promote a greater sense of calm, especially in the face of adversity or trauma. Oxytocin also functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and is connected to serotonin and dopamine, which are two important neurotransmitters that help you feel good. Oxytocin is the driving force behind attraction and caregiving and can control aspects of the reproductive system as well, especially during childbirth and lactation. This hormone is released when a mother breastfeeds, therefore creating a deeper attraction and affection to her child. The infant will then produce their oxytocin in return and the bonding is more secure. Therefore, this hormone helps maintain and establish relationships in the brain from the very beginning of our life. Oxytocin is truly the heart hormone as well because it has receptors in our heart and it plays a role in embryonal development of the heart by promoting cardiomyocyte differentiation. So cool! Both females and males produce Oxytocin, however women may respond more quickly to socially relevant stimuli than males, which could be due to their increased amount of estrogen they make in their body naturally. Estrogen has been found to increase the secretion of Oxytocin and increase the expression of its receptor, the Oxytocin receptor in the brain. In females, a single dose of estradiol has been found to be sufficient to increase circulating Oxytocin concentrations (and conversely if you are low in estrogen you are at risk of having lower Oxytocin as a result). Conversely it has been studied that higher Testosterone suppresses Oxytocin production in male mice. It has been hypothesized to have evolutionary significance because males were typically the hunters and protectors and because Oxytocin creates empathy, it would be helpful to have less when fighting. Oxytocin is the hormone that keeps giving! The more you make, the more you want to bond and the more you bond the more you make! It's a win win!! Oxytocin promotes:

  • Feeling of intimacy

  • Bonding and trust with a partner

  • Empathy

  • Eye Gazing

  • Positive memories and associations

  • Positive communication

  • Lower stress

  • Lower anxiety

  • Improved sense of well-being

  • Improved compassion

  • Improved empathy

  • Tranquil feeling (when you are with people you care about)

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased sensitivity in the erogenous zones leading to more blood flow to genitals and increased lubrication

  • Intensified erections and ejaculations in males

  • Improved orgasms for males and females

  • Improved fertility, as it causes muscle contractions in the uterus and helps sperm move to increase chance of pregnancy

Ways to release more Oxytoxin

  • Positive physical and social contact

  • Eye gazing (at least we can see each other’s eyes with these masks we are wearing)

  • Touching

  • Hugging

  • Snuggling

  • Hand holding

  • Kissing

  • Sexual contact, stimulation and orgasms in men and women

  • Laughing

  • Breast Feeding

If you are isolated and do not have access to touching anyone, you can still touch yourself, listen to music and laugh often to produce your own Oxytocin. Oxytocin can be used as a medical treatment too! Certain people may need additional support to get this "feel good hormone" activated in their body. Oxytocin can help with Anxiety, Depression, Stress intolerance, PTSD, Social Isolation, trust issues and fear. There are drugs that can help produce more Oxytocin. MDMA (may be known to you as Ecstasy) has been known to increase feelings of love, empathy and connection to others by stimulating Oxytocin activity through the activation of serotonin 5 –HT1A receptors. MDMA was used for couple’s therapy for years before it became an illegal drug. Buspirone (Buspar) which is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat anxiety disorders may also produce some oxytocin stimulation through the 5 HT1A receptor as well. The prescription medications used to give Oxytocin are Pitocin and Syntocinon, but I prefer to compound doses so we can uniquely tailor for patients specific needs. I have been compounding Oxytocin for years and we can prepare them in sublingual tabs, (as pictured above in the heart) as nasal sprays or even vaginal creams for women. We usually dose daily and then prior to sex if someone is using this to help with orgasms. Oxytocin can cause a headache when given as a medication. If you want to discuss if Oxytocin might be helpful to you, feel free to make an appointment with me with the front desk team. May this special love day bring forth more love, connection and Oxytocin production. To more love, Carrie Resources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15834840/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28867943/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850525/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453012000339?via%3Dihub https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Testosterone-inhibits-facilitating-effects-of-on-in-Okabe-Kitano/75f09ad798ddd8f888d6c7d272dceba220b78661 https://maps.org/news/media/7645-big-think-decades-ago,-ecstasy-%E2%80%94-yes,-mdma-%E2%80%94-was-used-in-marriage-counseling

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