Everybody catches the love bug or the cuddle monster in life at different stages of life. This strong feeling of love and attraction is largely credited to single-molecule oxytocin. The interest is now huge in understanding oxytocin benefits and its side effects in detail.
Oxytocin is a hormone. This hormone is attributed to very special functions and behaviors in people. It is found extra special in women.
Oxytocin’s functional benefits are its involvement in childbirth and lactation. The behavioral benefits are its association with trust, sexual activity, empathy, and relationships.
Because of the behavioral benefits of oxytocin, it has earned interesting names. Such as “love hormone” or cuddle hormone.
When the hormone is released in the brain human social behavior changes. The bonding and snuggling seem to increase.
This hormone helps build trust and empathy. As a result, it increases attachment and closeness between two adults.
Oxytocin is a short nine amino acid peptide. It is believed to be involved in physiological and pathological functions. Such as pregnancy, uterine contraction, breastfeeding, social bonding, sexual activity, and more.
Does oxytocin have side effects? What happens if hormone levels are high or low? Keep reading!
Table of Contents
What is Exactly Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone. It acts as a neurotransmitter by sending nerve signals from the brain. The Oxytocin hormone is produced from a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It controls many processes of nerve cells in the brain and shares messages between them.
It plays a vital role in reproduction. In females, this hormone is responsible for triggering labor and releasing milk. It is a facilitator for childbirth and breastfeeding. In males, oxytocin may assist in moving sperm.
Oxytocin Functions and Benefits in Women
Oxytocin hormone benefits and uses are many in women compared to men. Particularly oxytocin benefits women during:
- Childbirth – triggers labor by contraction womb wall to allow childbirth. It was observed that oxytocin is released in large amounts during labor
- Breastfeeding – Promotes lactation by moving the milk to the breasts. Stimulates the flow of breast milk while feeding the baby.
- Stopping postpartum bleeding
- Sexual activities – helping women to be sexually aroused
- Mothers bonding with baby
- Promotes empathy
- Building trust and relationships
Oxytocin Functions and Benefits in Men
This hormone is less important in men. It plays a role in men moving sperm. Also, it affects testosterone production in men.
A study in PNAS in 2013 suggests that oxytocin helps men to be faithful to their partners. This is done in the related reward centers in the brain.
Common Functions and Benefits of Oxytocin to Men and Women
- May relieve difficulties in social situations
- High anxiety is alleviated by its calming effect
- Potentially enhancing the establishment of memory
- Relaxes blood vessels by stimulating nitric oxide
- Prevents the development of clogged arteries
- Helping alleviate chronic pain and calming inflammation
- Improves your good mood and a good feeling in your mind
Common Symptoms of Lack of Oxytocin
- Absence of smiles
- Lack of warmth in social situations, socially isolated
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale skin
- Disturbed easily by other people
- Low sex drive
- Less intense or lack of orgasms
- Lack of ejaculation in men
- Muscle tension
- High Blood Pressure
- Flank Pain
- Holding a grudge
Holding a grudge against yourself and feeling shame affect oxytocin production. It decreases oxytocin production in the brain. It is the same effect as much as holding a grudge against someone else.
Common Symptoms of Excess Oxytocin
Excessive expressions of love
Excess sex drive
Oxytocin and Emotional Oversensitivity
Listen to Christopher Cardoso, Ph.D. Candidate in Concordia University’s Department of Psychology. He discusses a new study on oxytocin. He says oxytocin can make healthy people “over-sensitive” to the emotions of others. Watch his video on the subject.
Oxytocin Love Hormone
This hormone’s role in humans was mainly referred to for female reproduction. Because during labor and breastfeeding, more oxytocin hormones are released from the brain.
However, more studies have begun to prove its association with human behaviors. In relation to mother and baby bonding, social recognition, sexual activities, and relationships.
Eventually, this hormone is dearly called the Love hormone. Because of its interactions. in humans relating to a variety of physiological and pathological functions.
How to Release Oxytocin in Men and Women
The oxytocin production in the brain strengthens bonding between adults through certain activities. Now let us see what activities trigger the release of oxytocin.
Activities that increase oxytocin production in the brain
- Intermittent drinking of water
- Receiving and or giving a massage
- Expressing the care for another (not necessarily in action but even the words do)
- Sexual Intimacy
- Spending time with friends (try to do something new together)
- Loving and showing affection
- Listening to music or singing
- Watching a movie
- Showing empathy
- Doing something nice for someone
- Sharing food with someone you care
- Petting dogs
Experts say hugging each other often increases the production of oxytocin. Hug at least eight times a day. This is a simple and easiest way to increase oxytocin levels naturally. So, why not do it?
Loving Kindness Meditation
Watch the video from the University of New Hampshire Community about the loving-kindness meditation.
This meditation will guide you to a deeper appreciation for yourself and the world around you. Useful for anyone who desires inner peace as well as general relaxation. Helps you in increasing your oxytocin levels.
Natural Oxytocin Promoting Supplements and Food
Various studies and researches support that nutrients and herbs generate oxytocin. Check the sources section for evidence of the studies and research.
Oxytocin Promoting Food
- Dark chocolate (raw cacao)
- Brazil Nuts
- Sweet Potato
- Wild Salmon
- Wild Mushrooms
- Yerba mate
- Organic Turkey
- Whole milk yogurt or kefir
- Green Tea
- Nutty almonds
Oxytocin Promoting Supplements and Herbs
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Oleoylethanolamide (OEA)
- Jasmine Oil (Jasminum Officinale)
- Clary Sage Oil (Salvia sclarea)
- Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum)
We talked more here about oxytocin and its benefits. But there is an underlying generic truth behind this hormone. Hope you have noticed it. That is being relaxed, sharing, loving, helping, and caring are the way of real life.
So, to have a great life do what nature provides you to increase the oxytocin production in your brain. It helps for a better life mentally and physically.
Over the Counter Oxytocin Promoting Supplements
Over-the-counter, supplements may be used to increase oxytocin levels. Keep reading to understand more about it.
Pitocin – Synthetic Version of the Oxytocin Hormone
Pitocin is a brand for the synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone. Pitocin may be used by doctors during the labor of pregnant mothers. They use it when the mother is experiencing weak contractions. Also, when labor progressing is not normal.
If Pitocin is misused it may put both the mother and baby at risk. The mother may experience excessive stimulation which is not safe. Thus, it has to be taken only with the doctor’s guidance.
Oxytocin Side Effects
The most common side effects of oxytocin include:
- Slow, fast, or uneven heart rate
- Excessive bleeding long after childbirth
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Neonatal yellowing of skin or eyes
- Pounding in your neck or ears
- Severe weakness
- Feeling unsteady
- Nausea and vomiting
- breathing problems
- High blood pressure
This article does contain all possible oxytocin side effects. There could be many other side effects. Some of them could lead to fatalities. Consult your physician for more details and guidance.
Oxytocin Supplements – Nasal Spray and Capsules
Oxytocin supplements are marketed in many forms and can be purchased online. The most common ones are the oxytocin nasal spray and oxytocin pills or capsules. Their product descriptions claim:
- Oxytocin plays a big role in brokering all of our relationships.
- Natural empathogen! Oxytocin strengthens marriages, promotes enduring friendships, and engenders strangers’ trust.
- The main driver of hormonal feedback is that it decreases corticosterone and stress hormones. Helping with lowering blood pressure.
- Oxytocin nasal spray impressively impacts social cognition.
- Improves the early detection of effects from social cues, particularly positive social cues.
- Improves the accurate appraisal effect from social cues at strategic levels of processing.
- Powerful mood-enhancing supplement
- Supports the cuddling hormone Oxytocin to give you a blissful state
At present we do not have any updates on the experience of these products. If you have, we request you to update our comments section at the end of this article. It will benefit our readers.
Oxytocin Nasal Spray Dosage
The recommended oxytocin nasal spray dosage by online companies is:
- One to two sprays per nostril twice per day or two sprays under the tongue
Spray in the morning and afternoon for five straight days
Then once a day for two days.
- This way your body learns how to produce its own oxytocin independent of Oxytocin Spray.
- The recommendation is a six-month regimen. Before discontinuing use for a period of time to see the effect without an aid.
- Companies claim that many customers shift from daily use to use as needed after 6 months.
But research has not proven yet. On indications that supplemented oxytocin has an effect. Assisting the brain to produce more oxytocin.
Oxytocin Pills Dosage
Companies marketing oxytocin supplements in capsules recommend 1 capsule a day. Yet, continue to state that some people may have to increase to 2 or 3 capsules a day for an improved response.
Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin
Learn from the eminent neuroeconomics oxytocin expert Paul Zak.
Where does morality come from? Is it physical or in the brain? Paul Zak believes! Oxytocin is responsible for trust, empathy, and other feelings. It helps to build a stable society. He calls oxytocin “the moral molecule”
Watch the thought-provoking TED Talk “Trust, morality — and oxytocin” by Paul Zak
Treating Children with Autism with Oxytocin
Children with autism are sometimes treated with oxytocin therapy. It will help to improve social skills. It also helps with repetitive behavior.
Oxytocin can be prescribed by a doctor, pediatrician, or psychiatrist for children with autism. They may use oxytocin nasal spray or as a lozenge under the tongue.
Research shows oxytocin helps children with autism. But more studies are needed to prove whether it works for everyone.
Understanding the oxytocin benefits and effects take you to real and meaningful life! It is nature’s way! It’s now a lot more interesting to learn that involves our body and mind.
The role of oxytocin begins right before pregnancy. Then takes you through birth. Then post-birth promotes breastfeeding and builds a bonding between mother and child.
Oxytocin modulates physiological functions and emotions such as happiness, attraction, love, and affection. Also may modulate hatred after stress. Oxytocin governs all these emotions directly or indirectly or at least partially.
According to experts, this love hormone does not change the behavior of anyone to fall in love. But it contributes to boosting feelings of love, trust, security, and contentment. Towards the person, you care about.
So, do the needful to increase the oxytocin levels. It helps to repair damaged relationships, increase trust and bonding, the heart to forgive, and gives you empathy.
Experts say, more study needs to be done to understand this cuddle hormone in full.
Noble Home Remedies relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for accuracy and reliability while avoiding tertiary references. Our editorial policy provides more information about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date.
- What is oxytocin? – home health network – https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/oxytocin
- The Hormone of Love and So Much More by Women’s International Pharmacy – https://www.womensinternational.com/blog/portfolio-items/oxytocin/
- The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor from PMC – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/
- Effect of yoga therapy on plasma oxytocin and facial emotion recognition deficits in patients of schizophrenia – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768223/
- The neurochemistry and social flow of singing: bonding and oxytocin – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00518/full
- Food sharing is linked to urinary oxytocin levels and bonding in related and unrelated wild chimpanzees – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3906952/
- Oxytocin Release and Effects by skin-to-skin Contact – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01529/full#h6
- Oxytocin Release in Response to Interaction between Humans and Animals – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01529/full#h9
- Intermittent drinking, oxytocin, and human health – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27241263/
- Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23251939/
- Why You Should Embrace the Embrace – https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/4-facts-about-hugs-why-you-should-embrace-the-embrace
- The neural mediators of kindness-based meditation: a theoretical model – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325657/
- Soothing music can increase oxytocin levels during bed rest after open-heart surgery: a randomized control trial – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19583647/
- Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445577/
- Effect of oxytocin on acupuncture analgesia in the rat – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17664006/
- Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds – https://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6232/333
- Causal link found between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis, and autism in a new study – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226110836.htm
- Catecholamines and ascorbic acid as stimulators of bovine ovarian oxytocin secretion – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3668432/
- The essential role of magnesium in oxytocin-receptor affinity and ligand specificity – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2539090/
- Taurine and the control of basal hormone release from rat neurohypophysis – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14552874/
- Caffeine inhibits hypothalamic A1R to excite oxytocin neurons – https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15904
- Estrogen has been found to increase the secretion of oxytocin and to increase the expression of its receptor – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin#Biochemistry
- Microbial Symbionts Accelerate Wound Healing via the Neuropeptide Hormone Oxytocin – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078898
- The Onset of Labor in Post-Term Pregnancy by Chamomile – https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/25-effective-ways-to-increase-oxytocin-levels-in-the-brain
- The satiety signal oleoyl ethanolamide stimulates oxytocin neurosecretion from rat hypothalamic neurons – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23959001/
- The effect of melatonin administration on pituitary hormone secretion in man – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10594526/
- Use of herbal medicines among pregnant women attending family health centers in Alexandria – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110569012000118?via%3Dihub#b0160
- Comparison of the effect of aromatherapy with Jasminum officinale and Salvia officinale on pain severity and labor outcome in nulliparous women – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4280734/
- Changes in salivary oxytocin after inhalation of clary sage essential oil scent in term-pregnant women: a feasibility pilot study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5721455/
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- The Anti-Stress Hormone + How To Increase It – https://www.bouldernutrition.com/blog/7-mini-to-dos-that-will-master-your-oxytocin-and-lower-your-stress
- Overview of Oxytocin Nasal Spray – https://www.empowerpharmacy.com/drugs/oxytocin-nasal-spray
- Holding a Grudge Produces Cortisol and Diminishes Oxytocin – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201504/holding-grudge-produces-cortisol-and-diminishes-oxytocin
Frequently Ask Questions
What does oxytocin do?
Oxytocin can do wonders! But all in your hands and your mindset. Oxytocin is a hormone boost produced in the brain that boosts your good feelings. Such as your bonding, love, sexual desires, feeling happy, and more. Oxytocin is special in women because it triggers labor and promotes lactation. More research is now on to understand more about this love hormone. Learn more about what we have captured from reliable sources about “What does oxytocin do?” It’s admirably so great and interesting.
Where is oxytocin produced?
Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland. Hypothalamus is a tiny area of the brain and can be located at the base of the brain. It is right near the pituitary gland. Hypothalamus does many important functions including producing this cuddle hormone. If you only know how to induce oxytocin you will enjoy your life to a greater extent.
What releases oxytocin?
Many factors release oxytocin. Mainly, in pregnant and feeding mothers. It triggers labor in pregnant mothers. Moves milk to breasts to breastfeed the babies. Then also your behaviors make the brain release oxytocin hormone. Such as hugs, kissing, touching, helping, listening to music, and so on. Here is the comprehensive list of what releases oxytocin which is famously known as the love hormone.