Oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, plays a central role when it comes to your well-being. What exactly Oxytocin is, the benefits of oxytocin, and how you can boost it to improve your well-being is explained in this article.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is both hormone and neurotransmitter and therefore has a variety of effects. It consists of nine amino acids and is released by the pituitary into the blood. The most well-known effect of oxytocin is related to childbirth. Oxytocin is used to support delivery labor and milk injection and is therefore used in clinical obstetric care. Similarly, the cuddle hormone but also ensures the bond between mother and child and generally of people.
At the physiological level, oxytocin does more because it regulates blood pressure and cortisol levels. These two factors, in turn, play a crucial role when it comes to stress management. It is not for nothing that cortisol has the epithet of stress hormone. Basically, cortisol has a stimulating effect on you and makes you awake and capable in a challenging situation. But if you are chronically under stress, cortisol has a negative impact on your health.
A study conducted by the University of Uppsala in Sweden focused on the relationship between the cuddle hormone oxytocin and stress and found that the neurotransmitter acts as a mitigating agent on the so-called HPA axis in the brain, at the end of which the stress hormone cortisol is released. This, in turn, reduces the effects of stress and leaves you feeling more relaxed. At the physiological level, oxytocin helps reduce stress and the effects of stress and makes you feel more relaxed. But also in the brain, the neurotransmitter has a central function and improves, if it is sufficiently available your well-being.
Benefits of Oxytocin
Everyone needs physical closeness. Your brain also knows that, because it releases the hormone oxytocin in social bonds, touches, and sex. Because of this effect, oxytocin is also known by the nickname “cuddle hormone”. Once the hormone or neurotransmitter is released, this provides you with a good feeling. So it ensures that your well-being is increased. As the substance is not only a hormone but also a neurotransmitter, it not only circulates in your blood but also in your brain, controlling the activity of certain nerve cells.
A study from the University of Zurich looked at how oxytocin affects the nerve cells and found that you became more receptive to interpersonal signals. The study examined the relationship of oxytocin to trust in other people, which in turn affected their own actions. It showed that oxytocin strengthens the trust in other people and thus in their own actions.
The more the test subjects, who were given the substance and not the placebo, trusted in their fellow human beings, the more self-confident they became in their own actions. Open and relaxed in interpersonal interaction? Oxytocin seems to have this effect, as a study by the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in Stockholm, Sweden, continued to investigate, which, like the researchers, studied the University of Zurich.
By reducing the secretion of cortisol, oxytocin reduces stress and activates the reward system. Thereafter, the subjects went around more relaxed with their fellow humans and it improved in this way, simply the entire togetherness.
Summary of Oxytocin’s Benefits
It can reduce stress → relaxed
It can activate the reward system → to feel good
It can lead to a familiar relationship with one’s fellow human beings → better togetherness
Side Effects of Oxytocin?
However, researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam were able to prove the other side of the popular hormone in one study. The problem with oxytocin as a supplement is that it strengthens the affiliation within a group, but also the rivalry to anything threatening elevated. The researchers at the University of Amsterdam had several groups competing against each other.
The group previously given oxytocin was more harmonious within the group, but tried to assert their position more aggressively than the others. The result of the study is not contradictory since oxytocin is originally used to strengthen the bond between mother and child. Therefore, the subjects felt overly connected with their group and tried to protect and defend it from the outside.
Where to get Oxytocin?
The various studies show that the mode of action of oxytocin is diverse and that research is currently still in the process of identifying and explaining the more precise mechanisms. Above all, the research is still busy to examine the dosage and precise effect. Also, it seems unclear how much of the amount given in studies actually reaches the brain and can cross the blood-brain barrier. Other ways into the brain, which increase the concentration of the hormone, there is apparently not. Neither certain foods nor other environmental factors can affect the concentration of oxytocin in the blood or brain.
Related to this is that the level of the hormone in the blood does not correlate with that in the brain. This means that even if oxytocin is injected into subjects, it does not necessarily increase the concentration of the neurotransmitter in the brain. Sounds very complicated? But it is not, because all these different study results only show that oxytocin is not yet a useful supplement and therefore it can not be bought! Since research is still in the process of determining the exact effect of the hormone, you can not yet buy oxytocin. However, numerous providers sell oxytocin in the form of nasal spray, whereby here applies: Stay away! For one thing, in these nasal sprays the drug composition is not exactly understood and on the other hand, the research, as described, is still in its infancy.
How to Naturally Increase Oxytocin?
Cuddling and sex
To do things that you love
Activate the senses through good food / good music
A lot of hugs
Social interaction on social media
It has now become clear that oxytocin cannot be increased by a supplement, or by other basic substances in the brain. However, that’s not a big deal, because Oxytocin is not the only hormone that affects your well-being. Dopamine and serotonin, the happiness and the feel-good hormone, can actually be increased by a few tricks or bought!
Probably the best hormone to increase your well-being is dopamine, which is responsible for your mental performance, motivation, and energy. If you are well supplied with dopamine, you feel energized, and the hormone is released when you celebrate success. No matter if you are in sports, in your private life or in sports: If you manage to achieve success, however small, your body will release dopamine. Your body remembers this exhilaration and wants more and more of it.
This feedback effect is effectively your body’s own drug, which encourages you to do things that enhance your well-being. The easiest way to push your Dopaminlevel for more well-being, in which you try to put as many small goals and consciously celebrate every success. As a result, more and more dopamine is released and you will feel an improvement to your well-being guaranteed guaranteed.
You can also try to change your diet and increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acids are essential to ensure the work of dopamine in the brain. The same goes for the second important happiness hormone that you can push in a natural way. We are talking about serotonin and its construction also requires important amino acids, such as L-tryptophan. The important amino acids that are so important for the development of serotonin and dopamine, you will find especially in nuts, fish and wheat.
Even if the hormones are based on similar basic substances: As a hormone and neurotransmitter, serotonin has a major influence on your mood. A lack of serotonin is often associated with depression, which can be counteracted by the increase in serotonin. Of course, sometimes the sun can help. Because the sun, more specifically, the vitamin D formed in the skin, is needed to form serotonin in your body. It does not only need the right nutrition, but also vitamin D to increase your serotonin level and thus your well-being.