Could Your Relationship Use More Oxytocin?

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Many over time have argued that monogamy is “unnatural,” but modern science is actually painting a very different story.

In fact, it seems that we may be hardwired for monogamous relationships after all, and oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone,” may have something to do with it.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to write about monogamy and oxytocin’s potential role in it.

But rather than focus on the “mush”, in typical Life Extension fashion, we’re going to look at the science behind it. Surprised?

Sorry, hopeless romantics!

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the brain. It has various functions in the human body, playing a role in labor, breastfeeding, pair bonding, and sexual arousal. It even plays a role in relationships, potentially helping to form monogamous ones.

Prairie voles, for example, secrete oxytocin when they meet and mate, and this hormone is necessary for pair bonding.1 That’s why scientists believe they mate for life — although, we must point out, they sometimes do cheat!2

It’s not much different for humans either. Oxytocin may just be the key element that keeps couples together.

Oxytocin Keeps Men from Straying and Cools Arguments

In a neat experiment, scientists gave a group of men a placebo or a nasal oxytocin spray. Then, each of them was encountered by an attractive woman. The scientists then measured the space between the man and the woman.

They found that the men who were given oxytocin and were in “stable,” monogamous relationships stood farther away from the attractive woman.3 In contrast, men in the placebo group stood closer, indicating interest.

In a different study, scientists found that oxytocin took the “heat out of an argument.” One group of couples was given intranasal oxytocin, while the other group received a placebo. They were told to choose a heated topic and discuss it, and levels of a stress hormone called cortisol were measured.

They found that, after the argument, both the men and the women in the couples given oxytocin had lower levels of salivary cortisol.

During the discussions, oxytocin was shown to increase the positive communication in the couples, as compared to the negative behavior during the arguments.4

Fidelity + friendlier arguments = staying together. Perhaps this might be the equation for monogamy?

How to Get More Oxytocin

You can induce the release of oxytocin naturally by giving hugs, kisses, gifts, and holding hands. Basically, physical touch is the key element at play.

You can also get oxytocin via prescription as a nasal spray, believe it or not.

The Bottom Line

We’re not quite sure if an oxytocin spray will keep your partner from straying or arguing with you, but perhaps it might be used for couple’s therapy one day. Of course, more research is needed.

Regardless, in this day and age, romance seems to have taken a back seat to our fast paced life, so many of us could probably use a little more oxytocin. Don’t you think?

References:

  1. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1995;395:227-34.
  2. Nature. 2008 Feb 7;451(7179):617.
  3. J Neurosci. 2012 Nov 14;32(46):16074-9.
  4. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 1;65(9):728-31.

Article Source: http://blog.lifeextension.com/2013/02/relationship-love-oxytocin.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=normal

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‘Trust hormone’ oxytocin helps old muscle work like new, study finds

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Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered that oxytocin—a hormone associated with maternal nurturing, social attachments, childbirth and sex—is indispensable for healthy muscle maintenance and repair, and that in mice, it declines with age.

 The new study, to be published Tuesday, June 10, in the journal Nature Communications, presents oxytocin as the latest treatment target for age-related muscle wasting, or sarcopenia.

A few other biochemical factors in blood have been connected to aging and disease in recent years, but oxytocin is the first anti-aging molecule identified that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use in humans, the researchers said. Pitocin, a synthetic form of oxytocin, is already used to help with labor and to control bleeding after childbirth. Clinical trials of an oxytocin nasal spray are also underway to alleviate symptoms associated with mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and dementia.

“Unfortunately, most of the molecules discovered so far to boost tissue regeneration are also associated with cancer, limiting their potential as treatments for humans,” said study principal investigator Irina Conboy, associate professor of bioengineering. “Our quest is to find a molecule that not only rejuvenates old muscle and other tissue, but that can do so sustainably long-term without increasing the risk of cancer.”

Conboy and her research team say that oxytocin, secreted into the blood by the brain’s pituitary gland, is a good candidate because it is a broad range hormone that reaches every organ, and it is not known to be associated with tumors or to interfere with the immune system.

A happy hormone

Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “trust hormone” because of its association with romance and friendship. It is released with a warm hug, a grasped hand or a loving gaze, and it increases libido. The hormone kicks into high gear during and after childbirth, helping new mothers bond with and breastfeed their new babies.

“This is the hormone that makes your heart melt when you see kittens, puppies and human babies,” said Conboy, who is also a member of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3). “There is an ongoing joke among my research team that we’re all happy, friendly and trusting because oxytocin permeates the lab.”

The researchers pointed out that while oxytocin is found in both young boys and girls, it is not yet known when levels of the hormone start to decline in humans, and what levels are necessary for maintaining healthy tissues.

Christian Elabd and Wendy Cousin, both senior scientists in Conboy’s lab, were co-lead authors on this study.

Previous research by Elabd found that administering oxytocin helped prevent the development of osteoporosis in that had their ovaries removed to mimic menopause.

Extra oxytocin more beneficial for the old

The new study determined that in mice, blood levels of oxytocin declined with age. They also showed that there are fewer receptors for oxytocin in muscle stem cells in old versus young mice.

To tease out oxytocin’s role in muscle repair, the researchers injected the hormone under the skin of old mice for four days, and then for five days more after the muscles were injured. After the nine-day treatment, they found that the muscles of the mice that had received oxytocin injections healed far better than those of a control group of mice without oxytocin.

“The action of oxytocin was fast,” said Elabd. “The repair of muscle in the old mice was at about 80 percent of what we saw in the young mice.”

Interestingly, giving young mice an extra boost of oxytocin did not seem to cause a significant change in muscle regeneration.

“This is good because it demonstrates that extra oxytocin boosts aged tissue stem cells without making muscle stem cells divide uncontrollably,” Cousin added.

The researchers also found that blocking the effects of oxytocin in young mice rapidly compromised their ability to repair muscle, which resembled old tissue after an injury.

The researchers also studied mice whose gene for oxytocin was disabled, and compared them with a group of control mice. At a young age, there was no significant difference between the two groups in muscle mass or repair efficiency after an injury. It wasn’t until the mice with the disabled oxytocin gene reached adulthood that signs of premature aging began to appear.

“When disabling other types of genes associated with tissue repair, defects appear right away either during embryonic development, or early in life,” said Conboy. “To our knowledge, the oxytocin gene is the only one whose impact is seen later in life, suggesting that its role is closely linked to the aging process.”

Future treatment options

Cousin noted that oxytocin could become a viable alternative to hormone replacement therapy as a way to combat the symptoms of both female and male aging, and for long-term health. Hormone therapy did not show improvements in agility or muscle regeneration ability, and it is no longer recommended for disease prevention because research has found that the therapy’s benefits did not outweigh its health risks.

In addition to healthy muscle, oxytocin is predicted to improve bone health, and it might be important in combating obesity.

Conboy said her lab plans to examine oxytocin’s role in extending a healthy life in animals, and in conserving its beneficial anti-aging effects in humans.

She noted that there is a growing circle of scientists who believe that aging is the underlying cause of a number of chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s and Type 2 diabetes.

“If you target processes associated with aging, you may be tackling those diseases at the same time,” said Conboy. “Aging is a natural process, but I believe that we can meaningfully intervene with age-imposed organ degeneration, thereby slowing down the rate at which we become progressively unhealthy.”

Source: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-06-hormone-oxytocin-muscle.html

For for more information on our therapies including oxytocin, please contact Clinic Director Charlie Blaisdell at CBlaisdell@CoreNewEngland.com

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Oxytocin therapy now available at Boston Testosterone

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Boston, Massachusetts – Find out about the amazing benefits of Oxytocin Therapy at Boston Testosterone Partners.

Oxytocin – the natural way to enhance orgasm in men and women

Known as a desire hormone, the hormone oxytocin is naturally produced in our body and released at key moments – namely when we’re intimate with others. By supplementing this life-enriching hormone, greater orgasm can be achieved far more easily in men and women. Not only this, but oxytocin works to promote a generally improved sense of wellbeing and acts to reduce stress.

The full benefits of oxytocin are only now becoming apparent. It’s involved in the pleasure aspect of sex and is now believed by experts to actually cause orgasm. Studies have found that by supplementing the hormone oxytocin, multiple orgasms can be achieved in women and increased feelings of intimacy can be experienced by both sexes.

Oxytocin hormone supplement the closest thing to a Love Drug

The Oxytocin drug is a safe and potent supplement based on the naturally occurring hormone Oxytocin. It has far reaching benefits for the body and mind, including the ability to enhance orgasm experiences. Oxytocin for men assists emotional bonding as well as desire, and an Oxytocin orgasm for women is especially enhanced.

The hormone Oxytocin is probably best known for its role in childbirth and breastfeeding, although research has established that the Oxytocin drug can help forge deep connections with our partners, our children, our friends and even our pets. Excitingly, the Oxytocin orgasm is powerful for both men and women. It’s been shown to enhance orgasm – and induce multiple orgasms in women.

Oxytocin however, is more than merely a male or female orgasm enhancer. It plays many roles for men, and in women is an essential hormone released throughout their lives in certain conditions and scenarios.

How Oxytocin Hormone is Naturally Released in Body

Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus – the almond sized region of the brain located close to the brain stem that links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. It’s released either via the pituitary gland straight into the bloodstream or to other parts of the brain and the spinal cord.

In childbirth, Oxytocin plays a vital role in triggering and regulating uterine contractions. If the contractions aren’t substantial enough, in a lot of cases Oxytocin is administered to help stimulate these contractions. Not only does this have a physical effect, but Oxytocin is a known as a ‘bonding hormone’ – ensuring that the mother starts to care for her young the moment after giving birth. The emotional and maternal reaction is heightened by the hormone, and the effects establish a bond between mother and baby.

Oxytocin also features in breast feeding. By helping the mother to relax, it allows milk to flow to feed her baby. Through this, scientists and doctors started to take note, as the relaxing and wellbeing effects became apparent.

Research also revealed that Oxytocin plays a huge role in the non-procreative aspects of sex. Both women and men release the Oxytocin hormone during lovemaking – and not only during orgasm. It also appears to be responsible for causing orgasms in the first place.

The Effects of the Hormone Oxytocin in Love Making

At our body’s normal level of production, Oxytocin encourages a mild desire to be kissed and cuddled by your lover. In fact being touched anywhere on the body leads to a rise in Oxytocin levels. This causes a chain reaction within the body, including the release of endorphins and testosterone, which results in both biological and psychological arousal.

Erogenous zones including earlobes, neck and genitals become sensitized to the effect of the hormone, and the body and mind become receptive and proactive in sexual activity. It not only arouses blood and the senses, but also promotes a bond of intimacy and closeness. The cycle continues to fire these pleasure giving endorphins and hormones and we naturally produce more Oxytocin and feel more pleasure as a reward.

By stimulating genital areas and causing the nerves to fire spontaneously, orgasm is reached far easier and more powerfully. In orgasm, male Oxytocin levels quintuple, while women need higher levels if they are to reach orgasm. And during peak sexual arousal, the Oxytocin levels become very high indeed. At this point multiple orgasms can occur.

Oxytocin’s further health and well being benefits

Using Oxytocin can also help regulate sleep patterns, and have a calming effect. Research is ongoing but observation seems to cite Oxytocin’s health giving benefits lying in its ability to counteract stress and the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Nearly every disease and condition is aggravated by stress; anything that can help counteract the stress is therefore useful.

Oxytocin has a clear physical and emotional power. Not only does the hormone increase orgasm in men and women, it has the natural ability to generate meaningful bonds, calm and in turn increase personal wellbeing.

Prescription Oxytocin nasal spray

We are excited to announce that Oxytocin Nasal Spray is BTP’s latest addition to its comprehensive range of BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE and TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY.

Oxytocin is released via the pituitary hormone and it has been clinically proven to have a number of beneficial effects.  Oxytocin is being used for mood swings (depression), drug addition, autism, anxiety, schizophrenia, pain (particularly for fibromyalgia) and even as an aid to weight loss, (principally through appetite reduction); but perhaps oxytocin’s most highlighted use has been to help couples enjoy a closer (bonding/ loving) relationships and for individuals, (in particular for women- which in this case is unusual) to have more intense orgasms.

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The world’s expert talks about this calming hormone

An Interview with Kerstin Uväs-Moberg, M.D., Ph. D

If you suffer from stress, high blood pressure, elevated cortisol in the blood, or other stress-related symptoms, you will be interested in oxytocin—a hormone which Dr. Kerstin Uväs-Moberg calls the calm and connection hormone.

How can you bring greater calm and connection into your life and the life of your children?

Kerstin Uväs-Moberg, M.D., Ph. D, author of The Oxytocin Factor, is a recognized world authority on oxytocin.  Her research took place at the famed Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, where she is Professor of Physiology.  Influential in obstetrics, psychology, pediatrics, child development, physical therapy and other fields, Dr. Uväs-Moberg has authored over four hundred scientific papers and lectures widely in Europe and the USA.

1. In your book, you state, “There are many scientific conferences on the topics of stress and pain, but very few conferences deal with calm, rest, and wellbeing.”  What does oxytocin have to do with calm, rest, and wellbeing?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Oxytocin, which was first noticed during birth labor and in nursing

mothers in 1906, acts as both a hormone and a neuropeptide.  It triggers a complex series of reactions that enhance your body’s relaxation and calmness. This is important in two ways.  The first (1) is the immediate health benefit of lowering stress-related symptoms and the second (2) is that repeated dosages of oxytocin seem to convert the immediate benefit into a long-lasting effect.  In our studies, animals who received as little as one dose per day for 5 days needed little additional oxytocin to stay calm for up to 3 weeks.  This suggests that oxytocin can offer stressed human beings a way to open up new pathways, to help them relax and restore calm immediately and across long term situations.  I stress oxytocin’s ability to grow or develop people’s relaxation and restoration capacity.

2. What is the relationship between oxytocin and adrenaline or other fight/flight responses?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: The body is intelligent.  Oxytocin does have the reverse effects to flight or fight hormones, but the body doesn’t call on oxytocin in every situation.  Sometimes we are threatened or in danger and we must respond to our flight or fight hormones to protect ourselves.  However, oxytocin may even be able to serve us in potentially threatening situations.  For example, if we can stay calm in a tense situation, we may know enough to move away from danger. We can learn to avoid a fight and respond differently.

 

3. What does oxytocin actually do?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Oxytocin does two important things:  (1) lowers blood pressure and other stress-related responses, and (2) increases positive social behaviors, such as friendliness and desire to connect.  Oxytocin impacts the body in two ways.  The first is that it is a hormone released from the blood stream as it circulates in the body.  And, it is also released by the nerve centers inside the brain.  This means that it capable of having a direct impact because it is not only a blood born hormone.

 

Today, in my opinion, our relaxation responses are under-developed and we are much more stressed than we have been historically.  Therefore, everything that we can do to enhance our levels of oxytocin increases our options for wellbeing.  The results of an interesting longitudinal study between mothers and children demonstrate that real contact (eye contact and direct conversation) between mothers and children has been reduced by half. Mothers and their children are spending time in the same room, but only about half that time is spent in real contact.  Our stress may be passed on to the children in this way.

 

4. Are there ways that people can increase their oxytocin levels in daily life?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Although some are thinking about developing oxytocin drugs, I believe the absolute best thing to do is to activate your own oxytocin.  Your body knows how to handle that oxytocin.  There are several things that anyone can do:

Touch is very important.  Interactive touch with human beings is best, but it doesn’t have to be limited to human beings.  Touch happens between people and their pets.

Getting massage is helpful.

Walking, swimming in warm water, and all physical exercise is excellent.

Deep interaction, intimacy, and eye-contact are also important.

Sex releases oxytocin.

Safety is important.  For example, nursing mothers exhibit behavior associated with oxytocin when they are in a calming, familiar room.  If you move them to an unknown and more stressful environment, their safety levels fall and so do their oxytocin behaviors.  Therefore, in the latter case, their capacity to bond with their babies is reduced. In another example, studies have shown that small groups, 6 – 10 people, seem to have a positive impact on cardiovascular and cancer patience.  This may be because oxytocin is released in the safety of these settings.  Perhaps we need to make sure our family settings include levels of intimacy rather than just spending time in the same house.  Maybe our economic success, which affords us the ability to sleep in separate rooms and/or beds, has actually deprived us of the touch necessary for future success in calmness, connection, and intimacy.  When people had less money, children had to sleep together in the same beds or listen to night time stories rather than play individual computer games.  Societies at that time had built in bonding and companionship mechanisms.  We need ways to restore these to our children.

 

5. Oxytocin is often thought of as a female hormone.  Do men have oxytocin and, if so, how does it operate in their lives?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Both men and women have oxytocin and in almost the same amount.  Pregnancy, labor, and nursing activate oxytocin in women and, obviously men do not have the same activation.  But men appear to experience oxytocin when they relate to their children and they also experience oxytocin with touch.  It is both a mistake to say that oxytocin is only a female hormone and not a mistake because we do not know all the ways that oxytocin is activated in men.

 

6. Your research has supported the ‘Peaceful Touch’ programs in Swedish public schools. What is ‘Peaceful Touch’ and what results have been reported by the school systems?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg:  ‘Peaceful Touch’ is a program that works in a variety of ways.  One of the most important is that children are taught how to touch each other in peaceful ways.  Discipline problems have become very common in Swedish schools.  Teachers report that Peaceful Touch programs have (a) reduced the level of aggression in the classroom, (b) increased the length of time students can sit still, (c) enhanced students’ ability to listen, and (d) improved their ability to take information in.  It is important to realize that massage and/or peaceful touch is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver.   This activity is much better than giving children drugs to control their behavior.  There should be more money for good research of these programs in Swedish schools.  Oxytocin research also suggests that parents and children learning to give each other ‘Peaceful Touch’ could be very beneficial.  I recognize that ‘touch’ is a very controversial issue now, but believe that we may be able to find ways, even if it isn’t physical touch, to give our children experiences with calm and connection.

 

7. Are there any medical conditions that you think might be helped by oxytocin?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg:    Children like autistic children, or others who have problems opening up, could benefit from oxytocin.  But, before we start talking about medical use of oxytocin, I believe we need a new system of ethics.  Unlike other ‘feel good’ drugs, oxytocin is very subtle.  People might not even realize that they’ve taken oxytocin.  An interesting study reported in the June 2005 issue of Nature examined the role of interpersonal trust and oxytocin.  Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich and his colleagues discovered that men who inhaled a nasal spray spiked with oxytocin gave more money to partners in a risky investment game than did the men who sniffed a spray with no active ingredient.  The researchers concluded that “oxytocin specifically affects an individual’s willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions.”

Can you imagine this happening without people knowing they have been exposed to oxytocin?  A good thing could be used for bad purposes.  Obviously, it will be wonderful if we can help autistic children and others who cannot open to interpersonal relationships, but we need to think deeply about the ethics involved in any larger use.

8. Do you believe that there is relationship between intuition and oxytocin?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Yes.  Oxytocin fosters openness.  I am convinced that intuition is one branch of that opening.  For example, nursing mothers report a profound connection with their children and often intuitively know what their babies want, although the babies can’t express themselves verbally.  I believe that this knowing is an intuitive process.  There are many interesting questions about how intuition might work.  For example, what is the difference between memories and images which seem to arise from the future? How can we keep intuitive images clear and not distorted by wishful thinking or psychological reactions? These are interesting questions which should be explored someday.

 

9.  Assuming that you could do any further research on oxytocin that you wanted, what would interest you?

Dr. Uväs-Moberg: Two of the most interesting frontiers in oxytocin research are (1) the mental, mind, or psychological state of a person and (2) the relationship between spirituality and oxytocin.  In the former, I am interested to know if seeing images or thinking about things that relax you also causes the release of oxytocin. The neuroscientist and author, Antonio Damasio of Iowa University, raised this issue in an editorial in the same June 2005 Nature.  When asked if he thought that crowds of shoppers might be persuaded to purchase more if they were sprayed with oxytocin, Damasio referred to slick marketing campaigns that people are already exposed to.  He said that these campaigns lure, ‘you in with images of wonderful landscapes or sex, and [they] probably work in exactly the same way.” I, too, suspect that this images release oxytocin, but research needs to be done on how oxytocin works with mind or mental states.

 

In the case of spirituality, it may be that prayer, contemplation, and meditation also activate oxytocin, but we have no way of knowing.  Energy medicine professionals are searching for ways to measure the physiology of body energy.  To date, I do not know of any reliable way to do this, but I believe that oxytocin will play a role and that common principles may be found in the Body/Mind/Spirit interaction.

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