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Oxytocin –The love hormone

Oxytocin –The love hormone

Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. It is associated with maternal nurturing, social attachments, childbirth and sex. Without oxytocin people could not be sitting harmoniously together in a group setting. It’s Oxytocin that builds community and creates bonds between people.


Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. It is associated with maternal nurturing, social attachments, childbirth and sex. Without oxytocin people could not be sitting harmoniously together in a group setting. It’s Oxytocin that builds community and creates bonds between people. 

One of the best example of how oxytocin works is “baby lust”. After 36 hours of labor pain, the baby is finally born. And a mother forgets the all the pain and looks at her child and sees the most beautiful baby in the world. The father on the other hand, sees a cone head and red, blotchy skin. As much as he wants to, it’s much more difficult for the father to see a beautiful baby. But to the mother, she is holding the most beautiful precious thing in the world. That’s oxytocin. 

Oxytocin is the glue that binds and keeps people together. Now ever year you hear about some woman that kills her baby when it’s born and people say “that’s a horrible woman” but what happens in that woman she never produces enough oxytocin. So to her, that baby is not a lovable baby but it’s a parasite, something that is clinging to her, something to be killed or destroyed. And think from that mother’s point of view, the baby grows and takes all of its nutrients from her bone, the calcium the magnesium, everything it takes from the mother. So it is a kind of parasite. If you do not have oxytocin, you cannot bond with the baby and this creates the “baby blues” or worse. So new mothers need to increase their oxytocin. The more the baby is next to you and the breast, breast feed which is stimulation of the nipple, this creates more oxytocin, creating more bonding. 

Oxytocin is found in women AND men. It plays a very important part in relationships, the more time that we spend with someone the more we bind with them. Touch such as when you hug, hold hands or caress, they are all part of increasing oxytocin. So hugging is very important in any group. The more you hug the more you bond with each other. This creates a better relationship and a sense of community. The simplest things, like a hug, can play a huge part in our relationships. So hugging is the cheapest medicines that you can take. It will help you with your kids, spouse and friends.

Now you may also know people who hug you and you walk out and feel drained. Some people drain you. They are like emotional vampires. We’ve always known this but we are now studying these things. And we are finding that it has a lot to do with these hormones, the magnetic field, the heart understanding that the whole body functions together. 

So the point is that even though we talk a lot about hormones, when it comes to relationships, you can’t separate it. It’s all of you. From the time you are born to the time you die, what clothes you wear, what you eat, how you feel, they ALL impact the relationships. So just going to a psychologist and sitting down and talking to them is never going to solve your problem. In fact, some data came out that says that those go to marriage counselors, more of them are getting divorced. In the best university studies that maintained close supervision of participating therapists, 11% -18% of couples made meaningful gains that lasted more than a year. Once out in the “real” world, more than 43% of couples seeking marital therapy are separated or divorced after 5 years. There is a lot more to the contact component in a relationship and it should not be ignored. 

This hormone may also help with forming social memories, by strengthening previous associations, whether good or bad. When looking at long term marriages and relationships, the bond is strongest in those who were able to “weather the storm together.” Oxytocin helps imprint the “history” which keeps us together. 

Oxytocin is also the first anti-aging molecule that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use in humans. Research studies may prove oxytocin to be the latest treatment target for age-related muscle wasting, or sarcopenia. In addition, some researchers also predict 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. Clinical trials of an oxytocin nasal spray are also underway to alleviate symptoms associated with mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and dementia. 

References: 

Integrative Longevity Institute of Virginia: Hormones: What’s sex got to do with it? June 2014 
http://www.marriageguardian.com/marriage-counseling-statistics.html 
John Gottman, Ph.D., The Marriage Clinic: A Scientifically Based Marital Therapy (Norton Professional Books), WW Norton & Company, Inc., 1999. P.5 
http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/06/10/oxytocin-helps-muscle-regeneration/ 
http://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html

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