The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin: Some interesting facts about it
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized organ located near the base of the brain. Its posterior lobe is responsible for the production of the hormone oxytocin.
According to the Center, it is also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone” since it is produced when individuals cuddle up with one another or bond with one another socially. According to study that was published in 2017 , the simple act of playing with your dog might produce an increase in oxytocin levels. However, their names might lead one to the wrong conclusion.
Oxytocin has been shown to amplify negative memories of past bonding experiences, such as those that occur when males have strained connections with their mothers. It has the potential to make individuals less tolerant of those they perceive to be on the outside. To put it another way, the context plays a significant role in determining whether oxytocin makes a person feel warm and fuzzy toward people or wary of them.
OXYTOCIN IN WOMEN
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a significant role in the female reproductive system. “Oxytocin is a peptide that is produced in the brain that was first recognised for its role in the birth process, as well as in nursing.”Oxytocin was first recognised for its role in the birth process, and also in nursing.”
According the hormone helps the uterus shrink after delivery and enhances the strength and frequency of uterine contractions during labour. In addition, the hormone helps raise the rate at which the uterus contracts during labour. Oxytocin is secreted by the mother’s body in response to the stimulation that occurs when an infant suckles at their mother’s breast. This oxytocin then instructs the body to “let down” milk for the infant to swallow.
Oxytocin is also beneficial to the mother-child bonding process. According to what Young told Live Science, there have been studies that demonstrate “female rats perceive babies to be unpleasant if [the females are] virgins.” However, once females have given birth, their brains undergo a change that causes them to find the puppies attractive, as he said. And identical observations are found in people.
When a mother’s oxytocin levels were greater during the first trimester of pregnancy, she was more likely to participate in bonding activities with her unborn child, such as singing to or washing her infant.
Oxytocin, which is released throughout pregnancy, “seems to have a role in motivation and feelings of connectedness to a baby,” said Young. Even though parental bonding might not be hardwired — after all, human females could indeed adopt children and take care of them — oxytocin, which is announced during infertility, “does seem to have a role in motivation and feelings of connectedness to a baby.” In addition, he mentioned that studies have shown that when an adult interacts with a newborn, the infant’s own oxytocin levels rise as a result of the interaction.
OXYTOCIN IN MEN
Oxytocin has a role in men’s ability to form bonds. According to Live Science, earlier study found that fathers who received a spike of oxytocin using a drug called played more actively with their 5-month-old kids than those who did not receive the hormone zap. (There is still another hormone known as vasopressin, which plays a more significant part in the bonding process for males.)
The fact that oxytocin can have a negative impact on social interaction adds another layer of complexity to the situation. Researchers observed that a snort of the hormone, their attitudes toward imaginary Dutch people changed for the better, but their attitudes toward fictional characters with Arab or German names changed for the worst.
The discovery implies that the social bonding benefits of oxytocin are focused towards whoever a person views as being part of their in-group.
In a another research, male participants were given a dosage of oxytocin and then asked to think back on their relationships with their mothers. After receiving the hormone dosage, those individuals whose relationships were stable described their mothers as being more compassionate.
Those who already had bad connections with their moms saw their mothers to have less compassion for them after getting the dosage. According to the researchers who conducted the study, the hormone may aid with the creation of social memories; therefore, a whiff enhances earlier connections, regardless of whether they were positive or negative.
Young stated that his understanding of what oxytocin is doing in the brain is that it is making social information more prominent. “It helps link those areas to the brain’s reward system and connects sections of the brain that are concerned in processing nonverbal cues, whether it’s sights, faces, sounds, or odours.”
OXYTOCIN AND ANXIETY
Oxytocin is capable of producing contrasting reactions, in addition to its role in the formation of social relationships and the growth of trust between individuals. Anxiety and jealousy can be caused by the production of oxytocin in a certain region of the brain. The researchers added in a statement that their findings.
In most people, the hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is responsible for producing oxytocin. However, there are occasions when the hormone is generated in what is known as the “bed nucleus of the stria terminalis” (BNST). The reaction that the body has to stress is mostly controlled by this region of the brain.
In the study, the researchers examined the brains and behaviours of mice, and they discovered that the mice exhibited symptoms of social anxiety when oxytocin was created in the BNST. This was discovered when the researchers observed that the animals exhibited these indicators.
WHAT ARE OXYTOCIN SPRAYS?
Oxytocin nasal sprays have also been examined for use in the treatment of autism, a neurological illness that is characterised by difficulties in social functioning. Increased levels of the hormone oxytocin in autistic children have been shown to improve their ability to interact socially.
In this study, which recruited 32 youngsters ranging in age from 6 to 12, researchers discovered that this medication had the greatest influence on those individuals who had the lowest natural levels of oxytocin prior to receiving it.
However, the use of oxytocin injections outside of a clinical setting is much more fraught with danger. The sprays that can be purchased online without either a medication promise to relieve tension and make it easier to interact with others. Granted approval for their use in the treatment of depression that was resistant to previous treatments. Regarding the other therapies, not much is known regarding the effectiveness of the sprays or their potential adverse effects.
The majority of studies only give participants a single dosage of the hormone, therefore there are no long-term studies on the potential adverse effects of the genuine oxytocin sprays that are utilised in hormone research. According to Healthline, pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin that is administered intravenously in order to promote labour. There is a possibility that this will prevent difficulties with delayed deliveries; however, there is also a possibility that this could result in the uterus being overstimulated.