Oxytocin is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, best known for its role in childbirth where it causes the uterus to contract in labour and promotes the movement of milk for breastfeeding.
But oxytocin’s role goes much further, and across genders. It also works in our nervous system to play an important role in bonding and relationships.
Here on Valentine’s Day, you might be getting a little extra dose–oxytocin is released by both men and women when we are in love!
But that’s not all. The little love hormone also helps:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase feelings of calmness and security.
- Increase feelings of contentment
- Reduce the release of cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone
- Reduce inflammation
- Accelerate healing
- Increase pain tolerance
- Reduce withdrawal symptoms
- Increase creativity
- Increase social enjoyment.
- Increase positive personality traits such as empathy, warmth, trust, and openness
With such a great list of benefits, how do we get more of it? The best way to get more is to spread the love! Try some of these:
- Hug someone (but ask first)
- Tell someone you love and appreciate them
- Give a gift, surprise someone for no reason
- Share a meal
- Meditate while focusing on others
- Pet a dog
- Sing with others
- Consider supplements that affect oxytocin levels, like:
- Vitamin D. Oxytocin is directly activated by Vitamin D. Deficiency of vitamin D is so common. Another good reason to get tested and supplement accordingly.
- Vitamin C. Oxytocin synthesis is directly dependant on vitamin C.
- Magnesium. Critical for the function of the oxytocin receptor. This is the part of our cells that actually allow the hormone to work.
- The probiotic strain lactobacillus reuteri. Increases oxytocin levels in the brain. Another reason why an imbalance in your gut flora affects mood.
Other hormones like estrogen and melatonin can affect oxytocin levels, too. Working with a doctor that is skilled in bioidentical hormone therapy can help! For more information on hormones–and love–contact us anytime. 🙂
Have you seen our latest clinic chalkboard? It’s all about oxytocin–drop by and check it out!