Popularly known as the love or happy hormone, oxytocin plays a huge role in giving positive vibes. It is a peptide hormone produced in the brain and supplied to the bloodstream. Oxytocin improves empathy, trust, generosity, and other likeable attributes. This article highlights some amazing oxytocin hormone facts you probably didn’t know. Continue reading to find out.
1. The Hypothalamus Produces Oxytocin
The hypothalamus is located deep inside the brain, the body’s smart control coordinating center. One of the ways through which it achieves this is by releasing the oxytocin hormone, which is then released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland, also located in the brain.
2. Its Basic Function Is To Stimulate Uterine Walls Contraction During Childbirth
Even though it has multiple functions, oxytocin’s primary role is stimulating the uterus to contract during childbirth. To achieve this, the hormone boosts the production of prostaglandins, which aid in cervical dilations. This explains why women with slow labor are sometimes given oxytocin to fasten the process.
After birth, oxytocin still plays a role in lactation. Other than fostering the bond between the mother and the infant, the hormone ensures milk moves from the breast ducts to the nipple.
3. Oxytocin Promotes Good Mental Health
According to research, oxytocin can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. It also promotes trust, empathy, gazing, positive communication, relaxation, and general psychological stability.
4. Oxytocin Promotes Bonding
Oxytocin is critical for forming bonds, especially in humans. For females, the brain releases the hormone during sexual activities, with vasopressin/antidiuretic hormone (ADH) thought to have the same effects on males.
5. Injecting Virgin Rats With Oxytocin Can Trigger Maternal Behaviors
A study on rats shows oxytocin can trigger maternal behaviors if injected into virgin rats. Some of the characteristics exhibited by the specimen included licking unfamiliar pups, building homes, and taking in lost puppies to their nests.
6. Oxytocin Plays A role in Bonding Between Humans And Dogs
A study conducted in 2003 revealed that both dogs’ and humans oxytocin levels rose after 5-24 minute petting session. This possibly explains why the pets are regarded as man’s best friend.
7. Kissing and Nipple Sucking Stimulates Promotes Oxytocin Release
When a baby is breastfeeding, the sensitivity in the nipple triggers the release of oxytocin and, eventually, milk production. Interestingly, research shows that kissing and hugging for adults boosts oxytocin levels, making bonding and trusting easier.
8. Oxytocin System Develops From Childhood
In humans, the oxytocin system develops from childbirth. If this system is underdeveloped, experts say that there are higher chances that the baby will be prone to drug and alcoholism addiction in future.
9. Oxytocin Is In the Same Category As Dopamine, Endorphins, and Serotonin
Dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are certified triggers for positive emotions. With its ability to promote trust, loyalty, generosity, and relaxation, oxytocin falls under this category, too.
10. Oxytocin Was Discovered in the Early 1900s
Sir Henry H. Dale is credited with discovering oxytocin in 1906. Of course, the hormone was always there; Dale just found out its functions after studying an extract from a human’s posterior pituitary gland.
Dale, an extraordinary English pharmacologist, discovered that oxytocin affected uterine contractions in women during childbirth. Vincent du Vigneaud discovered its molecular structure in 1952.
11. Oxytocin Means “Rapid Birth”
After its discovery, scientists named the peptide hormone “oxytocin”, meaning rapid/swift birth. This is in relation to its basic function of aiding child delivery.
12. Staring At A Dog in the Eyes Boosts Oxytocin Levels
When a person and a dog stare at each other, they have oxytocin spikes. This further promotes their bonding abilities.
13. There Are Oxytocin Supplements
People who can’t produce enough oxytocin hormones can take supplements their healthcare specialists prescribe. They come in various forms, such as sublingual, oral, and topical creams. Natural ways of boosting its supply are also available, including regular exercise and natural interaction with other people.