These days people are more connected than ever before.
Thanks to the internet and all the many available portable communication gadgets, you’re always a few clicks away from literally every person on the planet.
At the same time, many people feel lonelier and more socially isolated.1NIA , Loneliness and Social Isolation — Tips for Staying ConnectedNIA . 2021
One possible remedy to bridge this loneliness gap is Oxytocin, the love hormone.
The oxytocin hormone enhances sociability and feelings of connectedness which are missing in this era of hyperconnectivity.2Etsuro Ito et al A novel role of oxytocin: Oxytocin-induced well-being in humansBiophys Physicobiol. 2019
The following article highlights some simple, natural ways to increase oxytocin production for enhanced cognitive and physical health benefits.
What Is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone that is essential for both men and women
Social interaction acts to produce and release oxytocin in the body, and not just during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.3Marie Prevost et al, Oxytocin in Pregnancy and the Postpartum: Relations to Labor and Its ManagementFront Public Health. 20144Heon-Jin Lee et al Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 20095Maria Rosaria Melis et al, Oxytocin, Erectile Function and Sexual Behavior: Last Discoveries and Possible AdvancesInt J Mol Sci. 2021
It acts as a chemical messenger to different body parts, especially reproductive organs and the brain.
The release of oxytocin is associated with several critical processes in the brain.
It affects not only cognition but also mood, instinct, arousal, and even how people interact.
So this effect of the love hormone can affect how a man and a woman see each other, not only as friends but also as partners, as it gives them that love connection.
Not only that, but oxytocin can also affect how a mother or father interacts with and establishes a mutual bond with their children.6Heon-Jin Lee et al Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 2009
In this regard, oxytocin is both a hormone and a nootropic that has a variety of applications and benefits for the body, especially the brain.
Role in Pregnancy, Childbirth, and After Birth
Oxytocin plays a role in pregnancy, childbirth, and the period after childbirth called the postpartum period.
Oxytocin helps in uterine contractions, which can help induce labor in pregnancy.
It also persists until childbirth due to the frequent contractions due to the increasing levels of oxytocin.7L J Parry, The role of oxytocin and regulation of uterine oxytocin receptors in pregnant marsupialsExp Physiol. 2000
After childbirth, the levels of oxytocin are still high enough to promote contraction of the uterus back to its normal state, preventing bleeding.8Marie Prevost et al, Oxytocin in Pregnancy and the Postpartum: Relations to Labor and Its ManagementFront Public Health. 2014
Childbirth is painful, but once the baby is delivered, oxytocin immediately gives the mother positive feelings of the birth of new life.
Role in Lactation
Oxytocin release is also found in lactation.
The mammary glands in the breasts respond to oxytocin since they also contain the oxytocin receptor.
Oxytocin causes muscle tissue contractions near the mammary glands, resulting in milk ejection.9Vanessa Lollivier et al, Oxytocin stimulates secretory processes in lactating rabbit mammary epithelial cellsJ Physiol. 2006
Several studies found that breastfeeding initiation and interaction by the infant with the mother trigger oxytocin production.10Kerstin UvnäsMoberg et al, Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding—A systematic reviewPLoS One. 2020
Role in Social Bonding and Behavior
It’s believed that oxytocin can influence people in forming social interactions.
This is what we call social memory.
Social memory forms when the brain starts to remember the faces of individuals from social interactions either by their looks or scent.
This can be helpful in facial emotion recognition deficits.
Not only that, but oxytocin plays a role in maternal and paternal behaviors regarding the relationship between parent and child.
It is suggested in studies that oxytocin, especially in females, promotes maternal behavior and maternal care.11Heon-Jin Lee et al, Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 2009
Role in Sexual Arousal
Oxytocin is also called the love hormone or a cuddle hormone as it plays a role in sexual arousal.
Studies show that sexual intimacy and arousal depend on oxytocin levels in the blood.
With the establishment of emotional intimacy, plasma oxytocin levels tend to increase and are higher when there is arousal.
Nonnoxious sensory stimulation such as physical contact triggers the increase in hormone levels in sexual intimacy and arousal.12Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg et al, Self-soothing behaviors with particular reference to oxytocin release induced by non-noxious sensory stimulationFront Psychol. 2014
In this light, increasing the love hormone oxytocin may promote and maintain sexual health. 13Nicoletta Cera et al, How Relevant is the Systemic Oxytocin Concentration for Human Sexual Behavior? A Systematic ReviewSex Med. 2021
How Normal Oxytocin Production Works
Like all hormone production, oxytocin synthesis starts in the hypothalamus part of the brain.
It is produced in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei in the hypothalamus.
It is then transported to the posterior part of the pituitary gland.
Some of the oxytocin hormones is distributed to the dendrites in nerve cells in the brain, which help coordinate the transmission of neuronal signals.
This distribution of oxytocin can affect brain health and has a lot of implications and applications.14Heon-Jin Lee et al, Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 2009
What triggers the release of oxytocin?
Oxytocin levels are increased in a variety of scenarios.
One is stimulation of the nipple when breastfeeding.
When the baby attempts to breastfeed, the lips and mouth of the baby latches on to the breast.
As the baby sucks on the nipple, it will release oxytocin into the breast.
Oxytocin release induced the ejection of milk from the mammary glands in the breast.15Vanessa Lollivier et al Oxytocin stimulates secretory processes in lactating rabbit mammary epithelial cellsJ Physiol. 2006
Another is during pregnancy, wherein there is a positive feedback loop of the release of oxytocin in labor and delivery.
As the fetus develops over time, the production of oxytocin receptors in the uterus increases.16G G Zeeman et al, Oxytocin and its receptor in pregnancy and parturition: current concepts and clinical implicationsObstet Gynecol. 1997
When the mother arrives in the third trimester of late pregnancy, the number of oxytocin receptors increases dramatically, preparing to accommodate oxytocin flowing from the pituitary gland.
This would then trigger the positive feedback loop.
As the uterus contracts, more oxytocin is required.
The body then tends to produce oxytocin more and will continue to do so until the delivery of the baby.17L J Parry, R A Bathgate, The role of oxytocin and regulation of uterine oxytocin receptors in pregnant marsupialsExp Physiol. 2000
Lastly, there is social interaction, both for men and women.
Oxytocin levels increase when there is social bonding, especially between parent and child.
There is increased oxytocin production in the event of forming social memory and affiliation.
These are often the case in social interaction wherein memories of scents and faces are associated with oxytocin levels.18Heon-Jin Lee et al, Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 2009
Oxytocin And Mental Health
How Oxytocin Affects Brain Chemistry
Increasing oxytocin is not only a question of pregnancy or breastfeeding alone but it can also be applied to mental health.
Besides a healthy diet, medications, and therapy, mental health problems can arise from oxytocin deficiency.
Oxytocin research suggests a relationship between oxytocin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.
These affect overall brain chemistry, which can affect motivation and reward.
Oxytocin, in this respect, acts as a chemical messenger between the parts of the brain and promotes brain health.
The role of oxytocin in the brain has many implications.
It can help with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, and borderline personality disorder.19Tiffany M. Love, PhD, Oxytocin, Motivation and the Role of DopaminePharmacol Biochem Behav. 2014
One study shows oxytocin helps stimulate dopamine release in neurons, playing an essential role in the brain’s reward system due to motivation by the other neurotransmitters.
This may effectively prove that oxytocin is one of the happy hormones.
Happy hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin can help the body manage stress and induce positive emotions.20Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg , Maria Petersson, Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healingZ Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005
Oxytocin and Gut Health
How does the gut affect oxytocin levels?
Oxytocin is known to have benefits for the reproductive system and the nervous system.
Scientists are now trying to establish the relationship between oxytocin and gut microbiota or gut bacteria.
It is thought that bacteria in our gut play a role in increasing oxytocin naturally.
Studies were done, and it was found that bacteria play a role in the expression or production of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is produced because of how our immune system interacts with the ever-changing composition of our gut bacteria.
Changes in gut microbiota result in the stimulation of the nervous system to increase oxytocin.
The finding in this study is astounding as maintaining gut health can help the body produce more oxytocin. With a proper diet and food intake, we can boost oxytocin naturally. 21Minshi Huang et al, Serum Oxytocin Level Correlates With Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Children With Autism Spectrum DisorderFront. Neurosci., 01 October 2021
There are even suggestions in studies that ingestion of probiotic bacteria can help give an oxytocin boost which can help in mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.22Susan E.Erdman, Oxytocin and the microbiomeCurrent Opinion in Endocrine and Metabolic Research. 2021
Is there a supplement that boosts oxytocin?
Some companies sell an oxytocin supplement, but this is made from synthetic oxytocin.
Oxytocin supplements can increase oxytocin, but it is important to note that our bodies are already capable of producing our much-needed oxytocin.
But there are more ways to boost oxytocin levels without using oxytocin supplements.
The following methods that will be discussed increase oxytocin naturally.
How To Naturally Increase Oxytocin Levels
Studies that lifestyle changes such as stress level management are one of the most effective ways to increase oxytocin levels.
In one study, it was shown that injection of oxytocin reduces the levels of cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that is increased with increasing stress levels.
Increased cortisol levels result in alteration of metabolic processes such as the increased supply of blood glucose and fatty acids in the circulation.
In a sedentary lifestyle, the effects of cortisol can be detrimental.23Tiffany M Love The impact of oxytocin on stress: the role of sexCurr Opin Behav Sci. 2018 24T Barowicz, Inhibitory effect of adrenaline on oxytocin release in the ewe during the milk-ejection reflexJ Dairy Res. 1979
To combat stress, we use the following techniques and the promotion of self-soothing behaviors.
Meditation and breathing exercises help increase oxytocin naturally.25Patty Van Cappellen et al, Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditationSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016
These methods increase oxytocin by promoting a sound and clear mind, which can combat cortisol levels that arise from stress and can even help manage blood pressure.
Some products and apps can help you meditate.
Othership is my #1 go-to app for breathwork and meditation.
The app has a massive library of breathing exercises that help you achieve whatever mindset you’re looking to experience.
You can choose exercises that help you relax, focus, energize, sleep better, or just clear negative thoughts.26Patty Van Cappellen et al, Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditationSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016
I particularly love the “night night” category which include chakra clearing and yoga Nidra exercises that help with deep sleep.
Many reviewers have stated how this app has changed their mindset through the day.
After using this app, you’ll feel more present with a more profound sense of connection to others. Not least of which is due to a rise in oxytocin.
Get a free 2-week trial and experience it for yourself w. the code below:
Check out this link for more info: https://othership.onelink.me/loJo/ErikAbramowitz
Red light sauna
Regular use of red light sauna is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
The combination of near-infrared light and sauna heat is a potent 1-2 punch for your endocrine system’s ability to make feel-good hormones like oxytocin.27Laura Marinela Ailioaie et al Photobiomodulation and Sports: Results of a Narrative ReviewLife 2021
You also get a boost of mitochondrial performance and heat shock proteins for upgraded physical well-being, which also helps with oxytocin release.28Masaki Iguchi et al Heat stress and cardiovascular, hormonal, and heat shock proteins in humansJ Athl Train. 201229Michael R. Hamblin, Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in PhotobiomodulationPhotochem Photobiol. 2018
The red light actually helps with meditation and mindfulness breathing.
The warm mood of the room can help you clear your mind to increase oxytocin.30Hai-Chao Ren et al Revealing the Relationship between Electric Fields and the Conformation of Oxytocin Using Quasi-Static Amide-I Two-Dimensional Infrared SpectraACS Omega. 2022
Entering a sauna room can also help relieve pain as a result of the penetrating warm temperature of the room.
This method also supports bone health, improve blood circulation, and have a better sleep.
Sauna Space is my #1 Red Light sauna choice.
It has an EMF-Blocking Shield which can help maximize the benefits of the red light
Electromagnetic fields or EMF can cause alterations in how the body reacts to the environment.
The red light actually helps with meditation and mindfulness breathing.
The warm mood of the room can help you clear your mind to increase oxytocin.31Hai-Chao Ren et al Revealing the Relationship between Electric Fields and the Conformation of Oxytocin Using Quasi-Static Amide-I Two-Dimensional Infrared SpectraACS Omega. 2022
Therefore, it can affect our experience in achieving calmness and relief.
This product is being sold online and has a great following.
Many users love the product as it blocks the EMF and the results show that the EMF-Blocking Shield helped them improve their red light sauna experience.
Check out this link for more info: https://sauna.space/
Yoga is a relaxation technique that employs body stretches that eases away tension and stress.
Yoga increases oxytocin levels as the body is geared towards personal motivation for physical, emotional and spiritual growth in meditation.32Katja Hoehne et al, Plasma oxytocin is modulated by mental training, but does not mediate its stress-buffering effectPsychoneuroendocrinology. 202233Patty Van Cappellen et al, Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditationSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016
One study tested the effect of yoga therapy on facial emotion recognition deficits in patients with schizophrenia.
The results of the study showed that plasma oxytocin levels increase with yoga therapy and have even treated some symptoms of schizophrenia. 34N. Jayaram et al, Effect of yoga therapy on plasma oxytocin and facial emotion recognition deficits in patients of schizophreniaIndian J Psychiatry. 2013
Such effects of oxytocin in the brain indeed have implications in treating other illnesses relating to mood and even improving cognitive performance.
Physical activity affects one’s mood and cognition by activating the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala.
The overall effects on the brain coupled with the rise in endorphins improve cognition and mood.
Additionally, it was found in a study that aerobic exercise of at least 10 minutes increases oxytocin levels.35Oğuz Yüksel et al, Regular Aerobic Voluntary Exercise Increased Oxytocin in Female Mice: The Cause of Decreased Anxiety and Increased Empathy-Like BehaviorsBalkan Med J. 2019
The increase in oxytocin levels were found in the hypothalamus, brainstem, and nucleus solitarius in the brain.36Oğuz Yüksel, Regular Aerobic Voluntary Exercise Increased Oxytocin in Female Mice: The Cause of Decreased Anxiety and Increased Empathy-Like BehaviorsBalkan Med J. 2019
Not only is oxytocin a love hormone but it is both a hormone and nootropic.
Friendship and companionship
Oxytocin is called the love hormone for this particular purpose.
Friendship and companionship both increase oxytocin levels in several ways.
The initiation of physical touch establishes intimacy and sincerity in a relationship.
Physical touch stimulates the production of oxytocin and further social interaction increases oxytocin levels.
This love hormone is especially evident in companionship such as marriage.
Instilling a personal social bond increases levels of oxytocin to both partners and can have additional benefits, especially to their children.37Katja Hoehne et al, Plasma oxytocin is modulated by mental training, but does not mediate its stress-buffering effectPsychoneuroendocrinology. 2022
Increases in oxytocin can also help improve maternal and paternal instincts of love and protection for their children.38Heon-Jin Lee et al, Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of LifeProg Neurobiol. 2009
There is a particular product that can help stimulate oxytocin release, the Apollo Neuro Wearable.
This product clinically improves Heart Rate Variability or HRV.
The product stimulates physical touch by emitting low-frequency vibrations that lower physical stress and can even calm the nervous system.
The brain is then conditioned to be calm and the calmness helps produce more oxytocin. 39Etsuro Ito et al, A novel role of oxytocin: Oxytocin-induced well-being in humansBiophys Physicobiol. 2019
Having a healthy HRV can help reduce stress and anxiety, and ultimately improves the quality of life.
The wearable comes with the Apollo Neuro App and has several modes that can match the desired mood and level of meditation at any time of the day.
A lot of wearers of the product have used the product several times a day to manage stress and increase oxytocin levels.
Check out this link for more info: https://holisticnootropics.com/apollo-neuro-wearable-full-review-discount-code/
One way to increase oxytocin levels is through the use of supplements.
Bioptimizers Gut supplements
Bioptimizers Gut Supplements were developed based on the principle of oxytocin production in relation to the gut microbiota composition.
It is believed that the love hormone is affected by the composition of gut microbiota. 40S E Erdman , T Poutahidis Microbes and Oxytocin: Benefits for Host Physiology and BehaviorInt Rev Neurobiol. 2016
With the ingestion of probiotics, it can help increase oxytocin levels.41Minshi Huang et al, Serum Oxytocin Level Correlates With Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Children With Autism Spectrum DisorderFront. Neurosci., 01 October 2021
To optimally achieve the proper gut microbiota composition, there are 4 products that are made by Bioptimizers.
Masszymes contain a full spectrum of digestive enzymes that optimize digestive function.
They help improve the gut’s ability to break down food resulting in better digestion.
Proper digestion of nutrients are better absorbed by the gut flora leading to increased oxytocin levels.42S E Erdman , T Poutahidis, Microbes and Oxytocin: Benefits for Host Physiology and BehaviorInt Rev Neurobiol. 2016
They can even help a leaky gut and those with food sensitivities by outnumbering the bacterial triggers with normal gut flora.
Check out this link for more info: https://bioptimizers.com/shop/products/masszymes
HCl Breakthrough contains 100% plant-based betaine HCl in addition to the full-spectrum digestive enzymes.
This product is particularly useful in those with indigestion due to low levels of hydrochloric acid or HCl in the stomach.
HCl helps to break down the bulk of the food ingested.
It breaks down large carbohydrates and proteins to release monosaccharides, disaccharides, and amino acids.
It also helps to absorb the much-needed minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese which are important in maintaining normal body physiology.
These minerals can also help improve the immune system.
The combined effect of improved digestibility by HCl and the addition of the full-spectrum digestive enzymes lead to optimized gut microbiota levels.
This results in increased oxytocin in the body.43Minshi Huang et al, Serum Oxytocin Level Correlates With Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Children With Autism Spectrum DisorderFront. Neurosci., 2021
In addition, the absorption of vitamin B12 can partner with the increase in oxytocin to improve mood and cognition.44 Jiarui Yang et al, A new approach of ocular nebulization with vitamin B12 versus oxytocin for the treatment of dry eye disease: an in vivo confocal microscopy studyDrug Des Devel Ther. 2019
Check out this link for more info: https://bioptimizers.com/shop/products/hcl-breakthrough
Biome breakthrough – chocolate
Who said that supplements can be taken in capsule form?
With Biome Breakthrough – Chocolate, taking probiotics to improve gut health is now more enjoyable with a scoop of chocolate to drink.
It has all the benefits of taking probiotics to increase oxytocin by improving gut health.45Minshi Huang et al, Serum Oxytocin Level Correlates With Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Children With Autism Spectrum DisorderFront. Neurosci., 01 October 202146S E Erdman , T Poutahidis, Microbes and Oxytocin: Benefits for Host Physiology and BehaviorInt Rev Neurobiol. 2016
It also improves a healthy immune response, increases nutrient absorption, reduces gut inflammation, and can even raise energy levels.
Check out this link for more info: https://bioptimizers.com/shop/products/biome-breakthrough-chocolate
Bioptimized Digestive Health stack
Bioptimized Digestive Health Stack is the ultimate provision of all your gut health needs.
It has MassZymes, P3OM, and HCl breakthroughs.
A combination of all these supplements is entirely proteolytic in nature so they are designed to break down protein, releasing the much-needed amino acids for the gut flora.
The available nutrients for the gut flora allow them to flourish and maintain a healthy gut.
A healthy gut would result in healthy oxytocin levels in the body.47Minshi Huang et al, Serum Oxytocin Level Correlates With Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Children With Autism Spectrum DisorderFront. Neurosci., 01 October 202148S E Erdman , T Poutahidis, Microbes, and Oxytocin: Benefits for Host Physiology and BehaviorInt Rev Neurobiol. 2016
Check out this link for more info: https://bioptimizers.com/shop/products/bioptimized-digestive-health-stack
Magnesium Breakthrough contains 7 bioavailable forms of magnesium which has several benefits.
It is great for sleep, it can boost overall cognitive ability, and can even boost overall health at an affordable price.
Magnesium helps in increasing oxytocin production and sensitivity to its receptor in the body.
What normally improves the activity of oxytocin, magnesium improves further.49Vimala N Bharadwaj et al, Impact of Magnesium on Oxytocin Receptor FunctionPharmaceutics. 202250F A Antoni and S E Chadio, Essential role of magnesium in oxytocin-receptor affinity and ligand specificity.Biochem J. 1989
That is why magnesium is a great partner for oxytocin.
Check out this link for more info: https://holisticnootropics.com/magnesium-breakthrough-review/
Studies show that Vitamin D plays a role in activating the release of oxytocin, serotonin, and vasopressin.
Vitamin D regulates metabolic processes that regulate the release of oxytocin, which can also help improve mood and cognition.51Rhonda Patrick, PhD et al, Causal link found between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis and autism in new studysciencedaily. 2014
There are many sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is found in foods such as eggs, cod liver oil, red meat, and dairy.
Vitamin C is a vitamin commonly found in citrus fruits.
Vitamin C plays a role not only in collagen production and tissue repair but also in oxytocin activity.
It catalyzes a series of reactions that ensures the maximal activity of oxytocin in the body. 52Shailja Chambial et al, Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An OverviewIndian J Clin Biochem. 2013
Testing Oxytocin Levels
Oxytocin levels can be tested using plasma, serum, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and saliva and are measured by immunoassays and spectrometry.
These are sensitive tests that can identify and quantify oxytocin in the body.
Immunoassays work by binding oxytocin with antibodies that bind in a matrix. 53Damien Gruson, PhD, The Emergence of Oxytocin AssaysClinical Laboratory News.2019
The concentration of oxytocin is then determined.
For spectrometry, it is a more sophisticated way of quantifying oxytocin by liquid chromatography with a projection of UV spectrophotometry.
Illuminated spots in the chromatography medium are then quantified for oxytocin content.