Oxytocin – the hormone of love

9 min read
Oxytocin – the hormone of love
Picture: Rueangwit Sawangkaew | Dreamstime

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide and hormone that is responsible for social connections at an instinctive level.

In a number of studies, scientists have found that oxytocin is released during positive contacts, such as:

  • hugs;
  • sexual intercourse;
  • breastfeeding the baby.

Scientists have proven that the hormone also suppresses the feeling of fear and blocks panic. The increased content of the hormone helps to make decisions quickly in critical situations and gives confidence in one’s own actions.

Oxytocin increases altruism and influences generosity. During the experiment of Paul Zack in 2007, it was revealed that in the absence of xenophobia, people with an increased amount of the hormone show generosity. Participants in the experiment were more willing to help refugees in need.
  • Experimentally, scientists have found that the level of the hormone increases during orgasm in men and women. Numerous studies have proven the relationship between the human manifestation of trust, pleasure and excitement with the production of oxytocin.
  • The hormone is involved in the formation of attitudes towards people, builds trust, influences the perception of each other of the mother and child in the postpartum period, generates attraction to the opposite sex and encourages tactile contacts.
  • The concentration of the hormone increases intuitive abilities and helps to better perceive the attitude of others, and also causes a feeling of trust in loved ones and anxiety for them.

History of the discovery of oxytocin

The talented scientist Vincent du Vigno was fond of studying hormones. During the Second World War, the study of the posterior pituitary gland was suspended until 1947. During this period, the work of Craig, Moore and Stein was published, which helped Vincent in further research.

Using this information, the scientist was able to isolate the structure of oxytocin. In 1955, this discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Experimental studies by Ohio State scientists have shown that increasing oxytocin in the body has a beneficial effect on wound healing and speeds up recovery.

Oxytocin production

The peptide hormone oxytocin is produced in the area of the diencephalon, which affects neuroendocrine communication and body homeostasis. This area is called the hypothalamus.

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In this part of the brain, hormones are produced by the pituitary gland, and the interaction of the nervous and endocrine systems is formed. The hormone is stored in the pituitary gland and released into the blood as needed. Transportation of oxytocin into the blood occurs during a period of emotional arousal.

Happy hormones are endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. They are produced during the pleasant moments of life. The content of hormones in the body in the right amount creates a feeling of joy, comfort, self-confidence, lightness and fearlessness.

Oxytocin is released from neurosecretory nerve endings in the pituitary gland and stimulates brain activity associated with social behavior, fear and anxiety. The substance provides a sense of security born of trust.

The effect of oxytocin on other hormones

The interaction of oxytocin with other hormones, as well as the influence on each other, allows the use of hormone replacement therapy.

Oxytocin and testosterone

Excess oxytocin affects the decrease in testosterone levels. This leads to an imbalance in social behavior and hinders a person’s sound thinking. Testosterone is responsible for prudence and limitation in actions.

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A decrease in the level of the hormone against the background of an increase in oxytocin leads to suggestibility and obsession. Examples of such an imbalance are fanatics and sectarians. The opposite effect occurs with reduced oxytocin and increased testosterone. A person can behave aggressively, with signs of sociopathy and mental imbalance.

Oxytocin and estradiol

The production of estrogen steroid hormones in conjunction with the action of testosterone stimulates an increase in oxytocin in the hypothalamus of the brain.

Oxytocin and cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is released under stress. The decrease in hormone levels depends on the increase in oxytocin. Hugs, positive moments, and other factors that increase oxytocin levels will help to cope with stress.

Oxytocin functions

The effect of the hormone on sexual functions

Oxytocin is a love hormone that affects the elasticity of muscles, helps to deliver sperm to the egg. This provokes an improvement in reproductive function. The state of emotional excitement and feeling of care and love increase the production of the substance.

Sex drive

Scientists determined the level of oxytocin in the woman’s blood before the onset of arousal and during stimulation of the genital organs, scientists’ guesses about the effect of the substance on sexual desire were confirmed.

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Hormones that originate in the human head control sexual desire. They are produced under the influence of emotional outbursts and stimulate sexual activity. In men, a significant release of the hormone is observed during erection. This has a beneficial effect on emotional contact during intimacy.

Reduced urination

Studies have shown that in some animals, the hormone oxytocin stimulates sodium production by the kidneys, resulting in less urine. This is due to the similarity of the substance with vasopressin (antidiuretic peptide hormone). Special hormones affect the reduction of urination.

Influence on the heart

Oxytocin, produced in a stressful situation, helps to heal microtraumas of the heart. This is due to the presence of special receptors in the heart muscle that are susceptible to the hormone.

Confidence Hormone

The substance helps to strengthen the family union and relationships with loved ones. The production of oxytocin helps reduce anxiety and fear. These factors lead to the emergence of a trusting relationship.

Influence on alcohol sensitivity

Australian scientists conducted studies that showed that increased doses of the hormone oxytocin have a negative effect on the susceptibility of alcoholic beverages.

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Experts suggest that the method of increasing the substance in the body will help in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Adaptation in society

A sufficient amount of oxytocin helps a person to adapt more easily to a new society. This is due to increased trust and a friendly attitude.

Strengthen emotional memory

One of the functions of the hormone is associated with the storage of memories of pleasant moments and a state of emotional arousal. Due to the action of the substance, a person experiences the same emotions when remembering past events.

Influence on old muscles

The release of oxytocin stimulates the renewal of muscle cells. It rejuvenates the body and maintains health.

Protection functions

The hormone oxytocin increases your intuitive abilities, which helps you focus and take a defensive position in a timely manner.

Oxytocin and relationships

The debate on “Which Hormone Affects Relationships” boils down to the fact that oxytocin has a significant impact on people’s behavior. Violation of the production of the substance leads to indifference and apathy. This can cause family discord.

Picture: Javiindy | Dreamstime

An increase in the content of the hormone provokes frequent tactile contacts and the manifestation of care for loved ones. Such behavior will certainly lead to the strengthening of the marriage.

Children deprived of parental love and care:

  • show detachment and isolation;
  • adapt worse in society;
  • show stealth and a tendency to deceive.

Oxytocin is the hug hormone. Frequent manifestations of love and sincere hugs contribute to the release of substances from the pituitary gland and increase the adaptability of the child in society.

Hormone in the fight against autism

Treatment of autism with oxytocin has shown positive results in adults and children. There are improvements in the area of emotional manifestation and suppression of autistic behavior. The impact of oxytocin on a person with autism is not well understood, so it is difficult to assess the possible risks.

Oxytocin in women

During the lactation period in women, the hormone oxytocin stimulates the contraction of myoepithelial cells. This helps the production of the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for lactation. The substance enters the child’s body from milk and stimulates the production of neuropeptides in the infant’s pituitary gland. This gives the newborn a sense of security.

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Interesting fact! Research by American scientists in 2014 showed that oxytocin affects the readiness for reproduction. A high concentration of the hormone increases the ability to orgasm, and increases the chances of pregnancy.

Stimulation of uterine contractions with oxytocin. The increased content of the hormone in the body of a woman stimulates the smooth muscles of the uterus and leads to a contraction. During the first weeks of breastfeeding, the release of oxytocin can cause pain during uterine contractions. This helps the placenta to heal in the uterus.

Oxytocin during childbirth

During childbirth, a hormone is released, which contributes to the appearance of contractions. Contractions of the uterus, under the influence of the substance, help the child to be born. A pronounced effect of the substance is observed in pregnant women and nursing the baby.

Picture: Chesterf | Dreamstime

The hormone oxytocin is responsible during childbirth for the following factors:

  • Uterine contractions and fetal expulsion;
  • generic activity.

Oxytocin after childbirth

  • normal uterine tone;
  • removing lochia;
  • breast milk production;
  • emotional mood;
  • mother’s attachment to child.
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In addition, oxytocin is an attachment hormone that plays an important role in the lives of women and is responsible for the following aspects:

  • feeling of peace of mind and comfort;
  • sensuality during intercourse;
  • trusted partnerships;
  • care for offspring;
  • social ties with the opposite sex;
  • social connections.

Oxytocin in men

What is the hormone oxytocin responsible for in men?

  • Increased libido and testosterone release.
  • The perception of women and children.
  • Fight against prostate cancer cells.
  • An erection and seed selection.
  • Emotional perception of a partner during intercourse.
  • Relieve stress.
  • Decreases the critical evaluation of others.
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In sports, oxytocin is used to suppress cortisol, which leads to muscle growth, as well as to restore muscle tissue after a significant load.

Low Hormone

  • Impaired synthesis of oxytocin in the hypothalamus.
  • Low secretion from the pituitary gland.
  • The action of progesterone released at conception to maintain pregnancy.
  • Menopause.
  • Stressful situations.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Autism.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • AIDS and HIV infection.
  • The effect of narcotic drugs.
  • Infection of the brain.
Picture: Rueangwit Sawangkaew | Dreamstime

The consequences can be nervousness, withdrawal from society, isolation, depression.

How to increase the level of oxytocin?

  • You can stimulate the production of the hormone with the help of tactile contacts with loved ones. Its level increases with a handshake, hugs, a sense of moral support and mutual trust.
  • The substance is actively produced during sexual intercourse, massage, stimulation of the genital organs and orgasm.
  • Communication with animals increases the production of oxytocin.

What to include in your diet:

To increase the level of the hormone in the blood, nutritionists recommend adding the following foods to the diet:

  • avocado;
  • bananas;
  • kiwi;
  • dates;
  • garnet;
  • chocolate;
  • zucchini;
  • squash;
  • celery.

High hormone levels

With an excess of the hormone, the following deviations are observed:

  • sodium metabolism is disturbed and urination is reduced;
  • the threat of miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women;
  • testosterone is suppressed in men;
  • memory and perception of information are disturbed;
  • suggestibility increases.
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The cause of excess oxytocin can be:

  • pregnancy and lactation;
  • teamwork that brings satisfaction;
  • a large number of friends with whom a person develops a trusting relationship;
  • harmonious relations in the family, affection of spouses to each other and to children;
  • healthy lifestyle and diet food;
  • regular sex;
  • sports


The hormone oxytocin is released during certain stimuli, such as:

  • teamwork;
  • handshake;
  • hugs;
  • other tactile contacts;
  • showing trust.

To find out the level of oxytocin in the body, you need to take a blood test. Hormonal analysis will show the presence and content of the substance. Oxytocin is necessary to improve social adaptation. Controlling the level of the hormone in the blood will help you feel happy.

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