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Oxytocin – the love hormone

Did you know that oxytocin, the ‘love hormone,’ not only strengthens bonds but also plays a crucial role in your overall well-being? World-renowned family therapist, Virginia Satir, is famous for saying “We need  4 hugs a day for survival. We need  8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”. Studies show that at least 7 hugs a day are needed for optimum oxytocin levels!1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15740822/

Oxytocin is a hormone released by the thymus gland2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3961493/ located just above the heart. When connecting with friends and loved ones, you may notice a warm tingly feeling – this is oxytocin at play 🥰 A wave of oxytocin is released when you fall in love, have babies or when you are with someone you trust.

Oxytocin facilitates social bonding and the feeling of responsibility to others. Too much and we may be overly dependent on others. Too little and we may not build relationships or use networks for support.Patricia Peyton author of wellbeing book, Physical Intelligence

Your levels of oxytocin are determined by how safe or how threatened you feel. If you feel isolated or stressed, your cortisol (stress hormone) rises. If you spend too much time on screens your dopamine increases. Having too much dopamine (reward hormone) is linked to aggressive, impulsive and potentially selfish behaviour. Oxytocin is a remedy in both examples, encouraging generous, loving and socially interactive behaviour.

How can I increase oxytocin?

  • Yoga
  • Listen to music
  • Connecting with friends & family
  • A massage
  • Hugs & cuddles
  • Do a good deed
  • Pet your cat or dog

Benefits of oxytocin

This love hormone reduces blood pressure3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477297/#:~:text=Subcutaneous%20injections%20of%20OT%20can,in%20heart%20rate%20and%20contractility. and cortisol4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442937/#:~:text=Oxytocin%20exerts%20stress%2Dbuffering%20effects,a%20balance%2C%20homeostasis%20is%20preserved. and can also improve symptoms of depression5https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S075333222300642X#:~:text=Oxytocin%20has%20been%20shown%20to,onset%20and%20progression%20of%20depression. and anxiety6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361048/#:~:text=Several%20studies%20have%20demonstrated%20the,of%20anxiety%20and%20depressive%20disorders.7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361048/#:~:text=Several%20studies%20have%20demonstrated%20the,of%20anxiety%20and%20depressive%20disorders. – with the anxiolytic-like effect stimulating positive social interaction. Oxytocin has also been shown to boost the developing brain of a child8https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/12/6/161, as well as increase pain threshold9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10187080/#:~:text=It%20was%20reported%20that%20oxytocin,e.g.%2C%20electric%20or%20heat)..

Be sure to get your boost of oxytocin this Valentine’s Day! Hugs all round 🤗

For 10 ways you can boost happy hormones and lower stress hormones, check out Hormones – Your Secret Weapon to Happiness? and How to feel the love this Valentine’s Day.

Questions? Feel free to get in touch with our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays, to have your questions answered!


Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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