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Oxytocin Peptide – The Love Hormone
Oxytocin, also known as the Love Hormone, is a constitutionally developing peptide hormone and neuropeptide made in the hypothalamus and liberated by the posterior pituitary gland. Biologically, it is liberated during the birth of a child and helps in stimulating the uterine contractions during labor, assisting in delivering a baby. After the baby is born, this hormone plays a significant role in social bonding between the mother and the child and stimulates lactation. This “bonding activity” is the one due to which the “Love Hormone Connotation” has risen. Oxytocin is a small nine residue peptide consisting of a single disulfide bond, and it is the 1st synthetic peptide to be developed for human utilization. In 1906, Dale was the one to originally isolate this peptide. In the early 1950s, Victor du Vigneaud did the successful sequencing and then afterward synthesized it. In 1955, for the work conducted on Oxytocin, Victor Du Vigneaud was also awarded the Nobel Prize. Oxytocin is a peptide that is sustained and is found overall invertebrate species.
During Childbirth, Syntocinon or Pitocin, the Synthetic Oxytocin, is prescribed regularly to induce and augment labor. Rapid heartbeat and unusual bleeding are sometimes observed as side effects. In 1998, the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated that in the US, 16% of the laborers are induced, and an additional 16% of laborers that initiate instinctively are supplemented with the inducing substances. Post-birth, Oxytocin is also applied to avert postpartum hemorrhage if the contraction of the uterus is not continued and the bleeding is not stopped. Oxytocin can rupture the uterus if it is delivered in too much quantity and top rapidly.
The Nasal Spray formulation of Oxytocin is sometimes, although rarely, provided to the mothers having difficulty with milk let-down in the initial few days of nursing.
Because of the impersonating roles of Oxytocin in childbirth and nursing, researchers have observed Oxytocin for many years, primarily as a pregnancy hormone. In addition to this, it can also be used to induce termination or complete a miscarriage.
In many recent studies, scientists have revealed numerous effects of Oxytocin in both men and women. Oxytocin has shown much more pleiotropic effects than the realization of the scientists. The scientists suspected a wider role of Oxytocin when they observed that the receptor reaching high concentrations in the laboring uterus is also found in other tissues like the reproductive tract, heart, and brain, in both women and men. In addition to this, many researchers also suspect that there are one or more Oxytocin receptors still unidentified.
In the brain, Oxytocin is shown to play a large and unexplored role. In addition to being a hormone circulating in the bloodstream, it is also a neurotransmitter that travels in the brain’s nerve cells and other places. Cells of the hypothalamus make Oxytocin and transfer it to the pituitary gland and to the different regions of the brain. Moreover, Oxytocin is not only produced by the cells of the hypothalamus, but the heart, testicles, ovaries, and blood vessel walls have also been shown to make their own Oxytocin. Some research studies have also shown that Oxytocin might help benefit people with Anxiety, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Oxytocin Peptide is The Love Hormone?
Oxytocin is associated with childbirth and lactating mothers. Still, the researchers in 2012 have also shown that people in the initial stages of romantic attachment have higher levels of Oxytocin than those who are non-attached and single. The levels have been shown to persist for at least six months. The release of Oxytocin is stimulated during sexual activities. Some studies have shown that in women, the reason behind this might be the increased uterine motility to help sperm reach their destination.
In addition to the effects of Oxytocin in the uterus and lactation, it has also been shown to impact social, cognitive, and emotional behaviors when released in certain parts of the brain. Some research studies have shown the impacts of Oxytocin on pro-social behaviors and emotional responses that contribute to trust, relaxation, and psychological stability. In the research studies on several species, it has been observed that brain oxytocin reduces stress responses, including anxiety.
Disclaimer: The products mentioned are not for human or animal consumption. All the information shared in this article is for educational purposes only.
Dr. Usman (BSc, MBBS, MaRCP) completed his studies in medicine at the Royal College of Physicians, London. He is an avid researcher with more than 30 publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Usman has worked as a researcher and a medical consultant for reputable pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.