People refer to the hormone oxytocin as the “love hormone” because the body produces it in excess when we are cuddling, feeling loved, interacting with an animal or simply in close physical contact with another being. Our bodies produce oxytocin every day, every time you show compassion, feel empathy or hug your children or your dog. In fact, research shows that when people play with dogs, oxytocin levels shoot up in both the human and the dog.
Here is a list of the benefits of oxytocin in the blood:
1. Better outlook
In a scientific study, subjects rated other people as better-looking and more attractive after being given a dose of oxytocin, instead of a placebo.
2. Get what you give
Studies in the field of “neuroeconomics” (in which the brain is analyzed during financial situations and decisions) found that people making money-related choices, when influenced by a dose of oxytocin, became 80% more generous than those given a saline control dosage.
Participants in a trust game who were given an injection of oxytocin displayed higher instances of trust. Out of study participants given a saline placebo, 21% showed the maximal trust level, while 45% percent of oxytocin-influenced subjects showed the maximal trust level.
4. Better digestion
Aside from influencing mood, oxytocin also plays a big role in the digestive system. Research shows that depleted oxytocin levels slow down digestion. Oxytocin has even been linked with IBS.
5. Better healing
Oxytocin also has a job related to in ‘angiogenesis’, the growth or re-growth of blood vessels after an injury. Scientific research shows that it takes longer for a wound to heal when the body is under stress or in the midst of emotional conflict. This is most likely associated with a body’s oxytocin levels.
6. Heart health
Oxytocin is a cardioprotective hormone, which means that it supports the cardiovascular system by keeping blood vessels open and lowering blood pressure, as well acting as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.