In Episode 11, we examine a tiny hormone with powerful effects. Oxytocin, sometimes called the "Love Hormone," is best known for its effects on social behavior.
When oxytocin levels are high, humans and other mammals feel drawn to one another.
Social animals require healthy bonding for survival, and oxytocin has probably evolved to reinforce those bonds. Oxytocin released during childbirth helps mothers fall in love with their babies.
But recent studies reveal important effects oxytocin has on weight, cardiovascular function, bone health, and more. Many of these were reviewed and cited in the journal, Frontiers in Endocrinology, in February, 2022. The authors reveal roles oxytocin plays in many aspects of health, including heart health, weight management, bone health, and others.
The great thing about oxytocin is that both diet and behavior impact its levels. Foods rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, and tryptophan may help your body produce healthy levels of oxytocin. So can behaviors most of us enjoy. This includes listening to music, meditation, massage, hiking outdoors, and being close to people you care about.
So it seems that having a little more love in your life is a good thing-not just emotionally, but physically. Because when you feel love, you know that oxytocin is hard at work keeping your body healthy.
Liu N, Yang H, Han L, Ma M. Oxytocin in Women's Health and Disease. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022;13:786271. Published 2022 Feb 15. doi:10.3389/fendo.2022.786271
The Cornerstones of Healthy Food Systems Podcast Introduction by David Lucero.
Theme music by Zakhar Valaha
Closing by David Lucero
Background music by ZakharValaha
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Beginning in Season 2, Episode 6, audio edits are contributed by Mattie Sims.
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