Category: Natural chemicals
Introduction and description
Oxytocin is an endogenous chemical that binds to oxytocin receptors. It is a chemical that is released during love making, sexual arousal and childbirth. It has its own receptors in the brain, the spinal cord and in the genital organs. OT receptors have also been identified in the kidney, heart, thymus, pancreas, and adipocytes.
More details on the chemical can be found in the science section under - Oxytocin, here you will find some Pubmed papers on its functions and what we know about it so far.
In essence, however, it is key to the sexually based activities as well as being a potentially healing neurotransmitter. It is also key in relaxation, chemically Oxytocin affects the GABA receptor switching it from excitatory to an inhibitory state.
Oxytocin is generally released from the pituitary gland into the blood from where it travels via the blood stream to the rest of the body. OT receptors are found in Leydig cells, also known as interstitial cells of Leydig, in the testicles. And it has been shown that these have the capacity to produce oxytocin ‘de novo’ – by themselves.
The same things appears to happen with women, except it is the corporus luteum in the ovaries that does the work. Furthermore the heart can also produce oxytocin.
Functionally and to put it very crudely it is the sexual stimulation and love neurotransmitter par excellence, for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone". It
- is released in large amounts after stimulation of the nipples
- is responsible for a man’s erection
- evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security
- provokes human bonding and adult attachment, inhibits controlling type behaviour, fear, and anxiety and increases trust.
- increases empathy
- impairs certain memory and reasoning activities - stills the chattering mind – the one we have to use when we are fulfilling the ego and trying to work things out. But it doesn’t still the mind for the important things in life “Interestingly, healthy males administered intranasal oxytocin show improved memory for human faces, particularly happy faces”.
Oxytocin needs cholesterol and magnesium to be produced.
Some good sources of magnesium in foods include - green vegetables such as spinach [because of the abundance of chlorophyll molecules which contain the ion], nuts (especially cashews and almonds), seeds, dark chocolate, roasted soybeans, bran, and some whole grains.