Nootropics have taken online markets by storm over the past several years. From memory enhancement to higher cognitive processing, there seems to be a pill or solution for any and every possible benefit. Not all nootropics are effective, or for that matter even safe. Several nootropics can have unintended, adverse effects, and may interfere with prescription medications. There do exist safer, alternative compounds that can improve cognition.

One of these alternatives is oxytocin. Oxytocin is usually thought of as a love drug, or a pregnancy hormone. Usually, oxytocin is released during emotionally joyous occasions. These include orgasm, pregnancy, and childbirth. However, oxytocin may provide several nootropic-like benefits, with potentially minimal risks and side effects.

Much research has gone into oxytocin and its mechanisms of action. In 1999, a group of researchers analysed the effects that oxytocin has on various parts of the brain. They focused primarily on the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls and stimulates various peripheral and emotional functions.

The researchers determined that oxytocin was associated with higher functioning and efficiency of the hypothalamus’s processes. Oxytocin acted as a neurotransmitter, communicating signals across the hypothalamus. As the brain absorbed and released oxytocin, receptors within it prompted better emotional states and feelings of well being.

Another study conducted in 2017 looked into further cognitive benefits that oxytocin might bring. In a paper released regarding the study, researchers stated that they looked into the effects of oxytocin and vasopressin in mammalian and non-mammalian animals. In particular, they observed the positive effects of oxytocin in mammals.

The paper concluded with indications that oxytocin facilitated numerous cognitive benefits in mammals, including humans. They found that oxytocin was instrumental in relationships between members of the same species. It was noted that oxytocin held potential benefits in treating individuals with autism spectrum disorder, and other social impairments.

These batches of papers and research show that oxytocin may have possible nootropic-like effects in some individuals. As discussed, it was discovered that oxytocin facilitates the interaction of neurons within the hypothalamus. Through this stimulation, the hypothalamus can operate more efficiently. Oxytocin may be able to enhance moods and mindsets in some people.

In those with social impairments and developmental disorders, oxytocin may be able to treat and remediate some individuals. As noted in the 2017 study, oxytocin is associated with enhanced social functioning, sociability, and trust building. Through supplementation of oxytocin, those affected by developmental disorders may be able to improve their social skills.

All in all, oxytocin is an important neurotransmitter and hormone. It makes love, trust, and affection possible across all mammals. It may be able to improve these qualities across many individuals by being supplemented.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10453461

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407410/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/

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