Oxytocin plays a major role in the regulation and modulation of hormonal cycles in women. Known among many as a “love hormone,” oxytocin’s heightened presence may be capable of providing numerous benefits in women. This hormone of affection has been tested and studied in numerous clinical settings, by many esteemed researchers, scientists, and academic professionals.
What does oxytocin do? How does it work? When is oxytocin released in women? A 1999 study known as “preliminary research on plasma oxytocin in normal cycling women: investigating emotion and interpersonal distress” investigates these questions, providing information on the benefits of oxytocin.
This study, conducted by RA Turner and a team of several other researchers, was designed to look into the correlations between oxytocin and various emotions. 25 adult women with normal hormonal cycles were observed; these women were presented a series of tasks and situations. Blood was drawn from the subjects at various points throughout the tasks. Women were subjected to positive and negative pictures, given surveys and questionnaires on personal issues, and given relaxing massages. These measures were taken as an attempt to alter their emotional states.
By the end of the experiment, the data had pointed to positive correlations in the women’s emotional states and oxytocin levels. As they completed the emotionally taxing and relaxing tasks, their oxytocin levels seemed to either rise or fall. As the women viewed images with sad or negative content, their oxytocin levels appeared to fall in response. Contrarily, those who were shown positive images indicated rises in oxytocin levels. Similarly, their oxytocin levels seemed to vary positively after experiencing a massage. Lastly, those with higher levels of oxytocin appeared to answer the emotional questionnaires less negatively.
What do these results mean, especially with regards to administration and benefits? As the oxytocin love drug appeared to be correlated with positive emotions, one takeaway of this experiment is that oxytocin improves outlooks on life. Since women who were exposed to positive experiences and situations showed higher oxytocin levels, oxytocin may be able to work in reverse. That is, oxytocin administration may be able to prompt similar head spaces and moods. Oxytocin was also noted to exist in high concentrations during orgasms. Therefore, the experiment seems to show that oxytocin is closely linked to positivity, receptivity, and relaxation.
Oxytocin is a complex yet important compound. Secreted by the pituitary gland, this hormone regulates a vast range of bodily processes. The aforementioned experiment conducted by RA Turner indicates some of these functions. Through designing emotional exams and observing the reactions and changes in oxytocin, these researchers have shown that oxytocin plays a vital role in relaxation. Perhaps through artificial administration of oxytocin, these effects can be felt in both men and women.