A big week for Oxytocin
Last week was a big week for oxytocin.
At ACPHARM, we do have a special affinity for oxytocin – perhaps because oxytocin is the hormone responsible for it!
Oxytocin – dubbed “the love hormone” – is produced by the hypothalamus and is what gives us our feelings of love and connectedness. It is important for young babies (skin-to-skin contact releases oxytocin and is an important post-birth procedure) and children in their formative times to allow them to bond with other individuals.
Oxytocin is so important that Prof Thierry Hertoghe, with whom ACHARM has worked for many years and is considered one of the fathers of modern integrative medicine, wrote a book about it called “Passion, Sex and Long Life.”
Recently, there has been two interesting articles regarding oxytocin.
The first discussed a possible roll of oxytocin in addiction therapy.
Researchers found that men with a history of drug abuse and childhood trauma had less response to drug paraphernalia after treatment with oxytocin. Given the emerging prevalence of addiction in Australia, this development is certainly worth monitoring. You can read a report on the paper here.
The second covered an area with which we are intimately familiar – Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Given ACPHARM’s role in bringing down costs of nutritional therapies that are utilised in the treatment of ASD, we have been actively interested in this area for over a decade.
This study took a cohort of 40 men with ASD and assessed their oxytocin levels (via saliva test) as well as their feelings of connectedness (via questionnaire). “An analysis of the data revealed that the amount of oxytocin found in the subjects’ saliva was inversely related to their self-reported attachment issues.”
In terms of social interaction, the researchers found no difference between the experimental group and the control group. But for repetitive behaviour (including the need for routines) and attachment, the results were significant: “The people in the experimental group reported far less repetitive behaviour and also reported fewer problems with forming close relationships.”
Both of these studies are just a pave on a long road, ending with a call for more research in their respective areas. However, as the evidence mounts, we are starting to see a picture of oxytocin as an interesting part of treatment in a range of disorders.