You've probably heard of oxytocin referred to as the "love hormone." It's the hormone that's present during childbirth and breastfeeding. It is also released when you snuggle with your partner, have an orgasm, see your best friend, laugh, play, flirt, and even when you look into your baby's eyes. But if you aren't feeling like yourself lately, it could be one of several signs you're not producing enough oxytocin.
According to the website for the Australian Menopause Centre, a team of doctors who work closely with menopausal women who often struggle with oxytocin deficiency, oxytocin is a hormone that is produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Oxytocin is secreted when the cells of the neurons in the hypothalamus become excited. The release of oxytocin is believed to have a positive effect on family relationships, trust, recognition, anxiety, and sexual arousal. Because of this, having low levels of the hormone can be detrimental to your emotional wellbeing. In fact, according to Dr. Akiko Kato, a Naturopathic Physician at Seattle's Femme Clinique, oxytocin hormone deficiency is related to a number of chronic health problems.
Here are some signs that your body may not be producing enough oxytocin so you know what to look out for in case you're curious or concerned.
1. You Don't Want To Socialize
Oxytocin is not only known as the "love hormone," Kato also referred to it as the "social hormone" because the release of oxytocin encourages social interaction. People who are introverted or have social anxiety may also have low oxytocin levels. According to the website for Autism Speaks, among children with autism, there is a correlation between low levels of oxytocin and severe social difficulties.
2. You Exhibit Poor Communication
Couple interaction and close relationships are related to oxytocin levels. A study in the journal Biological Psychiatry of 47 couples who were given either oxytocin or a placebo intranasally before an instructed couple conflict session, found that those who received the oxytocin showed increased positive communication behavior in relation to negative behavior.
3. Your Libido Is Low
According to an article in The Huffington Post by Eric R. Braverman, MD, the founder of PATH Medical, women who are deficient in oxytocin may have difficulty with sexual arousal and may not be able to achieve orgasm.
4. You Crave Sugar
According to Forbes, reduced activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, which is responsible making you feel full, can be caused by eating too much sugar. When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted, your body seeks out sweet treats, which creates a sugar-craving cycle.
5. You Are Distrustful
Another name for oxytocin is the "trust hormone." If you're feeling distrustful toward your spouse, friends, or even society in general, you could have low oxytocin levels. According to a story by NPR, Paul Zak, a researcher at Claremont Graduate University, found that college students who received oxytocin intranasally exhibited more signs of trust toward strangers.