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What Are Good Oxytocin Levels?

Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream to stimulate the release of breast milk.
Many scientists and researchers call oxytocin the "love hormone."
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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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Oxytocin, a chemical composed of a chain of amino acids, is a substance that has multiple physiological functions within the human body. These functions include roles as both a hormone as well as a neurotransmitter. Researchers have found it difficult to consistently measure oxytocin levels in humans because of the nature of this "love hormone" as well as its location in the brain. Excessive or depressed levels are often suspected instead based on behavioral characteristics.

Acquiring or maintaining healthy oxytocin levels is important because irregularities may affect the body in a number of ways. For example, it plays a role in birth, sexuality, and anxiety as well as social interaction and companionship. Low levels may cause an individual to lack certain feelings or reactions regarding these things, whereas irregularly high levels may cause overly strong feelings and reactions.

If a person is experiencing low or high oxytocin levels, it is best to seek medical help. Due to the fact that oxytocin is a hormone, it is best for an endocrinologist to be involved in diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is performed by measuring oxytocin levels in the body, usually the blood, and comparing them to the norms of a population similar in demographic to the patient. The most common treatment would be to increase the oxtocin levels to a desirable range through consumption of a pill or other hormone-based supplement. The dose and duration of such a treatment should be regulated by a professional.

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Diagnoses may also be confirmed or based on social behavior, as neurotransmitter and hormonal levels may drive interactions. Even by measuring oxtocin levels and examining associated behaviors, positive diagnosis is difficult to determine with a high degree of accuracy. Many hormones and chemicals in the body and brain perform the same function or aid each other in these functions, resulting in a complex mess of uncertainty.

Irregular hormone levels are a serious issue that may drastically impede one's ability to perform daily responsibilities. If one has any suspicions whatsoever that such an irregularity exists, it is wise to immediately contact an expert. Medical expertise regarding this condition may be found in both allopathic, or Western, medicine as well as in more holistic approaches. A growing number of people suffering from hormonal imbalances seek alternative therapy measures in addressing these conditions. The best way to figure out which approach to use in treating irregular oxytocin levels is to garner as many varying opinions as possible.

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Monika
Post 3

I think doctors should be careful before prescribing something like an oxytocin nasal spray to patients. I heard about this study awhile back that said oxytocin makes people more trusting. Imagine trying to treat someone for an oxytocin deficiency, and basically drugging them into compliance with everyone else around them!

I know I would hate to have my personality changed so drastically. But seriously, I think this could have negative ramifications for anyone taking it. In fact, it almost sounds like a plot from a movie: a drug that makes people more trusting.

indemnifyme
Post 2

@JessicaLynn - It does sound tricky. I suppose that's why disorders involving oxytocin are usually treated by an endocrinologist, rather than a psychiatrist or family doctor. Endocrinologists specialize in hormone disorders.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I read an article awhile ago that said oxytocin is responsible for the bonding between mother and baby right after child birth. I imagine this might be one instance where it would desirable to increase oxytocin levels. It seems like it might even prevent post-partum depression, although that's just a guess on my part.

JessicaLynn
Post 1

Wow, deciding about increasing oxytocin levels sounds positively tricky. After all, it's hard to determine oxytocin levels in the body and if they're in the normal range. Making a decision about something like this just based on the behavior of a person sounds like it would be a tough call.

I imagine doctors must do some type of test to rule out other reasons for the patients behavior. Some of the symptoms described in the article sound like they could be symptoms of depression, too. I know depression is hormone related, but I think it's usually related to other hormones, not oxytocin.

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