No matter how regretful it is to recognize, a person largely depends not on his own decisions, but on what the body dictates to him. Adrenaline, dopamine, melatonin, testosterone, progesterone and many other substances influence people's behavior, their reactions, regimen, affections and antipathies. And what affects, for example, oxytocin?
Human hormonal system
Any living organism exists due to the work of its biological systems. Man has many of them, and each of them is complex in its own way. But there is one that is interconnected with everyone else, and regulates their work. It is worth mentioning that the human body produces more than a hundred hormones and neurotransmitters.
These substances have a different nature, mechanism of action, and are formed by completely different cells. Peptide hormones, corticosteroids, catecholamines, androgens, estrogens, prostaglandins and many others are a great many, and each performs its own important function.
The human endocrine system is a very thin and gentle instrument that can easily become unbalanced, and the results of this can result in very unpleasant diseases: from depression and dwarfism to diabetes and infertility. That is why it is so important for doctors to know how everything works and what substances are affected. The task is further complicated by the fact that the production of some hormones is closely related to the secretion of other substances, and by straightening one, you can easily damage everything else. This can be compared to a house of cards. However, the townsfolk are not interested in such subtleties. But, perhaps, everyone somehow heard about oxytocin - the hormone of happiness, trust and love. What does this mean, is it really?
Hormones of love and happiness
Obviously, these substances have a strong influence on the emotional state of a person at certain moments of his life. There are those who are believed to cause a feeling of euphoria, happiness, love, trust, affection. Endorphins, peptide hormones produced by the body in response to stress, for example, have this effect. Their elevated level causes a feeling of euphoria, and the receptors with which they are associated, play a significant role in the development of drug addiction. In fact, endorphins are natural counterparts of opiates.
Another substance with a similar effect is dopamine. It is part of the so-called award system and is actively being developed while gaining positive experience. Some drugs work by increasing the secretion of dopamine several times, which is why they want to return again and again.
Another neurotransmitter from this group is serotonin. In general, he, in conjunction with dopamine, participates in the formation of the “reward system”, but in addition has many other functions of both mental and physiological nature. There are even products that affect its production and, consequently, enhance mood. These include bitter chocolate, dates, milk. In some cases, in combination with certain medications, this can cause a dangerous condition - serotonin syndrome.
There is another hormone that can be attributed to this group. But it is necessary to dwell on it in more detail, because its role in the human body is enormous.
The hormone of love, as it is sometimes called in literature, is in fact involved in the formation of attachments and has many other functions. Yes, all this he - oxytocin. It has a relatively simple structure, and how surprising it is how it affects human life. From time to time in the scientific and popular literature there are new information about how hormones act on people - and this is due to the fact that their careful study began not so long ago.
Doctors knew first of all that oxytocin is a hormone that controls the process of childbirth. It is probably to what extent scientists prompted the idea that deep maternal love and affection for her baby, which arises almost during the first moments of his life, is caused by the presence of certain substances in his mother's blood. So began the study of this hormone.
Oxytocin is a hormone that appears in the human body due to a special gland - the hypothalamus, which controls the work of the entire endocrine system. From there it is transported to the pituitary gland, where it accumulates and then is released into the blood.
Scientists have recorded sharp jumps in observable people, when those close to them embraced or were taken by the hand. Any contact with loved ones, such as playing with children, talking, just relaxing together, also helps to increase the production of oxytocin. At the same time, stressful situations reduce the level of the hormone, since adrenaline inhibits its production. In addition, ethyl alcohol, that is, alcohol, has a negative effect on the neurotransmitter secretion.
Typically, the level of this hormone in human blood is about the same, although there are daily fluctuations. So, at night, the concentration increases, so it is not surprising that both training and real contractions in pregnant women often occur precisely at night.
Mechanism of action
Oxytocin causes a response in many systems in the human body. One of its main functions is the reduction of smooth muscles, that is, it participates in the work of the gastrointestinal tract and labor. In addition, together with prolactin, it contributes to the proper establishment of lactation, allowing milk to pass into the ducts.
In addition, oxytocin is closely associated with normal sex life and the formation of attachment to a partner. This neurotransmitter contributes to the development of attraction among people and subsequent trusting relationships.
Oxytocin plays an important role in how one and the same person acts in different situations. With its high level, people tend to be more generous, friendly, more trusting.
Recent studies confirm the beneficial effect of oxytocin on people with autism disorders, helping them to stabilize emotions. And at the physiological level, this hormone helps the rapid healing of wounds and the rejuvenation of muscle tissue.
Despite the fact that oxytocin is a hormone that performs a lot of extremely important functions, it can affect health and negatively. For example, its high concentrations in pregnant women can cause miscarriages and premature labor, as it causes the uterus muscle tissue to contract. Sometimes an excess can also cause a delay in body fluids or a decrease in the level of potassium in the blood.
A condition when oxytocin is elevated, adversely affects memory and learning ability. This incident, as researchers assume, is connected with the fact that the mother of a newborn is better not to memorize the painful process of childbirth in detail. At the same time, everything connected with social interactions, on the contrary, is stored in memory much better.
And another curious effect is related to the fact that oxytocin causes a feeling of unity with the group to which a person refers. When a couple breaks up, lovers experience heartache, seeking to reunite, so that the pain of a broken heart, alas, is also a hormone action.
Like many other substances produced by the body, oxytocin was obtained artificially and made medicines from it. It is used in the stimulation of labor and to reduce the time of rehabilitation after cesarean section. Now he finds other uses, but one should not forget that prolonged administration of synthetic oxytocin suppresses natural secretion.