Oxytocin Benefits You Never Knew About

Oxytocin Benefits You Never Knew About

Today we’re going to talk about a little known and hardly talked hormone, at least in the world of health and fitness: oxytocin.

We’re all heard about the growth hormone or insulin as anabolic hormones.

In the world of physiology, it can seem like everything’s already been covered, but nothing is further from the truth.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone produced in cells of the hypothalamus (parvocellular and magnocellular neurons) and classically (this is how I learned it in medical school) it is related to two physiological processes essential for humans:

  1. Inducing labour
  2. Breastfeeding (along with prolactin)
Today, we’re looking at additional effects of oxytocin that few people know about. The article is inspired by this recent and beautiful review by Endocrine Reviews (1).


What metabolic effects does oxytocin have?

Along with the childbirth and breastfeeding functions mentioned, Oxytocin seems to behave as a sensor of nutritional status in both sexes (male and female).

OXT appears to have an anorectic effect, leading to lower energy intake by acting on multiple homeostatic and neurobehavioral pathways.

In love

Have you ever heard about losing your appetite when falling in love?

Perhaps today’s post is a response to that very common phenomenon, which I’ve dubbed “post-love anorexia”.

How does it happen?

The oxytocin is released in response to labour and babies breastfeeding.

But there are other stimulus that release it too, like exercise, sex or romantic contact, and these are less studied.

What’s interesting is that the studies we have available show weight loss as a result of fat mass loss, not lean mass.

Subjects increase their energy expenditure and decrease their intake when exposed to high levels of oxytocin.

Calorie burning

It doesn’t stop there: it seems that oxytocin is an anabolic hormone for muscle and bone.

Is this the new GH?

Probably not, because its secretion pattern is much more specific, but if it could be isolated and safely administered to patients with obesity, would we be looking at a new anti-obesity drug?



Better oxidation of fat

Muscle anabolism

What every bodybuilder wants…

It’s also of interest to people with chronic conditions, since many of them incur sarcopenia over time.


We have a great article on Sarcopenia. If you want to learn more, click on this link.

Bone anabolism

And let’s not forget the bone, first cousin of the muscle and whose health is at least as important as the muscle.

Decreased rate of gastric emptying, encouraging a feeling of fullness

It’s the same mechanism as, for example, other hormones used in obesity, such as the so-called GLP-1 analogues, an incretin widely used in anti-diabetic and anti-obesity therapy.

If you want to learn more about the relationship between Increatines and Diabetes, have a look at the following link.

Increased insulin secretion at the same glycemic load

That is, it helps the pancreas secrete insulin when needed, reducing hyperglycaemia potentially.

Microbiome changes

Nowadays to speak about the microbiome is to speak about metabolism.

The microbiota and the metabolites they produce have been shown to act by hundreds of different pathways in metabolism.


It seems that oxytocin also influences the microbiota.

Less calorie ingestion

You know, “lover’s anorexia”.

In addition to increased energy expenditure by regulating the tone of the sympathetic nervous system..

Social effects

Oxytocin is involved in processes as intangible and human as empathy, love and affection.


That’s why it’s called the “love hormone”.

Will it be possible in the future to administer it to treat conditions?

This is precisely what they’re testing:

  • Both in people with exogenous obesity (most frequently);
  • And in patients with hypothalamic obesity (existing in some syndromes such as Prader-Willi).


Several clinical trials are underway, with the administration method being one of the challenges we are trying to address.

Intraperitoneal, intranasal or intravenous formulations are being studied.

Is there a way to produce it endogenously?

Yes, there are several ways, some more practical than others, to increase oxytocin secretion:

If you’re a woman:

  • Giving birth.
  • Having a baby at the breast.

Fall in love

They are the two most powerful stimuli for oxytocin stimulation that we know of.

But for both sexes, there’s also:

  • Sexual stimulation.
  • Affectivity.
To put it less academically, “falling in love” really does seem to increase oxytocin levels in both sexes.


Popularly, being in love has been associated with a state of ecstasy and physiological well-being.

This is due to the secretion of a series of neuropeptides such as endorphins during that beautiful period of our lives.


But oddly enough, another point made about courting and falling in love is the loss of appetite.

Physiology never ceses to surprise us, and this article shows that oxytocin has systemic effects that go far beyond producing contractions at birth or producing milk.

Hopefully, we will soon be able to take advantage of these effects on a clinical level.

In the meantime, you can always fall in love. A big hug and keep on empowering yourself.

Bibliographic Sources

  1. McCormack SE, Blevins JE, Lawson EA. Metabolic Effects of Oxytocin. Endocr Rev. 2020 Apr 1;41(2).

Related Entires

  • Diet when Lactating.
  • Learn how to Compete in Fitness after becoming a mother… click here.
Review of Oxytocin

What is it - 100%

How is it produced - 100%

Benefits - 100%

Conclusions - 100%


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About Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera, a young doctor dedicated to the areas of nutrition, exercise and metabolism, combines his clinical activity with his vocation for dissemination.
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