Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trust in oxytocin.

I pass on a brief news review by Leonie Welberg from Nature Neuroscience:
The neuropeptide oxytocin is released during childbirth, suckling, touch and orgasm, suggesting that it might have a 'pro-social' function. This idea was strengthened by a recent study in Nature (see my 2/13/06 post, or enter oxytocin inthe search box in the left column of this blog), which showed that an oxytocin nasal spray caused people playing a 'trust' game to retain their trust in a stranger who was looking after their money, even though this trust was violated on many occasions. At the same time, the oxytocin spray decreased activity in the amygdala and the caudate nucleus, brain areas that are involved in the regulation of fear and decision making, respectively.

"We now know ... what exactly is going on in the brain when oxytocin increases trust," says lead researcher Thomas Baumgartner of the University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland. "It seems to diminish our fears." (BBC News, 21 May 2008.) As humans are typically averse to taking social risks, "...a little bit of oxytocin may facilitate carrying on relationships with others," according to Mauricio Delgado, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. (ScienceNOW, 21 May 2008.)

How people in real-life situations develop and retain trust in others is another question, however. "They certainly don't do it by spraying stuff up each other's noses," says Paul Zak of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. (Science News, 21 May 2008.)

Nevertheless, the findings have implications for understanding mental disorders in which deficits in social behaviour are observed and "...could provide a bridge for potential clinical applications," thinks Delgado (BBC News). An oxytocin spray might help people with a social phobia or autism. "Autistic people also have a fear of social situations and have problems interacting, so it is very likely that oxytocin could help," says Baumgartner. "This hormone seems to play a very specific role in social situations so might be able to improve autism." (BBC News.)


  1. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Forum Content response

    Oxytocin is an FDA controlled substance!

    Ingesting oxytocin in a pure form is not only illegal but it would be useless.

    1. Oxytocin is destroyed by stomach acids.

    2. Oxytocin has a three minute half-life in our blood stream.

    The healthiest way to achieve optimal oxytocin levels is to urge the body and the mind to support its own oxytocin release.

    Building trusting relationships is a process and is not something that takes place within a few moments in time or is limited to happening within a certain time period. It is quite possible that you may not even know it is happening until you experience that first smile or other unique cue, and respond appropriately.

    Talking, touching, holding, singing, eye contact . . . in tandem wih sub-lingual homeopathic oxytocin invigorator can help support these behaviors.

    I have been using a sublingual Oxytocin Accelerator formulation for the past 8 weeks and it's pretty aswsome. I spray it in my boyfriends mouth too. He is all over me. Here is a link to read more if your interested.


  2. The skeptic in me thinks that the "sub-lingual homeopathic oxytocin invigorator", that you have been taking, ordered from the link you provide, has to be a placebo effect.

  3. Anonymous12:57 PM

    the user Megan is nothing more than a salespersonl trying to sell his/hers scam product...
    The same comment is all over different blogs and forums...