Growing up, Joe was plagued with a myriad of health issues such as gut problems, autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, and general inflammation. Both conventional and alternative doctors weren’t able to help him, so he decided to fix himself. With lots of health questions and few satisfying answers, Joe decided to read every research paper he could get his hands on and conduct thousands of experiments on his own body in order to fix his health issues. Joe started SelfHacked in late 2013 when he successfully fixed all of his issues, and now it gets millions of readers a month looking to educate themselves about how they can improve their health. Joe is now a thriving author, speaker, and serial entrepreneur, founding SelfDecode & LabTestAnalyzer.
In a study that hasn’t been published yet, Feldman found that oxytocin receptor genes are also linked to empathy in couples. She looked at variants in the gene that have been linked with an increased risk for autism, a disorder that is marked by major social communication deficits. She found that the more of these “risk variants” a person had, the less empathy they showed toward their partner when that partner shared a distressing experience.

The first time Ditzen and her colleagues did this experiment they found that for both men and women oxytocin improved communication and lowered cortisol, a stress hormone. But in a recent study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Ditzen and her colleagues measured salivary alpha-amylase (sAA)—an enzyme tied specifically to social stress—and found that men and women responded differently. Women who got oxytocin showed a decrease in sAA whereas men showed an increase and reported feeling more intense emotions. Counterintuitively, these men were also better at communication during conflict: they smiled more, had more eye-contact and were more open about their feelings. These behaviors are essential for peaceful conflict resolution.
Oxytocin was also correlated with the longevity of a relationship. Couples with the highest levels were the ones still together six months later. They were also more attuned to each other than the low-oxytocin couples when Feldman asked them to talk about a shared positive experience. The high-oxytocin couples finished each other’s sentences, laughed together and touched each other more often. Feldman says it’s still not clear whether oxytocin was responsible for the stability of the couple’s bond six months later or if couples who weren’t as connected failed to trigger the oxytocin system.
PDGF-BB (Mustoe et al., 1994), FGF-2 (Inadomi et al., 2004), IGF I and II (Zhao et al., 1995), TGF-β (Greenalgh, 1996), and L-arginine (Shi et al., 2003) enhance fibroblast proliferation and deposition of collagen in chronic wounds. Thymosin β4 accelerates wound repair in both young and old diabetic mice by significantly increasing wound contraction and collagen deposition. A synthetic peptide that duplicated the actin-binding domain of thymosin β4 promoted wound repair in aged mice to a degree comparable to that of the whole molecule (Philp et al., 2003). In rats with wound healing impaired by mitomycin C, the formation of granulation tissue (angiogenesis and fibroblast proliferation) was significantly advanced by hydrogel sheets composed of alginate, chitin/chitosan, and fucoidin (Murakami et al., 2010).

Oxytocin is not only correlated with the preferences of individuals to associate with members of their own group, but it is also evident during conflicts between members of different groups. During conflict, individuals receiving nasally administered oxytocin demonstrate more frequent defense-motivated responses toward in-group members than out-group members. Further, oxytocin was correlated with participant desire to protect vulnerable in-group members, despite that individual's attachment to the conflict.[64] Similarly, it has been demonstrated that when oxytocin is administered, individuals alter their subjective preferences in order to align with in-group ideals over out-group ideals.[65] These studies demonstrate that oxytocin is associated with intergroup dynamics. Further, oxytocin influences the responses of individuals in a particular group to those of another group. The in-group bias is evident in smaller groups; however, it can also be extended to groups as large as one's entire country leading toward a tendency of strong national zeal. A study done in the Netherlands showed that oxytocin increased the in-group favoritism of their nation while decreasing acceptance of members of other ethnicities and foreigners.[66] People also show more affection for their country's flag while remaining indifferent to other cultural objects when exposed to oxytocin.[67] It has thus been hypothesized that this hormone may be a factor in xenophobic tendencies secondary to this effect. Thus, oxytocin appears to affect individuals at an international level where the in-group becomes a specific "home" country and the out-group grows to include all other countries.


Autism: Oxytocin has been implicated in the etiology of autism, with one report suggesting autism is correlated with genomic deletion of the gene containing the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Studies involving Caucasian and Finnish samples and Chinese Han families provide support for the relationship of OXTR with autism.[55][56] Autism may also be associated with an aberrant methylation of OXTR.[55]
Anxiety. Evidence on the effects of 5-HTP for anxiety is unclear. Early research shows that taking 25-150 mg of 5-HTP by mouth daily along with carbidopa seems to reduce anxiety symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. However, other early research shows that taking higher doses of 5-HTP, 225 mg daily or more, seems to make anxiety worse. Also, taking 60 mg of 5-HTP daily through the vein does not reduce anxiety in people with panic disorders.
It has been reported that deficiencies in the amino acid tryptophan (precursor to 5-HTP) are correlated with depression, as evidence by serum tryptophan in depressed persons.[16][17] Decreased levels of tryptophan in the body can come from various means but are most likely caused by a diet lacking in the amino acid as substrate, or by upregulation of enzymes (most notably indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase(IDO) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase(TDO)) that degrade tryptophan or direct it to paths that are not serotonin synthesis causing a relative deficiency.[18][19] These enzymes can be upregulated in states of chronic inflammation[18][20] and injection of some pro-inflammatory cytokines has been implicated in depression[21] and increasing the kyurenine:tryptophan ratio, which is indicative of IDO activity being increased.[22] The activity of tryptophan hydroxylase can also be further downregulated in cases of Magnesium or vitamin B6 deficiency, stress, or excessive tryptophan levels.[7]
At least one study using an extract of Griffonia simplicifolia (10.24mg giving 2.56mg 5-HTP; confounded with Centella asiatica and Taraxacum officinale at 11.7mg and 4.55mg Paulina cupana and 9.75mg Artichoke extract) taken in three hits, five times a day (40mg 5-HTP total), by 20 overweight or obese females (non-depressive and without eating disorders) for 4 weeks has noted an increase in satiety and reduced binge eating tendencies; the increase in satiety was said to account for the improved weight loss results seen in the experimental group when both were given weight loss advice and diets.[3] This spray has been noted elsewhere to increase satiety (and vicariously through that, body weight) over 2 months in a similar demographic of women.[2]
Jump up ^ Gauquelin G, Geelen G, Louis F, Allevard AM, Meunier C, Cuisinaud G, Benjanet S, Seidah NG, Chretien M, Legros JJ (1983). "Presence of vasopressin, oxytocin and neurophysin in the retina of mammals, effect of light and darkness, comparison with the neuropeptide content of the neurohypophysis and the pineal gland". Peptides. 4 (4): 509–15. doi:10.1016/0196-9781(83)90056-6. PMID 6647119.

According to recent research, this hormone “is now believed to be involved in a wide variety of physiological and pathological functions such as sexual activity, penile erection, ejaculation, pregnancy, uterine contraction, milk ejection, maternal behavior, social bonding, stress and probably many more, which makes oxytocin and its receptor potential candidates as targets for drug therapy. From an innocuous agent as an aid in labor and delivery, oxytocin has come a long way in being touted as the latest party drug.”4


The relationship between oxytocin and human sexual response is unclear. At least two non-controlled studies have found increases in plasma oxytocin at orgasm – in both men and women.1718 The authors of one of these studies speculated that oxytocin’s effects on muscle contractibility may facilitate sperm and egg transport.19 Murphy et al. (1987), studying men, found that oxytocin levels were raised throughout sexual arousal and there was no acute increase at orgasm.20 A more recent study of men found an increase in plasma oxytocin immediately after orgasm, but only in a portion of their sample that did not reach statistical significance. The authors noted that these changes “may simply reflect contractile properties on reproductive tissue.”21
My mother was a mother of 6 born between 1948 and 1961. She was a great advocate for lots of cuddles and physical contact with all of her children (as was my dad). This included baby massage directly on the skin as she emphasised touch as being very important. She passed this knowledge onto me when I became an aunt and then a mother. I am very grateful to have had such a hands on, affectionate and intuitive mother as a role model.

The reason for the difference is the density of oxytocin receptors in the brain. Life pair bonders, like prairie voles or, indeed, ourselves, have a high density of receptors in the reward centre of the brain. Non-pair bonders, like meadow voles, certainly enjoy sex, but their lower density of receptors means it doesn't matter so much who the partner is. So it's not the oxytocin itself making sex enjoyable. What it's doing is influencing our mating behaviour.
But we have to be just as good at recognizing who we can trust, so the system needs fine-tuned control. That’s apparently where oxytocin comes in. The amygdala, that critical organ for our biological risk response, has a high concentration of receptors for oxytocin. In the second set of those gambling experiments with the volunteers and the trustees, researchers used fMRI to watch the brains of the volunteers as they made their choices. As the levels of oxytocin in the brain went up compared with the placebo group, activity in the amygdala went down! Oxytocin diminishes the amygdala’s ability to send out the message “Warning! Warning! I don’t trust this guy.”
Thymosin beta 4 is a small 43 amino acid protein (a peptide) that was originally identified in calf thymus, an organ that is central in the development of immunity. Tb4 was later found in all cells except red blood cells. It is highest in blood platelets that are the first to enter injured areas, in wound healing. Tb4 is also detected outside cells, in blood plasma and in wound and blister fluids.
We think that the most important region is the nucleus accumbens, which is kind of up here. The nucleus accumbens is where we can measure a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine when humans or animals take drugs or are exposed to other rewarding stimuli, such as sex. Or gambling, for example, or monetary reward activates the nucleus accumbens as well.
These proteins became of interest in neurobiology with the finding that in the nudibranch (sea slug) Hermissenda crassicornis, the protein Csp24 (conditioned stimulus pathway phosphoprotein-24), with 4 repeats, is involved in simple forms of learning: both one-trial enhancement of the excitability of sensory neurons in the conditioned stimulus pathway,[25] and in multi-trial Pavlovian conditioning.[26] The phosphorylation of Csp24, in common with post-translational modifications of a number of cytoskeleton-related proteins may contribute to actin-filament dynamics underlying structural remodeling of responsive cells.[26]
Much of human behavior is influenced by hormones. There’s cortisol, involved in our stress response and energy balance. Testosterone, a male sex hormone, tends to make men more competitive. Oxytocin has various social and physiological functions in the brain and the body, but is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” due to its role in social bonding. These are all simplifications, but hormones do underlie many aspects of what we do and what we feel.
It should be noted that supplemental 5-HTP can cause an increase in urinary 5-HIAA, which is the major metabolite of serotonin that is excreted in the urine. Increased urinary 5-HIAA is also sometimes a diagonistic marker for carcinoid tumors due to increased conversion of tryptophan to serotonin in these tumors,[62][63] and in this case serum chromogranin A should be measured (as supplemental 5-HTP does not appear to increase chromogranin A).[63]
Studies on diabetic rats indicated significant increases in the amount of collagen and in tensile strength of light-treated wounds over controls (Stadler et al., 2001; Reddy et al., 2001). In combination with hyperbaric oxygen, light-treated skin wounds in rats closed faster (Yu et al., 1997), an effect that was associated with a more uniform rise and fall in VEGF and FGF-2 instead of the sharp peaks at day four and subsequent rapid drop-off observed in control wounds (Whelan et al., 2001). In vitro, proliferation of mouse fibroblasts was increased by over 150% and that of human epithelial cells by 155–171% (Whelan et al., 2001). Whelan et al. (2001) also reported that wound-healing time was decreased by 50% aboard a submarine, where the atmosphere is lower in oxygen and higher in carbon dioxide, and that children suffering from oral mucositis as a result of chemotherapy experienced a 47% reduction in pain. Recently, however, a randomized trial using a 980 nm diode laser to treat venous leg ulcers of 18 patients indicated no difference in reduction of ulcer size compared to the 16 control patients (Leclere et al., 2010).
Thymosin Beta 4 is a protein that is made up of 43 amino acids. The TMSB4X gene found in the test subject's body encodes the peptide. There have been a variety of clinical trials that have been performed using this peptide. In the research, it’s been found that the Thymosin Beta 4 may be used after a heart attack takes place in order to reactivate the cells in the cardiac progenitor, so that repair can be done to the damaged tissue in the heart.
Anxiety. Evidence on the effects of 5-HTP for anxiety is unclear. Early research shows that taking 25-150 mg of 5-HTP by mouth daily along with carbidopa seems to reduce anxiety symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. However, other early research shows that taking higher doses of 5-HTP, 225 mg daily or more, seems to make anxiety worse. Also, taking 60 mg of 5-HTP daily through the vein does not reduce anxiety in people with panic disorders.
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