Oxytocin & The Biology Behind Love
By: Sultan Alush, 1st Year, G. Medicine.
Love is one of the strongest emotions. A feeling, when achieved has the ability to change one’s life forever. Yet, most people would have extreme difficulty describing what exactly love is, how they know for sure that they are in love and why is love is of such importance. Understanding the Neurobiology behind love might help to give us a more clear perspective on social bonding and raises the question of whether love is nothing more than the release of certain chemicals.
The hormone oxytocin is a mammalian hormone which plays a significant role in many animals' instinct to love and form social bonds. In fact, it has been called jokingly, "the cuddle hormone." Oxytocin is a small protein composed of nine amino acid, It is produced in the hypothalamus and is released by the pituitary gland (Hypophisis). Oxytocin is also produced in the ovaries of women and the testes of men. However,it’s most well-known function is specific to females; First, it plays an integral role in the delivery of a baby, as it’s levels increase, when a woman goes into labor, stimulating contraction in the muscle of the uterine walls, thereby facilitating delivery. Secondly, oxytocin plays a role in milk letdown in nursing mothers. Milk is initially released into small sacs, called alveoli, which are surrounded by smooth muscle cells. Oxytocin stimulates contractions of this smooth muscle, causing the milk to be released to the mouth of a nursing baby. Lastly, and most importantly, oxytocin causes the formation of maternal behavior, the pattern of care given to an offspring by its mother and their attachment, Which make Successful reproduction and survival possible for many species. There is a drastic increase in the levels of oxytocin in the body and brain of a woman who is in labor. This increase is the main cause of the...