Oxytocin - It’s Not Just for Labor Anymore
Oxytocin, and it’s synthetic form Pitocin and Syntocinon, is well known for its role in childbirth. While its role in childbirth is important and somewhat inaccurately understood (which will be covered in depth in our next blog post), even less understood is the fact that oxytocin is a hormone that is constantly produced in our bodies and has several important jobs other than its role in labor.
There are two main sources of oxytocin in the human body - the brain, and peripheral organs. Most people are familiar with the oxytocin that is produced by the brain and circulates in the blood. In fact, the human circadian rhythm, wherein certain hormones ebb and flow throughout the day - increasing and decreasing in concentration in the body depending on the time of day - has a role for oxytocin. Measured levels of oxytocin in the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that coats, protects, and nourishes the brain and spinal cord) are highest at midday.
Oxytocin plays a vital role in hormone production and sperm motility, as well.
Other less well-known roles of oxytocin include blood sugar regulation, pain relief, temperature regulation, and milk letdown.
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