Could Your Relationship Use More Oxytocin?
Many over time have argued that monogamy is “unnatural,” but modern science is actually painting a very different story .
In fact, it seems that we may be hardwired for monogamous relationships after all, and oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone,” may have something to do with it.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to write about monogamy and oxytocin’s potential role in it.
But rather than focus on the “mush”, in typical Life Extension fashion, we’re going to look at the science behind it. Surprised?
Sorry, hopeless romantics!
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the brain. It has various functions in the human body, playing a role in labor, breastfeeding, pair bonding, and sexual arousal. It even plays a role in relationships, potentially helping to form monogamous ones.
Prairie voles, for example, secrete oxytocin when they meet and mate, and this hormone is necessary for pair bonding. 1 That’s why scientists believe they mate for life — although, we must point out, they sometimes do cheat! 2
It’s not much different for humans either. Oxytocin may just be the key element that keeps couples together.
Oxytocin Keeps Men from Straying and Cools Arguments
In a neat experiment, scientists gave a group of men a placebo or a nasal oxytocin spray. Then, each of them was encountered by an attractive woman. The scientists then measured the space between the man and the woman.
They found that the men who were given oxytocin and were in “stable,” monogamous relationships stood farther away from the attractive woman. 3 In contrast, men in the placebo group stood closer, indicating interest.
In a different study, scientists found that oxytocin took the “heat out of an argument.” One group of couples was given intranasal oxytocin, while the other group received a placebo. They were told to choose a heated topic and discuss it, and levels of a stress hormone called cortisol were measured.
They found that, after the argument, both the men and the women in the couples given oxytocin had lower levels of salivary cortisol.
During the discussions, oxytocin was shown to increase the positive communication in the couples, as compared to the negative behavior during the arguments. 4
Fidelity + friendlier arguments = staying together. Perhaps this might be the equation for monogamy?
How to Get More Oxytocin
You can induce the release of oxytocin naturally by giving hugs, kisses, gifts, and holding hands. Basically, physical touch is the key element at play.
You can also get oxytocin via prescription as a nasal spray, believe it or not.
The Bottom Line
We’re not quite sure if an oxytocin spray will keep your partner from straying or arguing with you, but perhaps it might be used for couple’s therapy one day. Of course, more research is needed.
Regardless, in this day and age, romance seems to have taken a back seat to our fast paced life, so many of us could probably use a little more oxytocin. Don’t you think?
- Adv Exp Med Biol . 1995;395:227-34.
- Nature . 2008 Feb 7;451(7179):617.
- J Neurosci. 2012 Nov 14;32(46):16074-9.
- Biol Psychiatry . 2009 May 1;65(9):728-31.
Article Source: http://blog.lifeextension.com/2013/02/relationship-love-oxytocin.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=normal
Don’t Use BMI to Determine Whether People are Healthy, Study Says
Over the past few years, body mass index, a ratio of a person’s height and weight, has effectively become a proxy for whether a person is considered healthy. Many U.S. companies use their employees’ BMIs as a factor in determining workers’ health care costs. And people with higher BMIs could soon have to pay higher health insurance premiums, if a rule proposed in April by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is adopted.
But a new study led by UCLA psychologists has found that using BMI to gauge health incorrectly labels more than 54 million Americans as “unhealthy,” even though they are not. The researchers’ findings are published online today in the International Journal of Obesity .
“Many people see obesity as a death sentence,” said A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor of psychology in the UCLA College and the study’s lead author. “But the data show there are tens of millions of people who are overweight and obese and are perfectly healthy.”
The scientists analyzed the link between BMI — which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of the person’s height in meters — and several health markers, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, using data from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study found that close to half of Americans who are considered “overweight” by virtue of their BMIs (47.4 percent, or 34.4 million people) are healthy, as are 19.8 million who are considered “obese.”
Given their health readings other than BMI, the people in both of those groups would be unlikely to incur higher medical expenses, and it would be unfair to charge them more for health care premiums, Tomiyama said.
Among the other findings:
- More than 30 percent of those with BMIs in the “normal” range — about 20.7 million people — are actually unhealthy based on their other health data.
- More than 2 million people who are considered “very obese” by virtue of having a BMI of 35 or higher are actually healthy. That’s about 15 percent of Americans who are classified as very obese.
Tomiyama, who directs UCLA’s Dieting, Stress and Health laboratory, also called DiSH, found in previous research that there was no clear connection between weight loss and health improvements related to hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
She said she was surprised at the magnitude of the numbers in the latest study.
“There are healthy people who could be penalized based on a faulty health measure, while the unhealthy people of normal weight will fly under the radar and won’t get charged more for their health insurance,” she said. “Employers, policy makers and insurance companies should focus on actual health markers.”
Jeffrey Hunger, a co-author of the paper and a doctoral candidate at UC Santa Barbara, said the research shows that BMI is a deeply flawed measure of health. “This should be the final nail in the coffin for BMI,” he said.
Hunger recommends that people focus on eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, rather than obsessing about their weight, and strongly opposes stigmatizing people who are overweight.
The proposed EEOC rule would allow employers to charge higher insurance rates to people whose BMI is 25 or higher. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.99 is considered normal, but the study emphasizes that normal BMI should not be the primary goal for maintaining good health.
Tomiyama is planning a new study of people with high BMIs who are very healthy. Prospective participants may contact her laboratory for more information.
Article Source: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2016/02/dont-use-bmi-determine-whether-people-are-healthy-study-says?et_cid=5096525&et_cid=5096525&et_rid=640217750&et_rid=640217750&type=cta&linkid=
Diabetic men with low testosterone run higher risk of developing atherosclerosis
Men who have low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes face a greater risk of developing atherosclerosis – a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries – than men who have diabetes and normal testosterone levels, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism ( JCEM ).
Atherosclerosis occurs when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up in and on the walls of the body’s arteries. This can restrict blood flow through the body’s blood vessels. The plaques also can burst and cause blood clots.
“Our study indicates a strong association between low testosterone concentration and the severity of atherosclerotic plaques as well as other key atherosclerotic markers in middle-aged men with Type 2 diabetes,” said one of the study’s authors, Javier Mauricio Farias, MD, of the Hospital Universitario Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “The results of our study advance our understanding of the interplay between low testosterone and cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes.”
Several studies have raised concerns about the safety of testosterone therapy and the risk of cardiovascular complications. This has public health implications because the number of older men receiving testosterone replacement therapy has jumped sharply during the past decade. The Endocrine Society recommends that testosterone treatment should be reserved for men with clinical symptoms of hypogonadism and consistently low levels of testosterone. The Society also has called for large-scale, well-controlled trials to assess the long-term cardiovascular risks associated with testosterone therapy.
The cross-sectional prospective study published in JCEM examined testosterone levels and key atherosclerotic markers, including intimal media thickening of the layers in the carotid artery, the presence of atherosclerotic plaques, function of the endothelial cells that line the heart and blood vessels, and inflammatory markers in 115 men with Type 2 diabetes. The participants were younger than age 70 and had no history of cardiovascular disease. Researchers measured the levels of testosterone in each participant’s blood. Among the participants, more than half of patients with diabetes were found to have low testosterone levels.
The study found men who had low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes were six times more likely to have increased thickness of the carotid artery and endothelium dysfunction compared to men with normal serum testosterone levels. A total of 54 percent of the men with low testosterone and 10 percent of the men with normal testosterone were found to be at higher risk for vascular disease.
“We still need to determine whether testosterone is directly involved in the development of atherosclerosis or if it is merely an indicator of advanced disease,” Farias said. “This study is a stepping stone to better understanding the risks of cardiovascular events in men who have both low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes.”
Other authors of the study include: Matias Tinetti of Sanatorio Trinidad Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Marina Kohury of Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires; and Guillermo E. Umpierrez of Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging
A new study finds that a drop in testosterone levels over time is more likely to result from a man’s behavioral and health changes than by aging. The study results will be presented June 25 at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.
“Declining testosterone levels are not an inevitable part of the aging process, as many people think,” said study co-author Gary Wittert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia. “Testosterone changes are largely explained by smoking behavior and changes in health status, particularly obesity and depression.”
Many older men have low levels of the sex hormone testosterone, but the cause is not known. Few population-based studies have tracked changes in testosterone levels among the same men over time, as their study did, Wittert said.
In this study, supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the authors analyzed testosterone measurements in more than 1,500 men who had measurements taken at two clinic visits five years apart. All blood testosterone samples underwent testing at the same time for each time point, according to Wittert.
After the researchers excluded from the analysis any men who had abnormal lab values or who were taking medications or had medical conditions known to affect hormones, they included 1,382 men in the data analysis. Men ranged in age from 35 to 80 years, with an average age of 54.
On average, testosterone levels did not decline significantly over five years; rather, they decreased less than 1 percent each year, the authors reported. However, when the investigators analyzed the data by subgroups, they found that certain factors were linked to lower testosterone levels at five years than at the beginning of the study.
“Men who had declines in testosterone were more likely to be those who became obese, had stopped smoking or were depressed at either clinic visit,” Wittert said. “While stopping smoking may be a cause of a slight decrease in testosterone, the benefit of quitting smoking is huge.”
Past research has linked depression and low testosterone. This hormone is important for many bodily functions, including maintaining a healthy body composition, fertility and sex drive. “It is critical that doctors understand that declining testosterone levels are not a natural part of aging and that they are most likely due to health-related behaviors or health status itself,” he said.
Unmarried men in the study had greater testosterone reductions than did married men. Wittert attributed this finding to past research showing that married men tend to be healthier and happier than unmarried men. “Also, regular sexual activity tends to increase testosterone,” he explained.
The study findings were presented by Andre Araujo, PhD, who was a visiting professor at the University of Adelaide and is vice president of epidemiology at New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Mass.
Source: Endocrine Society. “Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120623144944.htm>.
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Life or Death: Lethal Dangers of High Estrogen and Low Testosterone Levels
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association measured blood estradiol (a dominant estrogen) in 501 men with chronic heart failure. Compared to men in the balanced estrogen quintile, the men in the highest estradiol quintile were 133% more likely to die. These Men had serum estradiol levels of 37.40 pg/mL or above.
The men in the balanced quintile—with the fewest deaths—had serum estradiol levels between 21.80 and 30.11 pg/mL, the ideal range that we at Boston Testosterone Partners put our clients!
The dramatic increase in mortality in men with unbalanced estrogen (i.e., estradiol levels either too high or too low) is nothing short of astounding. It uncovers a gaping hole in conventional cardiology practice that is easily correctable.
Additionally, recent medical studies have also detailed the incidence of Prostate Cancers among males whose estradiol levels are high and whose testosterone levels are low.
We at Boston Testosterone Partners know how to put all our Male Clients in the Estrogen/Testosterone Optimal Ranges with our proprietary TRT protocols!!! Very few doctors today understand this important balance, we do.
Low Testosterone Predict Mortality in Aging Men
In a recent study of 3,014 men aged 69-80 years, serum levels of testosterone and estradiol were measured during a mean follow-up of 4.5 years. Men with low testosterone had 65% greater all-cause mortality, while men with low estradiol suffered 54% more deaths.
Those men low in estradiol and testosterone were almost twice as likely to die (a 96% increase in mortality) compared to men in the optimal ranges.
Another recent study in 2010 demonstrated that Low Testosterone is strongly associated with Cardiovascular Disease and an almost 50% increase in mortality over a seven year period!!!
These large studies of aged men corroborates prior published reports linking imbalances of testosterone and/or estradiol with greater incidences of degenerative disease and death.
Call today to regain control of your Health and Aging!!!
For more information and appointments, please contact Clinic Director Charlie Blaisdell at CBlaisdell@CoreNewEngland.com
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