Oxytocin – Emotion, Love Potion, Devotion… Plus Fatty Liver and Weight Loss Benefits

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By Julia Gumm

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece here that encouraged a diet featuring chocolate mousse pie and ice cream accompanied by a relatively carefree, adventurous and active lifestyle as a ticket to weight loss and vibrant health. I had only anecdotal evidence to support my claim: Once upon a time I had an experience where I ate whatever I liked, felt really happy and lost weight. Well, I’m sure that by now y’all have had sufficient time to come back down to earth and realize me for the lunatic I am.

“Great” you probably said “So some chick had a fluke experience where she lost weight eating cake. Fat lot of good that does me, because whenever I eat cake I balloon up to the size of the goddamn Hindenburg.”

Fair enough.

“And another thing” you likely huffed, “ She had NO science to back up her claim. For all I know she invented the whole thing, a fable of fudge eating fat loss- just to mess with our heads.”

I guess I had that coming.

So I’ll tell you what, this time let’s try something totally different. Let’s talk science. No fuzzy stories about my personal life, scouts honor. Let’s just get real nerdy and discuss hormones. I’ll even cite a scientific study or two. Capeesh?

Let’s talk a bit about oxytocin.

What is it? You may know it as the hormone of labor, breast feeding and perhaps pair bonding. Maybe because of the long held belief that oxytocin was a hormone only of importance to ladies and all the weird lady stuff that our weird lady bodies do, the full scope of oxytocin’s role (in both sexes) is only now becoming fully understood. Thanks science. Don’t mind us girls, we’ll just sit quietly in the back until you wanna consider us worthy of your interest. How’s all that research on the female orgasm going, bytheway? 

So what else does oxytocin do? After reading up on it for three weeks and still feeling like I’m scratching the surface, I’ve found that it has been shown to relieve pain in fibromyalgia patients, vanquish fear and anxiety, increase commitment to your partner, reduce voluntary caloric intake without slowing the metabolism, reduce abdominal fat, reduce liver fat, lower blood pressure, it has a role in building bones, soothes digestive inflammation, lowers cortisol, heats up icy hands and feet, increases glucose tolerance, decreases the size of adipocytes (fat storage cells), improves wound healing, prevents breast cancer, increases one’s sense of generosity, wellness, ease, trust and happiness. 

Y’know, just to name a few small items. 

Much of the “how” of oxytocin is still a subject of some speculation. Scientists still aren’t even sure where all the oxytocin receptors in the body are located, as most of their research has been on rats, and vast differences between different species of mammals have been discovered. For example, compared to humans, the prairie vole’s brain houses an extremely high number of oxytocin receptors. Relatedly, compared to us the prairie vole has a much more successful “marriage” rate. Yep, while we’re at about 50%, the prairie vole pretty much always mates for life. All they have to do is hang out with each other for one day following mating and the commitment of a lifetime is signed, sealed, delivered. If Mrs. P. Vole goes to the big prairie in the sky before her husband, he is never compelled to find a new lady friend. He’s a born again bachelor for life- and an adorable one to boot, I’m sure. I bet he even eats by himself in the same booth of their favorite diner every Friday evening, just like he did with his wife. Or something to that effect. 

See, that’s how powerful this stuff is! Hey, you might not be going for the cute-lonely-prairie vole-widower thing, but oxytocin has so much more to offer! And guess what? You can increase your levels of oxytocin whenever you like, for free. Well mostly for free. 

For starters, you can increase oxytocin by having sex with a partner (or yourself) that results in orgasm. Oxytocin works on the amygdala, the part of the brain that makes you afraid, tense and worried about controlling your behavior. Can you think of a better antidote to tension and freaking out about controlling oneself than the release of a rollicking orgasm? Some women have difficulty achieving sexual climax because they are nervous about their appearance, unsure about their own pleasure or simply unable to forget about commitments at work or whether or not little Jimmy’s T-ball uniform got washed in time for the game. To these women I say this: Quit it. You’re depriving yourself of a powerful hormone bath that will make you happier, healthier, and less stressed in general. 

Just as important, you can up your oxytocin levels by having frequent, pleasant social interactions. You know how simply chatting with a kind or funny cashier after a long slog of a day can make you feel better? A little warmer, a little lighter? Or how about a phone call from a friend that makes you feel cared for? Connected? Well keep it up and call someone else to spread the wealth. Your oxytocin receptors are a-fire! 

Being generous has been shown in many studies to increase oxytocin. That’s no surprise, think of how good you feel when you toss your spare change into the Salvation Army bucket. How ‘bout you stop being such a tightwad and add a few bills next time and feel the oxytocin positively gush from out the fount. Do it for your fatty liver. Though I suppose a selfish ulterior motive would ruin the whole generosity aspect of being generous, so forget your liver. Who needs it. 

You can increase oxytocin by getting a massage. A study done by the University of California San Diego Medical Center demonstrates that “massage increases oxytocin and lowers adrenocorticotropic hormone…which may help explain the mechanisms through which social connections reduce morbidity and mortality.” Sounds good to me. So if you know a certain someone who could use an oxytocin boost, why not suggest they exercise their generosity muscle and buy you a really great massage? You both win!

 You can increase oxytocin by not being one of those female athletes who stops getting their period. In a study done at Massachusetts General Hospital to prove the anabolic effects of oxytocin on bone, it was shown that amenorrheic female athletes had lower nocturnal oxytocin secretion than female non-athletes of comparable BMI. This resulted in weaker bones, even though as athletes these females do a lot of weight bearing exercises that actually strengthen bone. More evidence that working out so hard you lose your period ain’t a good thing.

You can also increase oxytocin by not using drugs that suppress it, like alcohol and opiates. The unfortunate thing is, so many fibromyalgia patients are prescribed opiate or opioid pain relievers when it turns out they’re suppressing the very thing that could give them true relief: oxytocin. While I think the “it’s all in your head” designation that many doctors give fibromyalgia patients is lazy, callous and not useful (it’s basically today’s answer to the “hysterical female” of yesteryear) there is something to be said about the apparent correlations between the condition and unhappiness. In a Swedish study done on female fibromyalgia patients, patients who identified as depressed and anxious had very low levels of oxytocin, whereas patients who identified as happy had much higher levels. When you consider all of the positive physical effects oxytocin has on the body, it’s not hard to see why unsatisfied people can begin to feel like crap. 

And what a coincidence: You can increase oxytocin by eating comfort foods (chocolate mousse pie and ice cream come to mind). In fact, you can increase oxytocin through any kind of comforting sensory experience. It can be wrapping yourself in a fuzzy blanket fresh outta the dryer, receiving a hug, petting the dog, listening to relaxing music, watching a particularly lovely sunrise, or holding hands with your sweetie or a friend. 

So let me speculate for a minute. If, as was reported at the 94th annual Endocrine Society meeting in Houston Texas, oxytocin “…reduced fat in the liver, improved glucose tolerance, and decreased abdominal fat, which is a major risk factor for heart and blood-vessel, or cardiovascular disease” is in fact true…and if comforting experiences like indulging in a hot fudge sundae for all the right reasons increases oxytocin…couldn’t it be possible that the pleasure of eating dessert could have a direct role in weight loss? Oxytocin has also been shown to reduce caloric intake overall without slowing the metabolism and reducing energy output- essentially, feeling happy is a real tool for achieving a healthy body weight that you can maintain. 

Let me speculate further. Physical problems that can find their resolution in the increase or decrease of any hormone the body is able to produce on its own- whether that be low metabolism and thyroid hormone or anxiety and oxytocin- can usually be addressed to some degree by tweaking diet and lifestyle in a way that promotes the hormonal balance you’re aiming for. You know, we all basically have a pharmacy inside our skins. The key is figuring out how to get the head pharmacist in our noggins to pony up the good stuff.

I worked with a middle-aged waitress who suggested to me, while watching as I choked down a handful of about 47 different supplements, that how we feel mentally has as much of a role in our health as what we put in our bodies. I scoffed at the time because I was pretty sure she was trying to rationalize why her penchant for Marlboros was no big thing, but over time I’ve come to realize she’s right. Why not? Watch a horror movie and your adrenaline and cortisol go through the roof- those are both pharmaceutical grade drugs that you effectively gave yourself a massive dose of. Bury your face in your cat’s furry belly and bam: so long as she doesn’t get angry and break out the claws, you just gave yourself a hit of one of the most potent pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, happiness promoting substances on god’s green earth. No, not cat fur. Oxytocin.

 But hey, just like everything else, it’s gotta have a side effect. This piece in The Atlantic suggests oxytocin’s unpleasant downside might be…conformity. Eeek!

119 Comments

  1. shoulda saved it for valentines day Julie ! there is quite a bit of science in the benefits of chocolate btw.

    best quote
    “how we feel mentally has as much of a role in our health as what we put in our bodies.”

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    • Too bad I don’t have Susan The White Trash Waitress’s phone number so I could tell her that her wisdom is a big hit in the blogosphere. This broad was so cool, she and her husband actually built their own house by themselves.

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  2. Thanks for the prescription!

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  3. Don’t you think sex without orgasm would work also towards increasing oxytocin?

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  4. I love this! Matt, you should keep Julie writing here! She’s almost as awesome as you are!

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  5. Nope. It increases dopamine, but oxytocin is all about the release.

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  6. The affection of sex can work on oxytocin though, I’m sure. But the build up to orgasm is more of a dopamine thing. You don’t get that nice tired floaty feeling unless climax is reached usually.

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    • Ok very interesting observation about sex. First, it gives a scientific validation to the popular expression that say that someone who is cranky and unhappy “needs a good shag”! And second, I have observed on myself that my response to stress is, if the situation permits, masturbation lol Although I am worrying about the view of TCM on the matter that thinks that ejaculating too often deplete the Chi and especially the bones when getting older…What a dilemma!

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      • I guess it’s all a balance, huh? Maybe stress less in the first place. But yeah, when you’re really cranky, go for it! Good medicine indeed!

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  7. I dunno, u say you increase it through massage and petting your cat, seems like the touching in itself would increase it. I mention it because I have before been experimenting with abstaining from orgasm (I am male) and though I got an increased sense of well being from this, but I guess it could also have been from stress hormones or something, but I felt that dopamin level was sustained this way and didn’t drop like post-orgasm, but it might be detrimental in the long run, I’m still not sure actually

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    • You’re right, your dopamine levels will be better sustained by avoiding orgasm. Dopamine drops big-time after orgasm and can stay down for awhile. It can get people feeling bored with their partner. It’s sort of nature’s way of making us go out and have sex with different people…prairie voles we are not, huh?

      You can kind of mitigate the crash of dopamine after orgasm through oxytocin. That seems to be the trick here- excitement, interest and arousal can only take you so far and will reach a climax, so here comes oxytocin to make you feel fuzzy and loving again. This was an interesting piece I read that explained some of it. http://www.health-science-spirit.com/neurosex.html

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      • Yeah exactly, anyway I read this book about abstaining from orgasm, seems like couples practice this called karezza sex, and its working by cheating the coolidge effect and making them stay together longer time, fight less etc

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        • Wow. I think I’d rather fight and break up eventually then go to all that trouble. And personally, when orgasm is NOT reached, I’m a lot less likely to feel committed to my partner. If there is a strong pair bond, something oxytocin fosters, I think a couple can withstand some dips in the dopamine. At least for a few good years:)

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          • Yeah I guess if you want to be more like the prairie vole and mate for life it would probably be a safer bet to abstain from orgasm atleast to some degree right from the getgo of the relationship

          • No way, they have a shit ton of oxytocin! I would imagine that if you want to be like a prairie vole you should have thrice daily orgasms supplemented by lots of massages, hand holding, sunset viewing…though that gets nauseating after awhile, doesn’t it? Maybe we’re just not cut out for prairie life.

          • Yeah I’ve yet to try such a relationship myself, my record going without orgasm is 50 days, tho I have to say that steady dopamine goin is kinda nice, even though orgasm provides stress-relief, I guess the problem is that you stress yourself up in the first place, I guess there’s a reason monks and such choose to abstain from orgasm

          • Yeah because they’re high on god. Or they’re avoiding the whole cycle of excitement and release to begin with, thus saving themselves the emotional hangovers we give ourselves.

          • You two are bumming me out with this conversation! lol Orgasm OR relationship longevity???

            So very grateful that I was never told that I can’t orgasm AND have a healthy, happy, long-lasting relationship. My hunny and I are coming up on our 24th anniversary, and have always had orgasm as the end goal of sex. When I don’t orgasm I feel mildly dissatisfied…kinda like chewing food and then spitting it out.

            We don’t do a whole lot of sunset gazing or hand holding, but we are very good friends. I suppose that bond helps a bunch with the “I’m bored and need some strange to feel better” idea to which you referred.

            Whatever has allowed us to orgasm AND stay together, I am extremely grateful for it. Had no idea we were a chemical oddity ;) ha ha ha ha

          • Frankly, I don’t think you are. I personally think the oxytocin boost from orgasm is more important than sustained dopamine for couples in the long run. And being friends and having mutual vested interests is probably the most important part of any lasting relationship. Cheers to 24 years!

          • I don’t think our hormonal system is as straight-forward and simple as a prairie vole’s. While the release of oxytocin encourages committing to a partner, it doesn’t ensure it (like it probably does in a prairie vole due to the high nr of receptors). While searching the web for articles on game addiction and hormonal activity, I came across an interesting piece on porn addiction. I imagine that for porn-addicted individuals, the oxytocin release happens in solitude and not in the company of a real person. In such a case, when there’s no one there to meet our need for partnership, we’ll feel more lonely and empty than if we didn’t orgasm in the first place. In my own experience, this can happen just as easily when having sex with someone we’re not committed to (because we’re thinking beings and not simply slaves to hormonal fluctuations), or to someone we’re having a challenged relationship with. And of course, many of us grow up in a home environment with emotionally distant family members and thus never learn how to properly connect.

          • No doubt life as a human is more complicated than that of a prairie vole- circumstance and wiring both playing a part. I think you’re right about the lonely-empty feeling that can come from a self-induced orgasm, but it’s not always the case. It certainly depends on your frame of mind. I could expand on this but since this is Matt Stone’s blog and not Jocelyn Elder’s, I’ll leave it at that.
            Also, if what you’re saying is that you don’t swoon over one night stands or tense sex with your partner while you’ve been fighting, I wonder if it’s possible that in situations where vulnerability isn’t desirable, the amygdala is less inclined to let it’s guard down. Could that either suppress oxytocin or maybe sort of blunt it’s effects? I dunno. I can personally vouch that no reservations can be present in order for me to get that starry eyed feeling. Unless you’re braiding my hair. I don’t care if you’re Charles Manson, if you brush and braid my hair I become a drooling baby in your lap and imprint upon you all sorts of stuff like you’re my savior, soulmate, etc. Hey, I know we’re “thinking beings” but we all have a weakness!

          • Yeah, that sounds like what I possibly was getting at, although I know nothing about it, the amygdala not letting its guard down. A mind in a cynical state seems less apt to let one be fooled by the effects of oxytocin. And who knows, maybe there are other hormones that play a role in whether or not oxytocin can do its job properly.
            Right, I certainly have my weaknesses too:).

          • Also, what you said about people with emotionally distant family members is so sad. People who grew up in traumatic circumstances can have a hard time ever producing normal amounts of oxytocin. It’s like the brain goes “oh I get it, nothing is safe” and that’s that. But I believe it’s fixable. I could tell you horror stories about my formative years that have certainly made it that much harder for me to be buoyant and trusting, but I think awareness is key. And having faith and trust in something besides your shitty family, like god, goodness or fate. Or yourself.

          • Agreed, Julia! My husband and I are both products of craziness. Addiction, abuse, violence, etc. going on for both of us with plenty of disconnectedness thrown into the mix. We have transcended the majority of that junk (crediting, for the most part, our faith in God) to have a loving, nonviolent home in which our son has the ‘luxury’ of telling people that he “doesn’t do drama.” Yeah, he has thanked us more than once for the environment he’s enjoyed while watching his friends deal with all the things his father and I grew up around.

            Not that it has been a piece of cake to get past our pasts, but it is totally worth the effort!

          • That’s a great story. My kids are still little and my main goal is to not pass on our junk to them.

  8. Maybe detrimental in the same way such as amphetamine/cocaine which really boost ur dopamine, but of course on a far less extreme scale

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  9. Of couse testosteron would also be included in this effect, so maybe it wouldn’t work equally energy-boosting for women as for men, as I understand most women orgasm far less than the average man

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  10. Kerrigan, I’d venture that women reaching orgasm less often is something that can be remedied by skill, knowledge and a generous partner.

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    • True, I guess I was referring more towards masturbation which also seems to be far more common in males

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  11. “…if comforting experiences like indulging in a hot fudge sundae for all the right reasons increases oxytocin…”

    I think the key is “all the right reasons.”

    I stepped on the scale yesterday for the first time in a month or so, expecting to be a few pounds heavier from indulging in the “Holiday Diet.” You know, the one that features lots of homemade sugar cookies, pie and ice cream!

    Much to my surprise, I’d actually *lost* a couple pounds. It’s nice to know that Christmas cookies can be part of a healthy diet!

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  12. Totally! All the right reasons is key! If you’re piling candy bars on top of a pit of pain in your stomach just to bury it and forget about it, you’re just gonna feel shittier. But the “holiday diet” enjoyed in a measured spirit of happiness I think is a completely different ballgame.

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  13. I am off to play with myself… I’ll be back.

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    • Nothing could please me more than to see lots of funny references to masturbation on this post. Keep ‘em “coming”, people!

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  14. The thought of eating a half pounder from Wendy’s seems really pleasurable right now…I recently fully got over my fear of wheat and gluten and life feels like it’s opened up again :)

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  15. Hi Julia, thank you for a delightful article! I enjoyed it very much. About karezza, if you’re up for more reading: http://www.reuniting.info/

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  16. I really enjoyed this post, thank you!

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  17. Really like this article. Thanks :)

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  18. Awesome. Thank you, Thank you,Thank you! for this. :)

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  19. This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much!

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  20. Oxytocin is good stuff. I released a bunch just reading this.

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  21. Awesome post, you’re a really good writer!

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  22. http://yourbrainonporn.com/oxytocin-fidelity-and-sex

    lots of info about oxytocin, some points:
    -there’s no need to hit the point of orgasm in order to release oxytocin
    -after orgasm oxytocin rapidly drops, instead of increasing
    -many more interesting points now that i’m reading it again

    also note that i’m kinda biased against ejaculation. i just don’t like that tired satisfied feeling afterwards.

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    • In men there is a huge rise in prolactin after sex, and it is something like 3-4 times greater with sex than masturbation. With most things though, there is probably a sweet spot in the middle. Too little ejaculation, bad, too much ejaculation, bad.

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      • I need to go to bed, but I gotta add some links to start another conversation. Does anyone here know it’s possible for a male to develop skills to orgasm without ejaculating and thus skipping the refractory period? I’ve experimented with it, but let’s be honest you gotta REALLY want to get good at it for it to work, because that mental “poison” just wants you to ejaculate.

        It would be cool for us or someone to discuss what’s happening when we’re bypassing the refractory period and what is also hormonally happening and whether or not that’s good or bad. I say it’s fuckin great. Pardon my french

        It’s a whole lot of work, you gotta be really “in tune” with all of the different levels of arousal, and as far as I know a lot of men don’t even realize there are different heights for us. I mean like, if you go SUPER slow, and feel the different effects every step of the way. Right on down to the “edge” where things start gettin real slippery hahaha. Part of this of course definitely includes the fitness of your pc muscles.

        Not that this has anything to do with it, but I’ll go out on a limb here and be honest about something. I don’t have a premature ejaculation problem, but I do have problems controlling myself especially if I haven’t “taken care of myself” previously etc…It’s for two reasons I think. Dieting, doin the low carb shit and all that and losing weight the wrong way, and not having a partner for a while, I unknowingly let my pc muscle go to complete shit. Can I hold up a towel? Fuck no, I got a lot of work to do…Plus the increase in my sexual hormones from being much healthier now that I try to completely satisfy myself every single day. God it’s a relief…So right now I’m not your “all nighter” type because I get HORNIER THAN FUCKING HELL, and I have a weak pc muscle, BUT like everything else, I’m working on that, and maybe eventually when it’s strong like Peter North (LOL) I’ll try the multiple thing.

        Ladies, if you’re man doesn’t know about this, you best enlighten a motha fucka cuz you’re in for a treat. I have successfully orgasmed without ejaculation a couple times in the past by myself experimenting with this stuff and it’s fuckin weird, but intense.

        http://www.whitelotuseast.com/MultipleOrgasm.htm

        Wikipedia- “Prolactin provides the body with sexual gratification after sexual acts: The hormone counteracts the effect of dopamine, which is responsible for sexual arousal. This is thought to cause the sexual refractory period. The amount of prolactin can be an indicator for the amount of sexual satisfaction and relaxation. Unusually high amounts are suspected to be responsible for impotence and loss of libido (see hyperprolactinemia symptoms).”

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        • and when I said I completely satisfy myself everyday I was talking about food not sex or masturbation lol

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          • With a little training masturbating without orgasm isn’t hard to pull off. The longer you abstain from orgasm though “accidents” seem to happen when venturing into this. The problem I experienced with this was internet porn, without climaxing you’ll be stuck at that for hours on a dopamine rush comparable to a light version of an amphetamine rush for anyone that has tried that.
            Also if I hook up with a girl the no-orgasm thing is a no go. I would only see it working in some kind of long term relationship.

  23. Ok, yeah, oxytocin is released all through the build up of sex but it shoots up at orgasm- and yes, it will drop off afterwards, but the positive effects of oxytocin are said to be felt in an organism for up to two weeks after release.
    Would a huge prolactin rise be the result of an equally huge rise in oxytocin at orgasm? If so, wouldn’t that just mean that guys feel warmer and fuzzier about another person than they do their hand? Though their hand may become fuzzy if they keep up all that masturbation…

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    • If a person had low oxytocin, would this explain the percieved benefits of abstaining from masturbation? If oxytocin levels aren’t sufficient, could this cause an overload of prolactin?

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    • Hey Julia, I’m offended, my hands are not Fuzzy!! LOL!

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  24. Regarding smoking: yes it is fashionable to attribute every bad thing is caused by smoking and smokers can’t enjoy a cigarette outdoors without being pestered by a total stranger lecturing them about how dangerous it is. I said to the last person who did that to me, “Not as dangerous as telling people you know nothing of what to do…” Yes, very occasionally I do smoke pure tobacco, usually in the winter when there is a lot of mountain mist around and people are wheezing. However, I don’t think it is a good habit to get into, as it is hard on the body and stimulates the release of cortisol.

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  25. Matt,

    Apologize that this may be off topic, but I lost 35 pounds of fat over the course of two years by just exercising a lot and lifting heavy, and cutting refined carbs to an extent while increasing lean protein. I am not down to within 8 percent of my goal body fat, so I started an 8/16 split IF protocol. I have seen improvements in body composition, BUT I have developed stretch marks seemingly everywhere! I am a 23 year old male. I would say 99% of men my age don’t have marks this bad. Would they be any indication of an underlying problem? At first I thought I had developed them when I gained the weight initially, and am now just stating to notice them. But I know that’s not true. I’m literally developing them right now, AFTER the period at which I was at my highest weight. Why am I developing them now, and not then? Perhaps its the fasting?
    Have stretch marks been any indication of poor adrenal activity in prior cases to you? This is unnerving and I can’t find answers anywhere.

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    • I really don’t know. After intentionally gaining weight last year I developed some too that didn’t show up in full force until much later. If I ever come across anything I’ll do my best to let you know.

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    • Daniel,

      I remember reading in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration about the Native Americans in Northern Canada that use to eat the glands above the kidneys in animals to keep away scurvy. The glands are very high in vitamin C so if your adrenals are suffering, I would say that some vitamin C may be useful for you.

      When I was doing RBTI, the consultant I was working with told me I was deficient in vitamin C and I also had very worn out adrenals. Also, we are told to put oil on our skin after we bathe to lock in vitamin C. Vitamin C is what helps to keep the skin tight from what I remember from my old skincare obsession days. So you may be right about the poor adrenals being related to the stretch marks, Daniel.

      Try having some slowly simmered onion soup 3 times a week and see if that helps. Maybe even add some bone broth to it so you get a nice dose of collagen. Not sure if this is true, but in RBTI, onion soup is suppose to be the most bioavailable form of vitamin C. You could also try rubbing rosehip oil on the stretch marks and see if that helps fade them. Rosehip is a unique oil in that it contains natural occurring retinol and is high in vitamin C. I do know when I was at my lowest weight I had a few stretch marks pop up. In all fairness I was down to 71 pounds with almost no body fat to speak of so I’m not surprised, but now that I’m healthy and gained back fat, the stretch marks are gone. Yep…having some fat isn’t such a bad thing. :)

      Blessings and Love!

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      • Thanks for posting this info! Nothing sounds too dangerous or out there, might be worth trying…
        Stretch marks are the enemy of my WASP skin :(

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        • Obviously rapid weight gain, loss, and growth can cause them, but stretch marks are a symptom of both Cushing’s syndrome (high cortisol) and low cortisol (Addison’s disease) so I don’t think you’re off focusing on your adrenals. Not sure how much of Matt’s stuff you’ve red, but he emphasizes dieting as a stressor — including IF– so you may be on to something.

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    • Hi, Daniel. Research the relationship between zinc and stretch marks. It has helped me hugely, it might be a factor for you. Good luck!

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  26. Rrarfing away, having Haagen Dazs for breakfast is heavenly in all the many good ways, and costs lots of money as well. Any DIY ice cream eaters who’d share how they make home made vanilla ice cream?

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    • Before you call something expensive make sure to break it down on a per-calorie basis. In the U.S. we can usually get it for about $4 for 900+ calories. Thus, a 2700 calorie diet would be $12/day at that rate, which isn’t really all that expensive.

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      • Ah, the joys of being American… Up here in Canada on the west coast I pay about $8.00 a container and can’t find it any cheaper. Mind you, I love where I live so really expensive ice cream seems to be the trade off.

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        • It’s equally as nice to drink half n’ half sweetened with maple syrup, molasses, chocolate syrup, coffee, or other flavorings. Po man’s Haagen Dazs

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        • I’m in Canada on the west coast too, and I wait until the Haagen Dazs goes on sale and stock up. I can usually get them for $4.99 each maybe once every month or two, and occasionally even cheaper than that.

          Plus the cartons are 500 ml here, not 410 ml like in the US. The strawberry container I have in the fridge is 1040 calories, so that’s $12.95 for 2700 calories.

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    • Challenge accepted! I drink my ice cream so I’ll n=1 a recipe for ice cream/nog over the next couple of days. My guess is the total cost cup per cup will be about the same as buying Häagen Dazs.

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    • We like to make our own French Vanilla ice cream in our ice cream maker:

      2 cups heavy cream
      2 cups milk
      3 eggs
      1 cup sugar
      2 tsp vanilla extract

      Beat the eggs and milk together in a saucepan. Add the sugar and cook on low until the mixture coats the spoon (about 10 min). Cool, add vanilla and cream and refridgerate overnight. Mix well, then add to ice cream maker and let it work for 20-25 minutes.

      This is freaking delicious! It makes about 1/2 gallon or so and you’ll have to see how the cost of making this compares to a pint of Haagen Daaz. I hope this might be less expensive for you! :)

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      • This looks like it might be a great fertility treat too!

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        • Nom nom nom.

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    • Oooorrrr, make eggnong. :P

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  27. You got me! Thanks for the pointing out.

    Reply
  28. Matt,

    Thank you for your reply. I should have been more specific. I brought up the occurrence of stretch marks only because almost every source I research cites excess cortisol as a primary reason. So I’m wondering if adrenal fatigue could be the culprit as a result of fasting.

    Reply
  29. I been following matt’s advice for a year, I actually gained weight and went up to 18% bodyfat, im im 8-10% and lean as can be …. I eat lots of ice cream (homemade from raw heavy cream), mac cheese, cheesecake and orange juice.. just to name a few meals.

    Reply
  30. You mentioned labor as one of the times where there is a lot of oxytocin secretion. But not at non-labor C-section births, and also, I read somewhere not when mom is given Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) to stimulate contractions. Jorge Flechas, MD, (lots on youtube) is using oxytocin for autism. He states on one of his videos that the amygdala is the target of oxytocin. If little babies born by C-section do not get this during their first hour of birth – Birth Imprint – how will this affect them the rest of their lives? There is oxytocin in breast milk, so that is one area where mom can make up for less than an ideal birth.

    Reply
    • My daughter is a patient of Dr. Flechas’ and she has Autism. While Dr. Flechas does not prescribe her oxytocin to her, she does see a doctor referred by him and Dr.Flechas monitors her care. Dr. Flechas is the reason we tried this with our daughter who is now 5 and has been on oxytocin for 2 years. Our daughter was born 7 weeks premature and born by emergency c-section. Every doctor she has seen since birth and even the doctors that diagnosed her autism, believe she was that way from birth or very shortly after. She never developed normally and I got real tired of hearing “oh she will catch up, she was premature”. She never caught up until starting oxytocin. She still has issues and is behind in some areas, but others she is at a “normal” 5 yr old level. The most incredible unexpected benefit was her petit mal seizures stopped immediately, even when anti convulsants didn’t help. She hasn’t had a seizure in 2 years. I am so happy to have Dr. Flechas in our lives! P.s. Our daughter takes a tablet and not the nasal spray.

      Reply
  31. Yeah I watched his videos, too. I was C-section delivered AND exclusively formula fed. Guess I’m screwed!

    Reply
    • Me too Julia. And of course it was soy formula back in the day- my poor mom felt so guilty when I started developing thyroid, adrenal, and immune system issues and he said it all went back to my not being delivered vaginally!
      (Although its better than being still-born, which was my other option, sooo…. Cest le vie?)

      Reply
      • *he being my naturopath doctor

        Reply
      • When were you born? I am so mad at being born in the mid 80’s. Soy formula and a childhood spent eating Country Crock margarine because it was “healthy.”

        But at least I can blame my parents for anything that goes wrong with my health down the line! Ha!

        Reply
  32. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area has its drawbacks (expensive as hell and it has been invaded by hipsters) but I can’t complain about the selection of ice cream. I am sitting here this morning eating a container of Three Twins Ice Cream, which is, in my opinion, the greatest commercial ice-cream there is. Much better ingredients and taste than Haagen-Dagz. BTW, I am eating my favorite flavor, vanilla with chocolate chips.

    Reply
    • Have you had the cardamom?

      Reply
      • I was considering it this morning when I bought the vanilla chocolate chip. Is it any good? I don’t tend to be very adventurous when it comes to ice-cream and stick to basics, but if you recommend it, I will give it a try :)

        Reply
        • No, I actually haven’t had it. My friend lives in Queens and eats that brand all the time and I’ve wanted to try the cardamom when I’ve been in the city but I haven’t been able to find it! Just wondering if it’s as wonderful as I hope.

          I appreciate the basics as well, and plain chocolate chip has always been a favorite of mine myself, but adventurous flavors are fun. I even jumped all over that bacon ice cream fad, it was great.

          Reply
          • Sister, I will buy the Cardamon tomorrow and let you know what I think. I didn’t realize that Three Twins had made it out to the east coast. Not so long ago, you could only get it here in the Bay Area.

          • I’ve seen Three Twins at Whole Foods in Chicago and Dallas. I’ve only tried the sea salt caramel, which was delicious.

          • The Fresh Market carries it in our Florida town. Not a large selection, probably, but my fav so far is the Mint Confetti. YUM!

    • Dude, I’ve been *all over* the Three Twins lately!!

      Reply
    • We have Three Twins here now in Cincinnati and it’s SO good. We also have a couple local brands that are wonderful! Graeter’s and Julies being two of them.

      Reply
  33. Slur alert – I’m a bit drousy still:
    Hi everybody, thanks for the half’n half+ sugar option, plus the ice cream recipe! I crashed on the sofa at noon today, after an intense job interview at 10am, following yesterdays all nighter. (I’m still getting used to the Iodine solution and if I take it too late in the day, I seem to not get sleepy at all until the next morning around 9am.) All I wanted after I woke up from the crash nap was ice cream. So I decided, from today on I’m going to eat as much ice cream, or the poor womans equivalence, as I possibly can, for as many days as I’m up for it, adding salt to taste, and vitamins. Why isn’t there salt in ice cream anyway? I’ll shop for ice crem ingredients tomorrow and begin the yummy kitchen lab work. Fussellooovivibub snore zzz

    Reply
  34. HI MATT and everyone!

    I have just found HED and this blog today. After reading for a while, realize that I will start eating this way and see what happens. I totally look forward to NEW experiences after decades of health challenges, and paying thousands of dollars on many health professionals and supplements.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ABOUT Oxytocin. I have been using an Oxytocin nasal spray since the end of May 2012, as well as Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy. These have helped to an extent with my 30+ years of Fibromyalgia pain, anxiety and more. This combination has Saved my sanity, and now I can change my eating habits to help heal me even more!

    THe company from which I purchase the Oxytocin nasal spray(also has drops), sent out an email article relating how when a woman delivering a baby is given a large dose of Oxytocin to enhance the delivery process, this initial overflush can diminish the baby’s own ability to produce its own Oxytocin, thus growing from birth with diminished Oxytocin levels, which thus causes so many of the health challenges we are faced with, as well as diminished heart-to-heart connection.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Low Dose Naltrexone boosts endorphins, is inexpensive and helps the body to heal itself.
    You can do a search for Oxytocin spray/drops and Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy, also known as LDN Therapy. Both of these can be found on youtube videos.

    Naltrexone is an older pharmaceutical which was developed in a 50 mg dose to block opioid receptors, to heal opioid addiction. In its OFF LABEL, LOW DOSE FORM, up to only 4.5 mg per dose once a day, it triples endorphin production, thus boosting the body’s ability to heal itself AND FEEL BETTER!

    LDN THerapy is used to treat dozens of illnesses. It is also being used for folks in the Autism Spectrum, as is Ocytocin. THere are international conferences and internet and local groups, books and internet articles. LDN has helped folks heal many ‘late stage’ illnesses, as well as depression and more.

    A website for information about LDN Therapy is http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org They do not sell anything on that site. It is for information only.

    Naltrexone can be prescribed by a doctor and compounded by an appropriate compounding pharmacy, or purchased without a script online via internaltional pharmacies. I have been purchasing (ten tablets at a time) online and mix a crushed tablet in a dropper bottle with enough clean water for the doses (description of this process is online). I do this because the doctor I was seeing only wanted to prescribe Pain drugs with horrible side effects to sell more drugs. She didn’t care a flip about helping to heal my Fibromyalgia. (She’s NO LONGER in my life!)

    I am convinced that eating this wonderful Matt Stone-inspired way, added to already using Ocytocin nasal spray and Low DOse Naltrexone will offer me better health than I imagined possible in this life.

    THANK YOU, MATT, for dedicating yourself to this creative and wonderful way for folks to feel like they oughta! And thank you to all the folks who are eating this way and sharing your results with the world. Keep that feedback comin’!

    May 2013 and beyond be BEyond our wildest transformational imaginings.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gail

    Reply
    • Hi Gail!

      I have fibro and come from a history of fibro sufferers in my family (my Dad and his Mom both suffer from it). I’ve never tried low dose naltrexone or oroxytocin spray, although I’ve read about the former. Very interesting, I’ll look into it more.

      Ever since doing Matt’s protocol, I have felt A LOT better! My brain fog hardly happens anymore. My stress is a lot lower and my flares aren’t happening as much. I’ve been able to sleep a lot better, also. And what I’m doing seems to be balancing out my hormones somewhat, although I recently started taking progesterone.

      I’m trying to teach some of this stuff to my Dad now (and my Mom, who gets cold frequently).

      This is all good stuff and I’m grateful I found out about Matt Stone via Cheeseslave. :)

      Reply
      • Make sure to tell Cheeseslave that. I think she gets some serious hate mail whenever she says anything remotely positive about me. Heck, one girl wrote a post about how great Eat for Heat was and then quickly removed it. It hasn’t come back!!!

        Reply
        • I found Matt through Cheeseslaves too. Funny thing is. A family member had been struggling for a while with pre-diabetes and recently been put on a second (and expensive) anti-diabetic drug. The said person was not listening to my low carb advice and I googled…

          “carbohydrates cause insulin resistance”

          …just looking, searching, fretting over finding SOMETHING that would convice this person that they needed to cut carbs.

          I clicked on this in my curiosity…

          http://www.cheeseslave.com/carbohydrates-dont-cause-insulin-resistance/

          And the rest is history. :-) I’ll have to tell Cheeseslaves.

          Reply
        • I tell Cheeseslave “thank you” whenever I can…except I do it in public on her blog so hopefully others will wise up. :) She’s taken a lot of heat for writing about eating more carbs and food, bless her heart. I saw one of her first posts about you when my life was almost pure hell and I wondered if I was dying. I still have rare days like that, but things are So. Much. Better.

          People get super dogmatic about their food, and some diet followers really go crazy when she writes blog posts about you or carbs, ha!

          Reply
      • I also heard about Matt though Cheeseslave, but I’m reserving my thanks until I can reach at least the 98’s in my temp and lose the ten pounds I’ve gained. ;) (I’m almost there- up to 97.7 from 95.5).

        Reply
    • LDN is the DOPE! My husband and I both take it and never get sick! I used to come down with this horrible thing every few months where my lymph nodes in my neck would swell up- went away on LDN. The only time we’ve been sick is when we ran out of LDN, because it takes about 3 weeks to get here from India so you have to stay on top of ordering it.

      BTW you don’t have to crush the pills. Just let them sit in the water for a bit and they dissolve.

      Reply
      • Man, I keep wanting to try this stuff (I have some) but I am just afraid of the side-effects in terms of sleep. I think I know how Tierney deals with this, but I am wondering what Gail’s experience is.

        Reply
        • Actually I started LDN well before I ever started taking Xanax. The sleep disturbance is just not that great. I had a couple nights of very vivid dreams. I read the LDN yahoo group for a long time on a regular basis, and it seems like most people have no real side-effect with sleep or anything else… of course there are always exceptions! But you could just stop taking it if it really messes with you.

          Reply
    • Can anyone link me to a credible online source of LDN ? Like someone else mentioned already ironically enough – I went to my doc and he’s seems keen to perscribe pain killers but nothing else.

      Reply
  35. Well, yes, I am eating a lot, but apparently I could use more massages, pleasant social interactions, and good sex!

    Reply
  36. i’m not a fan of your female assumptions. i think you have a flawed notion of why women don’t achieve sexual climax, as if they are to blame. (i’m guessing you came across women you couldn’t please, and choose not to blame yourself).

    personally, the only time i reached orgasm from my most recent boyfriend was through cunnilingus, not intercourse with him. my mood wasn’t different. it was his performance that determined it.

    Reply
    • You are aware that the author of this article is herself a woman, right? Or was this comment directed elsewhere?

      Reply
    • Hey K. I wrote the piece, and I wouldn’t say women are to “blame” when they don’t reach sexual climax. You are exactly right that all the trust and let go-iness in the world can only take you so far when your partner isn’t skillful at what he/she is doing. If you go through the earlier comments, you’ll see that someone stated women don’t achieve orgasm as often as men and I replied that that can probably be remedied by skill, knowledge and a generous partner. All so important! Hey, we can’t just WILL ourselves into climax! And part of our level of trust and excitement in the first place is determined by how we’re handled throughout foreplay, what the state of our relationship with the person is, etc etc. What I’m referring to in the article are those times when women simply can’t get keep their heads in the game because they’re floating off elsewhere into the land of fears and anxieties. It happens. No matter how skillful your lover, their affect on you can certainly be overpowered by your brain. I’m not pushing blame so much as awareness. Thanks for your comment though, you pointed out something really important.
      If this were an article focusing on the problems people encounter during sex, I’d have touched on all the reasons why males can run into performance issues too.

      Reply
      • Although now I just re-read what you wrote and I’m laughing so hard about that part where you accuse me of not being able to please a woman. Hey, I’ve never tried but I’m a quick study. I know my way around myself pretty well.

        Reply
  37. Women should be having MORE Os than men (they don’t have the same issues of a refractory period), if they are with the right person. I have only experienced two women whose “issues” I felt prevented them from having Os.
    1) A woman who had a history of abuse as a child to a family member. She had NEVER had an O in her life. We tried everything. She enjoyed making love but just couldn’t reach climax.
    2) A woman who had been brought up in a very strict Catholic boarding school in Italy, where she was inculcated with propaganda about the evils of carnal relations. Not only could she not experience an O, her va-jay-jay wouldn’t open up. In her mind, she was liberated, but her body just wouldn’t let go of the indoctrination. Very, very sad.

    Obviously one solution for men is to practice Karezza. Not only is there a better chance of giving your lady Os, but you will overall get more pleasure, too…just not the BIG O that you are used to. Of course, women have to get used to men using this method, too.

    Reply
    • Of course, if men don’t want to practice Karezza, you could dose yourself on Dostinex as a way of overcoming the inconvenience of a refractory period.

      I am getting pretty stirred up by this conversation. Anybody got any more pics to share?

      Reply
  38. Participating on this blog is the most fun to be had in the bowels of the online nutrition world, hands down.

    Reply
    • I believe the appropriate phrase is, “sauerkraut-scented bowels.”

      Reply
      • Now there’s a mental image for Thomas Seay to get stirred up by.

        Reply
  39. Off-topic observation: I’ve noticed in Australia at the moment the media is absolutley dripping saturated with weight-loss material, Jenny is pushing hard a new (laughable) marketing campaign along with others, news bites and stories of dieting and obesity abound. I believe post-christmas is their peak time. Just caught a gastric banding segment on breakfast TV. God every second ad… Just caught one telling me to buy pork as it has half the fat of the equivalent beef. 1/4 of us is obese they say. I wonder what the rates of eating disorders in this country are? Rates of dieting? When will they make the connection??????? Now I’m watching a cooking segment… No cream here people, don’t worry! Everyone is so obsessed with cooking shows and chef shows…. This place is in collective neurosis, it’s unbearable.

    Reply
  40. I’m from the land down under and I haven’t noticed, but I haven’t been watching TV. We are said to have the second highest rate of obesity behind America, but rapidly catching up – or did we overtake at one stage.

    I once knew a lady who worked for Jenny Craig, who was skinny then but is diabetic and overweight now.

    Reply
  41. Ways to increase Oxytocin according to: http://www.prevention.com/health/sex-relationships/easy-ways-increase-oxytocin-levels

    1. Hug it out. If you meet Dr. Zak, the first thing he’ll do is give you a hug. “I just refuse to handshake at all,” he says. Even among strangers, hugging releases oxytocin, he says. Last year, Dr. Zak spread the hugging bug to hardened New Yorkers at an event called Love Night, where strangers were encouraged to hug one another. “If it works on 500 random New Yorkers, it’ll work for you,” Dr. Zak says.

    2. Modify your handshake. Not into hugging your mailman or job interviewer? Touch is still important. Dr. Zak suggests a modified handshake: One hand over the other. Making eye contact also makes the connection more powerful.

    3. Watch a tearjerker. Seeing a powerful movie is the best oxytocin releaser Dr. Zak has found to date. Here’s some context: When oxytocin is increased by 10-20%, noticeable behavior changes—like feeling more relaxed—result. Watching an emotionally compelling movie makes oxytocin surge 47%. Why? Our brains process the plot and characters as if they were in the room with us, Dr. Zak says.

    4. Sing karaoke. Belting out show tunes, singing in a choir, or even doing karaoke is an instant oxytocin trigger, but only if you’re doing it with other people, Dr. Zak says.

    5. Bust a move. There’s nothing quite like partnered dancing to get your oxytocin fix. In one experiment, Dr. Zak drew the blood of dancers before and after a night of dancing. He found that the oxytocin levels of the dancers rose 11%, regardless of age or gender. They also reported feeling closer to others and closer to “something bigger than themselves,” even though the evening had nothing to do with religion.

    6. Thrill yourself. Want to feel closer with someone? Take them bungee jumping, rollercoaster riding, or out to see a scary flick. “Doing something thrilling is a great way to connect with somebody,” Dr. Zak says—it’s part of the reason why policemen and soldiers have such extraordinarily strong bonds.

    7. Host a walking meeting. Studies have proven that exercising with a friend makes for a better workout, and Dr. Zak would argue that it makes for a happier one, too. He applies the same strategy to the office by taking his lab mates on a hike in the foothills of California every month. “The moderate stress [of hiking] will make the bonding experience better,” he says.

    8. Treat your friend. Take a pal to dinner, Dr. Zak says. That little gift will start a virtuous feel-good cycle.

    9. Say the L word. And don’t just reserve it for your sweetie, says Dr. Zak. Love can be familial, spiritual, or friendly. Say it—and you’re very likely to hear it back if you do—and then demonstrate it, he says.

    10. Check Facebook. Social media is often heralded as the end to meaningful interaction, but science sees it differently. While studying people’s oxytocin levels after using Facebook and Twitter, Dr. Zak saw oxytocin release in every participant in each of his three experiments. Though in-person interactions are much richer, he says, there’s room for the Internet. “We’re a connective species: The more interaction, the better.”
    ——————————————————————————-

    I can vouch for the Twitter one. One day I felt awful and my blood sugar was all over the place. After a bit of chatting on twitter, it got much better and I felt more stable.

    Reply
  42. Julia Gumm, I’m sadly disappointed that there are no photos of yourself with this article.

    Matt’s got his pics up all over the place, but they don’t do it for me. Maybe if he was wearing heels???

    Off to spike my Oxytocin levels…

    Reply
    • There’s a pic of her on the last post she wrote (Happiness and Weight Loss). She’s pretty cute. Even with that giant forefivehead.

      Reply
        • Ahhh! I loved it! The 90’s were magical!

          Reply
      • Actually, the BMI Bulimia post is the one I was thinking of.

        You still got those long, sexy legs Julia?

        Reply
        • Whoa!!!! Online admirers! I’ve really arrived, huh?

          Cody, I assure you that bulimia photo was an optical illusion. While my legs are no doubt very sexy, they’re not all that long. I think the obnoxiously huge platform shoes I was wearing, paired with a perhaps regrettably short skirt just made them appear that way.

          And I can accept sporting some fivehead. It’s better than fivechin. Maybe I’ll just get bangs.

          Reply
          • Julia,

            I wouldn’t use the word “regrettably” in reference to that short skirt ;)

  43. Oxytocin and getting over depression? After having four miscarriages in the last year (I have had two healthy babes and all of a sudden I cannot carry a baby properly….), I am trying to focus on healing and recovery but, obviously, I am dealing with some depression. I am planning to begin RRARF as a means of nourishing my body (already eat a nourishing food diet and my labs came back “fantastic” according to the doc but I know something is off) and helping it to heal along with restoring my metabolism so I can shed excess weight. I feel like I aged ten years in the last year and I want to regain vitality. Anyways, I remember that sewing really helped me to come out of my postpartum depression with my first babe–and, miraculously, I began to shed pounds around that time. Oxytocin? Matt Stone, I plan to purchase one of those consults…. I’m just curious if anyone else has had experience in this area. I just want to feel better again.

    Reply

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