The Huffington Post online today reports that hugs have healing powers.
Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”, is responsible for those indescribable feelings we get when we’re bonding with a loved one – and now a new study from researchers from the University of California, Berkeley says that this loving feeling could have reparative, anti-aging benefits.
Levels of oxytocin drop as we age and evidence suggests that could be a contributing factor to our bodies’ deterioration. In particular, muscle loss is a major side effect of aging, with our bodies losing up to 5 percent of our muscle mass each decade past our 30s.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, had researchers inject oxytocin into older mice with muscle damage and deterioration. These older mice initially had lower levels of oxytocin than younger mice. But after 9 days, the older mice who had been given the hormone healed better than those who did not. Their ability to repair muscle damage was up to 80 percent that of the younger mice.
Not only fast acting, the results provide hope for future use of the hormone in a variety of anti-aging capacities. Study co-author Wendy Cousins said: “This is good because it demonstrates that extra oxytocin boosts aged tissue stem cells without making muscle stem cells divide uncontrollably.”
Oxytocin can certainly make you look younger, some experts say, as the release of the hormone has anti-inflammatory benefits, which fight aging.
In the future, researchers say oxytocin could be used to fight other age-related health issues by improving bone health and even being used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
The Huff article ends by saying: “Now go out and give someone a hug.”
As if we needed telling!
Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/11/oxytocin-aging-_n_5485373.html