Can Love and Hugs Kiss Ageing Muscles Goodbye?

Can Love and Hugs kiss Ageing Muscles Goodbye?

Kavya Narayanan HEALTH

The ‘Love hormone’, ‘trust hormone’, ‘hug hormone’. Call it what you will, Oxytocin gives off as girly an aura as any molecule in a biochem textbook. It is said to play a part in romance, friendship, a warm hug, a grasped hand or loving gaze, and even increases our libido. Made in the hypothalamus, it has receptors all over the body and acts all over.

Discussed under titles of: “oxytocin and addiction”; “oxytocin increases trust in humans”; “oxytocin increases generosity in humans”; “search for autism treatments turns to ‘trust hormone’”; “being human: love: neuroscience reveals all”; “oxytocin: the great facilitator of life”, this hormone’s most vital role is in childbirth and breastfeeding. Recent studies show oxytocin’s role has as much to do with love, trust and our behavior as it does in building and repair of your muscle and bones.

 Can Love and Hugs kiss Ageing Muscles Goodbye?

As we start to age, our bodies don’t work as well as they once did. The aged are weaker and more frail because natural systems of tissue regeneration take a beating. Our bones become less dense—leading to osteoperosis. Similarly, our bodies are unable to regenerate muscle fibers at the same rate, making our muscles too weak to jump, skip and swim like we do when are younger. Turns out oxytocin is part of a a group of biomolecules that maintain muscles and their repair- hence, also its aging and rejuvenation. It is part of a biochemical cascade (the MAPK/EPK pathway) that ends in tissue growth and proliferation.

This could be a major treatment method of osteoporosis and the loss of muscle strength and vigor that is so commonly seen in the elderly. While most newly discovered molecules to boost tissue regeneration are also associated with cancer (hence limiting their use in clinical treatment), oxytocin is already an FDA approved drug- its negative effects are very few and far between and it’s not a foreign chemical.. Its already in your veins, not posing any threats of cancer.

So, be it whether its babies, cute animals, or both that make you go all mushy inside, or just a good day at the gym.. Some of this ‘cuddle chemical’ can go a long way in keeping your guns blazing past the 60s mark! Who knew, huh?

If you dig it, find the rocket-science lingo here.