L. reuteri and Oxytocin
The majority of L. Reuteri’s health benefits are a result of it‘s ability to provoke hypothalamic release of oxytocin, a hormone that is proving to be the key to substantial health effects.
The hypothalamus gland
The hypothalamus is a gland in your brain that controls your hormone system. It releases hormones to another part of your brain called the pituitary gland, which sends hormones out to your different organs. These include:
The hypothalamus controls many different functions – including the circadian rhythm, or your sleep-wake cycle.
L. reuteri yogurt
Studies that experimented with L. reuteri yogurt consumption in animals and humans suggested dramatic health benefits for both. These include the ability to:
- Assist with weight loss and shut-down appetite
- Improve skin youthfulness, increases collagen & reduces wrinkles
- Accelerate skin healing
- Promote thick and shiny hair
- Increase testosterone levels in men
- Increase the ‘feel good’ hormone oxytocin
- Lower stress
- Reduce acid reflux and infantile colic
- Suppress H.pylori & C.difficile and protects against intestinal infections
- Lower pain perception
- Increase vitamin D3 levels by up to 25.5%
- Decrease incidences of diarrhoea but also increase bowel frequency
- Fight candida
- Prevent and treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Promote thyroid health and oral health
- Protect against certain infections
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Increase muscle mass and bone density
In women, the decline of oxytocin following the decline in oestrogen may contribute to some of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Oxytocin and COVID-19
“Increasing oxytocin could increase viral resistance and increase general health especially in vulnerable population groups. Therefore, if oxytocin is identified as a true antiviral it would make oxytocin the single most effective defence and treatment for COVID-19, helping us turn the tide in this global war and helping us stop the next wave that threatens to overwhelm us. Oxytocin may be the Achilles heel of a seemingly invulnerable enemy.” (See:- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7528823)
Complex neurochemical system
Oxytocin is associated with empathy, trust, and relationship-building and with personality traits such as warmth, trust, altruism, and openness.
Oxytocin has physical and psychological effects, including influencing social behaviour and emotion. It can reduce stress responses, including anxiety.
The hormone has been described as “an important component of a complex neurochemical system that allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations.”
Research shows that Oxytocin may benefit people with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Scientists believe it could help people who avoid social interaction, and those who experience persistent fear and an inability to trust others.
A 1998 study found significantly lower levels of oxytocin in blood plasma of autistic children. (Modahl C, Green L, Fein D et al. (1998). “Plasma oxytocin levels in autistic children”. Biol Psychiatry 43 (4): 270–7. doi:0.1016/S0006-3223(97)00439-3. PMID 9513736. ) A 2003 study found a decrease in autism spectrum repetitive behaviours when oxytocin was administered intravenously. (Hollander E, Novotny S, Hanratty M et al. (2003).
“Oxytocin infusion reduces repetitive behaviors in adults with autistic and Asperger’s disorders”. Neuropsychopharmacology 28 (1): 193–8. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300021. PMID 12496956.) A 2007 study reported that oxytocin helped autistic adults retain the ability to evaluate the emotional significance of speech intonation. (Hollander E, Bartz J, Chaplin W et al. (2007). “Oxytocin increases retention of social cognition in autism”. Biol Psychiatry 61 (4): 498–503. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.05.030. PMID 16904652.)
There is a relationship between oxytocin and pain. People suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue have been found to have low levels of oxytocin.
The medical community’s reliance on prescribing opioid drugs (i.e. narcotics) to treat pain has been accompanied by a number of pharmacological and social ills, such as debilitating side effects and risk of addiction and abuse.
Drugs like naloxone, which have been developed to reverse the effects of opioids in the body, block the opioid receptors. When these drugs are used, however, the action of oxytocin is blocked as well.
There are many other pain treatments being investigated as alternatives to opioids, and oxytocin is emerging as one of these options.
Studies have shown that people who suffer chronic pain have been seen to have lower oxytocin levels than those who do not, whereas the pain threshold is higher in individuals with adequate levels.
There are also studies that demonstrate that oxytocin helps to relieve pain directly at the opioid receptors themselves.