Many of my women patients overeat for one simple reason — they’re stressed.
But “comfort eating” doesn’t fix the problem — and usually it makes you feel even worse later on.
Over-the-counter pills, gym memberships and fad diet plans can also leave you frustrated with unsatisfactory results.
You see, stress and anxiety have undesired effects on your body, including depression and hypertension. And they can also lead to weight gain.
In fact, women are four times more stressed than men. And it’s no secret that women have a much harder time than men losing weight and keeping it off — especially as they age.
But the good news is there’s an easy fix – and it’s all about stimulating one, specific hormone.
In a minute, I’m going to show you ways to relieve stress AND lose weight by stimulating this hormone.
I’m talking about a powerful appetite-suppressant called oxytocin. This is a hormone your body produces when you’re happy in a relationship.
Oxytocin is stimulated by feelings of trust and support from your partner. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “cuddle” hormone.
Women need oxytocin to relieve stress… But it’s also a reason why people in happy relationships are less likely to overeat.
And compelling scientific research proves the power of the cuddle hormone, which is produced during nurturing, cuddling, sexual arousal and orgasm.
In one study, Swiss researchers gave 47 couples a nasal spray that contained either oxytocin or a placebo. The couples then participated in a “conflict” discussion. Those who received oxytocin showed extremely low levels of anxiety and significantly more positive behavior than those who got the placebo.1
And a study published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry showed that oxytocin even works on men.Researchers gave oxytocin to 37 male subjects during various stressful times. Testing revealed that their cortisol levels were dramatically reduced.2
But oxytocin does much more than de-stress you. It also reduces the need for emotional or comfort eating.
You see, oxytocin is released in areas of the brainstem that are involved in appetite regulation.
The latest research on oxytocin, using mice as test subjects, reveals that your “cuddle” hormone suppresses the release of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” 3
That means when oxytocin levels are high and ghrelin levels are low, your appetite is naturally suppressed.
But while the first strategy for stimulating oxytocin should always be to focus on improving your relationship — it also works in reverse. In other words, when oxytocin levels are up, you experience more energy, greater happiness and deeper attraction for your partner.
A study published in Biological Psychiatry shows how oxytocin even helps you get along better with your significant other. 4
You can teach your body to produce oxytocin naturally, by choosing activities that promote its release…
- Exercise: Studies show that different types of exercise, such as walking, swimming, mountain biking and lifting weights can help release oxytocin and other endorphins into your bloodstream. But from my research at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I’ve found that no matter what activity you’re doing you have to exercise with intensity to release oxytocin. My PACE program is a great way to do this. It rapidly increases your heart rate, expands your lung capacity and can be completed in about 12 minutes per day.
- Nurture Others: Your oxytocin production drops off after you turn 40. It’s the reason why minor irritations can become big deals. The way to offset that is to increase your oxytocin with more social interaction and more hugs. Touch prompts your body to release oxytocin.
- Intimacy is Key: Intimacy is one of the most powerful ways to lower your stress levels and suppress your appetite at the same time. Although men and women have similar levels of oxytocin, women have more estrogen and that boosts the effectiveness of oxytocin.
You can also supplement with oxytocin, but the only clinically proven way to take it is with a nasal inhaler. Nasal oxytocin is completely safe, and significantly increases the hormone’s levels in your blood.6 Unfortunately, you can’t take a pill. Oxytocin breaks down too quickly in your stomach for a pill supplement to work.
You can purchase nasal inhalers online without a prescription. I recommend between 18-40 IU drops per day.7
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Marazziti, D. “A relationship between oxytocin and anxiety of romantic attachment.” Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2006; 2: 28.
2. Kubzansky, L. D., Mendes, W. B., Appleton, A. A., Block, J., & Adler, G. K. (2012). A Heartfelt Response: Oxytocin Effects on Response to Social Stress in Men and Women. Biological Psychology, 90(1), 1–9.
3. Sinclair MS, Perea-Martinez I, Dvoryanchikov G, Yoshida M, Nishimori K, et al. “Oxytocin Signaling in Mouse Taste Buds.” 2010. Plos One. 5:8
4. Beate Ditzen, Marcel Schaer, Barbara Gabriel, Guy Bodenmann, Ulrike Ehlert, Markus Heinrichs. “Intranasal Oxytocin Increases Positive Communication and Reduces Cortisol Levels During Couple Conflict.” Bio Psych, May 2009;Volume 65, Issue 9, Pages 728-731.
5.. Beate Ditzen, Marcel Schaer, Barbara Gabriel, Guy Bodenmann, Ulrike Ehlert, Markus Heinrichs. “Intranasal Oxytocin Increases Positive Communication and Reduces Cortisol Levels During Couple Conflict.” Bio Psych, May 2009;Volume 65, Issue 9, Pages 728-731.
6. MacDonald E, Dadds MR, Brennan JL, Williams K, Levy F, Cauchi AJ. “A review of safety, side-effects and subjective reactions to intranasal oxytocin in human research.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 Sep;36(8):1114-26.
7. MacDonald E, Dadds MR, Brennan JL, Williams K, Levy F, Cauchi AJ. “A review of safety, side-effects and subjective reactions to intranasal oxytocin in human research.”Journal of Psychoendocrinology.