Researchers from Michigan State University identified that the “love hormone,” oxytocin does more than generate pleasurable feelings, it may also help heal damage following a cardiac event! Amazing, not only is it a love hormone but it can also mend a broken heart! The study was performed using Zebrafish as they have an extraordinary capacity for regenerating organs, including brain, retina, internal organs, bone, and skin.
Zebrafish and human cell cultures had the capacity to activate heart repair mechanisms by stimulating stem cells in the heart’s outer layer when oxytocin was introduced. These cells, cardiomyocytes, are the muscle cells that generate heart contractions. When a human has a heart attack, cardiomyocytes die off, if this research is right, introducing oxytocin may assist the broken heart in healing. In fact, oxytocin also plays a role in our cardiovascular system where it lowers blood pressure, and serves as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Who knew?!
These findings are pretty exciting as oxytocin could be used in a clinical setting to aid in the recovery from severe cardiac events, such as myocardial infarct, and prevent progression to heart failure in the future. But as always, this does not absolve us of our responsibility to live clean, healthy lifestyles, avoid overindulgence and get regular exercise, boring, yes, healthy, yes! Isn’t research a wonderful thing; the future always looks brighter when these positive outcomes are shared. Thanks to the researchers at Michigan State University and GO GREEN! Stay informed and stay well!