Oxytocin – The Longevity Hormone!


Why Building Community Leads to Longevity?

Oxytocin, a neuropeptide, plays a key role in healing, longevity, and building resilience. Known as the love hormone, oxytocin is the cornerstone hormone for building relationships. It is the hormone that is released during intimacy, nursing, cuddling, social interactions, petting a pet, etc. as it helps us build connections, cope with stressors and heal. It is the hormone of love.

Oxytocin impacts the autonomic nervous system to make us feel good and feel close to our loved ones. The more we perform acts of kindness and show love, the more oxytocin is released in both the giver and receiver. The more we reach out to others, the more we create community, a sense of peace and wellbeing and the more we get this ‘feel good’ hormone released.

Oxytocin has a positive feedback loop. This means the more oxytocin is available in our system, the more our brain produces and releases it. The more we act kindly and lovingly towards others, the more oxytocin is released. And the more is available in our system, the more we feel and show love.

Longevity Hormone:

Oxytocin has an anti-aging and regenerative capacity at the cellular level. Oxytocin appears to protect telomere length, one of the 12 hallmarks of aging as discussed in Chapter 15 of ‘The Golden Gate’. It activates autophagy (self cleaning system of cells) to promote longevity. Oxytocin tends to improve the regeneration of the aged heart and muscle stem cells. It also acts as an antioxidant protecting cells and the mitochondria against oxidative stress. Furthermore, oxytocin appears to be neuroprotective, protecting nerve cells against aging and damage.

For example, when you learn of someone with a heart disease or a heart attack, the more we show them love and kindness, the more likely their heart stem cells and ours will regenerate and heal.

Think of oxytocin as the sourdough starter. The more you give to the starter, the more it grows and the more it grows, the more it has to give to create a delicious healthy bread.

In other words, passing love around not only builds social interactions but helps protect cells against aging.

Anti-inflammatory Hormone:

Modern studies show oxytocin to be a strong anti-inflammatory hormone in reducing not only inflammation but cancer risks and metastasis. It interplays with the immune system to reduce inflammation. It also appears to protect the gut and closely interacts with Lactobacilli reuteri, the primary probiotic found in breast milk and in sourdough bread, to decrease inflammation and support the immune system.

It inhibits inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) to mitigate gastrointestinal inflammation as found in inflammatory bowel disease or colitis.

Cancer and Oxytocin

It is well known that the longer a woman nurses (accumulatively across all children), the lower her risk of breast cancer and possibly of thyroid and cervical cancer as well. This may be largely due to oxytocin release during nursing, which promotes relaxation and stress reduction, anti-inflammation, and blood sugar/insulin regulation in the mother.

Other studies show oxytocin to provide an anti-inflammatory cancer microenvironment that could potentially inhibit metastasis of ovarian and uterine cancers and perhaps of colorectal cancer. In a 2019 study, metastatic colorectal cancer was shown to be slowed by oxytocin and when oxytocin levels were low, metastatic risk was increased.

Stress and Weight Management

Oxytocin acts as a natural anti-anxiety and stress-relieve hormone. Stress hormones are mitigated and relaxation is induced with oxytocin. As chronic cortisol levels reduce, inflammation also decreases which helps manage our weight. Oxytocin potentially suppresses sugar cravings and appetite while increasing cellular metabolism and fat burning, thereby conferring an important benefit in weight management.

Furthermore, lower levels of oxytocin may be involved with insulin resistance, high cholesterol and cardio-metabolic conditions. Oxytocin appears to enhance glucose uptake and fat metabolism by skeletal and fat (adipose) tissues, therefore, supporting heart health.


Oxytocin has been shown to potentially reverse menopause related osteopenia/osteoporosis (weakened bones) as well as vaginal atrophy in menopausal women. Initial studies also suggest a reduction in abdominal fat and normalizing of cholesterol markers in postmenopausal women with daily use of oxytocin therapy.


One of the main reasons to create positive relationships, build community, and show love to others is to promote our individual and collective physical and mental health as well as our longevity and wellbeing. One of the biochemical reasons that love is a key factor in longevity and the path to joy is oxytocin. And one of the ways to help us feel love and give love is to activate our oxytocin system. We can always activate our oxytocin even if we are alone by connecting and building a relationship with our Higher Good and loving the Good within us.

I often remind myself of the following powerful yet beautiful Baha’i quote we discussed in an earlier section Virtue I of ‘The Golden Gate’ book about love, and hence, oxytocin.

“…Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee..”

Make sure to check out the list of ways to activate oxytocin on Chapter 12, page 235 of ‘The Golden Gate’ book.



Benameur et al, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8374585/

Carter et al, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7495339/

Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, 2002. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12133652/

Cuneo et al, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716948/

Ding et al, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7888317/

Jin et al, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328631/

Liu et al, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8886718/

Ma et al, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6923180/







Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish is a Washington board-licensed Naturopathic Doctor, certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine with a Fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapies. She is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Holistique Naturopathic Medical Center and Holistique IV Lounge. A 1995 graduate, former Chief Resident, and an Affiliate Faculty of Bastyr University, with more than 25 years of clinical practice, Dr. Darvish practices Regenerative, Naturopathic, and Integrative medicine with a passion to assist patients in their transformation towards physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. As a physician, writer, educator, lecturer, and speaker, her mission is to inspire others to become 'agents of transformation'.