If someone wanted to measure oxytocin levels during an ASMR experience, or compare oxytocin levels in individuals that do experience ASMR vs individuals that don’t experience ASMR – how would that be done?
There are two methods for directly measuring oxytocin.
The first method would be to measure the oxytocin in a person’s brain and spinal fluid. The upside of this method is that these levels are probably most accurate for any effects oxytocin may be having on behavior. The downside of this method, as you might have guessed, are the safety issues and expenses with doing this.
The second method would be to measure the oxytocin in a person’s blood. The upside of this second method is increased safety and decreased costs compared to trying to access someone’s brain and spinal fluid. The downside of this second method is that it is not known if the oxytocin measured in someone’s blood is an accurate reflection of the oxytocin in someone’s brain and spinal fluid.
A recent research study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry has determined if blood levels of oxytocin are an accurate measurement of brain and spinal fluid levels of oxytocin.
The study also looked to see if the levels of oxytocin were associated with anxiety.
What did they find?
It has been widely reported that many individuals find ASMR helpful to reducing their anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
If there was one neurotransmitter that was known to reduce all three of these disorders then it might be appropriate to theorize the involvement of that neurotransmitter in ASMR.
Well, the neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) may be a terrific candidate.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that is widely released throughout the brain. It is well understood to have an inhibitory effect on most neurons. Another way to view this is that GABA tends to calm, comfort, and soothe other neurons.
Is GABA involved in treating anxiety disorders? Yes. Drugs like Xanax and Valium are benzodiazepines which are anti-anxiety medications. These kind of drugs reduce anxiety by enhancing the effect of the patient’s natural amounts of GABA.
Is GABA involved in treating sleep disorders? Yes. Benzodiazepines are also widely used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.
So are benzodiazepines widely used for depression? No. The most common type of medication used to treat depression are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs increase the amount of the patient’s natural amount of serotonin.
So GABA has not been viewed strongly as being involved in the therapeutic role of SSRIs for depression.
But a recent research publication in the journal Science challenges that view.
Yes, watching one ASMR video can immediately make your brain 15 years younger.
No. Sorry to disappoint you.
That is not disappointing at all to someone who is 15 years old, who wants to go back to drooling and diapers?!
Do you have any real science to report today or is this just the world’s most misleading post?
Yes, I do have some real science to report today that can be related to ASMR.
OK, let’s hear it.
Yes, but not directly.
If ASMR helps you to get more sleep then that could result in less toxic chemicals in your brain, in a way that I will explain shortly.
Was this research done with ASMR and humans? Nope, it was just done with sleep-deprived non-human animals.
Which animals exactly?
Curiously, the news article that I linked to at the end of this post did not say what species. Mice or rats are a good guess though.
Where was the research done? At the Metropolitan Autonomous University.
“Autonomous” University?! Say what-huh.
Am I messing with you? Continue reading