Do you need to boost your ‘love’ hormone?

In the last few weeks I’ve written to you about hormone therapy for both men and women.

In those conversations, the virtues of the brain hormone, oxytocin, came up…

It’s the hormone that triggers labor to begin and the production of breast milk. Yet, this “love” hormone is also released when we cuddle, hug, touch or experience orgasm.

In fact, it’s at the center of fostering trust, bonding and the formation of loving relationships. Let’s look at the important science supporting oxytocin supplementation.

Oxytocin for love and bonding

As you age, your hormonal output shrinks, affecting all of the systems in your body and brain.  Menopause and andropause result from declines in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone (women), and also testosterone (men). This affects many body organ systems.

The good news is that hormone declines are completely reversible…

The best way to address the hormone decline that occurs with aging is by restoring your hormones to youthful levels. That’s why I recommend bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) in my San Diego Integrative Medicine practice

Newer research is also reporting that both men and women can supplement using oxytocin to enhance sexual desire and function. Just being touched (anywhere on your body) apparently raises oxytocin levels. This leads to the release of endorphins and results in both physical body arousal and also a psychological arousal.

In women, it causes contractions, increases sexual arousal and increases the frequency of orgasm. For men, it increases penile erection.  Add that to the enhanced romance and emotional attachment aspect of intimacy from oxytocin supplementation, and also the stress-reduction effect it causes, you can see why it is becoming very popular as a supplement. Let’s look more at the science of this for both men and women.

Several studies indicate that oxytocin plays a key role in regulating penile erection as well as the ejaculatory process in men. That’s because oxytocin is released by the pituitary gland (brain) at the time of orgasm. And it is even thought to help with sperm progression during ejaculation — and thus is pro-fertility in nature.

Oxytocin has also been studied for female sexual dysfunction. More specifically, it helps women who find it difficult to achieve orgasm because it increases sexual receptivity. Therefore, it is used to help treat Female Arousal Disorder, Female Orgasmic Disorder, and women who just want more powerful or multiple orgasms.  Scientists have observed that oxytocin causes genital nerves to impulse spontaneously, leading to powerful orgasms.  During peak sexual arousal, when a woman’s brain gets flooded with oxytocin, she becomes capable of multiple orgasms.

Oxytocin supplementation for other reasons

For example, oxytocin deficiency has been found to be associated with these health problems:

  • Prolonged Stressful Situations
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression
  • Anorgasmia – inability to have an orgasm during sex
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Feelings of Loneliness
  • Anxiety Disorders[13]
  • Fibromyalgia[14]

But before you go purchase oxytocin with high expectations, consider what the authors wrote in 2011 who reviewed 38 randomized controlled trials that had been done between 1990 and 2010 on the effects of intranasal oxytocin. They wrote: “The evidence shows that intranasal oxytocin: (1) produces no detectable subjective changes in recipients, (2) produces no reliable side-effects, and (3) is not associated with adverse outcomes when delivered in doses of 18-40 IU for short term use in controlled research settings.”

This obviously conflicts with the positive results reported above. Whenever I see conflicting studies in the scientific literature I have to ask if there are study biases by the researchers, and how they tallied their data. Then I simply say, if it works, it works, and the only way to know is to try it.

Oxytocin nasal spray

If you are interesting in giving it a try, here are a few pointers…

Oxytocin Nasal Spray is the best way to administer it. Alternatively, sublingual drops can be nearly as effective. After nasal spray dosing, it is found still in significant quantities in saliva and pertinent brain areas even 7 later.

It is heat-sensitive, so troches are less effective I am told by my local compounding pharmacist. It is usually prescribed in a 50 to 250 IU/mL bottle, in which each spray (twice daily) contains 0.1 mL/spray (or, 5 to 25 IU per spray).


  1. Bernaerts S, Prinsen J, Berra E, Bosmans G, Steyaert J, Alaerts K. Long-term oxytocin administration enhances the experience of attachment. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Jan 15;78:1-9. PubMed PMID: 28131072.
  2.  Intranasal oxytocin attenuates the cortisol response to physical stress: A dose-response study. Cardoso C, Ellenbogen MA, Orlando MA, Bacon SL, Joober R.  Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Mar;38(3):399-407.
  3. Filippi S, Vignozzi L, Vannelli GB, Ledda F, Forti G, Maggi M. Role of oxytocin in the ejaculatory process. J Endocrinol Invest. 2003;26(3 Suppl):82-6.  Review. PubMed PMID: 12834028.
  4. Pedersen CA, Boccia ML. Oxytocin maintains as well as initiates female sexual behavior: effects of a highly selective oxytocin antagonist. Horm Behav. 2002 Mar;41(2):170-7. PubMed PMID: 11855901.
  5.  Anderson-Hunt M, Dennerstein L. Increased female sexual response after oxytocin. BMJ. 1994 Oct 8;309(6959):929. PubMed PMID: 7950665.
  6.  Carmichael MS, Humbert R, Dixen J, et al. Plasma Oxytocin increases in the human sexual response. J Clin Endcrinol Metab, 1987. 64:27-31.
  7. Amico JA, Seif SM, Robinson AG. Oxytocin in human plasma: correlation with neurophysin and stimulation with estrogen. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1981;52(5):988-993.
  8. Argiolas A, Gessa GL, Melis MR, Stancampiano R, VACCARI A. Effects of Neonatal and Adult Thyroid Dysfunction on Thymic Oxytocin. Neuroendocrinology 1990;52:556-559.
  9. Scantamburlo G, Hansenne M, Fuchs S et al. Plasma oxytocin levels and anxiety in patients with major depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2007;32(4):407-410.
  10. Carmichael MS, Warburton VL, Dixen J, Davidson JM. Relationships among cardiovascular, muscular, and oxytocin responses during human sexual activity. Arch Sex Behav 1994;23(1):59-79.
  11. Moller A, Hansen BL, Hansen GN, Hagen C. Autoantibodies in sera from patients with multiple sclerosis directed against antigenic determinants in pituitary growth hormone-producing cells and in structures containing vasopressin/oxytocin. J Neuroimmunol 1985;8(2-3):177-184.
  12. Lucht MJ, Barnow S, Sonnenfeld C et al. Associations between the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and affect, loneliness and intelligence in normal subjects. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2009;33(5):860-866.
  13. Lucht MJ, Barnow S, Sonnenfeld C et al. Associations between the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and affect, loneliness and intelligence in normal subjects. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2009;33(5):860-866.
  14. Anderberg UM, Uvnas-Moberg K. Plasma oxytocin levels in female fibromyalgia syndrome patients. Z Rheumatol 2000;59(6):373-379.
  15. 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. Review. PubMed PMID: 21429671.
  16. Elevated Salivary Levels of Oxytocin Persist More than 7 h after Intranasal Administration. van Ijzendoorn MH, Bhandari R, van der Veen R, Grewen KM, Bakermans-Kranenburg MJ. Front Neurosci. 2012;6:174.
Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.