Oxytocin goes by many names and “The Love Hormone” is just one of them. The bonding hormone, the nursing hormone, the relaxing hormone, the trusting hormone, the SEXY HORMONE, all names that lend to the idea of how this powerful hormone can help you.
Oxytocin is produced in high amounts during pregnancy, facilitates contractions during delivery, and is responsible for breast milk production. It even helps combat postpartum depression. But newer research is finding that the benefits and clinical uses of Oxytocin go well beyond these traditionally understood affects.
How Oxytocin Helps You
New research has demonstrated that Oxytocin enhances brain centers that are responsible for social cognition and processing. We now understand how Oxytocin is affecting the way we see the world and how we interact with others. The following list helps you to understand how powerful and important this hormone can be.
- Helps autistic children with social anxiety
- Improves your sensitivity to social situations
- Enhances your sense of altruism and generosity
- Improves optimism
- Helps your sense of empathy towards others
- Affects the idea of Fidelity in married men
- Married couples will eye-gaze more
- Increases libido
- Maintains erections
- Enhances orgasms
- Increases overall satisfaction with sex
- Reduces body-wide pain, especially in fibromyalgia
- Lowers inflammation and improves wound healing
- Reduces stress and improves digestion
- Lowers cortisol and decreases blood pressure
- Provides an overall Sense of Wellbeing
Natural Ways to Increase Oxytocin
Simply allowing yourself to be more social is extremely important to naturally raise your Oxytocin levels. Human contact is even easier. Simply shaking someones hand or giving someone a hug have shown to increase Oxytocin levels. A favorite food can do it also.
One of the most powerful ways to increase Oxytocin in couples is to Eye Gaze. Simply take three to five minutes to gaze into the eyes of your partner, particularly before sex. You can also practice eye gazing with yourself in the mirror or even a pet. Eye gazing is a very powerful meditative tool.
How Do You Know You Are Oxytocin Deficient?
Sometimes patients will simply resign to life and not care about things that they used to love. One key sign is a lack of emotion and abject fear of social situations, combined with a sense of apathy and withdrawal. Those people who have considerable difficulty in social situations are usually Oxytocin deficient and benefit from replacement therapy. Additional symptoms include having an easier pain perception, lowered intensity or loss of orgasm or needs greater than 20 minutes to achieve an orgasm, massively withdrawn from people, even a spouse or partner. The characteristics of someone with Oxytocin deficiency are introverted, having few friends, intellectual without emotion, and detached from others emotionally. The physical appearance shows a pale face with no flushing, joyless and without expression or smiling.
Patients who have the following life circumstances are most at risk:
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Anyone who has suffered from considerable trauma and prolonged stress is greatly at risk of Oxytocin deficiency.
Childhood trauma. Those who have undergone abuse or divorce are at considerable risk. The Oxytocin deficiency is usually secondary to a defense mechanism pattern from the trauma and lack of trust in relationships.
Autism Spectrum Disorder. Remember that autism has a very wide spectrum and there are many highly functioning adults who have a degree of autism.
Quick Assessment Tool: The mini-SPIN (Social Phobia Inventory)
Simply rate the following scenarios as 0 = not at all, 1 = a little bit, 2 = somewhat, 3 = very much, 4 = extremely.
1. Fear of embarrassment causes me to avoid doing things or speaking to people.
2. I avoid activities in which I am the center of attention.
3. Being embarrassed or looking stupid are among my worst fears.
A score of 6 or more is highly suggestive of having Social Phobia with a 90% accuracy. Oxytocin could be helpful in your case.
Oxytocin Hormone Replacement Therapy
To administer Oxytocin, I recommend either a simply intramuscular injection or a sublingual pill. The injection tends to be more effective for sexual encounters and the sublingual pill is good for overall social anxiety, but the injections work well for that also.
For social anxiety, the typical dose is about 10 to 20 IU (International Units) daily.
For sexual enhancement, 10 to 20 IU is used two full hours before intercourse.
If you think that you may be at risk of an Oxytocin deficiency, contact the office…
- G Missig, et al. Oxytocin Reduces Background Anxiety in a Fear-Potentiated Startle Paradigm. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010; 35: 2607–2616.
- AJ Guastella, et al. Intranasal Oxytocin Improves Emotion Recognition for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67 (7): 692.
- E Hollander, et al. Oxytocin Infusion Reduces Repetitive Behaviors in Adults with Autistic and Asperger’s Disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003; 28: 193–198.
- MD Gershon, et al. Combined administration of secretin and oxytocin inhibits chronic colitis and associated activation of forebrain neurons. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Jun;22(6):654-e202.
- K Uvnas-Moberg, et al. Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80.
- MD Gershon, et al. Expression and developmental regulation of oxytocin (OT) and oxytocin receptors (OTR) in the enteric nervous system (ENS) and intestinal epithelium. J Comp Neurol. 2009 Jan 10;512(2):256-70.
- B Ohlsson, et al. Oxytocin is expressed throughout the human gastrointestinal tract. Regulatory Peptides. 2006 Jul; 135 (1-2): 7-11.
- Katie Lancaster, C. Sue Carter, Hossein Pournajafi-Nazarloo, Themistoclis Karaoli, Travis S. Lillard, Allison Jack, John M. Davis, James P. Morris, Jessica J. Connelly. Plasma oxytocin explains individual differences in neural substrates of social perception. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2015; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00132
- Hertoghe, Thierry. The Hormone Handbook, 2nd ed. 2010.