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The ‘Love Drug’ Might Help With Appetite Control

The Love Drug Might Help With Appetite Control Science of Us


There's a pretty widespread fascination with oxytocin, and for good reason: The so-called "love drug," which promotes bonding between both romantic partners and mothers and their babies, may, according to early studies, have potential to provide all sorts of benefits when administered artificially via a nasal spray, from increasing feelings of warmth and good will to treating some of the symptoms of schizophrenia and autism.

Now we can (maybe) add an unexpected new benefit to that list: calorie control. In a study led by Dr. Elizabeth Lawson of Harvard Medical School, two groups of men were given a nasal spray to self-administer. Some of them contained oxytocin, while others were a placebo. Then, an hour later, they picked items from a menu and ate breakfast. During a return visit to the lab, the placebo group and the oxytocin group were switched, and the experiment repeated itself.

The results, from EurekAlert!:

On average, the men ate 122 fewer calories and 9 grams less fat at the meal after they received oxytocin nasal spray compared with placebo, the study data showed. Oxytocin also reportedly increased the use of body fat as a fuel for energy. There were no serious side effects and no difference in side effects between oxytocin and placebo, according to Lawson.

Stashed in: Brain, Awesome, Medicine, Fat!, Harvard, Love is Chemicals, Health Studies, Autism, Medical Breakthroughs, Oxytocin, Mental Health, Oxytocin

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I can imagine a future where lots of people are taking an oxytocin drug to maintain their weight, and the net result of it is that people are kinder to each other.

I'm skeptical of any claim of "no serious side effects", though. Really?

It's impossible, said pride. It's risky, said experience. It's pointless, said reason. Give it a try, whispered the heart. - PandaWhale

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