This sex hormone from orgasms might stop you bingeing on sugar
Sex is pretty damn good.
It can burn calories, it can make you happier but some cool science might just have found another brilliant benefit of sexual intercourse.
Scientists have been doing some interesting research on the hormone produced during sex when you orgasm.
Oxytocin is produced when you climax and is often called the 'cuddle hormone'. It is said it be responsible for women's feelings of love, trust and empathy after sex...and (according to the Mail) why men just want more sex.
Researchers from York University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health though have found that this sex hormone might just have some impact on the way we eat, according to VICE.
The Canadian University team found variants in the Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) gene which appear to contribute to why some of us overeat or engage in episodes of binge eating.
They focused on how the OXTR gene influences appetite, food preferences, food intake and personality risk traits associated with brain-reward mechanisms.
What they found was that there was a link between oxytocin levels and overeating - particularly binge eating sweet foods.
They spent 10 years studying a group of sexually active people aged 27 to 50 with a broad range of bodyweights.
They got them to answer questions about their reward sensitivity, punishment sensitivity, sugar/fat food preferences, and overeating habits.
They then analysed DNA blood samples from each person which identified links between oxytocin and complex eating behaviours.
Researcher Dr Caroline Davis said: “Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors.
"On the other hand, increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite—especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates.”
Through the research they were able to pinpoint seven sites in our DNA (called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) where chemical instructions for making OXTR could vary between individuals.
These SNPs were already predicted to be related to psychological traits to do with overeating. But matching up the people's answers about fat/sweet preferences and overeating habits with the OXTR information from the blood they found a correlation.
“Three SNPs were significantly related to the psychological traits, which collectively accounted for 37% of the variance in overeating,” says Davis.
“Another SNP was directly related to overeating. These results support the role of genes in giving rise to traits that regulate behaviour, and highlight the importance of oxytocin in overeating.”
What this means is that some people in the study had biological and personality traits for binge eating food which were influenced by oxytocin.
If there's one thing that boosts your oxytocin levels it's having sex. While the direct link between sex an overeating was not investigated in this study, it's definitely worth a go.