Article posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 11:28am

Oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” plays a significant role in helping people bond with one another. For instance, it is released by the brain in breast-feeding mothers, helping them bond with their child. It is also released after having sex. German researchers were interested in whether the hormone might help curtail snacking in overweight people. A group of men were given a dose of oxytocin equivalent to that released in a nursing mother or after sex. Another group of men received a placebo. Both groups could eat as much as they wanted at breakfast, and were offered snacks in the afternoon. Those who took oxytocin were less interested in snacks, but ate the usual amount at the evening meal. The researchers suggested that oxytocin affected pleasure eating without suppressing normal appetite mechanisms. It may be that hunger cravings in obese people could be suppressed by treatment with oxytocin. One of the researchers suggested that cravings “could be curbed by having more sex.” (Scientific American Mind, Mar./April, 2014)