Nasal spray filled with love hormone oxytocin ‘may help fight obesity’

Nasal spray filled with ‘love hormone’ oxytocin may help fight obesity, study shows

  • Tests show that one sniff in each nostril is enough to keep us from thinking about food
  • Scientists think the spray could help tackle Britain’s obesity crisis – more than one in four adults in England are obese and a third are overweight
  • Oxytocin is called the love hormone because it is released by the brain during social scenarios, such as hugging, holding hands or kissing.










A nasal spray containing the “love hormone” oxytocin may help us lose weight, a study shows.

Tests show that one trickle in each nostril is enough to keep us from thinking about food.

Scientists think the spray could help tackle Britain’s obesity crisis – more than one in four adults in England are obese and a third are overweight.

Oxytocin is called the love hormone because it is released by the brain during social scenarios, such as hugging, holding hands or kissing.

A nasal spray containing the “love hormone” oxytocin may help us lose weight, a study shows. Tests show that one sniff in each nostril is enough to keep us from thinking about food. (File image)

It is also released by pregnant women to induce labor.

But in recent years, several studies have shown that injecting a man-made version of oxytocin into the nose could potentially treat everything from decreased libido to tinnitus to behavioral problems caused by autism in children.

The latest research, by scientists from Imperial College London and Kingston University London, now suggests that the hormone may also curb appetite.

Forty volunteers, men and women, injected oxytocin into both nostrils before being shown images of food, couples being romantic, or landscapes.

Researchers measured their reactions to the shots after using the oxytocin spray and again after using a placebo spray.

Animal studies have shown that daily use of oxytocin leads to significant weight loss.  The hormone is thought to dampen activity in a part of the brain's reward system — called the ventral tegmental area.  Researchers think the nasal spray could be a future weight loss aid

Animal studies have shown that daily use of oxytocin leads to significant weight loss. The hormone is thought to dampen activity in a part of the brain’s reward system — called the ventral tegmental area. Researchers think the nasal spray could be a future weight loss aid

The results, which were published in the journal Appetite, showed that responses to food images were much slower after the hormone spray, but barely changed with the placebo spray.

Researchers said this suggests that our brains are much less preoccupied with the need for calories when taking oxytocin.

Animal studies have shown that daily use of oxytocin leads to significant weight loss.

The hormone is thought to dampen activity in a part of the brain’s reward system — called the ventral tegmental area. Researchers think the nasal spray could be a future weight loss aid.

The scientists said in a report, “These findings may have important implications for obese people.”

However, oxytocin is not without risks. Possible side effects of the hormone include nausea, low blood pressure, and even abnormal heart rhythms.

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