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Thursday, 26 February 2015
"Love hormone"’ lessens effects of alcohol!
Researchers from the University of Sydney have
found that the “love hormone” oxytocin mitigates some of the physical
effects of alcohol consumption.
As reported by Pysch Central, when rats were given oxytocin followed
by alcohol, the oxytocin prevented the intoxicating effects of the
alcohol including a lack of coordination.
“In the rat equivalent of a sobriety test, the rats given alcohol and
oxytocin passed with flying colors, while those given alcohol without
oxytocin were seriously impaired,” Dr. Michael Bowen of the University
of Sydney told Pysch Central.
Oxytocin is referred to as the “love hormone” as it plays a vital
role in social and sexual behavior and is released in large amounts
after childbirth to encourage maternal bonding.
If I stand really still, they won’t notice how much of this Irish cream I’ve drunk.
The study found that oxytocin prevents alcohol from accessing
specific sites in the brain known as GABA-A receptors that cause
alcohol’s intoxicating effects.
“Alcohol impairs your coordination by inhibiting the activity of
brain regions that provide fine motor control. Oxytocin prevents this
effect to the point where we can’t tell from their behaviour that the
rats are actually drunk. It’s a truly remarkable effect,” Bowen said.
The researchers plan to conduct the same study on humans in the near
future, which could aid in the development of oxytocin-based treatments
for drinking disorders.
“The first step will be to ensure we have a method of drug delivery
for humans that allows sufficient amounts of oxytocin to reach the
“If we can do that, oxytocin could also leave speech and cognition
much less impaired after relatively high levels of alcohol consumption,”
However, while oxytocin reduces the effects of intoxication, it
doesn’t alter blood alcohol levels as the hormone has no influence on
the speed at which alcohol leaves the blood system.
In a separate experiment, oxytocin was also found to reduce alcohol craving in both rats and humans.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.