We've all heard of oxytocin. On the off chance that you, much like me, had an extremely difficult time in Bio freshman year of high school and didn't understand much about oxytocin, DON'T WORRY. As always, I've got you.
Oxytocin, otherwise known as the "love hormone," is released in the brain during kissing, hugging, breast-feeding, and... wait for it... sex. Yep, sex. Love making. Doing the dirty. Banging. Boning. Boinking. Porking. BOW CHICKA WOW WOW.
The hormone is also supposed to initiate a feeling of reward within the brain (probably why sex feels so dang good). Now, researchers are using this particular quality of the hormone to see if it has any effect on binge eaters, who are supposed to have abnormally wired reward systems.
In order to conduct the study, researchers recruited a group of sexually active adults between the ages of 27 and 50, including people who also admitted to being binge eaters. They asked the participants a series of questions about their binge eating habits (food preferences, sugary versus salty, etc) in addition to questions about how they responded to rewards and punishments.
Following the questions, the researchers collected blood samples from participants to examine their DNA and see how the oxytocin receptor gene (the one responsible for determining how cells are going to respond to oxytocin) worked for them. Additionally, they looked into if and how different variations of the gene affected their appetites, food preferences, food intakes and personality traits linked to the brain's reward center.
Turns out, participants with variations along their oxytocin receptor gene called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), also happened to have the personality traits for being a serious binge eater. This is COOL, you guys.
And it gets even cooler. Three of the seven identified SNP variations in the oxytocin receptor gene "could collectively explain 37 percent of the variation in a person's willingness to overeat." Yes, 37 percent.
If you take nothing else away from this entire article, just remember this: Having sex could curb your appetite if you're a binge eater. Like I said before, BOW CHICKA WOW WOW.