Not Actually Drunk In Love: People In Love May Have Higher Tolerances

Ever wonder why you can split a bottle of wine with a date and talk all night without ever feeling drunk?

Researchers from Germany's University of Regensburg and Australia's University of Sydney believe it might be a result of falling in love.

In a recent study completed on rats, the subjects whose brains had been infused with oxytocin – the same hormone released while snuggling – before consuming alcohol didn't display any negative motor side effects, unlike their inebriated peers not given the hormone.

Unfortunately, being "in love" didn't make the rats impervious to intoxication, and both groups became measurably drunk when researchers doubled the dose of alcohol.

The oxytocin blocks moderate to heavy alcohol doses from reaching the sections of the brain that typically control functions like stumbling, endless giggles and falling asleep at the bar.

It's important to note the study only progressed to animal trials, so the team's not sure how it applies to humans just yet.

The researchers believe lovers may be able to keep their cool, but counting drinks remains very important.

In a press release, lead author Dr. Michael Bowen said

While oxytocin might reduce your level of intoxication, it won't actually change your blood alcohol level. This is because the oxytocin is preventing the alcohol from accessing the sites in the brain that make you intoxicated, it is not causing the alcohol to leave your system any faster.

Interestingly, the team says the rats consuming oxytocin were inclined to drink a little less.

If human trials prove successful, Bowen and staff may have taken a first step toward a new cure for alcoholism and drug addiction.

Citations: Sobering effect of the love hormone (Science Daily ), Is the love hormone a buzz kill and maybe a treatment for alcoholism? (Los Angeles Times)