Can reduce the risk of cancer
Falling in love, as many say, is purely a chemical process that occurs in our body. Researchers are trying to figure out what impact this feeling can have on us on a psychological and physiological level. The results, I must say, are interesting.
One of the latest studies, published last month in the journal Behavioral Sciences, found that the brain varies reacts when a person is in love. He, in essence, makes his loved one the center of his attention.
Researchers from the University of Canberra and the University of South Australia surveyed 1,556 young people who described themselves as “in love” with each other. in relation to their emotional response to their partner, their behavior around them and the attention they pay to them.
Scientists have concluded that in romantic love, a mechanism known as the behavioral activation system (BAS) is triggered, which forces a person to put a loved one above all else.
As lead researcher anthropologist Adam Bode explained, this connection to BAS “shows that although love is associated with strong emotions, the ultimate evolutionary goal is behavior — make us pursue our partners, take care of them and have a lot of sex.”
This change in behavior is regulated by chemical changes in the brain, adds researcher Phil Kavanagh: “We know the role oxytocin plays in romantic love because we get waves of it circulating through our nervous system and bloodstream when we interact with loved ones. However, how close people become especially important is due to the combination of oxytocin with dopamine, which our brain releases during romantic love.
This in turn activates brain pathways associated with positive feelings, which forces us to continue this behavior. But not only the BAS system is activated: love triggers a large-scale physiological reaction throughout our body.
In a 2020 study from Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel in Germany, young couples' brains were scanned over four nights while they slept together and separately. This showed that while co-sleeping did lead to more restlessness due to limb movements, it also led to improved sleep quality.
Another recent discovery — the influence of love on our intestinal microbiome. A 2019 study from the University of British Columbia found that people in close relationships and constant physical contact have a wide variety of gut microbes. Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study builds on earlier experiments that showed that a simple kiss can transfer about 80 million bacteria between couples.
One of the best-documented effects of being in love is how it can reduce chronic inflammation and the resulting risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
A study conducted last year by the University of Northern Carolina, showed that spending time with a partner lowers levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a key indicator of chronic inflammation.
Scientists tested the CRP levels of 100 people in relationships over a month and filled out questionnaires about , how to spend time with your significant other.
In a paper in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers reported that the more time participants spent with their partner, the lower their CRP levels were the next day.
Meanwhile, a 2019 study found that the presence of a significant other a person can also reduce pain even if you don't touch or talk to them.
Researchers from the University of Medical Sciences in Austria recruited 48 couples and tested their pain tolerance when they were alone and when their loved one was in the room. They found that both men and women were more resilient when they were with their romantic partner.
«Talking and touching have been shown time and time again to reduce pain, but our research shows that even the passive presence of a romantic partner partner can reduce it,” — said study author Stefan Duszek, professor of health psychology.
The release of oxytocin underlies many of the physiological effects of love. It is well known for relaxing us, helping us connect with our partners, and reducing stress.
It can help with stress-related bowel disorders. A study from the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in the United States, published in the journal Physiology, showed that oxytocin can reduce symptoms of digestive disorders (constipation, bloating, nausea).
In addition, researchers found that the love hormone (stimulated by touching and hugging) promotes hair growth. A 2023 study published in the journal Scientific Reports builds on existing research that shows that oxytocin promotes the growth of dermal papilla cells, which play a vital role in hair growth.
Love also promotes the release of dopamine, which affects on many body functions such as memory, movement and mood. In January, a study by neuroscientists in the United States showed an increase in dopamine levels when we anticipate meeting a loved one.