The Effect Of Love On the Brain, Body

The Effect Of Love On the Brain, Body
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 1:16pm

Love at first sight lights up parts of the human brain the same way a drug addict’s brain gets stimulated upon getting his/her fix. That’s according to neuroscience studies at the Smithsonian Institution, which reports the brain releases chemicals that behave the same way amphetamines do when exciting the “pleasure center” of the brain.

Racy heart? Butterflies in the stomach? Even loss of appetite? That’s a direct result of the chemicals the brain releases when one is “in love,” including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Research shows that this phase of excitement can last up to three years.

If the cutesy swooning and doe-eyed drooling of love, and even Valentine's Day is too much for you, keep this on the brain: being in a loving relationship can also have massive health benefits.

Researchers say giving your heart to another person may be the most heart-healthy thing you do.

"When somebody is inspiring us, we may be much more likely to go exercise with them, eat in a healthy fashion" explained Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Scott Bea.

Study after study has associated health benefits with being with a special someone:

- Research from the University of Iowa found ovarian cancer patients had greater immune system-boosting white blood cell activity around their tumors when they had strong personal relationships.

- A study from the United Kingdom found men who have sex at least twice a week cut their risk of dying from a heart attack in half.

- University of North Carolina doctors found women's blood pressure lowered after spending quality, romantic time with a partner and hugging for at least 20 seconds.

- Married people, especially men, tend to outlive their single counterparts.

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