Oxytocin nasal spray helps men eat fewer calories
Researchers from Harvard University tested the effects of an oxytocin nasal spray, and found that it was able to reduce caloric intake in men after just one use. They found the spray also helped improve insulin regulation, and that the positive effects occurred in both normal weight and overweight men.
After a fasting period, 25 healthy men, with an average age of 27, were given either the oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo nasal spray. Thirteen of the men were normal weight and 12 were overweight or obese. An hour later, the men were asked to choose from a breakfast menu, and were given double portions of their selection. The test was repeated on a separate visit, but the men were then given the opposite treatment from the first.
The researchers found those who used the oxytocin spray ate 122 fewer calories and nine fewer grams of fat. All men ate similar amounts of food in the days leading up to each experiment, and saw no difference in side effects from either treatment. The team also found that the oxytocin spray increased the body’s use of stored fat as fuel.
The researchers are unsure as to how the hormone works, since they couldn’t find any changes in appetite-regulating hormones with the study. They also note that metabolism is sex specific, so a separate study needs to be done on women. Long-term studies are also being planned.
The oxytocin hormone is commonly used in the U.S. to induce labor in women, and although the nasal spray is approved for use in the U.K. it is currently banned in the U.S.
The results of the study will be presented to the Endocrine Society Meeting in San Diego this weekend.