THE SCIENCE OF SEX & WEIGHT LOSS
Sex Boost Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure and reward pathways in the brain as well as metabolism. During sexual arousal and orgasm, dopamine levels in the brain are thought to increase. This increase in dopamine not only contributes to the feelings of pleasure and satisfaction associated with sexual activity, but also to helping you lose weight (Folguiera et al, 2019).
Research shows that dopamine receptors in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that plays a key role in metabolism, are involved in the regulation of energy balance. Dopamine is thought to act on these receptors to help control food intake and energy expenditure.
Medications that stimulate dopamine receptors, known as dopamine agonists, have been shown to promote weight loss (Simonds & Cowley, 2019).
Sex Raises DHEA Levels
Orgasms raise levels of the hormone DHEA.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland and is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. It has been suggested that increases in DHEA levels may aid weight loss, but the evidence on this topic is mixed.
DHEA levels decline with age, and low levels of DHEA are associated with a variety of health conditions.
Some studies have found that DHEA supplementation may lead to weight loss and improvements in body composition, particularly when used in combination with other weight loss strategies such as exercise and diet.
DHEA is thought to increase muscle mass, which may lead to an increase in basal metabolic rate, resulting in weight loss. Additionally, DHEA has been known to improve insulin sensitivity, which may also contribute to weight loss.
Sex Increases Estrogen
Behavioral endocrinology specialist Dr. Winnifred Cutler reported that women who engaged in regular sexual activity had higher blood estrogen levels than women who had little or no sex.
Estrogen is a hormone that plays a key role in many physiological processes in the body, including the regulation of menstrual cycles, the development of secondary sexual characteristics, and the maintenance of bone health. It’s known that the levels of estrogen can change throughout life, and the levels can be affected by various factors such as age, pregnancy, menopause, and certain medical conditions.
Estrogen is a hormone that plays a role in regulating metabolism. Some of the effects of estrogen on metabolism include:
- Increasing insulin sensitivity: Estrogen can help improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Enhancing lipid metabolism: Estrogen can help regulate the metabolism of fats in the body, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Promoting the storage of fat in the hips and thighs: Estrogen can cause fat to be stored in the hips and thighs, which may be beneficial for overall health.
- Increasing the basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of energy expended while at rest.
These effects can vary depending on a person’s overall hormone balance and health status, and that levels of estrogen can be disrupted by a number of factors, including hormonal imbalances, certain medications and obesity.
Studies suggest that increases in estrogen levels may be associated with weight loss. Estrogen is known to have a role in regulating energy balance in the body, and it is thought to help control food intake and energy expenditure.
Some studies have found that estrogen can increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin, which can lead to increased glucose uptake and improved glucose tolerance. This could lead to a decrease in body fat.
If estrogen levels are low or imbalanced, fat may be stored differently in the body. Without enough estrogen, fat is more likely to accumulate in the abdominal area, which is often referred to as “apple-shaped” distribution of fat. This type of fat storage is associated with a higher risk of health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, because it is more closely linked to metabolic dysfunction.
In contrast, when estrogen levels are normal, fat is more likely to be stored in the hips, buttocks and thighs, which is often referred to as “pear-shaped” distribution of fat. This type of fat storage is not as strongly associated with health risks, and may even be beneficial for overall health as it is less closely linked to metabolic dysfunction.
Distribution of fat can be affected by multiple factors such as genetics, diet and lifestyle, so even if the levels of estrogen are normal, the location of fat storage can differ from person to person.
The effects of estrogen on weight distribution are primarily seen in women, because women naturally have higher levels of estrogen compared to men. However, men also produce estrogen, and it is important for maintaining overall health. The levels of estrogen in men decline as they age, and this decline is associated with an increased risk of health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline.
In men, the decline in estrogen levels can also lead to an increase in abdominal fat, which is associated with a higher risk of health problems. It is not as dramatic as the difference seen in women due to the lower levels of estrogen in men.
Sex Increases Oxytocin
Sex boosts levels of oxytocin. Prior to orgasm, oxytocin levels surge to five times their normal level.
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in various physiological processes, including social behavior, childbirth, and lactation. It has also been studied for its potential effects on weight loss.
Research suggests that oxytocin may have an impact on appetite regulation, energy metabolism, and body weight.
Oxytocin is known to suppress appetite and increase the feeling of fullness, which can lead to weight loss.
Sex Increases Testosterone
Regular sexual activity increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays a key role in the development of secondary sexual characteristics and muscle mass in men. Like with estrogen, the levels of testosterone can be affected by various factors such as age, medical conditions and lifestyle.
Some studies have suggested that increases in testosterone levels may be associated with weight loss. Testosterone is known to help increase muscle mass and muscle strength, and it is thought that it can help increase basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the number of calories you burn at rest, and having a higher muscle mass usually means that you have a higher BMR. This could lead to a decrease in body fat.
Additionally, testosterone has been known to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, which may also contribute to weight loss.
Low levels of testosterone are recognized as an independent risk factor for obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to significantly reduce metabolic risk factors including body fat mass, waist circumference, plasma glucose, and insulin resistance.
Sex Boosts Adrenaline
Adrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced by the adrenal glands that plays a role in the “fight or flight” response, a physiological response to stress or danger. It can also affect metabolism, including energy metabolism and body weight.
Sexual activity, sex, and orgasm can all stimulate the release of adrenaline. During sexual arousal, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated, leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of adrenaline. This can cause feelings of excitement and euphoria, as well as increased energy.
Adrenaline can increase the rate of metabolism by stimulating the breakdown of stored glycogen and fats in the body. This can lead to increased energy production and potentially weight loss.
Adrenaline can increase the heart rate and blood flow to muscles, which can help burn calories. This is why adrenaline is sometimes associated with weight loss and fat burning.
Adrenaline can be a natural appetite suppressant which could lead to weight loss.
Furthermore, adrenaline can stimulate the release of other hormones such as noradrenaline and cortisol, which also affect metabolism, including the breakdown of stored fats, which can lead to weight loss.
However, it’s important to note that the effects of adrenaline on weight loss are acute and depend on the context in which it’s released. Chronic or excessive release of adrenaline in response to stress can have negative effects on both health and weight loss.
Sex Decreases Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, and it plays a key role in the body’s stress response. High levels of cortisol have been associated with a variety of health conditions, including weight gain, insomnia, and heart disease.
Cortisol can affect weight in several ways, for example, it can increase appetite and cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods, which can lead to weight gain. Additionally, cortisol can promote the storage of fat in the abdominal area, which is a risk factor for heart disease and metabolic disorders. Also, Cortisol can also inhibit the ability of the body to burn fat, making it harder to lose weight.
Studies suggest that chronic stress and high cortisol levels may be associated with weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
Therefore, a decrease in cortisol levels, can help to reduce appetite and cravings, and also help to reduce the accumulation of abdominal fat, which can aid in weight loss.
Studies show that engaging sexual activity can lead to a decrease in cortisol levels (Heimen & Rowland, 1983)(Exten et al, 1999) (Kruger et al, 2002)(Exton 1993).
This decrease in cortisol levels may be related to the release of other hormones, such as oxytocin, during sexual activity. Oxytocin has been found to have a calming effect on the body and can help to reduce stress levels.
BENEFITS OF SEX
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Krüger, T. H., Haake, P., Hartmann, U., Schedlowski, M., & Exton, M. S. (2002). Orgasm-induced prolactin secretion: feedback control of sexual drive? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(1), 31-44.
Laaksonen, D. E., Niskanen, L., Punnonen, K., Nyyssönen, K., Tuomainen, T. P., Valkonen, V. P., … & Salonen, J. T. (2004). Testosterone and sex hormone–binding globulin predict the metabolic syndrome and diabetes in middle-aged men. Diabetes care, 27(5), 1036-1041.
Simonds, S. E., & Cowley, M. A. (2019). Speed-dieting: dopamine agonists promote weight loss. Nature Metabolism, 1(9), 851-852.
Stoléru, S. G., Ennaji, A., Cournot, A., & Spira, A. (1993). LH pulsatile secretion and testosterone blood levels are influenced by sexual arousal in human males. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 18(3), 205-218.
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