What is love, is it harmful

Partnership: Caution - love has harmful side effects

Love is: fulfillment, burden and medicine. ”This is how the writer Kurt Tucholsky put it. And Goethe was also certain: “Love invigorates.” A view that many of us probably share. Love moves mountains, we think, and especially the spring fever leaves little doubt that it is a fountain of youth and an elixir of life.

But how do the sciences feel about it? What is certain is that the hormonal balance of those newly in love goes through a roller coaster. Hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins build up, which make us euphoric, and cortisol, which inhibits inflammation. Men make more testosterone, which makes them strong and courageous, and women are flooded with oxytocin, which helps block out negative memories. On the other hand, as psychiatrist Professor Donatella Marazziti from the University of Pisa has discovered, the release of the brain messenger substance serotonin drops to levels that are otherwise found in obsessive-compulsive disorders. Which, of course, shouldn't really come as a surprise: Just as the obsessive-compulsive person has to wash his hands constantly, the lover always thinks of the object of his longing. The drop in serotonin levels can also cause people in love to lower their inhibitions.

At least it's healthy for lovers to kiss. A study by the Vienna University Clinic shows that kisses work like medicine: a passionate and long kiss lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Kisses also help against hay fever. The Japanese allergist Hajime Kimata recorded the immune values ​​of 48 allergy sufferers who had kissed their partner for 30 minutes while listening to soft music. As a result, there were significant improvements, presumably due to the stress-relieving effects of kissing. "And this not only for hay fever, but also for dermatitis patients," says Kimata.

Passionate sex strengthens the heart and circulation

The passionate sex of the newly in love could also be healthy, apart from the risk of infection. Because it exerts similar stimuli to the heart and circulation like sport, which is known to protect against heart attacks, strokes and many other diseases. The English epidemiologist Professor George Smith found that men with frequent sex (more than twice a week) have a significantly higher life expectancy than men who have sex less than once a week. However, although his study was published in the British Medical Journal, it was panned by experts due to methodological deficiencies.

There is also no clear evidence for the persistent myth that sexually active men have fewer prostate problems. "Because it is difficult to check," explains Professor Edzard Ernst from the University of Exeter in England. "Just imagine a randomized study in which one group has to be sexually active and the other inactive."