Scientists: First Sip of Beer Increases Dopamine Level, Makes Us Happier

The taste of beer alone is enough to raise one's spirits. The taste is linked with the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain's distribution of pleasure, according to a news study published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

"This is the first human demonstration that a stimulus that is reliably associated with alcohol association - that flavor alone, without any significant amount of alcohol - is able to induce a dopamine response," said study author David Kareken.

The results were discovered by giving men a small gulp of their favorite beer and then scanning their brains. A scan revealed activity in the area of dopamine production. The amount of beer doled out was not large enough to change the subject's blood-alcohol content level.

This paper demonstrates that taste alone impacts on the brain functions associated with desire," Peter Anderson, a professor of substance use, policy and practice at Newcastle University, U.K., said in a statement.

According to researchers, the study demonstrates that the smell of alcohol can cause relapses for addicts.


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