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Mannelijk okselzweet vrouwen kalmeert?
En zelfs de menstruatie cyclus kan beinvloeden.

"The underarm contains physiologically active pheromones," says chemist George Preti of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelpha, Pennsylvania, who led the study. These behaviour-altering chemicals - which are common throughout the animal world - can affect the brain, and hence our bodies, without our even realizing it.

For six hours, female volunteers were exposed to pheromones concentrated from manly armpit odour - mercifully masked by fragrance. Levels of luteinizing hormone, a key player in the menstrual cycle, were monitored.

Luteinizing hormone is released from the brain in pulses - these become larger and more frequent as a woman approaches ovulation. Exposure to the male odour accelerated the arrival of the next hormone rush, Preti's team found.

The volunteers also reported feeling less tense and more relaxed as they sniffed. Both effects may be a throwback to our impulse-primed past, suggests Preti.

The findings may be good news for couples wanting to maximize their chances of conception. Once the active pheromones have been identified and isolated, researchers may be able to modify them to produce a new generation of potent fertility drugs, Preti speculates. In the search for new drugs, "people have looked in the rainforests and under the seas", he says. "But there are some very interesting physiologically active chemicals under the arm."

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