Being in love sounds a lot like having the flu – and new research has shown that our bodies do actually process it in a similar physical way to people battling a virus.

New romances can cause women to produce a specific kind of protein that is typically used to fight infection.

That's led scientists from the University of Calfornia in LA to suggest that being "lovesick" is actually pretty legitimate.

The team took blood samples from 47 women over a two-year period as they entered into new relationships.

They found that new love activates genes which produce interferon – a protein usually employed to battle viruses.

"New romantic love is accompanied not only by psychological changes, but physiological changes as well," they said.

"These findings are consistent with a selective up-regulation of innate immune responses to viral infections… and provide insight into the immuno-regulatory correlates of one of the keystone experiences in human life."

The study not only wanted to see the physical impact that love had on us physically, but also suggested that we might be able to tell if we're really that into our partners over time.

in the future, scientists may be able to test if people really are in love, and whether they're on the road to falling out of it.

The scientists concluded that the biological markers of love might die off as relationships mature over the course of a long-term relationship.

"Falling out of love was associated with a reduction in interferon-related gene expression," they said.

They haven't conducted any tests on men yet to see if the same is true across the sexes.

So…could this sort of biological tests be something we start to see on reality TV shows or therapy sessions?

Well, more research still needs to be done. 47 isn't a huge group and as we say, men are yet to be tested.

But it is interesting that while falling in love is one of the most important and mentally challenging things that can happen to us, we know so little about what it can do to our bodies.

If you are at the start of a relationship, be kind to yourself and take it easy.

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