It’s February again, which means on the 14th you are either reminded of your deep, intimate love relationship, or you are reminded of your singleness. Whatever your love life looks like this year, know that it is not completely your fault. You see, love is not just an emotion or feeling, it is also a biochemical process. A major player in this love chemistry is Phenylethylamine or PEA, also known as the “love molecule”.
The Natural Amphetamine
PEA creates a euphoric feeling of pleasure, reward, and joy, as it acts as an endogenous (or natural) amphetamine . For those that are unfamiliar, amphetamines are commonly prescribed for ADHD, and act as a central nervous system stimulant, causing a huge release of dopamine and norepinephrine . The neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, in turn, impact libido, energy, and excitement. When a person is in love, they have increased activity in two areas of the brain called the ventral tegmental area (or VTA) and caudate nucleus . The VTA and caudate nucleus are dopamine-rich areas of the brain, which contribute to feelings of reward and joy. Furthermore, research shows that dopamine can be released in the brain during sexual intercourse .
Love and Chocolate
Thus, as PEA can stimulate dopamine activity, PEA can play an important role in feelings of reward, joy, and “love.” If you are low on love and PEA, a way to get a natural boost is to eat some chocolate. Believe it or not, chocolate contains PEA . Funny then, how Valentine’s Day is centered around love and chocolate (it seems that the two go hand-in-hand!).
The next time you are around your love partner, or encounter a person who makes you feel amazing, you can know that PEA is at work, connecting your hearts every single time.
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