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The Chemical Messengers of Love

love-chemistryMany people believe that the heart is responsible for love, well, that is not the case. The brain produces chemical messengers of love which are responsible for a whole range of emotions we feel during the act of love.

When they say that a couple has chemistry, they couldn’t be more right. When you first fall in love, fireworks go off in your head. The chemical messengers of love do their part to ensure that you feel excited, nervous, turned on, etc. You could talk all night on the phone without ever feeling tired. There are 4 major chemicals responsible for all these feelings. When you fall in love, chemicals like phenylethylamine, norepinephrine, dopamine and testosterone give you those butterflies in the stomach. As your relationships mature, so do your feelings. Oxytocin is responsible for the feelings of happiness associated with long-term relationships and trust.

Let’s take a look at the 5 chemical messengers of love that cause you to feel how you feel when you fall in love:

  • Norepinephrine 

Norepinephrine or noradrenaline is the precursor to adrenaline, which is primarily responsible for the excitement you feel at the start of relationships. It makes your heart beat faster and causes the butterflies in the stomach. Released by the noradrenergic neurons in the brain, this is one of the fundamental chemical messengers of love.

There are almost 3000 noradrenergic neurons in the brain. When activated, you experiences of joy increase tenfold. It also reduces appetite and sleep. No wonder everything in your life becomes secondary when you fall in love.

  • Phenylethylamine 

One of the chemical messengers of love is phenylethylamine (PEA). This chemical triggers the release of other chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are vital for the feelings of love. Studies show that as you fall in love, PEA levels increase in your brain. It is a major source of the excitement and energy you feel at that time.

For a while, it was believed that PEA was directly responsible for the feelings of love. But research shows that it is actually the dopamine that it activates, which leads to the sense of exhilaration. It acts more as a neuromodulator than a neurotransmitter. In other words, it is more of a helper than a direct player.

  • Dopamine  

Dopamine is a neuromodulator, like PEA, but also as a neurotransmitter. It is a chemical messenger of love that is responsible for feeling of pleasure. It influences happiness and is one of the leading causes of why we feel so light-headed and cheerful when we are in love. It enhances our ability for social interaction and makes us more fun to be around.

Dopamine is also the precursor for norepinephrine. This means, that if the brain is not producing enough dopamine, then you might not feel any excitement when you fall in love. This is quite common in people suffering from depression.

  • Testosterone and Estrogen 

A lot of us don’t like to associate love with sex, but the truth of the matter is that both are profoundly linked. If you are single and have been for a while, there is a good chance of you falling in love with someone you find attractive. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the first stage of love is actually desire.

Testosterone and estrogen are two chemical messengers of love that are mainly the regulators of the reproductive systems in men and women respectively. They are the ones that lead you to feel physical attraction towards the person you love. It is but natural that you want to get close to the other person. These hormones also have an effect on your energy, your feelings of confidence and contentment.

  • Oxytocin 

Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone that becomes one of the primary chemical messengers of love during long-term relationships. The brain usually releases it during times of physical closeness, especially after sex. It is known to affect the feelings of trust and attachment, helping a couple become closer to one another. It is believed that the more physical closeness a couple has, the better their relationship becomes.

These chemical messengers of love combine together to give you that amazing feeling of falling in love. They are the main reason that you feel so elated and happy when you have someone worthwhile in you life.

About Joseph Giove

Joseph R Giove is a MindBody Wellness Coach, biomedical engineer and clinical hypnotist. For over 30 years he has helped people in all areas of health and fitness including weight loss, exercise physiology, addiction, stress and anxiety, insomnia, depression, diabetes, nutrition, chronic pain, and more. He offers a unique understanding of the mind and body to help you renew, recover from illness, and live optimally with vitality and vigor.

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