Sunday, 23 June 2013

The role of phenylethylamine in love, and possible implications for the treatment of depression

As someone who works as a manager in the mental health field, I'm always keen to research new treatments and studies.  This fascinating study from 2010 explored the role of phenylethylamine in love and potentials for treatment of depression.

If it could really make two hearts as one, the Arrow of Love may have been spiked with phenylethylamine, the same organic compound contained in chocolates that causes you to walk in Cloud 9 similar to the feeling when you are crazy in love. The delightful intoxicating feeling that is accompanied by the accelerated pounding of the heart is not simply a sign of being mushy, after all. It is the response of your body to the increase of the concentration of this compound in parts of the brain responsible for sexual excitement. Thus, phenylethylamine, or PEA, in the body was nicknamed the "molecule of love" while its supplemental counterpart the "love drug."

Aside from its impact on romance, it has been used in addressing depression, especially in cases which are not addressed by standard treatment. Studies demonstrate that decreased concentrations of PEA may be what provokes depression. Of the 14 individuals with serious depressive episodes found to be responsive to oral dose of 10 to 60 milligrams phenylethylamine daily (with daily 10 milligrams of selegiline to prevent rapid phenylethylamine destruction), 12 of them continued to respond to its antidepressant properties after 20 to 50 weeks of therapy. The corresponding dosages given were not modified since they remain efficacious during the entire treatment period and there was no discernible unwanted effects. Among a significant number of subjects, including some who did not respond to standard therapy, PEA brought about sustained relief of depression. It rapidly boosted mood comparable to that of ampethamine but did not develop tolerance which makes PEA a safer alternative.

This natural neuroamine is also at the helm of giving you that feeling of "high" when you are running or exercising as more of it is liberated into the bloodstream during physical exertion. That is why several bodybuilders take phenylethylamine supplement prior to their exercise regimen to intensify their performance. PEA is also used by some to improve mental alertness, such as, by taking it when needing to concentrate on their studies.

PEA may potentially play a role in the treatment of ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Several studies indicate that children with ADHD have significantly declined PEA in their urine and this may be a sign of a common pathophysiology.

Apart from making you feel good and enhancing your mental and physical performance, this supplement is also taken as weight loss supplement as it is shown to suppress appetite. It may also lead to lipolysis by stimulating the release of catecholamine and hold up reuptake. As it alters the mood, remember to ask the opinion of your physician before taking it.

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love," so the popular song goes. Perhaps, what the world - particularly that of those afflicted with depression, of those who need mental focus, of those who want to improve their exercise performance, of those wanting to escape from the chains of obesity, or of those who just want to experience an overall sense of well-being - needs now is some shots of phenylethylamine. Whether or not phenylethylamine could help in reviving a dying love remains to be a big question. Maybe if administered using Cupid's Arrow.

Original article can be found here:

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