Phenylethylamine Affects Mood and Behavior
Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a substance that is produced in the body but what makes this chemical compound different from other naturally-occurring substances is that this compound possesses psychoactive properties.
What are psychoactive substances?
Psychoactive substances are chemical compounds that directly affect the functions of the central nervous system and of the brain causing changes in a person’s behavior, mood, mental processes, perception and awareness.
These are substances that have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
Phenylethylamine is completely soluble in ethanol, water and ether. It comes in liquid form that is colorless in room temperature and gives off a fishy smell.
PEA phenylethylamine is a substance present in chocolates especially after carbohydrates in the chocolate has been converted to alcohol in a process called fermentation. It is popularly used as a weight loss and anti-depressant supplement.
When taken orally, phenylethylamine’s efficacy is greatly reduced before it finally goes into circulation. It is converted into phenylacetic acid by monoamine oxidase as it passes through the liver making it less concentrated.
Phenylacetic acid is the major metabolite of phenylethylamine. Depressed and schizophenic patients have very low phenylacetic acid content in their blood while psychoactive patients have very high content of this acid in the blood.
An article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that PEA or 2-phenylethylamine has the ability to modulate behavior. It explained that depression among subject patients could be due to lack of PEA content in the brain and that laboratory experiments showed that increasing the amount of phenylethylamine in the brain is responsible for the euphoria experienced when taking marijuana or the therapeutic effect after taking antidepressant medications.
Phenylethylamine and amphetamine
Phenylethylamine is very much closely related to amphetamine in its structure and pharmacology as both are able to stimulate the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
Both phenylethylamine and amphetamine can stimulate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, two powerful feel-good hormones coming from the brain that are easily processed especially when taken by mouth. This is the reason why you feel euphoric after taking psychoactive substances or after eating chocolates - it's dopamine and norepinephrine in action!
Aside from making you feel good, norepinephrine helps improve concentration and focus while dopamine enhances intelligence, improves memory and comprehension and enhances the ability to gain more knowledge.
Phenylethylamine or its source, L phenylalanine is used to treat depressed patients by making them feel good and by improving their mood.
Very large amounts of phenylethylamine in the brain is associated with a huge number of schizophrenia cases while too little amounts are known to cause ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression.
Substances like alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major chemical component of marijuana, are known to increase the amount of phenylethylamine effects in the brain as much as four times.
Phenylacetic acid which is phenylethylamine’s major metabolic component is found to be in low concentration in schizophrenic patients and those suffering from depression. Regular supplementation of phenylethylamine or its forerunner, phenylalanine in the diet can significantly reverse this situation.
The amount of phenylethylamine in the urine is found to be higher in patients suffering from paranoid chronic schizoprenia than in those suffering from nonparanoid chronic schizophrenia.
Phenylethylamine is used to enhance performance in sports, athletics and other extreme physical activities. It is also used in religious ceremonies to cause hallucinations and produce visions and effects needed for the rituals, and also sometimes used to establish communication with the underworld spirits.
It can transform a person’s perception and awareness of the world around him. This includes a stage of alertness, where the person is aware of what’s going on in his environment, and unconsciousness where the person is totally detached of normal thinking, and then into the stage where there is total loss of communication and finally loss of physical response.
Phenylethylalamine is used extensively in the medical field and is used to treat and prevent various types of diseases. As a psychoactive drug, it can cause physical dependence or psychological addiction. Moderate amounts of this substance in the brain explain why people feel good after sniffing marijuana or after taking antidepressant medications.
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© 2011 Zee Mercado
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