[dropcap letter="W"]hat happens to our bodies when we fall in love? Why do we behave the way we do when we are in love? Some of the answers lie in science. There are chemicals that create the feelings and physical symptoms associated with love.
No need for a magic potion or gayuma to fall in love! Here are 8 chemicals responsible for love (Don't panic, this is not a chemistry lecture. This 8List is written for laymen, promise).
Pheromones are faint scents we emit which causes people to desire us. Once we take a whiff of a person's pheromones we react by giving a look of desire towards him or her.
Mostly used by animals to attract mates, studies have proven the existence of pheromones in humans although our sensitivity to the scents is not as developed.
Sex hormones primarily drive lust; this allows us to be attracted to our objects of affection. Sex hormones, testosterone for males and estrogen for females, activate a cascade of physiological changes in our bodies (e.g. erections in men) which drive us to behave somewhat sexually assertive/aggressive towards the person we are attracted to.
Our major histocompatibility complex is a set of proteins found in our bodies. The MHC is what is tested in laboratories to establish compatibility of tissues for organ transplant.
The old question of how do we know if we are compatible with someone is found in the MHC. MHC can be transmitted in our saliva. When we kiss someone, we exchange saliva (and thus, MHC); this creates a chemical reaction which can tells us if your tissues are a match.
According to studies, couples with dissimilar MHC genes produce healthier offspring. So if you want to know if you're a love match, your MHC should not match (if you want healthy babies, that is)!
Ever heard of the song "Addicted to Love"? Dopamine is primarily responsible for the addictive nature of love (also seen in drug addiction).
When we fall in love our brains are flooded with dopamine which creates powerful links in our minds for pleasure and for our object of affection. This makes us crave to be loved by that significant person.
Norepinephrine plays a role in the physical manifestations of love. We feel our hearts race or palms sweat whenever we see the person we love. Exciting, isn't it?
Also known as the "happy hormone,", serotonin is primarily responsible for the lingering happiness that we feel when we're in love. Initially in a potential relationship, serotonin drops and dopamine floods our brains creating the obsessive nature of love, later on, serotonin goes back to its "normal" levels, maintaining the happy feelings connected to your significant other.
Oxytocin is usually released by the body during childbirth and helps the breast express milk. It helps cement the strong bond between mother and child.
In love, it is primarily responsible for bonding when partners become intimate since it is released during orgasm, hence the name "cuddle hormone."
Vasopressin has a role in long term monogamous relationships. In animal studies involving prairie voles, their vasopressin was suppressed, causing these animals to become polygamous.
With these chemicals in mind, can we manufacture love or even stop love? Theoretically, yes, we could block or enhance the production of these chemicals in the body, although further research is needed to achieve these goals.
But why would we want to stop love, right? So whether you are crazy in love or aching from love, remember, you can always blame it on science.
What do you think of these love chemicals? Let's discuss in the Comments Section.