University of Pisa: Passion for Love Because of Neutrophins, Dopamine

Scientists discover chemistry of passion

University of Pisa research article

Scientists say there is upsurge in the degrees of hormones neutrophins and dopamine when cupid strikes.


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Couples should not worry when the initial flush of passion dims - scientists have identified the hormone changes which cause the switch from lust to cuddles.


A team from the University of Pisa in Italy found the bodily chemistry which makes people sexually appealing to new partners lasts, at most, two years.When couples move into a “stable relationship” phase, other hormones take control, Chemistry World reports.


But one psychologist warned the hormone shift is wrongly viewed as negative. Dr Petra Boynton, of the British Psychological Society, said there was a danger people might they will take hormone supplements to make them feel the original rush of lust once more.


The Italian researchers tested the levels of the hormones called neutrophins in the blood of volunteers who were rated on a passionate love scale. Levels of these chemical messengers were much higher in who were in the early stages of romance.


Testosterone was also found to increase in love-struck women, but to cut back in men when they are in love.However in people who had been with their partners for between one and two years these so-called "love molecules" had gone, even though the relationship had survived.


The scientists unearthed that the lust molecule was replaced by the so-called “cuddle hormone” - oxytocin - in couples who had been together for many years. Donatella Marazziti, who led the research team, said: “If lovers swear their feelings to be ever-lasting, the hormones tell a different story.”


Similar research conducted by Enzo Emanuele at the University of Pavia found that levels of a chemical messenger called nerve growth factor (NGF) increased with romantic intensity. After one to couple of years, NGF levels had reduced to normal.


Michael Gross, a Bio-chemist and Science writer who has studied the latest findings, said: “It demonstrates that different hormones are present in the blood when people are acutely in love while there is no evidence of the same hormones in people who have been in a stable relationship for many years.


In reality the love molecules can disappear as early as 12 months after a relationship has started to be replaced by another chemical glue that keeps couples together.“This feeds into a 1970s view that when you meet it’s all sparky and then it’s a downward trajectory to cuddles - which is seen as a negative.


It is suggesting that what happens first is the best bit - and that isn’t true,” said Dr Boynton.She added: “I’m concerned that, having identified these hormones, there will be some move to suggest replacements to recreate the early passion.”


© BBC Online


Read more interesting research articles on chemistry, industrial chemistry articles from uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X