Endorphin theory of loveThis is a featured page

Morphine (ball and stick)Morphine (flat)
Structure of morphine (C17H19NO3 ), an endorphin-like chemical substance.
In human chemistry, the endorphin theory of love is a view that when two people fall in love the body will release a plethora of endorphins, the body's natural morphine (a heroine like substance), and that this accounts for the pleasurable feelings of being in love. The relationship between brain endorphin release and love, or particularly sex, stems from the 1976 research of Americans Candace Pert and Nancy Ostrowski.

Etymology
The etymology of the word endorphin is a combination of the prefix endo- and the sufix -orphin; or a shorted formation of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean "a morphine-like substance originating from within the body." [1]

History
In 1975, endorphin receptors were discovered by two independent teams of researchers, John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz in Scottland and Rabi Samantov and Solomon Snyder in the U.S. In 1976, American neuroscientist Candace Pert, who had played a role in the discovery of the opiate receptor while completing her PhD in pharmacology in the laboratory of Synder, along with American researcher Nancy Ostrowski, together built a small sex guillotine. With this device, they encouraged mice to have sex and then decapitated them while they were in the act. They then quickly then blenderized the brains and found that the brain cells had been pouring out endorphins. [2]

In particular, Ostrowski, who was a relative expert on brain mechanisms of animal sex, would inject the animals with a radioactive opiate before copulation, and then, at various points in the cycle, decapitate them and remove their brains. Using autoradiographic visualization of the animal’s brains, the two of them were able to see where the endorphins were released during orgasm. The found that blood endorphin levels increased by about 200 percent from the beginning to the end of the act. [3]

Runner's high
They then tested how exercise affected the release of endorphins by recruiting twelve young psychiatrists who were serious runners and taking blood samples before and after their daily runs. [3] The results showed that levels increased significantly after a run. A later paper, written by Pert and exercise physiologist Peter Farell, popularized and substantiated the physiological validation of the phenomenon now known as “runner’s high”.

Human orgasm
Later, under the guidance of Pert, a number of data collections were made of saliva at various moments during human sexual intercourse. These results, although suggestive and presented at some early neuroscience meets, however, were never published as they “lacked sufficient clarity to be written up and accepted by a medical journal.” [3]

Chemistry of love
Into the late 1970s, the understanding of the function of endorphins in the body was improving. In the 1983 book The Chemistry of Love American psychiatrist Michael Liebowitz broke the mold when he outlined the relationship between endorphins and love. Prior to this year, no one had ever serious investigated the underlying biochemical or neurochemical basis of love. Liebowitz, for instance, states that, prior to the writing of his book, when “looking into the matter more closely I began to realize that no one had ever seriously tried to examine the biochemical basis for our romantic drives”. [4]

In the 1996 book The Alchemy of Love, by American physician Theresa Crenshaw, a former pupil of famed human-sexuality researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, arrived at the same point of view. Crenshaw stated that "when it was discovered in the 1980s that nerve cells have specific receptor sites for chemicals such as endorphins, a flood of research followed ... we soon learned that the vast tributaries of the brain are awash in hormones (such as testosterone and estrogen)." [5] This research soon led to the "hormone theory of love".

In regards to endorphin, however, Liebowitz noted that endorphins are more effective than morphine in reducing separation-induced crying in guinea pigs and chicks. [4] Subsequently, Liebowitz reasons, animals and likely humans are genetically programmed to secrete endorphins in situations of social comfort (such as sex), which would help them to feel both less anxious and also give them a sense of well-being. Moreover, Liebowitz notes that when people feel socially isolated or cut off from familiar figures, the brain shuts off endorphin production. Thus, according to Liebowitz, “as most adults feel some anxiety when separated from important figures in their lives, and some sense of increased security when their closest relationships seem stable”, attachment, as in the form of a human chemical bond, is mediated internally by the release of endorphins in the brain.

Fear
See main: Fear
In 2001, American neurobiologist Donald Pfaff and associates showed that genetically modified mice made to be incapable of producing endogenous opiates (lacking endorphins), behaved such that the smallest fright made the animals freeze. [6] In large rooms, they stayed close to walls and showed other typical signs of fear. [7]

References
1. (a) Goldstein, A. &. Lowery, P.J. "Effect of the opiate antagonist naloxone on body temperature in rats." Life Science. 1975 Sep 15;17(6):927-31.
(b) Role of endorphins discovered (history) - PBS.com
2. Bodanis, David. (2005). Electric Universe – How Electricity Switched on the Modern World, (pg. 216-18). New York: Three Rivers Press.
3. Pert, Candace B. (1997). Molecules of Emotion – the Science of Mind-Body Medicine, (pg. 102-04). New York: Simon & Schuster.
4. Liebowitz, Michael R. (1983). The Chemistry of Love, (pgs. 5, 107-09). Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
5. (a) Crenshaw, Theresa L. (1996). The Alchemy of Love and Lust - Discovering our Sex Hormones and How they Determine who we Love, when we Love, and how often we Love, (pg. xx). New York: G. P. Putman's Sons.
(b) Teresa Crenshaw (1942-2001) - Stanford Magazine, Class Notes.
6. Frobose, Gabriele, and Frobose, Rolf. (2006). Lust and Love: Is it More than Chemistry? (pg. 107). RSC Publishing.
7. Ragnauth, A., Schuller, A., Morgan, M., Chan, J., Ogawa, S., Pintar, J., Bodnar, R.J. and Pfaff, D.W. (2001). “Female preproenkephalin-knockout mice display altered emotional responses.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 98: 1958-63.

External links
‚óŹ Endorphin – Wikipedia.

EoHT symbol



Sadi-Carnot
Sadi-Carnot
Latest page update: made by Sadi-Carnot , Jan 23 2010, 10:51 AM EST (about this update About This Update Sadi-Carnot Edited by Sadi-Carnot

3 words added

view changes

- complete history)
Keyword tags: endorphins love sex
More Info: links to this page
Started By Thread Subject Replies Last Post
DonaldLGrippin Endorphins-Love 0 Apr 28 2012, 1:10 PM EDT by DonaldLGrippin
Thread started: Apr 28 2012, 1:10 PM EDT  Watch
My endorphins have been triggered 24/7 since September 2010! The woman trigger is not interested. Endorphin levels go up when I want to feel down and sorry for myself. I cannot cry anymore. When I try to feel left out endorphin levels go up so I feel good all the time. Endorphin levels go up when I feel good also.
The chemical endorphin is there all the time. The most recent yellow jacket sting. There was no normal body response. No red spot , no swelling just a little pain to begin with to know that I had been stung. They always inject a poison. For some reason it was cancelled out this time. I had not planned to test how many stings I can handle.




tricky tricky
1  out of 2 found this valuable. Do you?    
Anonymous endorphins 0 Sep 26 2011, 5:42 PM EDT by Anonymous
 
Thread started: Sep 26 2011, 5:42 PM EDT  Watch
only ever had that high with one person..:)
1  out of 2 found this valuable. Do you?    
Anonymous romantic endorphin 3 May 16 2009, 6:46 AM EDT by Sadi-Carnot
 
Thread started: May 14 2009, 8:13 AM EDT  Watch
Q. If a person is madly in love 24-7, does it mean his or her brain cells will secrete endorphins all the time? If yes, what could be the adverse effects?
1  out of 2 found this valuable. Do you?    
Keyword tags: None (edit keyword tags)
Show Last Reply

Anonymous  (Get credit for your thread)


Showing 3 of 3 threads for this page

Related Content

  (what's this?Related ContentThanks to keyword tags, links to related pages and threads are added to the bottom of your pages. Up to 15 links are shown, determined by matching tags and by how recently the content was updated; keeping the most current at the top. Share your feedback on WikiFoundry Central.)