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What is Phenylethylamine? - 5 Questions Answered

1.    What does PEA or Phenylethylamine mean?

Our brains make PEA, and you can also find it in a number of food sources. But what is phenylethylamine? PEA is a natural stimulant – you need it to function properly, and it also regulates your mood.[1]

Your brain makes PEA from an amino acid called phenylalanine. So, the best way to increase your natural phenylethylamine levels is to eat food that is high in protein. However, phenylethylamine supplements provide an extra energy and mood-boost that people love![2]

What is Phenylethylamine Is Phenylethylamine found in wine? YES!!

2.    What are Phenylethylamine's: side effects?

Phenylethylamine is a powerful stimulant. It produces effects of increased mood, focus, and energy. Like all stimulants, there is the risk of side effects that include headaches, anxiety, rapid heart rate and, at high doses, overstimulation.[3]

If you’re on any other medication, it’s important to consult your physician before starting a phenylethylamine supplement regime. This is especially important if you are using MAOIs or SSRIs, for depression or anxiety.[4]


3.    Why is Phenylethylamine with the feeling of love?

People often call phenylethylamine the 'love-drug'. It is found in chocolate, which is why people often find chocolate to be a romantic, euphoric treat.[5]

Phenylethylamine is the 'love-drug' Phenylethylamine is the 'love-drug'

Phenylethylamine helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are your brain’s ‘feel-good’ hormones. It also strongly increases dopamine, a hormone that is closely associated with pleasure and arousal. Some scientists believe that PEA is responsible for the giddy, intoxicating feeling we experience when falling in love.[6]


Also, if you’ve ever asked ‘what is phenylethylamine good for?’, you’ll be happy to know that it has a number of great benefits! From increasing your mood, to diminishing anxiety, to giving you a powerful energy boost, PEA is good for a whole range of things.


4.    What does Phenylethylamine consist of?

Phenylethylamine is an alkaloid - a special kind of chemical. It’s called a trace amine because of its structure and because it is found in trace quantities.[7] PEA is so powerful that we really don’t need much of it in our bodies to feel its effects.

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Alkaloids are naturally-occuring bases that contain nitrogen in their structure. Many compounds found in plants and many psychoactive substances are alkaloids. Examples of other alkaloids include morphine, quinine, ephedrine and nicotine.[8]


5.    Where is Phenylethylamine found in?

Phenylethylamine is found in a number of food sources. These include chocolates, cheese, and soy sauce. It’s also found in red wine. Whether there is actually enough PEA in these food sources to produce the benefits of a supplement is questionable. However, if you’ve ever felt the mood-boost after eating chocolate, its likely that was the PEA working.6

Phenylethylamine is also found in our brains, where it is produced in response to exercise, and to help with our daily energy and mood.[9]



So, what is phenylethylamine? A wonderful and powerful substance found in a number of foods, that helps to produce a powerful energy and mood-boost. To really feel the benefits, we recommend taking a PEA supplement, rather than gorging on chocolate or red wine.

Phenylethylamine is broken down rather quickly in our brains, so the effects are strong but short-lived. To lengthen the effects, we recommend taking phenylethylamine with hordenine.



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[1] Meredith Irsfeld, Matthew Spadafore, and Dr. Birgit M. Prüß, β-phenylethylamine, a small molecule with a large impact, Webmedcentral. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jan 28, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904499/

[2] Phenylethylamine, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/supplements/phenylethylamine/

[3] Phenylethylamine Side Effects, WebMD.com, available from  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1274-phenethylamine.aspx?activeingredientid=1274&activeingredientname=phenethylamine, retrieved on July 22, 2016

[4] Chaitra T. Ramachandraih, Narayana Subramanyam et al, Antidepressants: From MAOIs to SSRIs and more, Indian J Psychiatry. 2011 Apr-Jun; 53(2): 180–182, available from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136031/

[5] Ziegleder G, Stojacic E, Stumpf B, [Occurrence of beta-phenylethylamine and its derivatives in cocoa and cocoa products], Z Lebensm Unters Forsch. 1992 Sep;195(3):235-8, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1413998

[6] Chris Kilham, Chocolate: The Love Drug, FoxNews.com, February 08, 2011, available from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/07/chocolate-love-drug-good.html

[7] CHEBI:18397 - 2-phenylethylamine, ChEBI, available from http://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:18397, retrieved on July 22, 2016

[8] Alkaloids: contain a N-containing heterocycle, McDaniel.edu, available from

https://www2.mcdaniel.edu/Biology/botf99/herbnew/alkaloids.htm, retrived on July 22, 2016

[9] Szabo A, Billett E, Turner J, Phenylethylamine, a possible link to the antidepressant effects of exercise?, Br J Sports Med. 2001 Oct;35(5):342-3, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11579070, retrieved on July 22, 2016