‘My Chemical Romance’: Is love all in our heads?
Our Chief Science Officer Professor David Nutt shares science-based insights on the ‘connection’ neurotransmitter, GABA, which most of us have never even heard of!
Is love all in our heads? Well, scientifically speaking that’s where it starts. When it comes to getting in the mood for romance, an intoxicating ‘love potion of neurotransmitters’ – serotonin, dopamine, beta-endorphin, and oxytocin – naturally come together to facilitate ‘loved-up feelings in the brain.
However, plenty of evidence suggests that the GABA neurotransmitter, which has long been overlooked as the crucial fifth ingredient, also plays a pivotal role in the science of love. Something that our Chief Science Officer, Professor David Nutt, believes hopeful singletons should keep in mind this Valentine’s Day.
Firstly, what is GABA? In a nutshell, GABA functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, balancing the brain by producing relaxed, calm, social and connective feelings. – Feelings you might associate with one or two alcoholic drinks.
And what’s love got to do with it? Well, evidence proves that humans have been biohacking our GABA systems with ethanol in all recorded history because of the way that alcohol facilitates sociability, intimacy, playfulness, hedonism, and sexual desire.
From the days which saw our enterprising ancestors eat fermented fruit foraged from forest floors through to today – a decade since the launch of Tinder and the era of dating sites, (there are 1,400 in the UK alone) alcohol has been synonymous with helping us to get in the mood for love.
But it’s 2023, so as ‘Sober Curious’ lifestyles become more prevalent with 34% of UK adults claiming that they’d go on a sober date versus 32% who feel a little alcohol is necessary ‘to feel their best self on a first date’ – and with 62% believing that ‘Dry Dating’ would help them “form a more genuine connection" – “But what if we could drink something that put us in the mood for love, without the downsides of drinking alcohol?” asks Professor David Nutt.
“It doesn’t have to be abstinence that makes the heart grow fonder though. Alcohol has its place when socialising and quite often a couple of alcoholic drinks help most of us unwind, relax, loosen our inhibitions, and forge connections, which humans thrive on for survival. But alcohol is a blunt tool and if drunk in excess sadly presents dangers to our health, wellbeing and to society. It’s an old technology and it's no wonder more and more people are choosing to cut it out entirely or take a more mindful approach to social drinking.
Therefore, the discovery that neurotransmitter, GABA, is at the heart of the good drinking experience, is a game-change for the industry, and we are thrilled to have pioneered the world-first, scientifically proved GABAergic range of spirits, offering the upsides people seek from alcohol, without the alcohol itself.”