Skip to main content

What are pheromones? Do humans have pheromones?

Welcome to the MNT Knowledge Center, your source for our most detailed content on specific conditions and subjects. Click through to Knowledge Center Home to read more.

What are pheromones? Do humans have pheromones?

Last updated: 

Knowledge center

A pheromone is a chemical an animal produces which changes the behavior of another animal of the same species (animals include insects). Some describe pheromones as behavior-altering agents. Many people do not know that pheromones trigger other behaviors in the animal of the same species, apart from sexual behavior.

Pheromones, unlike most other hormones are ectohormones - they act outside the body of the individual that is secreting them - they impact a behavior on another individual. Hormones usually only affect the individual that is secreting them.

Pheromones can be secreted to trigger many types of behaviors, including:
  • Alarm
  • To follow a food trail
  • Sexual arousal
  • To tell other female insects to lay their eggs elsewhere. Called epideictic pheromones
  • To respect a territory
  • To bond (mother-baby)
  • To back off.
It is believed that the first pheromone was identified in 1953. Bombykol is secreted by female moths and is designed to attract males. The pheromone signal can travel enormous distances, even at low concentrations.

Experts say that the pheromone system of insects is much easier to understand than that of mammals, which do not have simple stereotyped insect behavior. It is believed that mammals detect pheromones through an organ in the nose called the VNO (Vomeronasal Organ), and connects to the hypothalamus in the brain. The VNO in humans consists of just pits that probably do not do anything. If humans do respond to hormones, most likely they use their normal olfactory system.

Pheromones are commonly used in insect control. They can be used as bait to attract males into a trap, prevent them from mating, or to disorient them.

Do humans have pheromones?

According to thousands of web sites which promise sexual conquests if you buy their pills, human pheromones exist - bear in mind that their aim is to get you to buy their products. However, most proper well-controlled scientific studies have failed to show any compelling evidence.

Gustav J├Ąger (1832-1917), a German doctor and hygienist is thought to be the first scientist to put forward the idea of human pheromones. He called them anthropines. He said they were lipophilic compounds associated with skin and follicles that mark the individual signature of human odors. Lipophilic compounds are those that tend to combine with, or are capable of dissolving in lipids.

Researchers in the University of Chicago claimed that they managed to link the synchronization of women's menstrual cycles to unconscious odor cues. The head researcher was called Martha McClintock, hence the coined term the McClintock effect. When exposing a group of women to a whiff of sweat from other women, their menstrual cycles either accelerated or slowed down, depending on when during the menstrual cycle the sweat was collected - before, during or after ovulation. The scientists said that the pheromone collected before ovulation shortened the ovarian cycle, while the pheromone collected during ovulation lengthened it. Even so, recent analyses of McClintock's study and methodology have questioned its validity.

A Swedish study found that lesbians react differently to AND (progesterone derivative 4,16-androstadien-3-one) than heterosexual women do. AND is ten times more abundant in human male sweat than female sweat. (Link to article)

There are four principal kinds of pheromones:
  • Releaser pheromones - they elicit an immediate response, the response is rapid and reliable. They are usually linked to sexual attraction.
  • Primer pheromones - these take longer to get a response. They can, for example, influence the development or reproduction physiology, including menstrual cycles in females, puberty, and the success or failure of pregnancy. They can alter hormone levels. In some mammals, scientists found that females who had become pregnant and were exposed to primer pheromones from another male, could spontaneously abort the fetus.
  • Signaler pheromones - these provide information. They may help the mother to recognize her newborn by scent (fathers cannot usually do this). Signaler pheromones give out our genetic odor print.
  • Modulator pheromones - they can either alter or synchronize bodily functions. Usually found in sweat. In animal experiments, scientists found that when placed on the upper lip of females, they became less tense and more relaxed. Modulator hormones may also affect a female's monthly cycle.
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

fix idm integration on chrome

Chrome Browser Integration I do not see IDM extension in Chrome extensions list. How can I install it?  How to configure IDM extension for Chrome? Please note that all IDM extensions that can be found in Google Store are fake and should not be used. You need to install IDM extension manually from IDM installation folder. Read in step 2 how to do it . 1. Please update IDM to the latest version by using  "IDM Help->Check for updates..."  menu item 2.  I don't see  "IDM Integration module"  extension in the list of extensions in  Chrome . How can I install it? Press on  Chrome  menu ( arrow 1  on the image), select  "Settings"  menu item ( arrow 2  on the image) and then select  "Extensions"  tab ( arrow 3  on the image). After this open IDM installation folder ( "C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Download Manager"  by default,  arrow 4  on the image) and drag and drop  "IDMGCExt.crx"  ( arrow 5  on the image) file int

Hidden Wiki

Welcome to The Hidden Wiki New hidden wiki url 2015 http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion Add it to bookmarks and spread it!!! Editor's picks Bored? Pick a random page from the article index and replace one of these slots with it. The Matrix - Very nice to read. How to Exit the Matrix - Learn how to Protect yourself and your rights, online and off. Verifying PGP signatures - A short and simple how-to guide. In Praise Of Hawala - Anonymous informal value transfer system. Volunteer Here are five different things that you can help us out with. Plunder other hidden service lists for links and place them here! File the SnapBBSIndex links wherever they go. Set external links to HTTPS where available, good certificate, and same content. Care to start recording onionland's history? Check out Onionland's Museum Perform Dead Services Duties. Introduction Points Ahmia.fi - Clearnet search engine for Tor Hidden Services (allows you

Explainer: The nico-teen brain

Explainer: The nico-teen brain The adolescent brain is especially vulnerable to the addictive effects of nicotine BY  TERESA SHIPLEY FELDHAUSEN   7:00AM, AUGUST 19, 2015 Nicotine (black triangle towards center left) tricks the nerve cell (neuron) into sending a message to release more dopamine (yellow dots). Those molecules enter the space (synapse) between one nerve cell and the next. When they get picked up by neighboring cells, this gives users a feel-good high. It also creates the risk of addiction and other health problems.  EMail  Print  Twitter  Facebook  Reddit  Google+ NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE, ADAPTED BY J. HIRSHFELD Nicotine is the addictive chemical in tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapors. And doctors say the teenage brain is no place for it to end up. Nicotine can reach the brain within seven seconds of puffing on a cigar, hookah, cigarette or electronic cigarette. The area of the brain responsible f