How Do Pheromones Work ?
The effect of pheromones has been well documented. They cause sexual response, which scientists call a "releaser" effect. Each person has their own "odor print" that's just as individual as fingerprints, created by compounds released from the sebaceous glands, sweat glands and other glands. Among the chemicals and compounds released are pheromones, which drift into our companion's nasal passage and stimulate specialized receptors. Scientists are still studying the receptors to determine whether the "vomeronasal organ" is devoted to exclusively to sensing pheromones, or whether pheromone receptors are part of a more complex system along with olfactory receptors in the nasal passage.
The two most widely recognized as pheromones are androstadienone (AND) and estratetraenol (EST). AND is a derivative of testosterone and EST is a relative of estrogen. Scientists have shown that the chemicals change brain patterns as detected by EEGs, functional MRIs, and PET scans, and induce mood changes. That evidence is consistent with what pheromones would do.
Synthesized or man made versions of these compounds can be even more potent and effective than one's natural "odor print" mainly because Americans do so much to obliterate any trace of natural odor and sweat. By showering, deodorizing, cologne-applying and our sterile approach to cleanliness keep our natural pheromones from doing their job.
Sex Appeal in a Bottle?
By Brian Kurth Kolars, Ph.D
The possibility of human pheromones has intrigued scientists for a number of years, but the likelihood that there are functional human pheromones has been both asserted and denied in recent years. A new study completed at University of Illinois at Chicago shows evidence that a new human pheromone formulation (Di-Dehydroepiandrosterone) does indeed increase sex appeal in those that apply the substance. The pheromone formulation is being sold as a spiked fragrance under the name Pherlure and certainly brings the science of courtship to the 21st century.
For an animal whose nose supposedly plays no role in sexual attraction or social life, human emotions are strongly moved by smells. And we appear to be profoundly overequipped with smell-producing hardware for what little sniffing we have been thought to be up to. Human sweat, urine, breath, saliva, breast milk, skin oils, and sexual secretions all contain scent-communicating chemical compounds. Zoologist Michael Stoddart, author of The Scented Ape (Cambridge University Press, 1991), points out that humans possess denser skin concentrations of scent glands than almost any other mammal. This makes little sense until one abandons the myth that humans pay little attention to the fragrant or the rancid in their day-to-day lives.
Part of the confusion may be due to the fact that not all smells register in our conscious minds. When those telltale scents were introduced to the VNO of human subjects, they didn't report smelling anything--but nevertheless demonstrated subtle changes in mood.