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Phenethylamine is a natural compound biosynthesized from the amino acid phenylalanine by enzymatic decarboxylation. It is also found in many foods such as chocolate. However trace amounts from food are quickly metabolized by the enzyme MAO-B, preventing significant concentrations from reaching the brain.

Phenylethylamine has been shown at least indirectly to satisfy the four main criteria required to demonstrate that a neuroamine sustains mood and that its deficit can be responsible for depression. Antidepressant drug therapy is an indirect (pharmacological) "replacement" of brain phenylethylamine.

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