Facts about Endorphins

Endorphin (Endo-orphin) means “endogenous morphine” or “morphine like substance originating from within the body”.

Endorphins are brain chemicals or neurochemicals which occur naturally in the brain and having analgesic properties. They are responsible for transmitting electrical signal within nervous system. Endorphins are known for their analgesic or pain relieving properties and can be found in pituitary gland and also throughout the nervous system. So far, at least twenty types of endorphins have been found in humans. These chemicals are produced by hypophysis and the hypothalamus. Hypophysis master gland of the endocrine system and it is located at the base of the brain. Hypothalamus is basal part of the diencephalon governing autonomic nervous system.

The structure of endorphins is similar to protein’s structures. Although, endorphins are smaller, ranging from five to forty or more amino acids in length. Two main factors which are responsible for releasing of endorphins are stress and pain. These chemicals are responsible for reducing the feeling of pain and also give a feeling of euphoria. When they interact with the opiate receptors in the brain, the feeling of pain decreases. In addition, they are also responsible for releasing of sex hormones and improvement of immune response. With the high endorphins levels we fell the less effects of stress as well. Regular exercise increases the amounts of endorphins in the body.

The role of endorphins is very crucial during the time of childbirth. These are natural pain killer and tranquilizers and at the time of pregnancy level of endorphins increase in body and it continues until the child birth. This is helpful to counter stress and pain during pregnancy and labour.

Because of the fact that endorphins levels increase with regular or prolonged exercises, it is reported that many athletes or runners feel the euphoria and exhilaration in the course of their run. This feeling is called “the runners high.”

The production of endorphin varies from one person to the other. Therefore, different individuals produce different levels of endorphins by doing same kind of exercise or physical activity. Also, to relieve the pain or stress, different individuals do not produce similar levels of endorphins.

What do endorphins do – At a Glance
  • Relieve pain
  • Enhance immune system
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Postpone aging process
  • Modulate appetite
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Influences calm or euphoric state of mind

Some of the great natural ways to increase endorphins are exercise, sexual activity and laughter. Some foods are also very good to increase the levels of these chemicals. Foods such as chilli peppers, chocolate and other sweet foods can enhance the production of endorphins.

Massage and acupuncture increase the secretion of endorphins as well. Practice of meditation can also play an important role to enhance the endorphins levels in the body. 

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