Endorphins have been called the natural morphine of the body. Not all the functions endorphins perform in the human body are completely understood. Most people who take them know that endorphins exist in natural Reward pathways and are linked to various pleasurable activities such as drinking, eating, and sex. They are released from the pituitary gland, which is present in the brain after a person has gotten through an intense physical workout.
Endorphins act as neurotransmitters and are released from neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). They pass through the spinal cord and reach the sensory nerves, where they send impulses to the brain. These endorphins can be found in the brain, where they mediate pain relief, but they can also act on the gastrointestinal tract, the bladder, and other organs. The function of endorphins in the body is believed to be the release of amino acids and other proteins. Endorphins also reverse constipation, reduce joint and back pain, reduce coughing, headaches, depression, coughing spasms, insomnia, diabetes, and hyperactivity in children.
Although many scientists believe that depression results from decreased levels of endorphins, they are still uncertain of this connection. Some antidepressants, such as Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paxil, work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which are thought to increase happiness. Other medications used for chronic pain, such as cyclooxygenase inhibitors (COX-2 inhibitors), and options, such as Codeine, help to heighten endorphin production in the brain. While it is not clear how endorphins relieve pain and improve mood, they seem to work because they are similar to chemicals that your body creates naturally – substances that make you feel good.
Endorphins act on the brain, and on the receptors found there, to make you feel good. Endorphins affect a large number of bodily systems, including the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, the brain, the kidneys, and the blood vessels. It is the action on the receptors, however, that brings about the health and wellness that so many people crave. Endorphins can pass through your entire body, via the blood, to reach every part of your body that needs it; your brain receives a surge of endorphins when you exercise, get depressed, or when you eat certain foods.
To understand how endorphins work, it helps to understand how morphine works on the body. What happens is that the Opioid drug makes you feel a pleasurable sensation in your gut, your legs, and throughout your body. In fact, at high doses, it even makes you feel light-headed and you may feel lightheaded without realizing what is going on. When the levels of opium increase, the receptors in your brain fire, and your pain-relieving receptors are inhibited from firing, making you feel the same as if you were taking a weak dose of morphine, a natural pain reliever.
The challenge for modern doctors and scientists is to find ways to boost endorphins naturally, so you do not have to take drugs that mimic this effect, which is why scientists are still trying to unlock the key to natural painkillers. One way they believe they are doing this is by stimulating the brain chemicals that cause us to experience pain. In doing so, they are able to produce natural pain killers.
As far back as anyone can remember, people have been eating chocolate, a natural drug with brain-building properties. The reason they eat it so much is that it acts on the brain as a mood enhancer. When you eat chocolate, the brain chemicals are stimulated, which make you feel more pleasant. It is similar to the way you feel after you eat a hot spicy meal or when you are angry. You feel better because the brain chemicals are coming into play and allowing you to experience the feelings associated with those experiences. When you eat chocolate, the release of endorphins is one of those feelings.
Now, you do not need to be a professional nutritionist to know how important an intake of endorphins can be to your overall health and well-being. You do not need to be a doctor to learn that these particular brain chemicals can help reduce your stress levels so that you can live a more happy and more full life. When you are able to get started on a program to cure your depression or anxiety, you will never look at exercise the same way again. You will also discover that you have more energy and can spend more time exercising, so you can get started living a fuller life and losing weight. Exercise is truly one of the best gifts Mother Nature has given us, so why would we not use it?