Endorphins are hormones that can help reduce pain, regulate hormones, and inhibit cancer growth. Along with its health benefits, endorphins also have their drawback. Continue reading below to learn more about these hormones.

What are Endorphins?

Endorphins are a group of hormones that are released by the brain. They can be released during exercise, periods of pain and stress, and other activities (R).

The pituitary gland and the central nervous system produce these hormones (R).

These hormones are also involved in eating, drinking, sex, and maternal behavior (R).

Health Benefits of Endorphins

1) Endorphins Are Natural Painkillers

Pain and other stressors cause part of the brain (pituitary gland) to release an endorphin (R).

When acting on the nerve cells to lessen discomfort, the endorphins bind to specialized receptors. This helps reduce the amount of pain felt (R).

Painkillers that are opioids mimic endorphins produced in the body competing with them for available binding spots at the receptor sites (R).

2) Endorphins Decrease Stress

The brain releases endorphins to help combat stress. They help control the body’s response to stress (R).

3) Endorphins Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth

Endorphin production prevents the spread of tumor growths in the lungs (R).

This hormone could potentially have broad treatment applications for patients with cancer, chronic stress, as well as impaired immune function (R).

It also helps prevent breast cancer growth and helps cancer patients live longer (R).

Rats with fetal alcohol exposure succumbed more easily to lung tumors until exposed to endorphins (R).

4) Endorphins Help Regulate Hormones

In fish, endorphins secreted from specific areas of the brain may have a role in inhibiting cells that produce other hormones (luteinizing hormone) (R).

Endorphin-treated ewes had fluctuating hormone levels (GnRH and LH). Endorphin mechanisms can carefully balance hormone levels (R).

5) Endorphins Help Treat Schizophrenia

In schizophrenic patients, the antipsychotics regimens normalize endorphin levels in the blood. The drugs helped treat schizophrenia by regulating endorphin levels (R).

Negative Effects of Endorphins

1) Endorphins Induce Inflammation

The release of endorphins in mice causes the secretion of chemicals (reactive oxygen species) that play a role in programmed cell death, cancer and aging. In the gut of these mice, the white blood cells could not send out signals that help control inflammation (R).

2) Endorphins Can Cause Prader-Willi Syndrome symptoms

Increased endorphin blood levels in children with Prader-Willi syndrome could be responsible for the increased appetite and abnormal hormone levels (R).

This causes cellular feedback loop mechanisms to not function correctly (R).


  • Beta-endorphins are proteins that are primarily synthesized by the pituitary gland in response to physiologic stressors such as pain (R).
  • They function through various mechanisms in both the central and peripheral nervous system to relieve pain when bound to their mu-opioid receptors (R).
  • β-EP transplantation also inhibited lung tumor growth in both normal and fetal alcohol exposed rats (R).
  • β-endorphin stimulates the zymosan-induced secretion of reactive oxygen species. It also suppresses the spontaneous production of IL-1β and IL-10 by murine peritoneal macrophages in vivo (R).
  • Moreover, after β-endorphin exposure, the patient isolates had significantly higher (P = .0004) phospholipase activity compared to the healthy control isolates (R).
  • These results suggest that stress-induced activation of β-EP secreting neurons in the NLT region might lead to the inhibition of LH-secreting cells-ovary axis in fish (R).
  • Insights into the three-dimensional structure of hormone fibrils are crucial for an understanding of how an amyloid structure allows the storage of hormones in secretory vesicles prior to hormone secretion into the blood stream (R).
  • Effective antipsychotic treatment results in “normalization” of BE level (R).
  • Specific changes in BE concentration could also help dopaminergic transmission and affect some symptoms of schizophrenia (R).
  • A wide range of cortisol concentrations reported in this study showed the complex dynamic patterns of the homeostatic mechanisms involved during machine milking in dairy cows (R).
  •  UV-B exposures also increase β-END expression in epidermal keratinocytes of human skin in vivo which could be the link to proposed UVR addiction (R).

Ways Endorphin Levels Increase

  • Exercise (R).
  • Chocolate (R).
  • Ultraviolet light increases the amount of endorphins in the skin, leading to the possibility of an addiction to UV radiation (R).

Ways Endorphin Levels Decrease

  • 17 beta-estradiol  (R).
  • Hippophae Rhamnoides (R).

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