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 .
The pituitary gland and the central nervous system produce these hormones .
These hormones are also involved in eating, drinking, sex, and maternal behavior .
Health Benefits of Endorphins
1) Natural Painkillers
Pain and other stressors cause part of the brain (pituitary gland) to release an endorphin .
When acting on the nerve cells to lessen discomfort, the endorphins bind to specialized receptors. This helps reduce the amount of pain felt .
Painkillers that are opioids mimic endorphins produced in the body competing with them for available binding spots at the receptor sites .
2) Decrease Stress
The brain releases endorphins to help combat stress. They help control the body’s response to stress .
3) Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth
Endorphin production prevents the spread of tumor growths in the lungs .
This hormone could potentially have broad treatment applications for patients with cancer, chronic stress, as well as impaired immune function .
It also helps prevent breast cancer growth and helps cancer patients live longer .
Rats with fetal alcohol exposure succumbed more easily to lung tumors until exposed to endorphins .
4) Help Regulate Hormones
Endorphin-treated ewes had fluctuating hormone levels (GnRH and LH). Endorphin mechanisms can carefully balance hormone levels .
5) Help Treat Schizophrenia
In schizophrenic patients, the antipsychotics regimens normalize endorphin levels in the blood. The drugs helped treat schizophrenia by regulating endorphin levels .
Negative Effects of Endorphins
1) 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 .
2) 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 .
This causes cellular feedback loop mechanisms to not function correctly .
Ways Endorphin Levels Increase
- Exercise 
- Chocolate 
- Ultraviolet light increases the number of endorphins in the skin, leading to the possibility of an addiction to UV radiation .
Ways Endorphin Levels Decrease
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