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What is endorphin?

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What is endorphin?

You certainly know that feeling of well-being that invades you after a running or bodybuilding session. It is due to invisible neurochemicals released by our body: endorphins.

“Endorphins” comes from the combination of the words “endogenous” and “morphine”. In other words, endorphins are natural painkillers produced in our body.

Let’s take stock of these famous euphoric hormones.

What are endorphins for?

They minimize discomfort, pain and maximize pleasure, what helps us to continue to “function” despite injury, pain or stress.

Since humans naturally seek to experience pleasure and avoid pain, we are more likely to do an activity if it makes us feel good.

From an evolutionary point of view, it helps to ensure survival. Humans are social creatures and we thrive in communities.
Endorphins help strengthen social bonds. Although this may no longer be entirely true in our individualistic societies, people who are part of social groups survive and reproduce better.

The benefits of endorphins

By promoting an overall sense of well-being, endorphins have many benefits.

They alleviate depression

They reduce stress and anxiety

Endorphins can play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. A study in mice showed a direct relationship between endorphin levels and anxious behavior.

They boost your self-esteem

Positive feelings make you feel confident and optimistic, thus increasing self-esteem.

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They promote weight loss

The role of endorphins and other hormones in regulating your appetite and food intake is complex. While eating the right foods increases endorphin levels, higher levels of endorphins help regulate appetite.

They help manage pain during childbirth

Childbirth can be an incredibly rewarding, yet incredibly painful experience. Fortunately, endorphins can make the job a little easier. A small study in 45 healthy women giving birth found that low levels of beta-endorphin late in pregnancy were associated with more pain during childbirth.

What are the symptoms of an endorphin deficiency?

Endorphin deficiency is not well understood. In general, if your body does not produce enough endorphins, you may suffer from:

  • Depression
  • anxiety
  • In a bad mood
  • of pain
  • Dependency

How to naturally stimulate endorphins?

Dancing, volunteering, petting a cat, or cuddling a baby are also situations where endorphin levels can rise.

The final word

We may not know everything about the role of endorphins in the body, but it is clear that these neuropeptides have many positive effects.

Luckily, you don’t have to run a marathon or do two hours of strength training to increase endorphin levels in your brain. Enjoying a piece of dark chocolate, interacting with friends, playing music, meditating, or watching your favorite TV shows can help raise endorphin levels.

Also to read

Anti-stress food supplements

Our tips for healthy eating

Lose weight with running

Ginkgo biloba: benefits and virtues

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18604523/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12697680/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20595705/

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