Endorphins – hormones of satisfaction and well-being

Endorphins – hormones of satisfaction and well-being
Picture: Ivan Ushakovskiy | Dreamstime
Victoria Mamaeva
Pharmaceutical Specialist

Endorphins are also called the “hormones of happiness”, and there is a lot of truth in this. They are responsible for well-being and euphoria, as well as reducing pain. What needs to be done to make the body produce more endorphins?

What are endorphins?

Endorphins are a group of peptide hormones responsible for self-satisfaction and well-being.

They were discovered in the 70s of the last century, and the name is an abbreviation for the so-called. endogenous morphines, that is, opioids produced by the body.

Many types of endorphins have been discovered, but alpha, beta, and gamma endorphins are considered important to the human body because they act most closely on opioids (such as morphine). They are produced in the brain and spinal cord and affect consciousness, emotional state and pain.

Influence on the body

Endorphins have a narcotic and analgesic effect on the body.

Picture: Scienceanm | Dreamstime

Like exogenous opioids (morphine, codeine, etc.), endorphins counteract opiate receptors, thereby reducing the perception of pain and reducing the level of stress experienced by the body. The most active is endorphin, synthesized by the pituitary gland. In addition to reducing pain, endorphins can induce feelings of euphoria, satisfaction, and bliss.

Production of endorphins

The release of endorphins in the body occurs primarily when pain or stress occurs. The action of endorphins can be seen by women in labor, who, despite the enormous pain during labor, almost immediately forget about it, holding their newborn baby in their arms. However, these are not the only factors that contribute to the production of endorphins.
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Recently, much has been said about the beneficial effects of physical activity, which, in addition to improving the condition and getting rid of excess weight, increases the secretion of endorphins. For some people, moderate-intensity workouts are enough, but there are people who release an increased amount of endorphins during long and very intense exercise. This phenomenon is called “runner’s euphoria”.

People who run, for example during a marathon, experience less pain and are more resistant to fatigue. Some researchers believe that this is the placebo effect. However, it is undeniable that physical activity improves mood and well-being. Another stimulus that affects the production of endorphins is sex.


If for some reason a person cannot afford physical activity, it is possible to stimulate the production of endorphins through diet. Beneficial effects are given, among other things, by spicy dishes seasoned with, for example, chili peppers. Capsaicin is responsible for sharpness, and contact with it is associated with a feeling of pain. Then the body begins to produce endorphins to relieve unpleasant ailments. Of course, spicy foods should be consumed in moderation, especially for those struggling with heartburn and ulcers.

Another food is chocolate, which additionally promotes the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling well-being and mood. It is also helpful to eat foods rich in tryptophan, which is found in poultry, salmon, eggs, soy products, seeds and nuts, spinach or milk and cheese.

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Cocoa – a healthy and tasty miracle of nature

If you need to make a diet that supports the production of endorphins, you should seek the help of a nutritionist. A qualified nutritionist will prepare a menu tailored to the individual’s needs, making sure it is varied and balanced.

Endorphins are also increased by sunbathing, listening to your favorite music, and doing relaxing exercises (such as yoga).

Consequences of endorphin deficiency

Experts have long confirmed that endorphins have a positive effect on human well-being, but this topic is still the subject of many studies.

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As for the lack of endorphins, some doctors believe that too low levels in the body can cause pain, including chronic headaches or depression. So far, there are no studies that unequivocally point to such a relationship, but it should be considered when planning a diet or when considering starting physical activity.

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