β endorphins are endogenous opioid neuropeptides and peptide hormones or endogenous morphine like substance originated from within the body. β endorphins are produced in the brain. Recent research suggested that cells of the immune system are also capable of beta-endorphin synthesis. In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), beta-endorphins produce analgesia by binding to opioid receptors and then inhibiting release of substance P, a key protein involved in the transmission of pain. In the central nervous system, beta-endorphins similarly bind opioid receptors. However, instead of inhibiting substance P, they exert their analgesic effect by inhibiting the release of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, resulting in excess production of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with pleasure. They decrease feeling of pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. They also modulate appetite, release sex hormones and enhance immune response. Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of β endorphins. They act on the opiate receptors in a similar way to morphine and codeine, but endorphins don’t have addiction or dependence effect. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. The body produces endorphins by responding to exercises. Endorphin release varies among individuals, which means that two people who exercise at the same level or suffer the same degree of pain will not necessarily produce similar levels of endorphins. Acupuncture stimulates β endorphins release and reduces pain feeling and stress.
If you are tired all the time, you might have low β endorphins in immune cells. A study was involved in 16 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. They found that β -endorphin concentrations in the immune cells of chronic fatigue patients were significantly lower than in healthy subjects. Another study on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia has shown that β endorphins level was significantly lower in these patients. Acupuncture releases β endorphins and is beneficial to patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Adam S Sprouse-Blum etc Hawaii Med J 2010, 69:70-71
Conti F et al Clin Exp Rheumatol (1998) 16:729-32
Panerai AE et al Clin J Pain (2002) 18:270-3
Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju
Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.
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