What Is An Endorphin In Neuroscience

What are Endorphins?

Endorphins are naturally occurring peptides produced by the brain and pituitary gland that function as neurotransmitters. They are often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers and can induce a sense of well-being or euphoria, sometimes called a “runner’s high.”

Roles and Functions

  • Pain Relief

    Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress, helping to alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation. They bind to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing the perception of pain and producing analgesic effects similar to those of opioids, such as morphine.

  • Mood Regulation

    Endorphins are involved in the regulation of mood and can contribute to feelings of happiness, pleasure, and well-being. They are believed to play a role in the body’s natural reward system, reinforcing behaviors that promote survival and well-being, such as exercise, social interaction, and consumption of pleasurable foods.

  • Stress Reduction

    Endorphins are released during periods of stress, helping to mitigate the body’s stress response and promoting relaxation. This can lead to a reduction in anxiety, tension, and the negative effects of stress on the body and mind.

Related Neuroscience Terms