What makes you happy.

Essay by low_profile94College, UndergraduateA, March 2004

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What makes Us Happy

"Endorphins are considered the best and most legal way of achieving a high" Nathan Altman said in his Endorphins Question and Answer article. Endorphins are polypeptides that are produced in the brain. They are able to bind to the neuro-receptors in the brain to give relief from pain. Endorphins can be accredited with the affect that exercise has on the brain. The so called runner's high is a result of endorphins being produced in the brain.

Discovered in 1975 endorphins are one of several substances in the brain that resemble morphine. These substances were referred to as opoids. The polypeptide endorphin contains thirty amino acid units. Opoids are considered stress hormone like corticotrophin, cortisol, and catecholamines (adrenaline, nonadrenaline), and are created by the body to reduce stress and pain levels. Endorphins are usually produced during periods of extreme stress and naturally block pain signals produced by the body's nervous system.

The human body can produce at least 20 different endorphins with possible benefits and uses that researchers are investigating. The Beta endorphins seem to be the endorphin that has the strongest affect on the body during exercise. This type of peptide hormone is formed mostly by Tyrosine, an amino acid. The molecular structure of this chemical highly resembles morphine but as different chemical properties.

Endorphins are believed to have four significant effects on the body and mind they enhance the immune system, relieve pain, reduce stress and postpone the aging process. Scientists have also found that beta-endorphins can activate human NK (Natural Killer) cells and boost the immune system against diseases and kill cancer cells.

Athletes often experience a second wind rather than feeling pain and exhaustion. Toward the end of a race many runners feel energized and limber. DR. William Straw M.D physician for...