Endorphins are hormones and neuro-signalling molecules that function as painkillers. They inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system by binding to opioid receptors (the body’s natural morphine).
Endorphins & dopamine are often confused because each one is a chemical that makes you happy in the broad sense of the term. However, they are in some ways related because, when endorphins bind to receptors of the central nervous system, dopamine (the pleasure hormone) is released.
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Hormones are chemicals produced by various glands, called the endocrine system, whose primary function is to communicate between two glands or between a gland and an organ focusing on: mood regulation, pleasure, pain relief etc.
Neurotransmitters are like hormones but they are produced in the brain and send messages using the nervous system.
It is essential for mood, digestion, sleep, brain function, and circadian rhythm. It seems to be “involved in everything but responsible for nothing”: Low serotonin has been noted in depression, but increasing serotonin levels in depressed people doesn’t reliably work.
Up to 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut where it can act as a hormone or a neurotransmitter. This means that you can make yourself happier by eating better.
Oxytocin promotes bonding & trust, and it is particularly active during childbirth where it stimulates contractions. As a neurotransmitter it helps regulating stress responses & calm the nervous system.
Higher blood oxytocin levels have been linked to greater perceived love, responsiveness, and gratitude in couples.
It makes you happy while also keeping you alive & alert. This chemical is part of the brain’s reward system — it’s what gives you pleasurable sensations and keeps you coming back for more. Dopamine is considered to be the motivational cog in this system, and it’s naturally released when you perceive food or sex, but before you consume it.
50% is produced in the gut so diet plays a big role in this motivation hormone.
Serotonin (also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) is a naturally occurring substance that functions as a neurotransmitte to carry signals between nerve cells (called neurons) throughout your body.
Most commonly, people are aware of serotonin's role in the central nervous system (CNS).
Modern science suggests that the gut may play a role in mood disorders and our mental health.
The gut is covered in nerve cells, or neurons, which are foundational to our brains. This network in our gut is known as the enteric nervous system or "second brain".
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