What Are Natural Narcotics And Can I Increase My Own Natural Narcotics?

Dr. Russell Portenoy answers the question: 'What Are Natural Narcotics?'

ByRussell Portenoy, M.D., Chairman, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Beth Israel Medical Center
November 11, 2008, 5:18 PM

— -- Question: What Are Natural Narcotics And Is There A Way For Me To Increase My Own Natural Narcotics?

Answer: Many people ask whether or not the body has chemicals that can act as a pain killer, a natural pain killer. And in fact, these chemicals were discovered decades ago and are known as endorphins.

These endorphins are a variety of different chemicals and they exist throughout the entire body and they have many functions other than pain management. But it is true that the endorphins in the body do mediate the processes by which people experience pain after injury.

A natural question arises: "Are there things that a person can do to increase the endorphin levels in the brain and thereby experience pain control without the use of any medication or other type of medical technique?"

And the answer is that there have been studies to suggest that some activities like intensive exercise for example can increase endorphin levels. But, to date, we really have no evidence that there is a common and simple approach by which an ordinary person can increase endorphins and thereby not need medical support.

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