Hormones and neurotransmitters influence the function of other cells. Basically, they are essential messengers for the body to carry out its functions correctly. Physical well-being is not your only goal, since positive emotions and feelings are also essential to maintain a good quality of life. The human brain has the ability to produce different hormones that are directly related to our health, as detailed by Rosana Gogorza, a neurologist called by OSDE.
Endorphins mainly originate from the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. They are a powerful natural stimulant that affects our mood, without causing adverse effects. “These natural chemicals act as analgesics and stimulate the pleasure centers, creating satisfactory situations that help eliminate discomfort,” says Gogorza and suggests that we carry out all kinds of activities that are comforting to us, to encourage their production and consequent positive results.
To stimulate the production of endorphins, it is recommended to laugh, exercise, relax, listen to music, read, meditate, meet goals, caress, kiss and hug because all displays of affection generate pleasure. These activities facilitate memory and attention, as well as the feeling of well-being and happiness. It is not a myth that “laughter is the best remedy”, as it has been shown to strengthen the immune system and reduce physical pain.
Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter responsible for regulating gastrointestinal function. It is produced mainly in the intestine and influences the control of movement, emotions and cognitive functions. “Serotonin generates feelings of relaxation, satisfaction, increases concentration and self-esteem.” It depends directly on tryptophan, a fundamental amino acid that we can find in foods like eggs, pasta, rice, dairy, cereals, chicken and legumes.
This neurotransmitter also helps us to enjoy a restful sleep and starts the body’s internal clock. Too much of it can be dangerous, as a sudden spike (usually caused by some illegal drugs) can cause paranoia and negatively impact memory and judgment. On the contrary, if the brain does not produce the necessary amount of serotonin, we can experience insomnia or lack of mood.
Another of these neurotransmitters present in various areas of the brain is dopamine, linked to the body’s motor function and the realization of different purposes. “Dopamine floods the synapse between neurons when something rewarding happens. It is responsible for that torrent of joy when a goal is achieved or a task is successful ”, adds the neurologist about this chemical substance that also promotes alertness, memory and helps the pancreas to release the appropriate amount of insulin after the foods.
Dopamine is responsible for the coordination between the brain and the body when producing voluntary movements, that is why its deficiency is related to Parkinson’s disease. To stimulate its secretion we can increase our consumption of foods rich in tyrosine such as chocolate, watermelon, almonds, meat, green tea, dairy products, blueberries and soybeans.
Also called the “love hormone”, oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and travels through the bloodstream, reaching different organs. “It is released from pleasant moments in life, such as when we enjoy a meeting with friends, and also from simple physical contacts, establishing bonds of attachment.” Oxytocin performs functions as a hormone and as a neurotransmitter: it triggers and sustains labor contractions, dilates the cervix and plays a fundamental role in breastfeeding, strengthening the mother-infant bond.
The body needs this substance, which fully influences physical and social health, since it increases empathy and confidence, regulates the increase in heart rate, reduces blood pressure and stress, as well as the propensity to addictions. . Hugging our loved ones, laughing, enjoying leisure, generating deep and lasting bonds, among other things, help maintain high levels of oxytocin and, therefore, a better quality of life.