The Effects Of Low Intensity Exercise On Beta-Endorphins (Β-Ε) Levels And Urge For Alcohol In Alcoholic Patients.

What are Beta-endorphins?

beta endorphinBeta-endorphins, or B-endorphins, are substances created by the pituitary gland. They specifically function as neurotransmitters, or conductors of messages between nerve cells. These substances are found around both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The Beta-endorphins is classified as a peptide since it contains 31 amino acids linked together. The beta-endorphins circulate around the brain, spinal cord, and secondary nerve systems in the body. Two glands, the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, have a particular prevalence of the substance. The pituitary gland is responsible for releasing this endorphin into the blood, where it then travels to the central nervous system in the first legs of its journey. The beta-endorphins are agonists. They therefore connect to a cell and kick-starts a response. Beta-endorphins targets portions of a cell called opiate receptors in particular. The substance can reach these receptors in bodily tissue via a process called diffusion.

Beta-endorphins and alcohol

When alcohol is consumed at below risk levels it is known to be very rewarding health wise, it improves the quality of life but when a person begins taking alcohol in higher levels then there are problems that he will definitely have to suffer as a result of the severe effects of alcohol consumption. There are myriads of alcohol disorders needless to mention many accidents occur when people are drunken making alcohol a lead cause of accidental deaths.

Alcohol consumption has been reported to influence the activity of the endogenous opioid system. Reports indicate that acute exposure to ethanol leads to an enhanced release of brain Beta-endorphins (β-E) which through its interaction with μ and δ receptors mediates, at least in part, neurobehavioral effects such as reinforcement and acquisition of ethanol drinking behavior. Specifically, ethanol intake has been shown to increase β-E release by the pituitary and hypothalamus, an action that is mediated by the increase of corticotropin releasing hormone in a dose dependent manner. Furthermore, some reports indicate a biphasic effect of ethanol on hypothalamic Beta-endorphins release. However, the ethanol-induced increase of Beta-endorphins release is fast and transient, lasting about 15-20 minutes before normalizing again. Besides its effects on pituitary and hypothalamic Beta-endorphins, ethanol administration enhances Beta-endorphins release in the nucleus accumbens. This is a brain region important for the processes of reward and reinforcement. Therefore, the activation of μ and δ receptors by the increase in Beta-Endorphins levels due to ethanol intake may be pivotal in reinforcing properties of alcohol intake. On the other hand, chronic exposure to ethanol may cause adaptive responses of neuronal systems linked to negative reinforcement. Decreased Beta-endorphins production following chronic ethanol exposure may be responsible for some of the feelings of discomfort and the presence of negative reinforcement. Reports indicate that chronic ethanol abuse results in lower concentration of Beta-endorphins in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of male and female alcoholics. Therefore, chronic ethanol abuse might result in a central opioid deficiency. That deficiency might be related to decreased synthesis and release of Beta-endorphins in the hypothalamus and pituitary as well as lower density and activity of the opioid receptors.

A group of scientists conducted a research study to find out the effects of low intensity exercise on Beta-endorphins (β-E) levels and urge for alcohol in alcoholic patients. These researchers were Athanasios Z Jamurtas, Nikos Zourbanos, Kalliopi Georgakouli, Panagiotis Georgoulias, Eirini Manthou, Ioannis G Fatouros, Marios Goudas, Yiannis Koutedakis and Yannis Theodorakis.

This study used nine chronic alcoholic patients of whom 8 were males and 1 was female. These participants who were undergoing alcohol detoxification were recruited from a psychiatric hospital in Greece and 9 healthy controls volunteered to participate. Patients were diagnosed as being alcohol dependent according to the DSM-IV and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). AUDIT consists of 10 questions scored individually from 0 = never to 4 = 4 or more times per week. A total score of > 8 is an indication of alcohol abuse, a score of > 15 indicates serious abuse/addiction whilst a score between 8 and 10 is an indication of being at risk. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was .73. Alcoholic patients were young and the medical exam revealed no presence of cardiovascular or metabolic disease in the participants. However, five patients were receiving antidepressant medicine, five were receiving anticonvulsant medicine and seven of them were receiving Thiamine, Pyridoxine, and Cyanocobalamine (three times a day) and folic acid (5 mg a day).

The findings of the study

beta endorphinsAll patients had a history of addiction of 10 years or more. All subjects were able to complete a 30-minute workout and the mean relative exercise heart rate was 61.1 + 4.9 % and 62.2 + 3.5% of their maximum heart rate for the alcoholic patients and healthy controls, respectively. Beta-Endorphins levels were significantly lower (p<0.001) in alcoholic patients whereas exercise resulted in significant increases (p<0.001, Cohen’s D: 3.31) only in the alcoholic group. Lactic acid at baseline was not significantly different between groups and increased significantly (p<0.001) after exercise in both groups. Analysis for CBC parameters revealed a significant time effect for red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit. None of the remaining parameters was significantly different between groups nor was changed due to exercise. Pearson correlation analysis revealed non-significant relationships between Beta-endorphins and urge for alcohol (r = 0.23, p = 0.58). Finally, results on the Beta-Endorphins test revealed no significant changes in scores for alcohol urge in alcoholic patients (pre: 2.3 + 1.17; post: 1.87 + 1.17).

Finally, we at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to addicts by availing some of the most integrative approaches to healing an addict. Be it issues with Beta-Endorphins or general addiction treatment needs, we are here to help. We advocate for natural healing to all kinds of addiction. Call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for help.

The Effects Of Low Intensity Exercise On Beta-Endorphins (Β-Ε) Levels And Urge For Alcohol In Alcoholic Patients.