About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Opioids Released During Exercise may also Protect Against Heart Attacks

by VR Sreeraman on November 9, 2007 at 4:31 PM
Font : A-A+

Opioids Released During Exercise may also Protect Against Heart Attacks

A new study has found that endorphins and other morphine-like substances known as opioids, which are released during exercise, don't just induce "runner's high," but are also effective in protecting against heart attacks. One of the widely publicized effects of natural opioids is the so-called "runner's high", which is said to occur when strenuous exercise takes a person over a threshold that activates endorphin production.

But the new study, by University of Iowa researchers, suggests that these opioids may also be responsible for some of exercise's cardiovascular benefits. The team showed that in rats, blocking the receptors that bind morphine, endorphins and other opioids eliminates the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.

Advertisement

Furthermore, the UI team showed that exercise was associated with increased expression of several genes involved in opioid pathways that appear to be critical in protecting the heart. "This is the first evidence linking the natural opioids produced during exercise to the cardio-protective effects of exercise. We have known for a long time that exercise is great for the heart. This study helps us better understand why," said Eric Dickson, M.D., UI associate professor and head of emergency medicine in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the study's lead investigator.

Previous studies have shown that regular vigorous exercise reduces the risk of having a heart attack and improves survival rates following heart attack, even in people with cardiovascular disease. In addition, exercise also decreases the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, osteoporosis and even depression. However, despite these proven health benefits, much less is understood about how exercise produces these benefits.
Advertisement

The UI study investigated the idea that the opioids produced by exercise might have a direct role in cardio-protection. The researchers compared rats that exercised with rats that did not. As expected, exercised rats sustained significantly less heart damage from a heart attack than non-exercised rats.

The researchers then showed that blocking opioid receptors completely eliminated these cardio-protective effects in exercising rats, suggesting that opioids are responsible for some of the cardiac benefits of exercise. The UI team also showed that exercise was associated with transient increases in expression of several opioid system genes in heart muscle, and changes in expression of other genes that are involved in inflammation and cell death. The researchers plan to examine whether these altered gene expression patterns reveal specific cardio-protective pathways.

A better understanding of how exercise protects the heart may ultimately allow scientists to harness these protective effects for patients with decreased mobility, according to the authors. "Hopefully this study will move us closer to developing therapies that mimic the benefits of exercise. It also serves as a reminder of how important it is to get out and exercise every day," Dickson said.

The study is published in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology's Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Source: ANI
LIN/M
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cannabis Cardiac Catheterization Drug Abuse Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Stress and the Gender Divide Tips to Live Longer Heart Heart Attack- Lifestyle Risks Healthy Heart Hyperventilation 

Recommended Reading
Heart Attack
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Heart disease is the ......
Heart Attack - Animation
Animation of Heart Attack symptoms. Heart attack is caused due to ischemia of the heart muscles ......
Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use and comes from a bushy pl...
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart condit...
Drug Abuse
The use of Drugs for reasons other than its prescribed recommendation, is known as Drug abuse or sub...
Heart Attack- Lifestyle risks
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Simple guidelines to avoi...
Hyperventilation
Hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes in excess to the body’s requirement....
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...
Tips to Live Longer
Though life is temporary and short, it is possible to maximize the span of our existence by living h...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use