Such is the menace of opioids in the United States these days that kids often grow up listening to one warning – stay away from drugs. Given the highest drug overdose mortality rate ever in 2016, it’s certainly not an uncalled-for advice. However, not all opioids are bad. Apart from the recreational and synthetic opioids that are responsible for America’s opioid epidemic, there are also the ones produced naturally in our own bodies that make our lives easier.
We feel nice when we listen to music, get into exercise mode, have sex, or even when we eat pizza. Yes, eating your favorite pizza can flood the nervous system with pleasure. According to a team of scientists at the Turku PET Centre of the University of Turku, Finland, the endogenous opioid system supports various functions related to appetitive behavior and feeding in living beings.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that feeding induced considerable endogenous opioid release in the brain. The response was more noticeable following a palatable meal. The researchers thus concluded that feeding consistently triggers cerebral opioid release even in the absence of subjective pleasure associated with feeding.