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What Are Exorphins?

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Shahzad Saleem answered
Opioids acting in our bodies can be of two types, endorphins and exorphins. Endorphins are endogenous morphine-like substances. They are substances which occur naturally in the body and can be generated or induced by various stimuli, such as heavy and persistent exercise, positive and enjoyable emotions and sexual excitement. Exorphins are externally administered or exogenous morphine-like substances, generally present in the diet.

Exorphins have been described as peptide and protein fragments which bind to opioid receptors in our cells and mediate a number of important biological effects. They are generated in vivo during normal digestion. The generation of exorphins may explain the immunes pleasure felt after eating certain types of foods such as chocolate. Because they resemble opiates in their action, they have been called opioids. Since they bind to these opioids receptor they have morphine-like effects. They can produce analgesia, drowsiness, respiratory depression, GI modality, or have anti nausea, anti-emetic, anti-proliferative and enhance cytotoxic activity.

Examples of these include exorphins present in milk or in gluten, the major protein in wheat germ. Casorphins are exorphins derived from the proteins in the milk. It has been speculated that the casorphins in the mother's milk is responsible for the child mother bounding. Normally casorphins slow down the transit time of the bowel, allowing increased the absorption of indigested foods or medications, possibly through the direct action on the brain. Some types of casorphins have been incriminated in the sudden infant death syndrome or SIDs.

It has also been suggested that exorphins may have activity in adjuvant cancer therapy because, as opioid agonists, they have anti-proliferative effects, increase the sense of well being and synergized with other medications.

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