Endogenous Opioid System

I really had no plans on writing a post for today’s daily prompt.  In an attempt to get a few thoughts jotted down for later posts I came across another video by Dr. Lustig on the mantra “a calorie is a calorie“.  He always has very interesting tidbits so put the video on and was listening to it in the background while I worked on this and that.  And wouldn’t you know it once again I am stopped dead in my tracks!

Exhale. Rewind to make sure I heard it right.

Pause. Sit and stare at the screen.

Deep breath. Sigh.

So, how many of you know what the endogenous opioid system is?  For those of you who are unsure, or maybe you need a refreshing this research article seems to explain it in easy to understand terms:

The endogenous opioid system and clinical pain management.

  • The endogenous opioid system is one of the most studied innate pain-relieving systems. This system consists of widely scattered neurons that produce three opioids: beta-endorphin, the met- and leu-enkephalins, and the dynorphins. These opioids act as neurotransmitters and neuromodulators at three major classes of receptors, termed mu, delta, and kappa, and produce analgesia. Like their endogenous counterparts, the opioid drugs, or opiates, act at these same receptors to produce both analgesia and undesirable side effects.

[AACN Clin Issues. 2005 Jul-Sep;16(3):291-301.  Holden JE1, Jeong Y, Forrest JM. 1Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois 60612-7350, USA. jeholden@uic.edu

Now for the chilling, and rather disturbing news.  We tap into this “system” in infants by the use of sugar. Sucrose  – specifically.  The product is called Sweet-Ease™

  • What is Sweet-Ease™? Sweet-Ease™ is a 24% sucrose oral solution used to decrease pain during painful or stressful procedures. Research has shown significant decreases in crying, grimacing, heart rate{emphasis added} and pain relief following the administration of sucrose prior to painful/stressful procedures.Sweet-Ease™ is intended for oral use only. There is no evidence of benefit when administered through NG tube.  {Source: http://prc.coh.org/SucAnal.pdf}

Did you catch that last sentence?  No benefit when administered through the tube – the reactions start in the oral cavity.  WOW!

So we use sugar because it acts like an opiate drug.  Sigh, I really wish something encouraging inspired me to post on the daily prompt: Artificial

Although, I am encouraged that I now know this and once again have learned more about the great sugar deception. Just hit me, no wonder sugar is addicting!


9 thoughts on “Endogenous Opioid System

    1. HELLO! SOOO sorry for not replying to you – it was in a spam folder which I never even knew existed!!! SOOO SORRY! Then once I “unspammed” them I couldn’t find them I had to then go “approve” them… soo… let me go read your comments real quick 🙂


  1. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer
    but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for beginner blog writers?

    I’d really appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww what kind words 🙂 Thank you 🙂 I am new to this myself, It seems as though being yourself and from the heart is always a great place to start

      {Sorry took so long to respond, I didn’t realize I had a spam folder and just happened to come across it today}


  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually
    something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get
    the hang of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 There are several questions which come to mind when I encounter something that I don’t understand… I ask What is it? Why ___? and How ___? Often times just defining the “what” opens up a new level of understanding and at the very least provides a foundation on which to begin.

    I had NO idea what “endogenous opiod system” was – not a clue – so tried to walk others through the process I go through to learn about new things.

    {Sorry took so long to respond, I didn’t realize I had a spam folder and just happened to come across it today}


  4. Hey, maybe I’ve got comments waiting in my spam folder? 😬
    Anyway, back to the sugar business. Alas, we are all born with a sweet tooth due to the fact that a mother’s milk is naturally sweet — and this applies to cranky mommies too! This craving is (was?) encouraged from day one: I remember my mother and mother-in-law, although from two different countries, both talking about giving a crying baby sugary water to soothe him…

    Liked by 1 person

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