¿Qué son las Endorfinas?

endorfinas

 

Para aquellos que hacemos deporte la sensación de sentirnos bien, la vitalidad y la alegría que esto produce cuando lo practicamos tiene una explicación bioquímica en donde las endorfinas serian parte de la respuesta a estas sensaciones.

Que son las endorfinas, son péptidos (pequeñas proteínas) derivados de un precursor producido a nivel de la hipófisis, una pequeña glándula que esta ubicada en la base del cerebro. Cuando hacemos deporte esta glándula es estimulada, produciéndose endorfinas en el organismo, las que van a actuar sobre los receptores que causan analgesia, además de producir un efecto sedante similar a los que genera la morfina, un opiode exógeno bastamente conocido por estas mismas propiedades. Es por esto que las endorfinas son consideradas nuestros opiodes endogenos, es decir producidos por nuestro organismo.

Los estudios demuestran que las endorfina son capaces de inhibir las fibras nerviosas que transmiten el dolor, además de actuar a nivel cerebral produciendo experiencias subjetivas, que son sensaciones intensas, bien conocidas por los deportistas como son la disminución de la ansiedad y la sensación de bienestar. Además de la analgesia y sedación antes mencionada.

No solo el deporte es un estimulo que nos hace secretar endorfinas, ya que en ciertas situaciones de estrés también se a comprobado su producción al igual que en la acupuntura, las relaciones sexuales, la sugestión y también en ciertos bailes rituales o ceremoniales. Es difícil establecer cual de estas actividades es la que mejor estimula la producción de endorfinas. Sin embargo esta demostrado que los ejercicios de resistencia, sí producen un aumento significativo en la secreción de endorfinas.

Numerosos estudios han demostrado que después de haberse producido una actividad física aeróbica, existe un claro y significativo aumento de las endorfinas después del ejercicio. En corredores de largas distancias se ha logrado revertir la analgesia producida por el ejercicio, administrando inhibidores de la morfina. Lo que demuestra que utilizan los mismos receptores fisiológicos y además se comprueba el rol de las endorfinas como analgésico en estos atletas.

Es sabido que el ejercicio de resistencia tiene un potente poder antidepresivo, ya que tendría un rol importante en mejorar el estado anímico y subir la autoestima, efectos que probablemente, se cree, estarían mediados por las endorfinas.

Hasta el momento escasa evidencia ha demostrado que no existe diferencias significativas en la producción de endorfinas después de ejercicios aeróbicos, entre hombres y mujeres, en donde se ve implicado un consumo máximo de oxigeno sobre un 80%, independiente del ciclo menstrual en las mujeres. En intensidades menores de consumo máximo de oxigeno se aprecia una leve disminución en la secreción respecto a los hombres. Además las endorfinas han sido implicadas en algunas disfunciones en los procesos hormonales que afectan a las atletas mujeres y que muchas veces se manifiestan con alteraciones menstruales.

En definitiva el ejercicio físico no solo significa liberación de endorfinas, ya que también esta demostrado que la forma de vida en torno al deporte es saludable por muchas razones mas. Esta descrito que el ejercicio en forma sistémica produce una disminución del riesgo cardiovascular, disminuyendo el sedentarismo al igual que la presión arterial, retrasando el inicio de la diabetes en personas con predisposición genética y evita la obesidad, que es considerada la pandemia de nuestro tiempo. Estudios recientes muestran que el realizar ejercicios, independiente del tipo (desde aeróbica hasta incluso caminar), por lo menos tres veces a la semana por quince minutos, disminuiría hasta en un 32% el riesgo de demencia en adultos mayores de 65 años, reafirmando el sentido literal de “mente sana en cuerpo sano”.

Evidentemente el deporte es un arma terapéutica que no puede ser reemplazada por la medicina convencional. Es la única medicina que no se vende en las farmacias y aun es gratis, solo depende de nosotros en ocuparla.

Mas que sentirnos bien por la liberación de endorfinas que produce el ejercicio físico, además de todas las propiedades que se han descrito, el ser deportista es un estilo de vida cada vez mas necesario en este mundo tan ajetreado y vertiginoso. Cuando nos sumergimos completamente en este mundo que genera la vida contemporánea, sabemos que no es saludable. Por lo tanto la forma de mantener el equilibrio es buscando la esencia de nosotros mismos, en donde aprendemos a trabajar en equipo o bien a reconocer nuestras limitaciones aprendiendo a superarlas, estas virtudes del estilo de vida que es el hacer deporte, se extrapolan a la vida cotidiana siendo necesarias para crear una sociedad mas sana y evolucionada.

Bibliografía

De Cree C. Endogenous opioid peptides in the control of the normal menstrual cycle and theri possible role in athletic menstrual irregularities. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1989 Oct;44(10):720-32.

De Cree C. The possible involvement of endogenous opioid peptides and catecholestrogens in provoking mesntrual irregularities in women athletes. Int JSports Med 1990 Oct;11(5):329-48.

Heitkamp HC, Schulz H, Rocker K, Dickhuth HH. Endurance training in females: changes in beta-endorphin and ACTH. Int J Sports Med. 1998 May; 19(4):260-4.

Goldfarb AH, Jamurtas AZ, Kamimori GH, Hegde S, Otterstetter R, Brown DA.Gender effect on beta-endorphin response to exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Dec; 30 (12): 1672-6.

Estorch M, Fuente T, Serra-Grima R, Tlotats A, Berna L, Sanz D, Nuno de la Rosa JA, Carrio I.The effect of a race 4 hours in duration on the production of beta- endorphin and adrenocorticorticotropic hormone. Med Clin (Barc). 1998 Dec12;111(20):770-3.

Henry JL. Circulating opioids: possible physiological roles in central nervous function. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1982 Fall; 6 (3):229-45.

Steptoa A; Butler N. Sports participation and emotional wellbeing in adolescents. Lancet 1996;347:1789-92.

Laura J. Poderwil, MS, PhD; Eliseo Guallar, MD, Dr PH. Mens San in Corpore Sano.Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:135-136.

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH; Li Wang, MS; James D. Bowen, MD; Wayne C. McCormick, MD, MPH; Linda Teri, PhD; Paul Crane, MD, MPH; and Water Kukull, PhD. Exercise is Associated with Reduced Risk for rIncident Dementia Among Persons 65 Years of Age and Older.Ann Intern Med.2006;144:73-81

Knechtle B. Influence of physical activity on mental well-being and psychiatric disorders. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 2004 Aug 25;93 (35):1403-11. 

Morgan WP. Affective beneficence of vigorous physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1985 Feb;17(1):94-100. 

Autores:

Dra. Rosario Guerrero

T.M. Guillermo Quiroga

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