Not a typical combination of things. Two classes of diseases, a vitamin (hormone) and a natural phenomenon. I have grouped them together to try to better understand their connection, as there is one. There are many connections which makes explaining them difficult, but I will try. So hang on.

I look at things differently which makes my life more challenging. Thus, causing me since I was young problems as I seem to see things others don’t. I take nothing as true or absolute. Then reconstruct them to see where that leads me.

Besides I believe by brainstorming is the best way to find new ways of better understanding this world we live in. So, if interested here goes. As I am following through, concerning how human endorphins effects on us, like I promised in my last blog postings.

Endorphins our natural pain killers and their precursor are the key to connecting addiction, cancer, sun exposure and vitamin D3. To digress, like what’s new as far as my writing goes, I have been asked in a Chirp comment to also write more about vitamin D3 and diabetes.

I am mentioning this here to let Zade, who asked, know that I am not ignoring him. I will write about this once I finish this thread. But back to the subject at hand. When most people think, if at all, about vitamin D3 production they usually think of how it is related to sun exposure.

Since most people obtain most of their vitamin D3 through its production from sun exposure to skin. To quickly summarize this occurs through the interaction of ultraviolet light found in sun light with vitamin D3’s precursor cholesterol.

It is the b fraction of ultraviolet light (UV-B) that results in the production of vitamin D3(I fully explain this in my book and earlier blog posts). Interestingly UV-B contact with skin also produces endorphins. Endorphins have many functions but are, if known at all by most, are known as our bodies natural pain killers.

Helping us to control the pain we encounter, like for example when we physically injure ourselves.  But they also activate our reward system which is where issues arise. They do this by inhibiting the release of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is a neurotransmitter.

GABA release blocks dopamine release. Thus, endorphins indirectly cause the release of dopamine. Dopamine is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone. In the process involving: vitamin D3, endorphins, sun light (UV-B) and GABA.

Also, dopamine which acts as an important neurotransmitter that results in our happiness. It is important in our reward system in our brain. This can be altered by many substances and thus has the potential as well as does cause problems. More on that in a bit.

There are 20+ endorphins however beta-endorphin appears to be the main endorphin as far as the endorphin’s functions in both the control of pain and reward goes.1,2,3 I will from now on focus only on beta-endorphin when writing about endorphins.

There are also enkephalins involved but to simplify I will ignore them. Also, I will write later in these posts about how the receptors for endorphins, mainly the mu receptors, are highjacked to contribute to addiction.

Beta-endorphins overall function to affect pain in the central nervous system (CNS)- the brain and spinal cord. More on this later. Beta-endorphins also function on what is called peripheral nervous system (PNS)-the other nerves in the body outside of the CNS.

The nerves for example that give us the impulses from touching something. However, endorphins in PNS also have a much lesser known but important effect on the immune system. Beta-endorphins released from the PNS, for example after an abrasion to the skin, cause T-cells-of the immune system to be attracted to the area.

These T-cells then once at the damaged area also release beta-endorphins.4,5,6 They act both as I explained above to block pain but also attract more T-cells. This two fold process speeds up the healing and helps control the pain. As T-cells will destroy damaged cells, bacteria and other organisms that are in the area.

  1. Malenka RC, Nester EJ, Hyman SE. (2009). “Chapter 7: Neuropeptides”. In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecularpharmacology: A foundation for clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. Pp. 184, 190, 192.
  2. Smyth DG (May 2016). “60 Years of POMC”. Journal of molecular Endocrinology. 56 (40): T13-25.
  3. Feldburg WS, Smyth DG. (1977). C-fragment of lipotropin-an endogenous analgesic peptide. British Journal of Pharmacology. 60:445-453.
  4. Cabot PJ, Carter L Stein C, et al. (July 1, 1997) Immune cell-derived beta-endorphin. Production, release, and control of inflammatory pain in rats. J Clin Invest. 100(1): 142-48.
  5. Gilmore W, Moloney M, Berinstein T. (May 1990). The enhancement of polyclonal T cell proliferation by beta-endorphin, Brain Res Bull. 24(5):687-92.
  6. Malenka RC, nester EJ, Hyman SE (2009). “Chapter 7: Neuropeptides”. In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. Pp. 184,190,192.

*The information posted above is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before initiating any changes in your medical treatment. If you do not, then The Two-Minute Health Fact, Dr. Judson Somerville, nor The Optimal Dose is responsible!


Anna · April 9, 2019 at 4:57 pm

Hey Dr. Judson Somerville. Is it okay to combine different types of vitamin D, D2 with D3 and what’s the difference?
Regards, Anna.

    Judson Somerville MD · November 18, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Best to stick with only vitamin D3 as lots of issues with vitamin D2.

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