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Br J Sports Med. 1994 Sep;28(3):164-6.

Resistance exercise decreases beta-endorphin immunoreactivity.

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Department of Health and Sport Science, University of Richmond, Virginia 23173.


Previous research investigating the response of plasma beta-endorphins (beta-EP) to resistance exercise has resulted in equivocal findings. To examine further the effects of resistance exercise on beta-EP immunoreactivity, 10 male and 10 female college-age students participated in a series of controlled isotonic resistance exercises. The session consisted of three sets of eight repetitions at 80% of one repetition maximum (1-RM) for each of the following exercises: (1) bench press; (2) lateral pull-downs; (3) seated arm curls; and (4) military press. Blood plasma was sampled both before and after the lifting routine and beta-endorphin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. A Students t test for paired samples indicated that mean(s.e.) plasma beta-endorphin levels after exercise (10.5(1.3) pg beta-EP ml-1) were significantly decreased as compared with pre-exercise (control) levels (16.5(1.2), P < 0.05). While the mechanism(s) contributing to the decrease in immunoreactivity is unclear, it may be the result of the synergistic effect of beta-EP clearance during rest intervals and changes in psychological states between sampling.

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