Norepinephrine (noradrenaline or noradrenalin) has various functions, including acting as a neurotransmitter and a hormone. An important function of norepinephrine is to assist the brain and body in thought and movement related to action.
Norepinephrine is released into the body at different levels depending on the circumstances:
--- Sleep - released at its lowest level.
--- Awake - released at increased levels.
--- Stress - released at largest levels.
During regular waking hours, the body releases norepinephrine that helps us perform our daily tasks. Reduced amounts can cause fatigue, sedation, depression. Raised amounts can increase energy, increase focus, reduce sensation of pain.
In stressful situations, the human body releases norepinephrine, epinephrine, other chemicals. Elevated levels of these chemicals has a major effect on the fight or flight response, which gets the body ready to fight or run from a possibly dangerous situation.
In the brain, increased norepinephrine can contribute to:
--- Increased attention.
--- Increased awareness.
--- Increased excitement.
--- Increased focus.
--- Increased anxiety and restlessness.
--- Ability to form and retrieve memories.
--- Increased alertness to possible dangers.
In the body, norepinephrine can contribute to:
--- Increased heart rate.
--- Increased blood pressure.
--- Increased release of glucose for energy.
--- Increased blood flow to skeletal muscles.
--- Reduced sensitivity to pain.
--- Reduced blood flow to gastrointestinal tract.
Norepinephrine has a strong influence on your basic levels of energy and alertness. If you are experiencing reduced amounts you will probably feel physically drained and may get lots of sleep but still feel tired all the time.
Low norepinephrine levels can contribute to:
--- Impaired thinking.
--- Physical weakness.
--- Reduced energy levels.
Low norepinephrine levels are associated with:
--- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
Physicians often prescribe norepinephrine releasing agents or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors to treat reduced levels of norepinephrine. Although not usually a first choice, these substances are sometimes employed to treat depression.
Norepinephrine releasing agents or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are most commonly prescribed to treat conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy because of their stimulant properties. They may also be utilized to treat panic disorder and obesity.
In most cases these types of compounds require a prescription and are not freely available to everyone that needs them. An alternate method of increasing levels of norepinephrine is supplements.
Substances referred to as dopamine precursors are also norepinephrine precursors, because dopamine is converted to norepinephrine. They are a good place to start, if they are not strong enough you can consider other methods.
Caffeine does not increase norepinephrine but may increase stimulation and help treat symptoms of low levels of norepinephrine. Supplements like phenethylamine and hordenine can help raise norepinephrine. They can be especially effective when combined.
Yohimbine is very effective at increasing norepinephrine levels. Try other methods first, if they are not stimulating enough then consider yohimbine. Start with small doses (1-2 milligrams) and increase the dose size slowly if necessary.
Extremely high levels of norepinephrine experienced over extended periods can leave a person living in a constant state of terror. Minor events can feel life threatening, and lead a person to overreact over otherwise trivial matters.
This is easily understandable because increased levels of norepinephrine and other chemicals are released by the body to get it ready for what is called fight or flight response, which is a reaction to life threatening situations.
If norepinephrine is sending a signal to your brain and body that gets them in gear to fight for your life, or run for your life, you are going to be hyped up and ready to react at the slightest provocation.
It would be similar to being woken up by a person armed with a gun breaking into your house. As you either attempted to attack or run away from the intruder, every sight, sound, or thought might take on life threatening implications.
If you think excessive levels of norepinephrine are causing medical problems for you, talk with your physician, or psychiatrist/psychologist, about it. It is a fairly common problem that he or she should be familiar with.
The mineral known as magnesium may reduce the release of norepinephrine. This is thought to be the result of magnesium blocking N-type calcium channels at peripheral sympathetic nerve endings.
While this may be effective in some mild cases, the reduction in norepinephrine might not be enough to provide adequate results for more serious cases. It is a good place to start if you are experiencing the negative effects of high norepinephrine levels.
Some people find 5-HTP helps them deal with high norepinephrine levels. 5-HTP can reduce dopamine levels. Dopamine is a precursor to norepinephrine, reduced dopamine levels can limit norepinephrine synthesis.
Very small doses of lithium are effective at reducing norepinephrine levels. Although lithium is often associated with bipolar disorder, doctors tend to prescribe insanely high amounts of lithium for this purpose.
1000 mg doses, or higher, of lithium carbonate (that require a prescription) are common for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Doses under 400 milligrams are considered so small that some physicians will not even prescribe them.
Even 400 mg doses can cause severe side effects that can be life threatening to certain individuals, so people who take large doses of lithium usually have to be monitored regularly by a physician.
Two types of lithium supplements, named Lithium aspartate and lithium orotate are available in low doses over the counter (without requiring a prescription from a doctor). They work a dose sizes that are a fraction of what physicians prescribe.
Medications known as alpha blockers and beta blockers reduce the effect of norepinephrine. The beta-blocker propranolol is often employed to treat the symptoms of excess levels of norepinephrine.
Opioids, especially thebaine related ones like hydrocodone and oxycodone, can make high norepinephrine levels easier to deal with. Limit intake to once every 3-4 days or less often, to reduce chances of problems related to addiction and tolerance.
1 --- Areas of the human body that are affected by or produce norepinephrine are called noradrenergic.
2 --- For those with low levels of norepinephrine that contribute to depression, increasing norepinephrine can also result in increased GABA.
Increasing GABA can have a calming effect. The combination can prove physically stimulating and mentally calming, at the same time reducing symptoms of depression.
3 --- While norepinephrine is usually associated with stimulation, this is not always the case. There are 9 known norepinephrine receptors, depending on which one is activated it could produce a stimulatory or inhibitory response.
--- Alpha-1A (stimulatory).
--- Alpha-1B (stimulatory).
--- Alpha-1D (stimulatory).
--- Alpha-2A (inhibitory).
--- Alpha-2B (inhibitory).
--- Alpha-2C (inhibitory).
--- Beta-1 (stimulatory).
--- Beta-2 (inhibitory).
--- Beta-3 (inhibitory).