Neurotransmitter #4: Norepinephrine  

Neurotransmitter #4: Norepinephrine  

The Brain’s Messengers 

This post is number 4 of our series on neurotransmitters. We continue to explore the nature of these  fascinating substances and how our brain uses them to guide our bodies and minds. We also learn  about how imbalanced and misdirected neurotransmitters can make life painful, and what can be done  to help. Today, we’re looking at norepinephrine.  

What is Norepinephrine?  

Norepinephrine is a chemical signal made in the adrenal medulla, a portion of the adrenal glands.  Norepinephrine has a sibling, epinephrine, that also goes by the name adrenaline and is produced in the  adrenal glands as well. Norepinephrine also acts as a stress hormone.  

What is the Function of Norepinephrine?  

Norepinephrine is introduced into the blood when directed by the brain, sometimes steadily,  sometimes in surges depending on stimuli. In this way, norepinephrine has similar influences as  adrenaline, such as: 

Increased heart rate. 

Increased blood flow to muscle tissue. 

Greater alertness. 

Quicker reaction time.  

Triggering the flow of glucose into the bloodstream.  

Speeding the breakdown of fats to energize the body.  

When not functioning as a stress hormone, norepinephrine: 

Helps us wake up and become alert. 

Helps form and retain memories.  

Helps regulate attention span and ability to concentrate.  

Helps regulate emotion.  

Norepinephrine can be used as a medication. Levophed is a common name for it. As a drug,  norepinephrine is used for:  

Treating dangerously low blood pressure, or hypotension. This makes it a life-saving option  when performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

Maintaining stable blood pressure during surgery.  

Help bring patients in shock to a more stable condition.  

Norepinephrine Imbalance 

Low levels of norepinephrine contribute to ADHD, low blood pressure, lethargy, and depression.  High levels trigger feelings of euphoria, even mania, and can also induce high blood pressure, panic  attacks, and anxiety attacks. 

A More Stable State 

Always see a general physician first if you or a loved one is experiencing emotional instability or signs of  a neurotransmitter imbalance. A general practitioner can perform tests and rule out or discover some  underlying contributors to the problem. Reach out to us any time using our contact page or call (585)  442-6960.