Norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is an excitatory neurotransmitter produced in the central nervous system as well as by the adrenal glands. It is one of the Big 5 neurotransmitters that regulate mood, memory, sleep, and energy, the others being dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA. Norepinephrine also has widespread influence regulating heart rate and blood pressure and helping lower chronic inflammation.
As one of your “first responders” in response to stress, norepinephrine prepares you for action by initiating your fight-or-flight response to imminent danger. That is why sudden bursts of norepinephrine are often linked to anxiety, elevated blood pressure, and hyperactivity. Low levels, on the other hand, can cause lethargy, inattention, and lack of focus and concentration. Low levels have been found in patients with depression, particularly the atypical and inflammatory types of depression.
One of the reasons we at Integrative Psychiatry emphasize neurotransmitter testing has to do with the intricate interrelationships among your neurotransmitters, hormones (thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive), and immunity. For example, alterations in sex and adrenal hormones can cause neurotransmitter imbalances. At the same time, neurotransmitter imbalances will influence the production and function of various hormonal systems. And some neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine, function as hormones as well as neurotransmitters. It gets complicated pretty quickly.
For more detailed information on norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters, visit our webpage: https://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/neurotransmitters/.
Among the challenges of modern medicine is figuring out where on the stress roller-coaster you and your neurotransmitters are. Symptoms can offer clues. But chronic complex health conditions are often masked by symptoms so common that those symptoms can lose their diagnostic value. In fact, patients with significantly different underlying conditions may experience a similar set of symptoms. Likewise, people with vastly different symptoms may be suffering from the same underlying biological imbalances. And how you feel today may not be the way you felt last week. The good news is that even complex health conditions are associated with measurable biomarkers like neurotransmitter levels.
Measuring and monitoring your neurotransmitters and, for that matter, your adrenal and reproductive hormones as well, provides us with a comprehensive view of your unique status. This, in turn, allows us to personalize your treatment whether that be with medications, nutraceuticals, herbal adaptogens, hormones, diet, lifestyle changes or some combination of these.