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Norepinephrine – meaning, action, deficiency, excess

30 December 2022
Noradrenaline, norepinephrine, hyponoradrenalism, hypernoradrenalism, norepinephrine deficiency, norepinephrine excess
Norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is another of the hormones described by experts working with ONSEN® in response to requests from readers of the best blog about sleep.

As with almost any hormone, even the slightest disruption of noradrenaline levels can result in dysregulation of the entire endocrine system. It is on this system that our biopsychosocial functioning during the day depends, but also the possibility of a comfortable and regenerative sleep at night.

That is why it is so important to know not only what norepinephrine is, but also how it works. Thanks to this, it is possible to predict what the risk of a deficiency or excess of noradrenaline is, as well as to recognize possible disease symptoms early.

Norepinephrine – meaning

Norepinephrine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the human body. However, norepinephrine, which is produced in the adrenal glands, does not always work in the same way. The way noradrenaline works is directly related to which type of noradrenergic receptors it binds to.

First of all, noradrenaline, one of several catecholamines (monoamines), is responsible for increasing attention and strengthening vigilance when the nervous system is stimulated to action. In addition, noradrenaline then increases blood pressure, as well as relaxes the bronchi and reduces intestinal peristalsis.

The action of noradrenaline is similar to that of adrenaline, although it is weaker. Moreover, they are usually released together. With increased secretion of norepinephrine, you can also notice an accelerated heart rate and an increase in anxiety levels.

The norm of adrenaline in the blood serum ranges from 615 pmol/l to 3240 pmol/l, which translates into values ​​from 0.104 µg/l to 0.548 µg/l.
Noradrenaline, norepinephrine, hyponoradrenalism, hypernoradrenalism, norepinephrine deficiency, norepinephrine excess

Norepinephrine – action

Norepinephrine is secreted by the adrenal medulla, which is part of the adrenal cortex. It is a catecholamine neurotransmitter secreted by the fiber endings of the sympathetic nervous system. Its formation is initially derived from tyrosine, then converted to levodopa, and later to dopamine. From it, norepinephrine is produced thanks to a reaction catalyzed by dopamine β-hydroxylase (dopamine beta hydroxylase).

The action of norepinephrine depends on which of the noradrenergic receptors it acts on. At the α1 receptor, noradrenaline acts mainly by stimulating smooth muscle contraction. It works slightly differently in the α2 receptor, where it is responsible for inhibiting adenylate cyclase, which paradoxically leads to a decrease in the secretion of norepinephrine.

In the β1 receptor, norepinephrine activates adenylate cyclase, stimulating the heart muscle to greater activity. Noradrenaline in the β2 receptor stimulates the work of smooth muscles in the bronchi and the digestive tract, which results in their relaxation. On the other hand, in the β3 receptor, norepinephrine stimulates lipolysis, i.e. the process of breaking down adipose tissue leading to its reduction.

In addition, noradrenaline affects human cognitive functions. It improves memory, both in terms of recalling memorized information and remembering new content. In addition, noradrenaline increases attention, which allows for more effective concentration.
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Norepinephrine – deficiency

Norepinephrine deficiency can be associated with ailments from the adrenal glands where it is produced, as well as other glands. The most commonly reported causes of norepinephrine deficiency include:
  • adrenal insufficiency;
  • adrenal tumor;
  • genetic defects.
Persistently low blood norepinephrine levels are not indicated. The most commonly noted effects of norepinephrine deficiency are:
  • tachycardia;
  • hypotension;
  • chronic fatigue;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • weight gain;
  • mood disorders;
  • sleep disorders.
Dizziness, norepinephrine, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, dizzy

Norepinephrine – excess

Excess norepinephrine is most often associated with ailments of the endocrine system. The most common causes of excess norepinephrine are:
  • adrenal hyperfunction;
  • adrenal tumor;
  • hypertension;
  • chronic stress.
Persistently high levels of norepinephrine in the blood are not indicated. The most commonly noted effects of excess norepinephrine are:
  • bradycardia;
  • hypertension;
  • dizziness;
  • blurred vision;
  • unreasonable anxiety;
  • mental exhaustion;
  • physical exhaustion;
  • blurred vision;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • mood disorders;
  • sleep disorders.
Norepinephrine, bradycardia, tachycardia, ECG, sleep in heart disease

Norepinephrine – sleep comfort

Mateusz Nesterok, M.Sc., a health and rehabilitation psychologist cooperating with ONSEN®, draws attention to the consequences of excess norepinephrine. While noradrenaline is essential in life and plays a positive role, maintaining its optimal level is crucial for good health. Excess norepinephrine can cause bradycardia as well as increased levels of anxiety and restlessness. The consequence of excess norepinephrine can be anxiety disorders, and often also depression and other mood disorders.

It indicates that too low a level of norepinephrine is also not a desirable state for humans. Concentration of norepinephrine below the norm also leads to mood disorders, and also negatively affects cognitive processes. Mostly for memory and concentration.

As evidenced by the results of scientific research, norepinephrine plays a key role in controlling the dynamics of sleep. During sleep, noradernaline acts on the thalamus, where it affects sleep spindles, and thus modulates coordinated changes in heart rhythm. Hence, abnormal levels of norepinephrine are seen in many sleep disorders.

Maintaining the optimal level of norepinephrine in the blood is conducive to comfortable, healthy sleep. This, in turn, requires a functional mattress that provides perfect support for the body and spine. Maintaining the physiological curves of the spine during sleep, as well as allowing the body to fully relax, has a beneficial effect on all its systems, including the endocrine system.

ONSEN® offers the Osaka Air mattress, which is the most functional mattress available on the market. It meets the needs of the most demanding consumers, meeting all 10 basic functionalities of the mattress, as well as being a first-class medical device.

All ONSEN® products are subject to a 15-year warranty, as well as a 100-day return program, which minimizes the risk of purchase to zero.

We also encourage you to read the other articles on the best sleep and health blog, as well as the Encyclopedia of Healthy Sleep prepared by the team of ONSEN® specialists.
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FAQ: Norepinephrine

What is norepinephrine responsible for?

Noradrenaline is responsible for increasing attention and strengthening alertness when the nervous system is in a state of arousal. In addition, noadrenaline increases blood pressure, relaxes the bronchi and reduces intestinal peristalsis.

What are the effects of a deficiency or low level of norepinephrine?

The primary effect of deficiency or low levels of norepinephrine is tachycardia. In addition, norepinephrine deficiency can lead to hypotension and chronic fatigue. Low levels of norepinephrine also cause difficulties with weight loss, but above all serious mood and sleep disorders.

What are the effects of excess or high levels of norepinephrine?

The primary effect of excess or high levels of norepinephrine is bradycardia. In addition, high levels of noradrenaline can cause hypertension, dizziness and visual disturbances. It also causes unjustified anxiety. Often people with too much norepinephrine will experience physical and mental exhaustion. In addition, noradrenaline contributes to anxiety disorders and mood disorders, as well as difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

How to increase the secretion of norepinephrine?

The secretion of noradrenaline can be increased by increasing physical exercise and supplementing with vitamin C and B vitamins, especially B2, B6 and B12. In addition, the secretion of adrenaline is stimulated with drugs.

How to reduce the secretion of norepinephrine?

You can reduce the secretion of noradrenaline by leading a quiet lifestyle poor in foods containing tyrosine. In addition, avoiding caffeine helps to reduce the level of norepinephrine in the blood.

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