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What Is Noradrenaline?

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
  • Noradrenaline is a chemical transmitter inside your brain that is produced by noradrenergicneurons.

    In addition to being a neurotransmitter, noradrenaline is also released as a hormone in the body. 

    Taking steps to balance the way noradrenaline is produced and used in your body can help support mental health. 

Noradrenaline, also called norepinephrine, is a monoamine neurotransmitter and a catecholamine hormone. This compound is the signal your brain and body use to induce your fight or flight response.

Together, we’ll look at how the body produces it, what happens when there isn’t enough of it, and how you can support noradrenaline production naturally.

How Is Noradrenaline Produced?

Norepinephrine is produced in two different ways: as a neurotransmitter and as a hormone. 

As a Neurotransmitter

Your nerve cells (neurons) communicate with one another through hundreds of thousands of synapses. One neuron (the presynaptic neuron) produces a neurotransmitter and releases it into the synapse. It is then received by the postsynaptic neuron, which then can be activated by it to send a signal or message to another cell. 

The presynaptic neuron creates noradrenaline from dopamine. The cells that produce noradrenaline are located in your brain stem and spinal cord. Noradrenaline is a part of the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which governs alertness, fear, worry, and alarm. It helps sense danger and serves as a protective measure in your body. 

As a Hormone

Noradrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands. The hypothalamus in the brain is the location where norepinephrine is released as a transmitter, and the message is sent to other parts of the body, including the adrenal glands, which then release norepinephrine as a hormone. 

What Does Noradrenaline Do?

This compound increases alertness, but it does it differently depending on whether it is released as a neurotransmitter or hormone. 

As a Neurotransmitter

Noradrenaline helps you maintain alertness, plays a role in arousal, and supports your ability to pay attention. It also helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate when stressed or on high alert, constricting blood vessels and maintaining optimal blood flow. 

Norepinephrine helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles, too. 

As a Hormone

Norepinephrine controls the fight or flight response, which responds to stimuli in your environment and signals the release from the adrenal medulla inside the adrenal glands. 

Noradrenaline in Medicine

Norepinephrine can also be created synthetically (Levophed, which is norepinephrine bitartrate) and used for medicinal purposes. It helps counteract critically low blood pressure (hypotension) and is often used in intensive care units (ICUs), as in the case of septic shock. 

Norepinephrine Deficiencies 

A person’s levels of norepinephrine may be lower than normal. This can result in conditions like depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), headaches, memory and sleep problems, blood pressure problems, and heart rate issues, among others. 

Low levels of norepinephrine can be treated with medications like monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), two types of antidepressants. 

You can also produce too much noradrenaline, which can cause headaches, nervousness and jitters, high blood pressure, and tumors on the adrenal glands. 

Is Norepinephrine the Same As Epinephrine?

Not quite, though they are very, very similar. While both are neurotransmitters and hormones, and both are involved with the fight or flight response, epinephrine is actually synthesized from norepinephrine and is what’s known as adrenaline, and can have a broader effect than its precursor. 

While norepinephrine is often released and used more in a regulatory manner, epinephrine is what’s responsible for those “feelings of adrenaline” that you get when you experience intense stress, panic, or are in danger.

On top of effects within the cardiovascular and nervous systems, both can also have an effect on blood sugar by triggering the release of glucose in response to a threat. 

A Norepinenphrine-Supporting Good Fat

 The good news is that we can naturally support norepinephrine production with a few lifestyle changes. 

Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, getting enough sleep, and taking a supplement that supports our healthy norepinephrine levels in the brain (while also supporting the cells all over our bodies).* 

What such supplement, you might ask? Fatty15.

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What’s Fatty15?

Fatty15 is a breakthrough supplement born from scientific discovery, containing one pure ingredient, FA15™, the vegan-friendly, sustainably produced, award winning version of C15:0.

C15:0 is an essential odd-chained, saturated fatty acid. Although we have heard that all saturated fats are bad for us, science now supports that that is not the case.

An important class of fatty acids, called odd-chain saturated fatty acids, includesC15:0, which has recently been identified as an essential fatty acid. This means our bodies don't make it, and we must get it through our diets.

Science supports that higher levels of C15:0 is associated with better metabolic, immune, liver and heart health. There are now calls to action to update current dietary guidelines to differentiate between good and bad saturated fats.

How Does C15:0 Work?

C15:0 works by supporting your cells and helping them communicate with one another better, supporting your brain, body, and even your mental health:*

  • Cell strength. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that integrates into cell membranes, strengthening them and helping keep cells protected.

  • Mitochondrial support. As we age, our cells’ energy factories don’t quite work like they used to, leading to less cellular function and communication. C15:0 increases mitochondrial function by up to 45 percent, charging your cells and helping them work more efficiently. 
  • Better cellular signaling. PPARs are special receptors located all over your body that control functions like sleep, mood, and even hunger; C15:0 can help restore homeostasis. C15:0 (the only ingredient in fatty15) naturally binds to receptors found throughout our bodies, called PPARs (pronounced pee-pars), that help to regulate our metabolism, including our cholesterol and glucose homeostasis.* This helps to explain why studies show that daily fatty15 supplementation helped to promote healthy cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis.*

Taking fatty15 is a natural way to support your overall body and mind health, including supporting healthy norepinephrine levels inside your brain.* 

Balanced mood, balanced body, and cellular support, all with one little tablet? That’s fatty. 

Ready to dive into cellular support? Explore fatty15 here.

Sources:

Norepinephrine: What It Is, Function, Deficiency & Side Effects|My Cleveland Clinic.org

Norepinephrine Deficiency Is Caused by Combined Abnormal mRNA Processing and Defective Protein Trafficking of Dopamine β-Hydroxylase|NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV

Efficacy of dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid pentadecanoic acid parallels broad associated health benefits in humans: could it be essential? | Scientific Reports

Broader and safer clinically-relevant activities of pentadecanoic acid compared to omega-3: Evaluation of an emerging essential fatty acid across twelve primary human cell-based disease systems | Scientific Reports

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Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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