Noradrenaline, in my opinion, is an overlooked and underrated neurotransmitter when it comes to understanding mood regulation and stress.
Like dopamine, it is an excitatory neurotransmitter and is actually fabricated downstream from dopamine.
This is important to understand because the more noradrenaline you consistently pump out, the more you “use up” dopamine.
Noradrenaline is important in the sympathetic nervous system (aka our fight or flight response to stress) as it increases focus, concentration, blood pressure, heart rate, contractions, blood glucose, and fatty acid circulation, etc. This is why some people report increased focus from fasting.
Often overlooked, noradrenaline plays an important role in mood and cognition.
Many people assume that depression or depression-like symptoms are a dopamine or serotonin issue (which is possible) but noradrenaline is also tied directly to mood and depression.
In studies, depletion of this essential neurotransmitter has been shown to lead to a reduction in motivation, appetite dysfunction, lack of pleasure, loss of sex drive, etc.
Noradrenaline is not something we want to overproduce because of the risk of dopamine depletion. Also, our bodies are built for survival.
Therefore, any hormone or neurotransmitter involved in the stress response was designed to handle acute situations.
See tiger: fight tiger or run from tiger.
Logically, consider the health ramifications…
Does it sound smart to have chronically elevated blood pressure, heart rate, heart contractions, and increased blood glucose levels?
Probably not the best for our health.
Unfortunately, the nature of our daily lives leads to an abundance of chronic stress.
If you’re feeling some of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s wise to assess the daily stressors in your life. You may have depleted adrenaline or dopamine through overproducing noradrenaline, which is converted to adrenaline via the PNMT enzyme and cortisol.
We’ll discuss adrenaline/cortisol in part 3!