Norepinephrine is not just a neurotransmitter, it is as well considered as a hormone. The release of norepinephrine in the body is generally triggered by either physical or psychological stress, which causes a lot of functions upon activation.
The structure of the norepinephrine is almost the same as the epinephrine whose on the other hand is released by the adrenal medulla to the bloodstream when sympathetic activation occurs. Together, the norepinephrine and epinephrine works side by side when the brain senses either a physical or a psychological stress. Upon activation, both are responsible for an instant increased in the blood pressure and in heart rate.
Norepinephrine as a neurotransmitter is responsible for communicating with the sympathetic nervous system. To do this, the norepinephrine is secreted at synaptic nerve endings and then from there, it transmits signal from one cell to other nerve cells throughout the body.
Norepinephrine is also termed as a stress hormone, since it basically affects parts of the brain where responding actions and attention are controlled. In times of sudden stressful events such as a fight-or-flight situation, the part of the brain that controls emotions and actions is bypassed to give way for more hyperactive physical and mental functions. During these events, both epinephrine and norepinephrine work instantly to meet the body’s needs, possibly for survival. They are responsible directly to increase the heart rate, which leads to the release of glucose for extra energy, and increased in blood flow for stronger skeletal muscles.
Tyrosine is needed to produce dopamine, subsequently; dopamine is needed to produce epinephrine and norepinephrine. Therefore, the body’s ability to produce norepinephrine depends solely on the presence of tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid mostly found in eggs, nuts, meat, and other protein-rich foods. In addition, there is also a significant amount of norepinephrine found in banana peels.
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