Disarm Yourself: Reduce Norepinephrine
Jul 02, 2019
[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]
p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first.
With depression, there's often too little NE, but in anxiety it's frequently elevated and needs to be toned down.
Disarm Yourself: Reduce Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine (NE) raises your level of alertness and arousal. It puts the amygdala on high alert to set off all the alarms in case danger arises.
That alarm system is good if you’re doing something like hunting or evading capture, but not helpful if you're speaking in front of a group or if you've developed panic anxiety for any reason.
How do you know if NE is excessive?
Norepinephrine is the brain’s version of epinephrine, which also goes by the name “adrenaline.” You've probably had the experience of “running on adrenaline.” It's similar to the feeling of drinking too much caffeine, which also elevates norepinephrine’s effects.
Physical Experiences: May be a rapid heart rate, shallow and rapid breathing, elevated blood pressure, cold extremities, and muscle tension and shakiness.
Emotional Experiences: You may feel panicky as if something awful is about to happen.
Mental Experiences: Your mind may go blank as you find that you can’t think clearly or remember things, no matter how hard you try.
Supplements to Balance Norepinephrine
You can tone down the effects of NE by taking the amino acid l-theanine; the anti-oxidant NAC; inositol; and the Omega 3 fatty acids. You should also avoid caffeine.
- Hassel, B., & Dingledine, R. (2006). Glutamate. In Siegel,G. J., Albers, R. W., Brady, S. T., & Price, D. L. (Eds.), Basic neurochemistry: Molecular, cellular, and medical aspects (267-290). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
- Kim, A. H., et al. (2002). Blocking excitotoxicity. In Marcoux, F. W., & Choi, D. W. (Eds.), Neuroprotection (3-36). New York: Springer.
- Krimer, L. S., et al. (1998). Dopaminergic regulation of cerebral cortical microcirculation. Nature Neuroscience, 1, 286-289.
- Wichers, M., & Maes, M. (2002). The psychoneuroimmuno-pathophysiology of cytokine induced depression in humans. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 5, 375-438.
- Peled, R., et al. (2008). Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women BMC Cancer, 8.
- Alhaj, H. A., et al. (2006). Effects of DHEA administration on episodic memory, cortisol and mood in healthy young men: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Psychopharmacology, 188(4), 541-551.
- Darbinyan, V., et al. (2007). Clinical trial of Rhodiola Rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61(5), 343-348.
- Bystritsky, A., et al. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 175-180.
- Khanum, F., et al. (2005). Rhodiola rosea: A versatile adaptogen. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 4, 55-62.
- Lombard, J. (2006, September). Neurobiology of mood and cognition: Strategies and protocols of neurotransmitter balance. Presented at Great Lakes Conference.
- Kobayashi, K., et al. (1998). Effects of L-theanine on the release of alpha-brain waves in human volunteers. Journal of the Agricultural Chemical Society of Japan, 72(2), 153-157.
- Lake, J. (2008). Integrative Management of Anxiety. Psychiatric Times, 25(1), 13-16.
- Grant, J., et al. (2007). N-acetyl cysteine, a glutamate-modulating agent, in the treatment of pathological gambling: A pilot study. Biological Psychiatry, 62(6), 652-657.
- Grant, J., et al. (2009). N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(7), 756-763.
- Mori, M., et al., (2002). Beta-alanine and taurine as endogenous agonists at glycine receptors in rat hippocampus in vitro. The Journal of Physiology, 539, 191-200.
- Wu, H., et al. (2005). Mode of action of taurine as a neuroprotector. Brain Research, 1038(2), 123-131.
- Palatnik, A., et al. (2001). Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 21(3), 335-339.
- Abdou, A., et al. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. BioFactors, 26, 201-208.
- Kinrys, G., et al. (2009). Natural remedies for anxiety disorders: Potential use and clinical applications. Depression and Anxiety, 26, 259-265.
- Akhondzadeh, S., et al. (2001). Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 26, 363-367.
- Yuan, C. S., et al. (2004). The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 98, 353-358.
- Panijel, M. (1985). Therapy of symptoms of anxiety. Therapiewoche, 41, 4659-4668.
Learn more about the basic functions of your brain, so you can more confidently, effectively, and lovingly care for it. >>>