Biomarkers

What is Epinephrine?

What is Epinephrine?

Epinephrine is one of the catecholamines. Catecholamines are hormones made by the adrenal glands. The three catecholamines are epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

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Epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, is a hormone secreted by the medulla of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located on top of each of your kidneys.

Functions of epinephrine:

Strong emotions such as fear or anger cause epinephrine to be released into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in:

  • heart rate,
  • muscle strength,
  • blood pressure,
  • and sugar metabolism.

This reaction, known as the “Flight or Fight Response” prepares the body for strenuous activity.

Reference ranges:

A healthy result should fall into the range 0 – 95 pg/mL.

Low levels:

Low levels of epinephrine can contribute to a variety of physical and mental conditions, including:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fibromyalgia
  • hypoglycemia
  • migraine headaches
  • restless leg syndrome
  • sleep disorders

Chronic stress, poor nutrition, and taking certain medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), can make your less sensitive to epinephrine. These factors can also cause your body to start producing less epinephrine.

High levels:

Having too much adrenaline can cause:

  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • excessive sweating
  • heart palpitations
  • headaches

Some medical conditions cause people to have too much epinephrine.

These include:

  • pheochromocytoma, a tumor that forms in your adrenal glands
  • paranganglioma, a tumor that forms on the outside of your adrenal glands
  • obesity

Ongoing stress can also cause high levels of both epinephrine and norepinephrine.

References:

Disclaimer:

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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