How to Increase Norepinephrine Levels?

Jul 3, 2021 | Meditation

Written by Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc


Norepinephrine is a compound present inside the human body. It is also known as noradrenaline. It functions as a neurotransmitter and as a chemical messenger or hormone as well. Depending upon the need and condition, its role varies and is also dependent upon the site of discharge. Its hormonal activity is associated with the fight-or-flight response.

Biochemical Structure

The biochemical orientation of norepinephrine consists of a catechol group bound to an amine group and in view of this structure, it is classified as catecholamine. The catechol group is a benzene ring with two hydroxyl groups while the amine group contains nitrogen.


Norepinephrine is synthesized in the sympathetic nervous system and by the adrenal gland. Once synthesized, it is stockpiled in the synaptic vesicles and is released by sympathetic nerve fibers.


Norepinephrine was discovered by Ulf von Euler, a Swedish physiologist. He was awarded a Nobel prize for his discovery.


Norepinephrine is very beneficial and has a lot of advantages due to the wide range of activities it is associated with. Depending upon the state and the requirement of the body, also the site of its release, the role of norepinephrine greatly varies. It acts as a hormone and also as a neurotransmitter.

Acts As a Neurotransmitter

Norepinephrine acts as a neurotransmitter when it is released in the central and sympathetic nervous systems from noradrenergic neurons. As a neurotransmitter, it promotes alertness. A person’s mode and ability to concentrate are also greatly affected by the levels of norepinephrine.

Adjusts Hormonal Functions

During stressful conditions, norepinephrine is released into the blood from the adrenal medulla. Here it functions as a fight-or-flight hormone. It increases systolic, diastolic, and pulse pressure. It has an insignificant effect on heart rate and cardiac output.

Aids In Health Treatments

To maintain blood pressure and to treat hypotension during certain medical procedures or life-threatening situations, norepinephrine is administered. A limited dosage is given to control the situation because if an adequate amount of norepinephrine is not given, it may have negative consequences.

It is also very helpful in treating different diseases associated with the human brain like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, etc. It is given in the form of a supplement or through an intravenous route only because it is not available in the form of a pill.


Norepinephrine deficiency is also known as dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) deficiency. It is a rare genetic disorder of primary autonomic failure. The disorder is caused due to at least six variations in the DBH gene. A dysfunctional DBH enzyme fails to convert dopamine into norepinephrine, resulting in low levels of norepinephrine in the body.

There are different reasons which may cause a deficit of norepinephrine inside the human body. Sometimes a genetic disorder or the use of specific medications might cause a decline in the level of norepinephrine.

Congenital Insensitivity To Pain With Anhidrosis

Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) is a condition which causes failure to feel pain or to sweat. It is reported that children suffering from CIPA have extremely low or sometimes completely untraceable levels of norepinephrine.


Some medications are purposely administered to lower the levels of norepinephrine in the body but if a high dosage of such medication is administered, the levels of norepinephrine can be lowered to a hazardous degree. The common examples of these medications include prazosin, atenolol, propranolol, and metoprolol.


A low level of norepinephrine can cause both neurological and physiological disorders. Deficiency of norepinephrine can lead to conditions like depression, hypotension, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), etc.


A serious medical condition that has a great negative impact on a person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions is termed depression. Neurologically, it is caused by low levels of norepinephrine. To treat this condition efficiently, some drugs are prescribed which increase the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Apart from their effective role, such drugs show some unwanted side effects which may include blurred vision, weight gain, drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, etc.


Hypotension is usually a sign of shock. The shock may be either a septic shock or a neurogenic shock. In septic shocks, toxins from an infection cause a whole-body inflammatory response. Neurogenic shocks are often caused due to a spinal cord injury in which nerve signals throughout the body are interrupted. In such emergency conditions, norepinephrine is sometimes given intravenously to treat hypotension.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Norepinephrine helps in developing concentration and promotes attentiveness which helps people in focusing on their activities. A low level of norepinephrine in the brain decreases focus which a symptom of ADHD. It is reported that due to ADHD those areas of the brain are affected that help in solving problems, control impulses, plan ahead, etc. Different drugs like Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall, etc. are given to control the state.


When due to any emergency condition norepinephrine level drops, different medications are given to control the situation. Apart from those emergency situations, in our daily routine activities, we can embrace different strategies to promote an increase in the norepinephrine levels naturally. This thing will positively improve the neurological and physiological health of a person. Below are some ways to balance norepinephrine levels naturally.

Norepinephrine Boosting Food

The unit of norepinephrine is the amino acid tyrosine. Foods that contain tyrosine should be included in the diet to maintain adequate levels of norepinephrine. Phenylalanine is another amino acid that transforms into tyrosine. Foods that increase norepinephrine will also increase the level of dopamine.

A food substance that increases norepinephrine includes beans and legumes, cheese, chicken, chocolate, meat, oatmeal, fish and seafood, egg, and bananas. Precisely, all animal products are good sources of tyrosine which is a building block amino acid of norepinephrine, and a source of phenylalanine as well.

Norepinephrine Increasing Supplements

While norepinephrine is not available in the form of a pill, it is given in under forms. In emergency cases, when the patient is in shock or suffers from cardiac arrest, norepinephrine is injected intravenously to cope with the situation of hypotension and to reestablish the hazardously low blood pressure. The use of such supplements that stimulates the fabrication of norepinephrine is beneficial in maintaining adequate levels of norepinephrine.

Supplements that promote the increase or norepinephrine levels include:

TYROSINE: It works faster and is a good option to tackle norepinephrine depression. It is a precursor of both dopamine and norepinephrine.

PHENYLALANINE: It is also a precursor of norepinephrine. It is converted into tyrosine which is a building block of norepinephrine. There are two types of phenylalanine, the natural version (L-phenylalanine) and the synthetic version (d-phenylalanine), and the third one is the combined form called d, l-phenylalanine, or DLPA.

L-CARNITINE: It increases levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine and works as a great brain booster and antidepressant. Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) is the bioavailable form of l-carnitine that quickly enters the brain.

ARCTIC ROOT: It is a popular apoptogenic herb that is used in antidepressant medications. It increases norepinephrine and decreases cortisol levels.

VELVET BEAN: They are also called cowhage (Mucuna pruriens). They are a rich source of both norepinephrine and epinephrine. It is also an effective medication to treat Parkinson’s disease with fewer side effects.

ASIAN GINSENG: It is one of the world’s most powerful natural remedies. It strengthens adrenal glands and reduces the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Its compounds contribute to increasing the levels of both norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.

NICOTINE: Nicotine in low doses reduces depression by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. As a safe brain enhancer, nicotine reported being an effective medication to treat disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression.


Apart from using food substances or supplements, we can also do some activities to boost norepinephrine levels in the body. It is reported that exercise can greatly increase the level of feel-good chemicals in the body. To increase the level of norepinephrine, jumping into cold water is very beneficial and it will give you instant results. Sitting in a sauna is also a great effort to increase norepinephrine levels.


Norepinephrine can have many side effects. The side effects could be mild to severe depending upon its dosage. If a high dose is administered, it can result in a serious medical emergency. One should take extreme care while dealing with norepinephrine administration.

Some of the common side effects caused by norepinephrine include slow heart rate, arrhythmias, and hypertension. Other side effects may include confusion, anxiety, headache, nausea, sweating, restlessness, dizziness, weakness, redness, and swelling at the injection site.

Some serious side effects of norepinephrine may include blue lips or fingernails, pain or burning at the site of injection, trouble breathing, urinating less than usual or not at all, dangerously high blood pressure accompanied by headache,blurred vision, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, and seizures.


Norepinephrine is a dual nature compound that acts as both a neurotransmitter and as a hormone as well. It is also associated with fight-to-flight emergency situations. Naturally, it is present in different food substances and synthetically it is available in supplements. Apart from its benefits, both its deficiency and efficiency are hazardous. It should be administered carefully in a limited dose because its higher doses are accompanied by many side effects from mild to severe. Remember to consult health professional or medical expert before making changes to your diet.

Article Sources

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