Neurotransmitters and hormones play a huge role in the human body. They are often referred to as the body’s chemical messengers. Epinephrine and Norepinephrine are two of the many neurotransmitters in the human body that belong to a class of compounds known as catecholamines. While the two are largely similar, they perform slightly different functions in the body.
Epinephrine vs Norepinephrine
The main difference between Epinephrine and Norepinephrine is that Epinephrine is a neurotransmitter that works on both alpha and beta receptors, while Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that only works on alpha receptors. Most commonly, Epinephrine is used to treat severe asthma attacks whereas Norepinephrine is used to treat critically low blood pressure.
Epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, is a neurotransmitter in the form of a small molecule that is produced by the sympathetic nervous system or adrenal glands. Epinephrine performs significant functions in the body. Epinephrine is provided as additional energy or adrenaline to the body when needed during stress, restlessness, etc.
Norepinephrine, more commonly known as noradrenaline, is a neurotransmitter in the form of a slightly bigger molecule that is produced in the inner part of the adrenal glands, also called the adrenal medulla. Norepinephrine performs significant functions in the body. Norepinephrine helps control stress, increase concentration, and control the sleep-wake cycle as well.
Comparison Table Between Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
|Parameters of Comparison
|It is also called adrenaline.
|It is also called noradrenaline.
|It works on alpha and beta receptors.
|It works on alpha receptors.
|Sympathetic Nervous System.
|It prepares muscles for exertion.
|It raises blood pressure.
|Treatment of Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Anesthesia, etc.
|Treatment of Septic shock, mental conditions, etc.
What is Epinephrine?
Epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, is a neurotransmitter in the form of a small molecule that is produced by the sympathetic nervous system or adrenal glands. Epinephrine performs significant functions in the body. It has powerful effects including increased blood sugar levels, increased heart rate, increased contractility, and exertion of muscles. Epinephrine is provided as additional energy or adrenaline to the body when needed during stress, restlessness, etc. This phenomenon is known as the fight-or-flight response, or more commonly known as the adrenaline rush.
Epinephrine, in its synthetic form, is largely used in the treatment of severe allergic reactions such as Anaphylaxis. Such reactions can lead to difficulty breathing or a state of shock. Epinephrine provides an immediate rush to the body, which causes the heart to pump faster and increase the breathing rate. Not only allergic reactions, but it is also used in treating mucosal congestion, and restoring cardiac rhythm, etc.
This neurotransmitter works on both alpha and beta receptors. Many irregular activities such as watching horror movies, skydiving, and cage diving, etc., cause the heart to beat faster, which results in the sudden production of epinephrine or adrenaline rush. This is also followed by many symptoms in the body such as excessive sweating, heightened senses, dilated pupils, increased strength, etc.
What is Norepinephrine?
Norepinephrine, more commonly known as noradrenaline, is a neurotransmitter in the form of a slightly bigger molecule that is produced in the inner part of the adrenal glands, also called the adrenal medulla. Norepinephrine performs significant functions in the body. Norepinephrine helps control stress, increase concentration, and control the sleep-wake cycle as well. Just like adrenaline, norepinephrine also belongs to the catecholamine family.
Norepinephrine, in its synthetic form, is largely used in the treatment of septic shock, a critical infection that can lead to organ failure. In this condition, the blood pressure tends to go extremely low. Norepinephrine injectables immediately constrict blood vessels, thus increasing blood pressure. Deficiency of this neurotransmitter can cause various physical and mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and hypoglycemia, etc. On the other hand, excessive production of it can also cause various conditions such as obesity, and tumor in adrenal glands.
This neurotransmitter largely works on the alpha receptors. In a negative environment such as stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness, etc., norepinephrine increases as part of the fight or flight response to balance the mind for action. Heaving a prolonged negative lifestyle can lead to the overproduction of Norepinephrine, which can further lead to other conditions.
Main Differences Between Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
- Epinephrine is produced in the sympathetic nervous system whereas Norepinephrine is produced in the adrenal medulla.
- Epinephrine works on both alpha and beta receptors whereas Norepinephrine works on only the alpha receptors.
- Epinephrine causes the relaxation of smooth muscle in the airways to improve breathing. On the other hand, Norepinephrine helps increase blood pressure.
- The imbalance in epinephrine mostly leads to physical conditions whereas the imbalance in norepinephrine mostly leads to mental conditions.
- The effects of epinephrine also cause physical symptoms whereas the effects of norepinephrine are only felt and not physically seen.
Neurotransmitters and hormones play a major role in the human body. While there are many of them present inside the human body to perform various functions, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine are two of the most important that help keep the body both internally and mentally healthy. Even though the two have many similar functions, the imbalance of each of them can lead to varying health issues.
When we talk about epinephrine, it has more functions to do as it works on both alpha and beta receptors. These functions include increased blood sugar levels, increasing heart rate, increasing contractility, and exertion of muscles. On the other hand, norepinephrine works on the alpha receptors only. As a result, it has only one major function, which is to increase blood pressure.
Some people naturally have an imbalance of hormones in the body. Such people occasionally experience excessive sweating, high sensitivity to sounds and light, are prone to additional stress, troubled sleep, etc. Nevertheless, this natural imbalance is not a serious concern as the two hormones can be consumed to obtain the right balance through medications.
Therefore, these hormones in the body must be in a balanced composition. These hormones can be boosted naturally through regular exercise, adequate sleep, listening to music, and adopting healthy habits, etc.