Catecholamines are an important part of the body’s stress response, and it is essential in the fight or flight response to perceived threats. They are produced in the adrenal glands, brain stem, and brain. In the brain, they act as neurotransmitters. They circulate in the blood and act as hormones, and decompose after a few minutes. Then they are excreted in the urine.
What are catecholamines?
Catecholamines include neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine (epinephrine), and norepinephrine (norepinephrine), which are released during the body’s stress response. You may feel a surge of adrenaline when you are scared, which is the result of catecholamines.
They also activate emotional responses in the amygdala of the brain, such as fear of threats. At the same time, they have an effect on attention and other cognitive functions, and may lead to increased long-term memories of disgust.You are ready to fight or flee, and you are more likely to remember threats to react to it in the future.
If the activation time is too long, catecholamines can have a negative impact on health. In order to counteract these negative effects, it is important to learn to restore your body to a pre-stressed state before the negative effects of long-term stress show up.
As the stress response is triggered, the body’s sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated, the adrenal glands release stress hormones such as cortisol, and the sympathetic nerve-adrenal medulla axis (SAM) is also triggered to release catecholamines. These circulate in the blood and brain.
They act on nerve receptors and produce changes in the body to mobilize energy. This is part of the “fight or flight” that prepares your body for action. The direct effects of catecholamines include:
- Contraction of blood vessels in the skin
- Increase the glucose in the blood
- Increase your cardiac output
- Makes you so excited
- Open your lungs
- Reserved sodium
- Send more blood to the skeletal muscles
- Slow intestinal peristalsis
Your heart beats faster and directs blood flow to your muscles so you can run or fight. By reducing the flow to the skin, it is possible to reduce bleeding during injury. You breathe faster and take in more oxygen.
Long-term exposure to catecholamines can produce negative psychological and physical results. The long-term release of catecholamines can reduce the effects of certain neurotransmitters that affect mood, forming a negative feedback loop between mood and physiology.
These changes can also lead to chronic inflammation of the organs and failure of the adaptive system. This can lead to changes in behavior and quality of life, sleep disorders, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disorders.
The negative feedback loop solves the stress response, allows transfer to the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) or relaxation response, and restores the body to a pre-stressed state after the perceived threat disappears.