How to counteract too much adrenaline?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much adrenaline?”. We will further elaborate on the symptoms and causes of too much adrenaline in the body.

How to counteract too much adrenaline?

If you are experiencing the symptoms of too much adrenaline levels, it is important to learn ways to counteract the body’s stress response. 

In response to stress, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. These glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on a number of physiological changes (1). 

Though experiencing slight stress is natural, and sometimes even good for one’s health, for a long time, a persistent increase in adrenaline can damage the blood vessels, raise blood pressure, in turn, the risk of heart attacks or stroke. It can even lead to anxiety, increased weight, headaches, and sleeplessness. In addition, mental stress could act as an immediate precipitant (“trigger”) for the development of abnormal heart rhythm and sudden death in patients with existing heart disease (2).

Extensive evidence implicates stress-related hormones, such as adrenaline, in modulating memory for various learning tasks including the active avoidance learning, object recognition and appetitive learning (3).

To regulate adrenaline, you will have to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which responses in the rest and digest states. This response is the inverse of the fight-or-flight one. It supports stability in the body and enables the body to relax and rejuvenate itself.

If the blood test reports an elevated level of adrenaline in your body, and you are searching for ways to counteract it, do not worry, here in this article we have prepared a list of ways that can help you counteract too much adrenaline. Try the approaches below:

  • Perform deep breathing exercises
  • Do meditation
  • Try yoga exercises, which include movements with diaphragmatic breathing
  • Talk to your friends or family regarding stressful conditions so you do not think about them at night; similarly, you can keep a journal to write your emotions or thoughts which will help you to do your catharsis 
  • Exercise regularly
  • Restrict your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Have a well-balanced diet
  • Try not to use cell phones, sparkling lights, computers, loud music, and TV prior to sleeping

In case you suffer from chronic stress or anxiety and it is preventing you from sleeping at night, consult your doctor or psychologist regarding anti-anxiety medicines, for instance, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

Relaxation is effective in countering chronic stress. A research on patients with hypertension, ages 55 and older, were assigned to relaxation response training. After eight weeks, 34 of the people who practiced the relaxation response had achieved a systolic blood pressure reduction of more than 5 mm Hg (1).

Though medical conditions that lead to an over secretion of adrenaline are very uncommon, they can still occur. A tumor of the adrenal glands, for instance, can over-activate the secretion of adrenaline and cause adrenaline levels to rise.

What is adrenaline?

Everyone has felt that sudden pounding heartbeat and sweaty hands. That is because of adrenaline.

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Epinephrine synthesis is also present in many tissues outside of the adrenal, such as heart and blood vessels (2). It is secreted during stages of immediate or extreme stress and is the energy surge behind the fight or flight response. In humans, resting plasma epinephrine levels are usually less than 80 pg/mL and are apparently below the threshold at which they have a measurable effect on heart rate and blood pressure (2).

While it is crucial to have adequate adrenaline in the body at the appropriate times, there are many reasons its oversecretion can provoke health issues. Constantly increased levels can promote the probability of anxiety, depression, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Besides, although the majority of cases of sudden cardiac death are unexplained, biological mechanisms by which acute mental stress triggers heart attacks are well delineated (2).

Fortunately, there are approaches through which you can naturally overcome adrenaline secretion.

Causes of too much adrenaline

Some of the common causes of too much adrenaline are as follows: 

Stress in everyday life

Even when we do not need to flee or fight, our body can experience pressure from anything like sharp noises, work issues, the burden of working a manic task etc. The chronic stress induced by everyday challenges can result in constantly elevated levels of stress hormones. 

This includes adrenaline in combination with cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels and hinder our immunity, digestive system, reproductive system and developmental processes. Concurrently, constantly elevated levels of these stress hormones can result in significant issues for our health. Preliminary research also suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both through direct mechanisms (causing people to eat more) or indirectly (decreasing sleep and exercise) (1).

Moreover, stress- induced hormones have been shown to increase cancer cell dissemination in pancreatic cancer and immune activity has long been established as being suppressed by chronic stress and is considered to be responsible for promoting cancer. Chronic stress is associated with aberrantly persistent activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to enhanced production of cortisol and the simultaneous elevation of catecholamines. Consequently, chronic stress promotes tumor progression in patients (4). 

Adrenal tumors or adrenal cancer

Tumors known as pheochromocytoma, develop on the adrenal glands, and paraganglioma develops adjacent to the nerves in the chest and abdomen. These tumors can spread in families and produce recurrent signs of high adrenaline levels (5). 

However, sometimes signs are very moderate and the person may not even realize high levels of adrenaline.

Obesity and untreated obstructive sleep apnea

When the body strives to inhale and exhale at nighttime, adrenaline hits in to supply the heart and lungs a surge of energy and a transient rise in alertness to the brain. In the long term, this may result in high blood pressure (6).

Symptoms of too much adrenaline 

The symptoms you would experience if you have too much adrenaline are as follows (1):

  • A pounding feeling in the heart
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Hyperventilation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Elevated strength to run and lift heavy objects
  • Shivering or shaking in the arms, legs, and palms
  • Dilated pupils, therefore things might look very bright, or a little unusual; some also people experience light sensitivity when worried
  • Feeling worried

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much adrenaline?”. We have further elaborated on the symptoms and causes of too much adrenaline in the body.

References 

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Understanding the stress response. 2020. Harvard School of Health.
  2. Esler, Murray. Mental stress and human cardiovascular disease. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 2017, 74,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.10.011 269-276.  
  3. Liang, K. C., and Der-Yow Chen. Epinephrine modulates memory of latent learning in an inhibitory avoidance task. Neurobiol Learn Mem, 2021, 182, 107447.
  4. Cui, Bai, et al. Stress-induced epinephrine enhances lactate dehydrogenase A and promotes breast cancer stem-like cells. J clin invest, 2019, 129, 1030-1046.
  5. Kantorovich, Vitaly, Graeme Eisenhofer, and Karel Pacak. Pheochromocytoma: an endocrine stress mimicking disorder. Annal New York Acad Sci, 2008, 1148, 462-468.
  6. Trakada, Georgia, et al. Sleep apnea and its association with the stress system, inflammation, insulin resistance and visceral obesity. Sleep med clin, 2007, 2, 251-261.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.