AdrenalinePosted 9 years ago under Health
Adrenaline is also known as epinephrine and as the fight or flight hormone. It grants an immediate burst of energy. It also focuses attention, particularly to any imminent threats. Adrenaline is one of the stress hormones and as such it is one of the hormones released during a fight or flight response to a probable threat. (1)
Effects on the Body
When adrenaline is released in the body it increases heart rate, and it increases blood pressure. Adrenaline also expands air pathways in the lungs, which allows for more oxygen to be taken in. Under the influence of this powerful hormone the pupils enlarge and blood flow is preferentially distributed to the muscles.
The body’s metabolism adapts so as prioritize high glucose levels in the blood. Increased glucose levels in the blood makes more fuel available for the brain, and more fuel for the body.
Adrenaline is primarily produced in the medulla of the adrenal glands but it is also produced in some neurons of the central nervous system. In times of acute stress adrenaline output is dramatically increased throughout the body. (2)
Adrenaline is also used as a neurotransmitter, but very little of it is utilized for this purpose.
Interestingly, adrenaline has different affects upon different systems within the body, but the main purpose of adrenaline is unambiguous- to prepare the body to fight or to escape or, some combination thereof.
Adrenaline directs blood flow to our muscles, especially to our arms and legs. More energy in the form of glucose becomes available to our brains and to the rest of our body. Many people who survive highly stressful situations report a sense of time slowing down, and almost stopping. This perception of time slowing down is not solely because of adrenaline’s affect on our systems, but due to a cocktail of stress hormones that get released in the body under highly stressful circumstances. (3)
Heart rate and respiration quicken, and we may start sweating. It is not unusual for hands to tremble from high levels of adrenaline. Strength dramatically increases and our reaction times improve. Many times this can make the difference between life and death.