When noradrenaline kicks too much ass…

…it’s a nice idea to crank it down a bit.

I have it in my head that serotonin and noradrenaline aren’t my best friends (Effexor, an SNRI, was an absolutely horrid experience). I’ve often thought this. And I’ve often thought that the holy grail of happiness, monoamine neurotransmitter balance, being understood, too-high noradrenaline might be an ignored problem for many depressives.

Noradrenaline (norepinephrine) is a nasty little chemical when it misbehaves. It serves various functions, but as a stress hormone it can get out of hand when our mental state gets out of hand. When it’s good, it provokes a temporary fight-or-flight response, provides anti-inflammatory help around neurons, helps with decision-making; when it’s not good it can cause anxiety, and thus some damage (hypertension, adrenaline (its downstream product) and cortisol overflow, neuronal toxicity and on and on…). So in my opinion any means of kicking down NA might not be a bad idea if there aren’t too many negative side-effects. 

I wonder if one can reduce NA by reducing nutritional precursors (egg, meat, nuts, dairy, soy); I know I do better when I eat less protein; others may also. Tyrosine and phenylalanine (tyrosine’s precursor) are needed to produce NA (and therefore, adrenaline), so reducing intake of these sources is an interesting question…

…on the other hand, I know that I can never have too much dopamine (that’s why I love opiates: all the dopamine goodness without the NA release), so I’m curious about finding a way to lessen NA production because DA is the precursor for NA; and the less protein I eat, the less DA I produce and the less beneficial DA effects I get… I really would like to be able to chow down on more protein.

~So… how to reduce an overproduction of noradrenaline without reducing dopamine…

…this is my folly.

Dopamine beta hydroxylase converts dopamine to noradrenaline, which then converts to adrenaline. In my searches I stumbled upon and found ways to inhibit this step in conversion. For example, Etamicastat is a novel (?) drug used for the treatment of heart failure and hypertension, but I wonder how well it would work off-label for help with NA overload, once it’s approved for sale. There are other DβH inhibiting drugs around (disulfiram, dopastin, bupicomide, tropolone), but who knows which can legally be used off-label?… though I really think it might be worth a try…

…I might even try, myself.

Interestingly, fusaric acid is a natural DβH inhibitor. It is isolated from Fusarium fungi, and one species, Fusarium venenatum, is used for some kind of whacked-out neolithic foodstuff marketed as Quorn. Though used in research, fusaric acid is considered a toxic by-product… curious, though.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ItsTheWoo
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 20:29:17

    Have you ever considered blood pressure medications, such as clonidine or low dose beta blockers? These are quite good at suppressing the sympathetic nervous system ; they have been used to help people in opiate withdrawal as well. They are sometimes used off label for people with signs of sympathetic overactivity who are suffering psychically from it. Too much and then you have too great of a stress suppression with atypical depression like symptoms (fatigue, lethargy, weight gain, depression) …but if the issue is an excessive stress response, these sorts of meds can normalize your physiology, and are something to try between cycling off opiates.


  2. Opie
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 19:27:45

    y’ know, i’ve thought about beta blockers in the past, but i have a musician’s background and friends gave me some scary stories about them, so i’m sufficiently chicken-shit to try them. clonidine sounds interesting.

    i actually don’t have too much trouble with anxiety when i watch very carefully what goes into the gullet; i’m just daydreaming about the “perfect” mental state. but yeah you’re right, i’ve got a level of PAWS at the moment. should disappear soon enough…

    …can you imagine the kind of PAWS hell a mainlining junky goes through after 5 years of an every-day, non-functional, needle-dropping-out-of-the-hand nod?

    …makes me look like a little girl playing with unicorns in the garden.


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