Thursday, June 27, 2013

Adrenalin vs Epinephrine

It started when a young man told me that epinephrine kept him going on a daily basis. When I asked if his brain had become an “adrenalin junkie” he replied, “No, no. I’m talking about epinephrine,” and stalked off. Apparently he didn’t realize that adrenalin and epinephrine are names for the same substance. Epinephrine was coined reportedly by an American biochemist who isolated the substance and adrenalin was the label assigned by a Japanese chemist who also discovered the substance about the same time. Confusing, I know. Regardless of its name, this substance, secreted by the adrenal glands, plays a key role in the fight-flight stress response. It is so powerful that people can become addicted to their own endogenous adrenalin and the energy it provides. A “high" can be triggered by self-inducing fight-flight, choosing to be angry, or engaging in stressful or risky behavior. There is usually a downside to most benefits, however, especially when overused or out of balance. Hyper secretion of adrenalin can exhaust the adrenal glands. The end result is diminished health.

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