Noradrenaline: The Peak-Performance Hormone
Among the countless hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, noradrenaline (often referred to as norepinephrine) is a critical chemical messenger which effectuates the transmission of signals across and between nerve cells. It’s an integral part of the nervous system and plays a crucial role in our stress responses.
It's, by all accounts, the most critical peak-performance-inducing hormone.
Neuroscience has recently begun uncovering the benefits of understanding norepinephrine as a catalyst for various cognitive functions — alertness, focus, memory — and the way in which it regulates blood pressure/flow throughout our system.
Things become more interesting when we consider the cascading effectuations brought about the body’s natural release of noradrenaline — blood flow and oxygen is increased to the musculature to afford greater strength and speed; glycogen in the liver is converted to glucose to deliver more energy to the physiological system; the lungs open up more allowing for better breathing and oxygenation into the blood and muscle systems; the heart pumps faster and the pupils dilate (allowing more light to improve vision).
In effect, the body goes into a state of optimal performative output.
Unfortunately, such changes are typically brought about during a fight-or-flight response mechanism to an imminent threat — not something that's voluntarily engaged in an effort to max out conditioning or achieve better results in a sportive event.
But from the way the body reacts, and from all the internal changes at play, there’s much to be gained from understanding how this all works, and especially from understanding the importance of nonadrenaline / nonepinephrine on performative potential.
So can we voluntarily increase norepinephrine, and, if so, how?
The short answer, is yes; the long answer is, well, long.