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Which hormones called stress hormones?

It is well known that human body is very well developed system – it is built to protect and maintain our health and well being. Most body protection mechanisms work through hormones – body produce different hormones depending on situation. For example, if we experience any kind of stress (positive or negative), body produce very specific hormones called “stress hormones” which  react immediately and help out body to overcome emotional, physical, psychological or chemical stress. Stress hormones could be interpreted as normal body response to threatening factors – factors which upset body balance. Stress hormones play significant role in regulating several body functions. Stress hormones regulate our feelings, mood, behavior, sleeping habits, hunger and appetite, happiness and/or sadness.

Usually stress hormones are released by our body in situations that are interpreted as being potentially dangerous for human body. When body “feels” any kind of danger and/or “attack”, it reacts immediately by producing stress hormones.

Main stress hormones are: Cortisol, Adrenalin and Noradrenalin. Some other hormones also can be involved in body response to stress.


Cortisol is a corticosteroid that is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland in response to stress and it is used as a market to measure stress. Cortisol secretion increases in response to any kind of stress/pressure – physical (illness, trauma, abuse, surgery, temperature, fight) or psychological (anger, family abuse, problematic relations, conflicts, marriage, divorce, unemployment, imagined problems). Increased levels of cortisol could trigger high blood pressure, increased levels of blood sugars, fastened breath and heart bit. Cortisol can also inhibit the immune system.

Stress Hormones


Adrenalin is a stress hormone which is also produced during stress – even actually a little bit earlier (when the body feels the danger and prepares for adequate response). Human body is changing the level of adrenalin in anticipation of danger – it is a part of well known “fight or flight” body response – response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from any kind of threat.

Adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands when the body believes it is involved in a stressful situation. When “fight or flight” response is activated, adrenaline (together with noradrenaline and cortisol) is released into the bloodstream which is triggering dramatic changes in our body – breathing is fastening, blood is moving into muscles and limbs, immune system is mobilizing, vision is sharpening, impulses are becoming quicker and whole body becoming prepared for any kind of stress (physical, emotional, psychological, chemical).

Noradrenaline (norepinephrine)

Noradrenalin is one of stress hormones – it is a catecholamine that functions both as a hormone and neurotransmitter. Noradrenalin is released from the adrenal glands into the blood.

As a stress hormone, noradrenalin affects those parts of the brain that are responsible for attention and responding to actions. Noradrenalin forms the basis of the “fight or flight” body stress response by directly increasing the heart rate, stimulating the release of glucose from stored energy and enhancing the supply of blood to skeletal muscles.

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