Even the smallest building block in the human body can make the biggest difference in how you feel. Either elevated or suppressed levels of these tiny building blocks can negatively affect your emotional, mental and physical state. L-dopa is one such important building block in the body that directly affects the level of dopamine in the body. Let's take a closer look at the importance L-dopa has in the human body.
- What Is L-Dopa
- History Of L-Dopa
- Benefits Of L-Dopa
- How To Use L-Dopa
- Symptoms Of L-Dopa Deficiency
- Who Is At Risk Of Deficiency
- Foods That Contain L-Dopa
What Is L-Dopa?:
L-dopa is an amino acid that is one of the main precursors to dopamine. It passes through the blood-brain barrier, and it's consumed by dopaminergic neurons. These neurons then convert the L-dopa to dopamine via the enzyme aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that is responsible for a variety of psychological responses in the brain, most notably motivation and positive reinforcement.
Read More: How To Improve Brain Function Naturally
History of L-Dopa:
L-dopa was actually first discovered in 1913, but was initially considered of no use. Over 40 years later, researchers decided to investigate L-dopa further and discovered its benefits for Parkinson's patients as well as a myriad of other health benefits.
The Benefits of L-Dopa:
Due to the ability of L-Dopa to increase dopamine levels in the body, it offers a variety of health benefits to users. One of the most well-known benefits of L-dopa is in aiding individuals who suffer from Parkinson's Disease. As we currently understand those with Parkinson's have lower levels of dopamine, which means they have a harder time controlling and coordinating their body's movements. L-dopa can help lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's by helping to supply the body with more dopamine.
Dopamine is known to elevate your mood, reduce depression and lessen the symptoms of anxiety. As dopamine's precursor, L-dopa allows for the production of more dopamine which in general makes you feel better emotionally. This positive emotional experience is one reason dopamine is responsible for positive reinforcement.
Many Western men suffer from a low sex drive. Studies show that L-dopa can increase both sexual function and libido in men. Studies have even shown that l-dopa can increase spermatogenesis, effectively helping to support male fertility. The benefits for male endocrine health can go even further when you look at the studies showing l-dope can effectively lower prolactin levels in mice regardless of age and endocrine status.
How to Use L-Dopa:
There are two main ways that L-dopa is used. The first is medications. Certain medications such as Levodopa, which is prescribed to individuals with Parkinson's, contains L-dopa and increases the levels of dopamine.
The second way to consume L-dopa is through the use of dietary supplements. The most common dietary supplements that contain L-dopa are derived from the plant Mucuna pruriens.
Read More: Everything You Need To Know About Mucuna
Symptoms of L-Dopa Deficiency:
Since L-dopa is a precursor to dopamine, it is easier to detect dopamine deficiencies. A deficiency in dopamine is normally caused by an underlying condition or disease. Symptoms of a dopamine deficiency include:
- Muscle cramps
- Stiffness in the muscles
- Lack of energy
- Severe mood swings
- Self-harming thoughts or actions
- Decreased sex drive
Decreased levels of dopamine is a symptom of Parkinson's Disease. Depression, schizophrenia and hallucinations are also linked to decreased levels of dopamine.
Who Is at Risk of and L-Dopa Deficiency?:
Individuals at the greatest risk of an L-dopa deficiency are those who suffer from Parkinson's disease and mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. It is important to note that low L-dopa and dopamine levels do not cause these conditions, but are rather symptoms of these conditions.
Treatments vary depending on the underlying cause of the deficiency. Common forms of treatment include medications and supplements that contain L-dopa, and natural remedies such as a change in diet and exercise.
If you suspect you might have a condition causing low levels of dopamine, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for a thorough physical evaluation and proper diagnosis.
Foods That Contain L-Dopa:
Mucuna pruriens is the most popular natural source of L-dopa. Mucuna pruriens is a climbing legume that is found in southern China and eastern India. Although the entire plant is beneficial, it is the bean that is the highest source of L-dopa and is widely used in supplements. It is nicknamed the "velvet bean" because the outer pod is covered in serotonin and little hairs which are itchy and can cause severe irritation to the skin.
Mucuna pruriens is the richest source of L-dopa. However, there are other natural sources of L-dopa such as Ginkgo biloba, broad bean pods and Plumbago zeylanica. Significant sources of L-dopa are not commonly found in a person's diet. Consumption of L-dopa dietary supplements is the best way to guarantee adequate intake of L-dopa.
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L-dopa is one of my favorite herbs. Over the past five years I have done extensive research on supplements and this one has kept its place at the forefront of my supplement cabinet. From helping to lower my prolactin levels to increasing libido, and just keeping me feeling good day in and day out I highly recommend you try this supplement for yourself and see what the fuss is all about. Don’t forget that UMZU has a 60-day money back guarantee so if you decide you don’t like it (which is unlikely) you can get a full refund for the product with no questions asked.