Dopamine deficiency has different consequences for our health. The best-known disease is Parkinson's disease. Read all the important information about dopamine deficiency and how it is treated here.
A dopamine deficiency refers to a reduced concentration of dopamine in the blood. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter for our body, therefore the lack of it can be very harmful to health.
Dopamine is a messenger substance (neurotransmitter). Chemically, dopamine belongs to the group of catecholamines and has the formula of the group (OH) 2C6H3-CH2-CH2NH2. Popularly, dopamine is also known as the “happiness hormone”.
Dopamine is produced in the human brain. It is synthesized from the amino acids phenylanaline and tyrosine, so individual production steps take place in different parts of the brain: in the adrenal medulla, hypothalamus, substantia nigra, and other areas.
What is the effect of dopamine?
The effects of dopamine are multiple, mainly because the hormone is used for many body processes, which serve as messengers. Among other things, dopamine in the stomach, intestine, liver and kidney cause dilation of blood vessels, increases blood frequency, blood pressure and the strength of the heart.
The term " happiness hormone ", however, is derived from the enhancement of emotional state that begins with dopamine. This is physically noticeable, for example during food, during sexual activity or even during drug use, when dopamine is released more frequently. Establish temporary happiness.
Dopamine is also required in basic body functions: it is essential for coordinating body movements and stimulates metabolism.
Dopamine deficiency can also be very diverse due to the many uses of the hormone. One of the most common symptoms due to dopamine deficiency is a lack of response, as the necessary impulses are no longer transmitted enough
Also, in metabolism, a dopamine deficiency is noticeable: it leads to weight gain, generally reduced physical energy, apathy, and in an emergency to depression. Memory performance is also impaired, which is especially apparent in Parkinson's patients who lack the hormone particularly strongly.
Parkinson's tremor, muscle contraction, and decreased speech are also related to a lack of dopamine.
Causes of dopamine deficiency
Dopamine deficiency may be due to the death of dopaminergic neurons in the brain, which decreases the production of the neurotransmitter. If more than half of the neurons have died, the first symptoms of dopamine deficiency appear
Women and men are equally affected by this deficiency. The peak frequency is between 50 and 60 years of life.
The decrease in dopamine production may also have psychological reasons. Physical and mental stress can also cause these types of deficiencies.
Maintaining adequate amino acid intake through diet is also important, so malnutrition or fasting can also lead to a lack of dopamine.
While dopamine is responsible for the stable processing of all impressions in the brain, high levels of dopamine can cause the perception threshold to change and impair the ability to differentiate between important and unimportant sensations.
If there is too much active dopamine in the brain, it also has a negative effect on the human psyche and physiology. For example, patients with schizophrenia usually use more dopamine than necessary, resulting in hypersensitivity, delusions, and loss of identity.
Under normal conditions, people only perceive about 10% of all the impressions and feelings that surround them. If this rate of intake increases to more than 20% of all sensations, the nervous system can be significantly overstimulated, even higher concentrations can lead to psychotic symptoms. Most of this damage to the nervous system is reversible (not permanent) when calm returns.
In some cases, the body uses dopamine to help itself. For example, after a long night with little sleep, it can lead to increased levels of dopamine, which acts as a stimulant in the body.
In this way, the body can help itself, since, despite sleep deprivation, there is sufficient concentration and alertness. If the body repeats itself with appropriate stressors and is regularly stimulated by strong dopamine production, in the long term this leads to an increase in total fatigue, as well as a decrease in other hormones.
How dopamine is used in conventional medicine
In medicine, dopamine is used, among other things, to increase blood pressure and the strength of the heart, for example, in shock and cardiac arrest.
In addition, it is used in the treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, especially due to the impact on memory and its transmitter function, where dopamine is presented here in a slightly modified version that can break the blood-brain barrier, so it must enter the system central nervous.
Increase dopamine levels naturally
In addition to its use as a drug, a sufficiently high level of dopamine is not only desirable, it can also be achieved by natural means. Because dopamine can be useful for losing weight and maintaining energy, among other things.
Above all, a diet rich in protein contributes to the formation of dopamine. However, to ensure a healthy diet, plant proteins should be included in addition to animal proteins, that is, mainly fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, cereals and especially legumes useful for the production of dopamine.
Particular attention should be paid to foods that contain a lot of tyrosine. which makes the brain particularly capable of producing dopamine? Such foods include bananas, peas, or walnuts. Sport and recurring experiences of success also contribute to an increase in dopamine.
Medications that stimulate dopamine
Dopamine is also sometimes used as a drug away from its medicinal properties to increase well-being. Dopamine itself is not administered, but drugs that stimulate the secretion of dopamine in the brain.
This should be treated with caution, because in the long run this can lead to a lack of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, resulting in apathy and lack of enthusiasm. In the long term, life experiences are less and less joyous and depression can occur.
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