Dopamine deficiency can cause Parkinson's disease (PD). Mild to moderate dopamine deficiencies can be balanced with diet, supplements and some lifestyle adjustments. Severe dopamine deficiencies are frequently treated with medications or hormones.
Human body has a strategic balance that it must maintain in order to operate all the functions properly. Too much of something or too little of something alters the functions of body and things begin to take place making the person aware that something is not right. Dopamine is one of those strategic balance substances. Dopamine is a chemical which is naturally produced in the body. Dopamine controls movement, emotional responses, pleasure, pain and motivation. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain, activating dopamine receptors.
Dopamine is also a neurohormone discharged by the hypothalamus. As a hormone, main function of dopamine is to inhibit the release of prolactin from the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Dopamine helps to ensure that the brain works properly with your body. Also, it plays a crucial role in physical health. So, maintaining the balance of dopamine is essential to mental and physical health of a person. If your doctor has resolved that you have a dopamine deficiency, you have to take some steps to increase the dopamine levels in your body.
Benefits of dopamine in the body:
Dopamine is important for many mental functions. It is a crucial part of the basal ganglia motor loop. Neurons which contain dopamine neurotransmitter are clustered in the midbrain in an area called the substantia nigra. Dopamine deficiency or particularly the death of dopamine neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway is the main cause of Parkinson's disease. In this disease, a person loses the ability to perform smooth, controlled movements.
Dopamine also acts as a hormone. Physiological dopamine raises renal blood flow, reduces renal resistance and acts on the kidney tubule to enhance natriuresis and diuresis. The loss of dopamine function may be involved in the worsening in kidney function connected with ageing. Also, dopamine may have a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension and diabetes. Primarily, dopamine is used to treat hypotension that is not secondary to hypovolemia.
Generally, dopamine is prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease. But, in some people there may be a relationship between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and abnormalities in how the body generates or uses dopamine. As treatment for continuous RLS symptoms that frequently disturb sleep, dopamine is usually the first choice by health professional.
Causes of dopamine deficiency:
Vitamin deficiencies, Parkinson's disease, problems with other body systems, and thyroid problems are just some of the reasons that develop low dopamine in some people. Dopamine deficiency can also be caused by environmental causes such as lack of sleep and stress. Other potential reasons for dopamine deficiency include exposure to lead, arsenic and cadmium. Some of these can be treated with simple solutions such as changing day-to-day activities while others require more complex solutions such as daily medications.
Factors which reduce dopamine levels in the body are:
- Parkinson's disease
- Estrogen deficiency
- Chronic stress
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Inadequate sleep
- Magnesium, iron, zinc & vitamins B3/B6/C/D deficiency
- Lead, arsenic and cadmium exposure
- Tyrosine (precursor) deficiency
- Glutathione deficiency
- Human growth hormone deficiency
- Excess copper levels
- Genetic dopamine receptor abnormalities
- Chronic opioid, alcohol & marijuana use
Signs and symptoms of dopamine deficiency:
- Low libido or impotence
- Reduced ability to feel pleasure
- Difficulty paying attention and concentrating
- Slowed thinking and/or slow to learn new ideas
- Flat, bored, apathetic and low enthusiasm
- Procrastinator/little urgency
- Put on weight easily
- Family history of alcoholism/ADD/ADHD
- Crave uppers (e.g. caffeine/nicotine/diet soft drinks)
- Use these to improve energy/motivation/mood
- Prone to addictions (e.g. alcohol)/addictive personality
- Low drive and motivation
- Difficulty getting through a task even when interesting
- Mentally fatigued easily and physically fatigued easily
- Sleep too much and trouble getting out of bed
Natural diet treatment for dopamine deficiency:
Almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds are the food sources that increase tyrosine, a precursor of dopamine, in the body.
In the body, dopamine is easily oxidized. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables may help to protect dopamine-using neurons from free radical damage. Many healthcare professionals suggest supplementing with vitamins C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.
Foods for example sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol, and refined foods interfere with proper brain function and can also cause dopamine deficiency. In addition, saturated fats and cholesterol can also clog the arteries to the brain, heart, and other organs. So, reduce consumption of these foods which actually cause dopamine levels to decrease further.
A person having depression must avoid caffeine because it is a stimulant that originally speeds up neurotransmission, increases the amount of serotonin, and momentarily elevates mood.
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