What is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. In other words, it is a chemical released by the nerve cells in the brain’s Central Nervous System. Dopamine is responsible for passing on signals or chemical messages to the other nerve cells present in the nervous system. Besides managing the signal transfer within the Central Nervous System (CNS), it also handles neurotransmission all over the body.
This brain chemical is an important gift of nature that affects our routine activities. From performing body movements to telling us how to eat, it controls our major life activities. Dopamine neurons are the root source of dopamine in the Central Nervous System.
Two different brain parts handle the production of Dopamine within the midbrain – the substantia nigra & the ventral tegmental area. The substantia nigra is also referred to as a dopaminergic nucleus. Dopamine neurons are usually present in the harshest region of the entire brain called the substantia nigra pars compacta.
The motor movements & reward functions are regulated by the substantia nigra only. Those who’re suffering from motor movement impairment diseases like Parkinson’s have substantia nigra impairments. Though the area covered by the substantia nigra & ventral tegmental is very small in the brain, their signals affect & control the entire body.
The key roles of these two brain parts are to determine the instances when we should expect to feel the reward. When you’re doing your favorite stuff, they eventually train your brain to want more of this. They draw our attention to the activity & make us feel indulged. Some studies also reveal that dopamine is the responsible reason behind attention deficit. It happens when dopamine levels are low or the body isn’t producing adequate dopamine anymore.
Dopamine Related Disease
From affecting your mood from love to lust, desires to eat chocolates, or take a long drive with your friends, it’s all about dopamine. Dopamine is the one that controls our body movements too.
This is the reason that body movement is affected negatively because of Dopamine only. One of such major disorders cursed by Dopamine is Parkinson’s disease. The nerve disorder stiffens the bodily movements, causes tremors, imbalance, loss of movement controls, etc. It’s the lack of dopamine levels that is responsible for causing Parkinson’s disease. Let’s dig deep into this.
What is Parkinson’s?
We know Parkinson’s disease as a brain disorder that is only expected to get worse over time.
The substantia nigra may die when an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s. As it is the brain area controlling movements, its impairment imposes a major breakdown on the body. Thus, the patients suffering from Parkinson’s may shake or show movement abnormalities. Unfortunately, we never find a complete cure for this disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are broadly categorized into motor & non-motor symptoms.
Motor symptoms are the ones that directly impact body movements. If you’re lucky to notice them in the early stage, you can start treating them as soon as possible. Here are the primary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Muscular stiffness
- Slow movement aka Bradykinesia
- Postural Imbalance
- Difficulty in walking
- Vocal impairments
Non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s are internal changes that aren’t visible but felt. You may often overlook them as they aren’t noticed earlier as movements.
- Fatigue or Tiredness
- Weight loss
- Changes in sexual desires
- Sleeping more or going Insomniac
- Smell sensibility changes
- Cognitive changes
- Urinary tract problems
- Personality disorders
- Vision changes
- Excessive sweating
- Skin cancer symptoms – Melanoma
Stages of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease can be divided into five stages. As the disease progresses from Stage 1 to Stage 5, you can only expect the symptoms to get worse.
Stage: 1 – Mild motor or non-motor symptoms that usually don’t affect regular lifestyle or routine activities.
Stage: 2 – Some of Parkinson’s early symptoms are observed in moderate nature. They become noticeable here.
Stage: 3 – It’s the major turning point in Parkinson’s disease. Imbalance, decreased reflexes, tremors, etc are experienced widely & daily task accomplishments get difficult due to slow movements.
Stage: 4 – The patient can stand without assistance, but cannot move without it. Daily tasks get slower & slower.
Stage: 5 – The most advanced stage of Parkinson’s, you see every symptom at its extreme at this stage. Confusions, hallucinations, delusions, dementia, etc kick in.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Before finding the cure for Parkinson’s disease, it’s essential to find the reason behind its occurrence. However, you’ll likely find alternatives that’ll minimize the effects of Parkinson’s. They’ll at least help to improve the quality of your lifestyle.
- Dopamine Supplements or Dopamine Boosters
- Surgery, if applicable according to the patient’s conditions
How Dopamine Supplements Treat Parkinson’s?
As mentioned above, treating Parkinson’s completely is impossible. But, we can look up effective options that minimize the effects of Parkinson’s disease for sure.
Dopamine supplements are available in the market. Carbidopa, Levodopa, and Entacapone are the basic ingredients commonly found in these supplements. The blood-brain barrier created during Parkinson’s is relieved by dopamine promoters. They strive to maintain dopamine levels in the brain.
Which are some of the Best Dopamine Supplements?
Here are a few of the best dopamine supplements to count on. Please note that they are available as prescription medicines & you should not use them without seeking guidance from your medical advisor.
Side Effects of Dopamine Supplements
As you start taking dopamine supplements or dopamine enhancers, you may see some common side effects of moderate nature. They disappear eventually as your body adapts to the medicine.
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeats
Some severe side effects may also be observed & if you see them as intolerable then don’t wait & consult your doctor immediately.
- You should make sure to not consume alcohol or grapefruit juice when you’re using dopamine supplements.
- Dopamine boosters may make you feel dizzy. Please don’t perform any attention-seeking activities after using these supplements.
- Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding before starting to use Dopamine Supplements.
Here are some of the drugs that conflict or show negative reactions to Dopamine. Please discuss your current medicines with the doctor, if any, so that you don’t fall into trouble unnecessarily.
- Ergot medicines
- Water pills
- Cough & cold medicines with decongestants or antihistamine content
Dopamine supplements are usually stored between 15 to 30 Degrees Celsius.
1) What are the symptoms of dopamine deficiency?
Some common symptoms of dopamine deficiency include depression, restless leg syndrome, shaking hands or tremors, loss of memory, low sex drive, imbalance, and lack of motivation.
2) How to boost Dopamine?
As discussed above, dopamine levels can be boosted by making some necessary lifestyle changes. Also, you may take dopamine supplements under medical guidance. It will help you in regulating routine activities.
3) Are Dopamine pills safe?
Dopamine pills are available in different dosage strengths & varied contents. They’re safe to use on prescription. You should not use any of these medicines without consulting a doctor.
4) What are the risks of taking too much Dopamine?
Too much dopamine may leverage your health to danger. You’re more likely to experience a competitive and aggressive mood. Additionally, poor impulse control may be witnessed. You may start behaving unusually, get addicted, start binge eating, gambling, etc.
5) Do Dopamine supplements work?
Besides using dopamine supplements, you have to make the necessary lifestyle changes. This will help dopamine supplements to maintain a good dopamine level, improve brain functions, and make positive mental health effects too. Though dopamine supplements aren’t a complete cure, they are successful in minimizing the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
6) How long should I use Dopamine supplements?
You may be required to take dopamine boosters for months. If required, your doctor may prescribe you to use them for over a year or more.
7) Are Dopamine Supplements addictive?
People using dopamine supplements for a long time haven’t reported any addiction properties. If you have any doubts, please discuss them with your doctor.