L-Dopa and Dopamine

neurons firing
Synapse and Neuron cells sending electrical chemical signals

In a brain swimming with chemicals, one chemical always seems to win: dopamine. Suffice it to say, dopamine rocks. It’s the Olympic champion of neurotransmitters because much of what we do for pleasure releases dopamine. The reward/pleasure centers in the brain are awash with dopamine. Yes, the dynamics of dopamine influence our fun-seeking behavior, but low, insufficient levels may have an adverse, physical-emotional downside as well. A dopamine deficiency may lead to parkinson’s disease, to addiction, fatigue, mood swings, lack of motivation and memory loss.

As a chemical signal or neurotransmitter, dopamine relays information from one neuron to the next, like a courier or a good-will messenger. In this way, dopamine acts as precursor of epinephrine, the other term for adrenaline. Both can reproduce an exercise “high,” elevating mood with a sustained sensation of well-being like a natural antidepressant and mood stabilizer. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine remain essential for this emotional balance. The many health benefits of dopamine include its ability to control nausea and vomiting.

Technically, L-Dopa (Levodopa) or L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine is an amino acid and also the largest component for the brain’s production of dopamine. That’s the vital connection between dopamine and L-DOPA; Levodopa, or L-DOPA, increases dopamine concentrations!

This increase is accomplished through neural synapses, junctions between two nerve cells, like subway and railway stations. A synapse consists of a tiny gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter. Diffusion is the fancy term for movement of molecules or atoms from regions of high concentration to low. But here’s the big difference between L-DOPA and dopamine: L-DOPA crosses the protective blood–brain barrier, whereas dopamine itself cannot.

Thus, L-DOPA supplementation can kick up dopamine levels in a biosynthesis from the anti-stress amino acid, L-Tyrosine. In dopaminergic cells in the brain, tyrosine is converted to L-DOPA by an enzyme. Story short, L-DOPA is considered to be a psychoactive chemical that combats depression and anxiety. Its postsynaptic effects are impressive, but the process is not simple. The explanation beyond energy, however, is worth a shot.

In a typical chemical synapse between two neurons, the neuron from which the nerve impulse arrives is called the pre-synaptic neuron. The neuron to which the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) bind is called the post-synaptic neuron. Simple enough, right? We know that pre means before and post means after.

However, a nerve impulse can also be transmitted from a sensory receptor cell to a neuron, or from a neuron to a set of muscles to make them contract, or from a neuron to an endocrine gland to make it secrete a hormone. In these last two cases, the connection points are called neuromuscular and neuroglandular junctions. Oh, L-Dopa is a hormone as well as an amino acid, made naturally by a number of plants (and animals).

Beyond Energy utilizes an ancient Indian herb, Mucuna Pruriens extract, to manufacture L-Dopa. Through the process mentioned above, L-DOPA assists dopamine, a neurotransmitter that in turn helps to turn on reward and pleasure centers in the brain that may also enhance cognitive ability, increase focus and concentration. The ingredients in Beyond Energy combine synergistically and simply:

Mucuna pruriens extract (L-DOPA)
Green Tea
Taurine helps reduce anxiety inducing effects of caffeine intake
serotonin, epinephrin (adrenaline), Endorphin, Norepinephrine (made from Dopamine), GABA, Glutamate

Across the gap, the neurotransmitters bind to membrane receptors: large proteins anchored in the cell membrane of the post-synaptic neuron. At this location, under an electron microscope, you can observe an accumulation of opaque material which consists of the cluster of receptors and other signalling proteins that are essential for chemical neurotransmission.


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