L-Dopa- a Dopamine precursor. ✝
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L-Dopa (L-3,4-dihydroxphenylalanine) aka Levodopa is an amino acid product and a precursor to a very important neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is released by the brain and plays a number of important roles in the body. Mood, movement, memory, behaviour, cognition, attention and learning are all controlled by the levels of dopamine.3 Deficiencies of dopamine can therefore cause several diseases and conditions.
For example, L-Dopa is widely used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease.1 In fact, L-Dopa is a US FDA approved compound used to treat PD.4 L-Dopa is found in Mucuna pruriens (Velvet Bean). L-dopa is usually used alongside carbidopa (the peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor) to inhibit peripheral metabolism.
Impairments in dopaminergic neurotransmission in PD patients subsequently impair the control of movement and cognition, such as ability to plan.2 Dopaminergic medication and replacement therapies may alleviate some of these cognitive functions.2 Because L-Dopa is very effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) it has been shown to improve the quality of life in many PD patients.
As a nootropic, L-Dopa has been used to reduce high levels of anxiety, depression while improving mood and concentration. Furthermore, L-Dopa enhances attentional processes, working memory and learning. Its beneficial effects have been nicely demonstrated in a study by Knecht et al. (2004). In their randomized, double-blind study they used 40 healthy individuals that either took 100mg of L-Dopa or placebo daily for 5 days.6 In addition to taking L-Dopa participants were trained on an artificial vocabulary using a high-frequency approach. The main finding of the study was those participants who took L-Dopa significantly improved the speed, overall success and long-term retention of novel word learning.6 This finding has some very important practical implications in terms of ways of improving learning.
• Stress relief and mood enhancer
• Boosts energy and concentration
• Elevates dopamine and norepinephrine levels
Dopamine itself cannot cross the BBB, therefore its precursor levodopa is administered to increase dopamine synthesis in the brain.1 As a results there is an increased dopaminergic turnover in the frontal cortex.4 Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (aka DOPA decarboxylase) is the enzyme that converts L-Dopa to dopamine by removing a molecular structure called a carboxyl group. The dopamine neurotransmitter can then relay messages to nerve cells which govern arousal and pleasure responses.
The recommended daily dosage of L-Dopa should not exceed 500 mg. It is best to divide this dosage into several smaller administrations throughout the day. Like with all nootropics, if you have never used L-Dopa before it is best to start at lower dosages (i.e., 100-300 mg/day) and familiarize yourself with the effects and benefits. Plasma bioavailability has been shown to increase with chronic administration of L-Dopa in PD patients.5
Generally, L-Dopa is safe to use. However, there are some reported side effects associated with a prolonged use of high dosages of L-Dopa. These include nausea, low blood pressure, gastrointestinal effects, hair loss and confusion.1
Serving size: 1 capsule
Servings per bottle: 120
Amount per serving: L-Dopa 300mg
Other ingredients: Magnesium Stearate; Silicon Dioxide
This product is free from: Artificial Flavours, Colours & Preservatives, Lactose, Yeast & Gluten
Suitable for: Vegetarians and Vegans
• Dietary products should not be used as a substitute for a well-balanced and healthy diet.
• Store in a cool dry place, out of reach of children.
• Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
✝ These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) The above products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should consult a physician before taking a new product or a nootropic. This product should not be taken by pregnant or nursing mothers, people suffering from cardiovascular disease or those under 18 years of age.
Any studies cited here are not conclusive and are limited to their closed environment nature; they might not determine ones experience with a nootropic, due to a large number of unaccounted variables falling outside the scope of such studies.
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1. Siddiqi, S.H. et al. (2016). The human experience with intravenous Levodopa, Front Pharmacol. 6:307.
2. Wolpe, N. et al. (2015). Dopaminergic modulation of positive expectations for goal-directed action: evidence from Parkinson’s disease, Front Psychol. 6:1514.
3. Schultz, W. (2007). Multiple dopamine functions at different time courses, Annu Rev Neurosci. 30, 259-88.
4. Singewald, N. et al. (2015). Pharmacology of cognitive enhancers for exposure-based therapy of fear, anxiety and trauma-related disorders, Pharmacol Ther. 149, 150-90.
5. Muhlack, S. et al. (2004). Chronic levodopa intake increases levodopa plasma bioavailability in patients with Parkinson’s disease, Neurosci Lett. 363 (3), 284-7.
6. Knecht, S. et al. (2004). Levodopa: faster and better word learning in normal humans, Ann Neurol. 56 (1), 20-6.