Dopamine is the hormone of contentment and feeling centered. Feelings of discontent, hopelessness, decreased stress tolerance and volatile temper is a sure indication that your dopamine system may not be functioning as well as it should to ground you.Adventure seeking, habitual overuse of anything – chocolate, sugar, alcohol or other substances – may also be related to low dopamine.
Dopaminergic neurons in the spinal cord are important in pain modulation and have been found dysfunctional in conditions like fibromyalgia with much body pain.
Movement disorders like Parkinsons disease are strongly linked to low dopamine levels in the central nervous system.
Symptoms of low dopamine or decreased dopamine activity include:
- Decreased motivation for tasks
- Trouble starting and finishing tasks
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Losing temper over small things
- Can’t handle stress
- Anger and agression while under stress
- Tendency to isolate yourself
- Lack of concern for people you are close to
The body makes dopamine from the amino acid L-Tyrosine, then turns it into L-Dopa, which is the direct precursor to dopamine.
Iron is essential for effective formation of dopamine in the brain, iron is needed to convert tyrosine into DOPA, in addition, you need Vit B6, folic acid and oxygen.
If you are iron deficient or anemic, you may want to optimize your iron levels in addition to supporting dopamine pathways with precursors.
Testing in addition to thorough symptomatic analysis may help you diagnose dopamine deficiency, which can be treated through a systems based approach, correction of nutritional deficiencies and other factors influencing dopamine system dysfunction.
Werner Vosloo ND, MHom