L-Dopa Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Dosages

L-Dopa Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Dosages

You know that L-Dopa sounds like an illegal drug. It sounds like an illegal version of marijuana. So what type of benefits and uses could this drug offer. Definitely there are side effects to this chemical. It is said that beans are a good source of L-Dopa. If this is an illegal substance what could it benefit or what could it be used for.

What is L-Dopa

L-Dopa or levodopa is an amino acid that is manufactured and used as a normal biology of humans, animals, and some plants. Some animals and humans make it via biosynthesis from the amino acid L-tyrosine. L-Dopa is a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline) collectively known as catecholamines. (any of a class of aromatic amines that includes a number of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine.) It also mediates neurotrophic factor  by the brain and CNS. L-Dopa is a man-made drug as well being sold as a psychoactive drug with the INN levodopa; trade names include Sinemet, Pharmacopeia, Atamet, Stalevo, Madopar, and Prolopa. So the drug is manufactured naturally by the body and commercially by man. Which version is more powerful or damaging? As a clinical drug it  is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and dopamine-responsive dystonia. As a nootropic it is used to treat depression and anxiety. So it serves  a dual purpose as a clinical and a psychological drug.  

 

L-Dopa Benefits:

Some benefits are it treats parkinson’s disease and dopamine-responsive dystonia ( Segawa Syndrome (SS) also known as Dopamine-responsive dystonia (DRD), Segawa’s disease, Segawa’s dystonia and hereditary progressive dystonia with diurnal fluctuation, is a genetic movement disorder which usually manifests itself during early childhood at around ages 5–8 years. It has a variable start age). It doesn’t cure these conditions but makes them tolerable to exist with. It can also help to cure depression and anxiety.

As was noted before it is a precursor to neurotransmitters especially dopamine. Dopamine cannot cross the brain blood barrier so it must be synthesized in the brain. But L-Dopa can cross the brain blood barrier which lead to increased levels of the pleasure hormone dopamine. Once L-Dopa crossed the brain blood barrier it is converted into dopamine by the DOPA decarboxylase enzyme which also goes by the name aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. Part of this process to happen is that Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal phosphate) must be a part of this synthesizing process. In the artificial realm vitamin B6 are stacked with L-Dopa supplements for a more efficient conversion process to dopamine.

The process is finalized L-Doa will also have a stimulatory effect on the Central Nervous System. The hypothalamus area of the brain along with the pituitary gland release increased levels of the growth hormone (HGH). This indicates another indirect benefit of L-Dopa that it helps the human body to grow. It may increased the levels and activities of the adrenergic hormones Norepinephrine and Epinephrine. The combined presence of these increased quantities of these hormones and neurotransmitters are responsible for many benefits including regulating motor control, sex drive, immune function, fat loss (and gain), lean muscle growth, bone density, energy levels, and even sleep cycles.

L-Dopa can help with the aging process because it is taken for anti-aging and life extension purposes. It is reported as a human ages they lose about 40,000 dopamine neurons in the brain. L-Dopa supplements replenish the dopamine neurons that are supposedly lost. Unfortunately when 70% of your brain dopamine neurons are depleted parkinson’s disease will develop. L-Dopa can replenish the dopamine neurons depleted and may be able to stop parkinson’s disease from developing. It has been theorized that if a human lives long enough they could lose 100% of the dopamine neurons which would theoretically guarantee that parkinson’s disease would develop. But there is no clinical evidence to support this theory.

So, let’s say you live long enough and you lose all of your dopamine neurons. According to the above unproven theory you are now going to develop parkinson’s disease. But L-Dopa can replenish those dopamine neurons as you lose them. So, you completely replenish them by taking L-Dopa supplements and you avert the risk of developing parkinson’s disease. Or if you even develops parkinson’s disease the symptoms, such as loss of motor skills, difficulty processing thoughts, and rigidity, may be decreased or prevented.      

Even young patients can gain anti-aging benefits by using L-Dopa. L-Dopa will fight free radicals from causing aging damage within the body. This could slow down the aging process in young patients. L-Dopa is known to increase testosterone levels which help to build and maintain muscle mass. L-Dopa could be a bodybuilder’s best friend. It also encourages the growth hormone as was mentioned before. In fact, L-Dopa is already marketed as a bodybuilding supplement. It may also keep tissues and organs strong. Increased metabolism plus enhanced testosterone production make L-Dopa invaluable for intense athletes who daily workout with intense exercise regimens.

 

Brain Boosting Benefits     

Brain Boosting Benefits

Despite the widespread popularity of brain boosters you should still be careful consuming a drug or supplement that could alter the functioning of your brain. They could cause brain damage even though there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. If one does take L-Dopa (usually in  the plant extract Mucuna Pruriens supplemental form) it can be a quick way to enhance the mood and fight off depression. But this could be a smoke screen because if you are prone to depression you will just mask the symptoms of it. What happens when the effects of the L-Dopa wear off? It will temporarily lock depression but it don’t cure it. The root cause of the depression must be identified and weeded out.  

The concentration is increased, along with a sense of heightened euphoria which will block anxiety and stress. Again, these are temporary covers for anxiety and stress. The anxiety and stress will return once the L-Dopa wears off. The root causes for the depression and stress need to be located and removed. This will bring a permanent solution to both conditions.

 

History of L-Dopa Research

Beginning with 1911 L-Dopa was synthesized from its DL-racemate. (Racemate is defined as the conversion of a pure mixture with one enantiomer [optical isomer or molecular pair that is not a mirror image of each other, that one can superimpose one on top of another] into one where more than one enantiomer is present.) Racemization is a term used to imply when the results of a mixture where Dand L enantiomers are present where quantities are equal in measure. Since the 1960’s L-Dopa has been recognized as the leading treatment for parkinson’s disease.  

In 1913 it was thought that L-Dopa came from legumes which were inactive biologically. This was proved to be wrong by studies conducted in the 1920’s and 1930’s on rabbits. These studies found that L-Dopa was quite active biologically. It had quite an impact on the metabolism of glucose and on on arterial blood pressure. Since 1913 L-Dopa was studied for its biological mechanisms. Along comes the 1930’s and it was discovered in studies on humans and animals that L-Dopa developed naturally. There was an enzymatic conversion in which the  enzyme L-dopa decarboxylase converted to L-dopa and then  converted to dopamine.

Into the 1940’s studies continued (in humans and animals) with a focus on L-Dopa having some effect on vascular blood pressure. Apparently not much was found out. In the 1950’s the focus changed to brain catecholamines and their effects on basal ganglia. In the 1960’s we see a progression made to deficiencies of dopamine in the brain accelerated the development of the dreaded parkinson’s disease. This depletion also affected the therapeutic value of L-Dopa on treating the disease. In other words it lessened the effectiveness of L-Dopa on the disease. By the end of the 1960’s high doses of L-Dopa were taken for the treatment of parkinson’s disease and this became the norm. Today, L-Dopa continues to be the most used drug for neurotransmitter therapy. It also the most effective for this type of therapy.

 

Moderate Side Effects of L-Dopa:  

Moderate Side Effects of L-Dopa

Common:

  • abnormal thinking: holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • clenching or grinding of teeth
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • confusion
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • excessive watering of mouth
  • false sense of well being
  • feeling faint
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • hand tremor, increased
  • nausea or vomiting
  • numbness
  • unusual and uncontrolled movements of the body, including the face, tongue, arms, hands, head, and upper body
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Uncommon:

  • Blurred vision
  • difficult urination
  • difficulty opening mouth
  • dilated (large) pupils
  • dizziness or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • double vision
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • hot flashes
  • increased blinking or spasm of eyelids
  • loss of bladder control
  • mental depression
  • other mood or mental changes
  • skin rash
  • unusual weight gain or loss

Rare:

  • Back or leg pain
  • bloody or black tarry stools
  • chills
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • fever
  • high blood pressure
  • inability to move eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • pain, tenderness, or swelling of foot or leg
  • pale skin
  • prolonged, painful, inappropriate penile erection
  • sore throat
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of face
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

 

Minor Side Effects of L-Dopa:

Common:

  • Abdominal pain
  • dryness of mouth
  • loss of appetite
  • nightmares
  • passing gas

Uncommon:

  • Constipation
  • diarrhea
  • flushing of skin
  • headache
  • hiccups
  • increased sweating
  • muscle twitching
  • trouble in sleeping

 

Nervous System Side Effects:

Nervous System Side Effects

Alarmingly, it has been reported in 50 percent of patients of involuntary movements in the nervous system. Also, thinking patterns changed. The types of involuntary movements were choreiform, dystonic and dyskinetic. The longer the therapy went on the worse the motor fluctuations became and increased. Choreiform movements occurred in 80 percent of the patients treated for one year with L-Dopa. These movements included facial grimacing, exaggerated chewing, and twisting and protrusion of the tongue.

Other nervous system side effects were myoclonus, sleep disturbances (including insomnia, daytime somnolence, altered dreams and episodic nocturnal myoclonus), Meige’s syndrome (blepharospasm-oromandibular dystonia) and ocular dyskinesia. In addition, the orofacial movements induced by levodopa have occasionally been reported to cause severe dental erosion.Some researchers have suggested that there could be some brain dysfunctioning from taking L-Dopa. If this is the case then cognitive functions are affected negatively.

 

Gastrointestinal Side Effects:

Exacerbation of existing ulcer disease was reported. In other words the diseases worsened from taking L-Dopa.  Other effects reported included nausea and vomiting. Anorexia and gastrointestinal hemorrhage have been reported rarely. If the hemorrhaging even occurred at all.

 

Psychiatric Side Effects

Some have suggested that L-Dopa could have psychotic effects. But there is no solid proof for these side effects. Other investigators have suggested that L-Dopa may activate changes in the noradrenergic systems of the CNS which may lead to panic attacks. This assertion has not been clinically proven.

 

Other Side Effects:

This is a very serious side effect that could be fatal. Fever, altered consciousness, autonomic dysfunction and muscle rigidity are the symptoms of the neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been known to be fatal to 20 percent of the population. If L-Dopa ie withdrawn suddenly or decreased rapidly it could trigger an acute worsening of parkinson’s disease. It may also cause a syndrome  with symptoms like the neuroleptic malignant syndrome In very rare cases it may lead to psychologic levodopa addiction.

 

Cardiovascular Side Effects:

Cardiovascular Side Effects

Some researchers claim that there has been noticeable hemodynamic and clinical improvements in patients with congestive heart failure who took L-Dopa orally. Conversely, in one patient with congestive heart failure their condition grew noticeably worse after consuming L-Dopa. Other cardiovascular side effects include hypotension and syncope Heart arrhythmias were reported in very rare cases.

 

Dermatologic Side Effects:

Patients taking L- Dopa for parkinson’s disease reported cases of malignant melanoma. This means skin cancer. Is this stuff safe to take with so many serious side effects?  maculopapular skin rashes were  reported in other patients taking L-Dopa. In contradictory reports concerning the melanoma side effect some say this claim is not prove. Others say that L-Dopa will deter melanoma tumors. Manufacturers say historically that if melanoma or strange skin lesions appear from taking Dopa than the patients were being treated for the wrong causes.

 

Immunologic Side Effects:

In this case rare reports surfaced of a lupus-like syndrome developing in patients taking L-Dopa.

 

Blood Side Effects:

Rare cases of severe  hemolytic and nonhemolytic anemias were reported in patients who took L-Dopa.

 

Respiratory Side Effects:

Respiratory side effects included dyskinesias which were sometimes life-threatening. This sounds like in very rare cases.   

 

Hepatic Side Effects:

Hepatic Side Effects

It was reported that hepatic side effects included rare cases of asterixis (without abnormalities of liver function tests). Manufactures of L-Dopa said there would be abnormal liver function tests.

 

Endocrine Side Effects:

These endocrine side effects include vated urinary vanillylmandelic acid levels. This lead to confusion concerning the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma.

 

Renal Side Effects:

Renal side effects have included hypokalemia and hyponatremia but these are in very rare cases. Continual administration of L-Dopa could induce slightly but significantly increase BUN without changes in the glomerular filtration rate.

 

Doses of L-Dopa

There is a wide range of doses that can be taken for L-Dopa because of individual weaknesses. At the low-end 100 mg  dose of the Mucuna Pruriens extract is the baseline for people. It will have an impact on the body. For greater effects the median dosage of 500 mg is usually taken which will impact the body at higher levels. 900 mg may be taken safely but rarely to people reach that level. Once a person reaches the one gram dosage level they better be careful. If a person exceeds the one gram dosage level the side effects will only increase in frequency.  Be warned to that benefits at this level begin to level off. Taking this amount is not recommended.

Usually L-Dopa is taken in the morning and in the afternoon or 45 minutes before heavy exercise. But you have to wonder is it really safe and wise to take L-Dopa before any type of exercising especially heavy exercising. Those who have taken it on a daily basis have reported developing tolerances. If you have to take it in greater amounts to get the same effects you are on the road to addiction. This mood-enhancing drug should be taken occasionally or in conjunction with other nootropic supplements as a part of a stack. This drug just should not be taken on a daily basis.

 

Brainy Conclusion

Overall L-Dopa has many common and uncommon side effects that are at varying degrees of severity. In some cases it could be fatal. It can be addictive and just doesn’t seem like a safe drug to take for leisure or athletic purposes. There has been some studies conducted on humans and animals to observe the effects on these subjects. There may still be a lot of unknowns about this drug may affect the human brain and body overall. There is no guarantee that it will cure parkinson’s disease, stress or anxiety. It curing depression has certainly not been adequately proven. Consulting a doctor before taking L-Dopa is strongly advised.

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