L-dopa is a chemical that is produced naturally by the human body. Among its other functions it serves as a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine. It is also precursor to the biological pigment melanin.
L-dopa is employed to increase dopamine concentrations in patients with Parkinson's disease and dopamine-responsive dystonia. George Cotzias and his coworkers, won the 1969 Lasker Award for their work on making this treatment practical.
The 1990 movie Awakenings is based on the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks. He administered L-dopa to patients with catatonia. The patients were awakened from catatonia after decades of being incapacitated, and had to resume their lives.
Effects of L-dopa can include:
--- Pain Relief.
--- Increased Energy.
--- Decreased Anxiety.
--- Reduced Depression.
--- Improved Thinking.
--- Increased Sexual Libido.
--- Improved Tolerance To Stress.
For some people it can induce mental relaxation and either increase or decrease physically energy. It can delay the start of macular degeneration, a condition that can cause loss of vision, blurred vision, or hallucinations, in the center of view.
L-dopa is a dopamine precursor, which means the body converts it to dopamine. It also serves as a precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine. Supplementing can be beneficial to those who experience reduced natural levels of these chemicals.
If L-dopa levels are low, the body can be limited in its ability to synthesize adequate levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, or epinephrine, all of which are important neurotransmitters. Detrimental effects can result when levels get too low.
If you take large doses of L-dopa, or take it on a daily basis, there is a relationship between dopamine precursors, serotonin precursors, sulfur amino acids that you should be aware of. See this for more information.
--- L-dopa may reduce tryptophan levels.
--- L-dopa may reduce serotonin levels.
--- L-dopa may reduce tyrosine levels.
--- L-dopa may reduce sulfur amino acid levels.
For most individuals taking L-dopa as a supplement, doses in the range of 150-500 milligrams provide optimal results. Doses as low as 100 mg may be effective for some people, while others may require 500 milligrams or more.
Doses larger than 500 mg may increase the chance of negative side effects. Maximum daily intake should be limited to about 2500 mg. Doses larger than 500 mg or taking over 2500 mg per day could possibly trigger pre-existing psychiatric disorders.
Taking L-dopa on a daily basis is not recommended unless your doctor approves. If there is the need, wait 3-4 days between L-dopa doses and take phenylalanine and/or tyrosine (other dopamine precursors) on days you don't take the L-dopa.
If your body gets used to getting external daily supplements of L-dopa long term (rather than biosynthesizing it) and you stop taking it, it can take days or weeks, until L-dopa and dopamine production gets back to normal.
L-dopa is not addictive but some people report developing a tolerance when L-dopa is consumed on a daily basis. The powder is semi-soluble in water, and can be put in capsules and washed down with a drink.
On an empty stomach, it takes 15-30 minutes to start working and about 60-90 minutes to fully kick in. L-dopa may cause nausea. This can be reduced or eliminated by eating just before, or when, you take a dose.
Protein will probably interfere with the ability of the body to absorb L-dopa and should be avoided when taking it. Green tea extract can courter-act sedating effects and increase the potency of L-dopa, as well as decrease side effects.
Carbidopa increases the potency of L-dopa by reducing its breakdown and it can help reduce the side effects of L-dopa. It can also reduce the amount of L-dopa that gets converted to dopamine in parts of the body other than the brain and cns.
Getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals can help the body utilize the L-dopa more efficiently. If you take a multivitamin, do not take it with L-dopa. Coadministering vitamin B6 can reduce the effectiveness of L-dopa.
Prior to utilizing L-dopa, to be safe discuss it with your physician. On your first attempt it might be the best thing to try working with a small quantity, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 milligrams or less.
A small dose size will give you an indication of the possible results as well as alerting you to any negative reactions. At small dose sizes, the effects are subtle and some people might not notice anything.
Taking L-dopa with an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) can result in increased side-effects including dangerously elevated blood pressure, blurred vision, muscle twitching.
It is rare for large doses to cause an overdose that results in fatalities, but adverse reactions are possible and could be dangerous or even life threatening to those who are sensitive.
L-dopa may contribute to or affect:
--- Hair loss.
--- Vivid dreams.
--- Impaired thinking.
--- Irregular heartbeat.
--- Confused thinking.
--- Emotional extremes.
--- A change in respiration.
--- A change in blood pressure.
--- Hallucinations (auditory and visual).
--- Bleeding in the stomach or intestines.