DOPAMINE AND YOUR GUT
When we talk to neurologists or neuro scientists, or read standard texts on Parkinson’s, we will be told that the symptoms emanate from a deficiency of dopamine in the basal ganglia of the striatum nigra, a tiny portion of our brain.
This belief has meant that most research and treatment has focused on restoring dopamine levels by supplying synthetic levodopa (the precursor to dopamine) or blocking pathways that metabolise dopamine in the brain.
We now know that over 70% of our dopamine is produced in our gut at the end of the methylation detoxification pathway in the biopterin cycle, and then transported to our brain via the vagus nerve. We have also found that other neurotransmitters may be deficient when we are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, including serotonin and anandamide and, get this, most of these neurotransmitters are also produced in the gut.
I wrote about good food choices last week and the production of neurotransmitters, if nothing else, may now convince you that food is critical to our health. It seems logical that, if we choose foods that help us produce more neurotransmitters in our gut and use proven activities (like singing and dancing) to improve vagus nerve health, we may need less medication and/or reduce our symptoms.
Choosing the right foods will also help to reduce constipation, a common challenge for people with Parkinson’s. Constipation and alpha-synuclein are inextricably linked and must be addressed if we are to recover from Parkinson’s. I will write about this next time.
For now, let’s focus on food, gut health and production of levodopa without drugs. I addressed some basic choices for healthy eating last week, so you may want to review those and make sure you are giving your body the best chance to increase dopamine production.
Oh, one little thing I forgot to mention last week. There is a lot of talk about how wonderful green tea is for us. Well, maybe not. More recent research has shown that the polyphenols from green tea can block production of dopamine in the biopterin cycle, so we are much better off drinking Rooibos tea which is higher in antioxidant activity anyway.
This is the thought for this week. Choose the right foods and take care of your gut and you will naturally produce more dopamine.
Free medicine and no adverse effects.