Amino Acid Precursor to Dopamine and Norepinephrine
|Neurotransmitter||Amino Acid (Building block)||Deficiency||Toxicity||Genetics or Natural Depletion||External/Chemical Source of Depletion||Present in Foods|
|Dopamine||l-phenylalanine||Reduced pleasure, reduced ability to feel attachment and love, lack of remorse about actions||Schizophrenia like symptoms, voices “in your head”||Depleted by trauma. If mother and/or father had diminished dopamine this level can be passed on via genetics.||Depleted by all stimulant drugs, Rx or otherwise. If stimulants, including nicotine and caffeine, used during pregnancy this can lower available dopamine in fetus.||Phenylalanine can be found in lean beef, shellfish, fowl, soy products|
What is Phenylalanine?
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. It exists in two forms, a D and an L form. D-phenylalanine is the enantiomer (mirror image) of l-phenylalanine and is one of the few “d” form aminos that is pharmacologically activity. D-phenylalanine works to inhibit the enzymes that break down the “opioids” in the brain. Opioids are like endorphins and produce a sense of well-being and calm. If the enzymes that break them down are not as active due to the action of d-phenylalanine, then the opioids activity increases and the person has a greater sense of internal calm.
As a Precursor
L-phenylalanine is converted into another amino acid, l-tyrosine. L-tyrosine is converted into l-dopa before being further converted into the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
D/L phenylalanine is a mixture of 50% l-phenylalanine and 50% d-phenylalanine.
Too little phenylalanine may cause anhedonia (an inability to experience pleasure), confusion, emotional agitation, depression, decreased alertness and memory, inability to feel remorse for or recognize consequences of behavior and the lack of sympathy or connection. (See Amino Acid Facts: Precautions)
Before taking any nutritional supplement, including amino acids, please consult your health care provider first.