Pleasure, Love and Integration of Thoughts and Feelings
Phenylalanine and tyrosine are precursors to the body’s three “fight or flight” neurotransmitters, dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine.
Phenylalanine—converts to—>Tyrosine—converts to—>DOPA—converts to—>Dopamine
Dopamine is widespread in the brain as well as the rest of the nervous system. This neurotransmitter plays a critical role in the control of movement. It has a stimulating effect on the heart, the circulation, the rate of metabolism, and is able to mobilize many of the body’s energy reserves. It helps to modulate brain activity, control coordination and movement, and regulate the flow of information to different areas of the brain. Dopamine is believed to release chemicals that allow us to feel pleasure (e.g., endorphins). A massive disturbance of dopamine regulation in the brain can result in a person no longer being able to respond emotionally or express his or her feelings in an appropriate way (e.g., schizophrenia).
The main precursor for this neurotransmitter is the nonessential amino acid tyrosine. While tyrosine is contained in many foods, it is classified as a nonessential amino acids because ordinarily our bodies can create it. Still, deficiencies in the production of tyrosine can occur, and increased dietary supplementation may be necessary. Folic acid, niacin, iron, and B6 are necessary cofactors.
Optimal quantities of Dopamine result in:
- Feelings of pleasure
- Feelings of attachment/love
- Sense of Altruism
- Integration of thoughts and feelings
Dopamine Deficiencies result in:
- Lack of ability to feel love, sense attachment to another
- Lack of remorse about actions
- Vitamin B6
Useful sources of building blocks for Dopamine:
- Blue-green algae
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sweet peppers