An Athlete’s Guide To L-Dopa
L-Dopa is most widely known for its role in Parkinson’s Disease. But what actually is it? What does it do? And how can athletes benefit from it?
What Is L-Dopa?
L-dopa is an amino acid and precursor of dopamine, however, it plays a role in both epinephrine and norepinephrine as well. L-dopa is naturally produced in animals and plants and produced from the amino acid, L-tyrosine.
L-dopa is a compound from which dopamine is made within the body. Optimal levels of dopamine help your body regulate blood flow, maintain a proper appetite, and even play a part in learning and cognitive function.
Mucuna pruriens is a tropical bean abundant in L-dopa. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “dopamine bean” because it’s such a powerful source. This adaptogen can be used to lower stress, reduce anxiety, improve focus, boost libido, and improve mood. These benefits are due to the levels of L-dopa found within this “dopa bean”.
How Does L-Dopa Increase Dopamine?
Unlike dopamine, L-dopa has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This is how it increases dopamine in the brain.
Think of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) as a filter, allowing some substances in while keeping others out. Once L-dopa passes the barrier, it’s taken up by dopaminergic neurons which then convert it to dopamine.
But when it comes to L-dopa and Mucuna, how can an athlete benefit from them?
Benefits of L-Dopa and Mucuna For An Athlete
- May help in the secretion of HGH
- May increase testosterone
- May improve mental alertness
- May increase motivation
#1: L-Dopa May Help In The Secretion of HGH
One study shows that dopamine agonists play a key role in moderating the secretion of HGH and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
As we age, the amount of HGH secreted by the pituitary gland declines, making it harder to maintain and develop muscle mass and strength. That’s why supplementing with mucuna is key.
#2: L-Dopa May Increase Testosterone
#3: L-Dopa May Improve Mental Alertess
#4: L-Dopa May Improve Motivation
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.