Part 1 of this series described what is occurring if someone is shown to have dopamine fluctuations on urinary lab testing. This post will describe the clinical implications of these dopamine fluctuations and how they can be properly managed.

Clinical Implications

When the melanin steal occurs, it causes the dopamine levels in the system to fluctuate. This can cause any symptom(s) related to neurotransmitter imbalance to fluctuate. These fluctuations can happen over the course of a day, over several days, and occasionally, over several weeks. For instance, if someone is experiencing dopamine fluctuations, they may experience varying degrees of any symptom relating to neurotransmitter imbalance, such as depression, anxiety/panic attacks, focus, concentration, memory, sleep disturbance, cravings, etc. at varying intervals; in other words, a person’s symptoms will appear to ‘come and go’ or fluctuate.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may see a wide swing in the control over their Parkinson’s disease symptoms. This is especially noticeable when someone has achieved seemingly good control over their symptoms and then they suddenly reappear – “out of nowhere”. On occasion, we also see symptoms of inconsistent nausea and/or gastrointestinal distress occur.  Often times, the melanin steal is the culprit.

This is where proper testing and interpretation is critical. If lab testing indicates dopamine fluctuations (and therefore the melanin steal) are present, high dose L-tyrosine is initiated. Tyrosine is the only known way to saturate the melanin steal and provide adequate L-dopa to establish optimal neurotransmitter function. Testing and adjusting the amount of L-tyrosine that is required to saturate the melanin steal are continued until testing indicates the dopamine fluctuations are under control. At that point, further adjustment of the other amino acids can be done until optimal function is achieved.

Dopamine fluctuations and the melanin steal are often times very difficult for people undergoing amino acid therapy to understand. Likewise, many health care providers that dabble in amino acid therapy have a hard time managing this process and/or using testing correctly in order to guide their patients through this process. This is where having a health care provider that is properly trained and with a great deal of clinical experience with amino acid therapy can be invaluable.

If you are struggling with amino acid therapy and/or need additional guidance, find a provider that is experienced with amino acid therapy and/or contact us.