Dopamine is an organic chemical that functions as both a neurotransmitter and hormone. It is important as it plays vital roles in both brain and body. It is synthesized through the removal of the carboxyl group from a molecule of the precursor chemical (L-DOPA), which is synthesized in the kidneys and brain. In the brain, it serves as a neurotransmitter to send signals to other neurons.
There are several distinct dopamine pathways where one plays a major role in the component of the reward motivated behavior. It is also involved in motor control and control over release of other hormones. Dopamine functions as a local paracrine messenger outside the central nervous system. It acts as a vasodilator, increases sodium excretion, increases urine output, reduces the production of insulin, decreases gastrointestinal motility, protects intestinal mucosa, and decreases lymphocytic activity.
Since it has many functions, the right balance is important for both mental and physical well-being. When dopamine levels are low, it can lead to the various symptoms discussed in this article.
Symptom #1: Muscle Cramps
A cramp is an involuntary and sudden muscle contraction that is temporary while causing pain and paralysis-like immobility. Despite a sudden onset, it also resolves spontaneously after some time.
Cramps can occur in both skeletal or smooth muscle. Some causes of muscle cramps include electrolyte imbalance, gastroenteritis, overuse, overstretching, and menstruation. Muscle cramps, spasms, or tremors are possible symptoms of having low dopamine levels.