Did you know that dopamine receptors exist in your gastrointestinal tract? A whopping half of them are in your gut! Along with serotonin, gut bacteria also produce dopamine and GABA; but what’s really fascinating is that some of the short chain fatty acids and other metabolites gut bacteria spit out are able to work their way up to your brain. This then changes the behavior of immune system cells in the brain called microglia. This connection between your gut and your brain, via the Vagus nerve, is called the gut-brain axis.
What we’re realizing now is that certain neurological diseases are actually strongly linked to the gut microbiome. Parkinson’s is caused by decreased dopamine production in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, but the question is why? The theory is that gut microbiome metabolites affect microglia behavior, causing them to destroy dopamine producing neurons in the brain.
So while dopamine is in charge of the reward system, it also has other roles in other parts of the brain, such as affecting movement and coordination. Dopamine does play a huge role when it comes to attraction and falling in love, but you should think of it more like an all purpose key, able to open many doors.
If you want to put a scientific twist to commonly seen jewelry, check out our dopamine collection. It’s easy to find traditional key pendants, but our dopamine molecule necklace signifies a much cooler universal key: the one that unlocks multiple functions* in your brain. Plus, you can even pair it with either the brain or gastrointestinal necklace as a geeky alternative to those key and lock pendants. Whatever you do, go with your gut feeling!
*Some functions of dopamine are still unclear.