How To Increase Dopamine Naturally

How To Increase Dopamine Naturally

By Paul Gardner

If your natural dopamine levels reduce you can start to experience a lack of motivation, sleeping problems, memory loss and even a lack of libido.

This article will tell you how you can start to increase your dopamine production naturally.

what is dopamine

What Is Dopamine?

Dopmanine is a key neurotransmitter found in the human brain, these help the 80 billion or so neurons in the brain to communicate with each other. 

Each different type of neurotransmitter performs certain functions in the brain. 

Dopamine is linked to certain aspects of our natural behaviour including pleasure seeking, motivation, movement, attention, learning, memory and our moods. 

It is produced by a small number of neurons that are found in just a few areas of the brain. It is also used in a few areas outside our central nervous system such as the immune system, our kidneys and pancreas.

Dopamine is created locally it does not have the capability to move freely across the blood-brain barrier. It is not just limited to human behaviour, it is also found in both the animal kingdom as well as certain plants.

Effects Of Dopamine

dopamine effects

Dopamine is in effect your “motivation molecule”. 

It drives our focus, determination and concentration. 

It also regulates our pleasure/reward system and is responsible for the feeling of joy or even euphoria when we experience success, be it in sport, business or our personal lives.

Should Dopamine levels drop for any reason, we can be left feeling unmotivated, unfocussed, lethargic and even depressed.

One study involving mice who were dopamine deficient saw them lose the motivation to even eat. 

With plenty of food being available for them, they strangely chose to starve – Read More

Identifying Dopamine Deficiency

dopamine deficiency

If you become deficient in dopamine you will certainly lose your zest for life, your energy levels will be low, you will lose motivation and will almost certainly turn to stimulants such as caffeine to help get you through the day

The most common symptoms of being deficient in dopamine include:

  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low libido
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Memory loss
  • inability to focus or concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep problems

Dopamine deficiency can also lead to addiction, depression, attention deficit disorder as well as other self destructive behaviours

What Causes Low Dopamine

There are a number of reasons why our dopamine levels can reduce, some of the most common include:

  • Poor diet
  • Nutritional or vitamin deficiencies
  • obesity
  • thyroid disorders
  • Addictions

Some drugs can also reduce dopamine production. These can include medications used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar and similar conditions, also certain anti sickness drugs can have the same effect.

Increasing Dopamine

There are a number of ways that you can boost the dopamine in your body. 

Now this isn’t just about making more dopamine, the increase could be a number of ways:

  • You trigger the production of more dopamine
  • You reduce the breakdown of dopamine leaving more available
  • the recirculation of existing dopamine is increased
  • More dopamine receptors are created
  • the existing receptors are working more effectively

There are of course some good ways to ensure that you have more dopamine and some bad ones too:

The Bad

dopamine antagonists

Dopamine is released whenever we do anything tantamount to our survival – eating, drinking, having sex and even making money all trigger the release of dopamine. 

One reputable publication written by neuroscientist John Coates demonstrated that these natural human activities helped boost dopamine by up to 100%. 

The use of certain drugs increased dopamine at a far greater level.

Nicotine for instance produced a 200% increase, cocaine by 400% and the use of amphetamines saw dopamine increase by up to 1000%.

In other words people who turned to addictive, potentially self destructive behaviours saw a dramatic dopamine boost.

Experts have found that the use and abuse of alcohol, sugar, drugs, video games, online porn and gambling can all provide a powerful but short-lived increase in dopamine.

Now you do not have to live a rock stars life to boost your dopamine levels, there are some healthier ways to boost your dopamine naturally instead.

 

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The Good

Foods That Boost Dopamine

foods that boost dopamine

There are a great number of foods that contain dopamine:

  • All animal products (meats, fish, poultry , eggs and dairy)
  • apples
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • beans and nuts
  • beets
  • coffee
  • chocolate
  • leafy green vegetables
  • green tea
  • Olive oil
  • rosemary
  • soy products
  • turmeric
  • watermelon

One of the most powerful sources are Fava beans – these are part of a small group of foods that include L-dopa which is a direct precursor to dopamine. 

This is commonly used to treat conditions such as Parkinsons disease.

Other foods that are high in natural probitics can also increase natural dopamine production. 

These include live yoghurts and raw sauerkraut as two examples. 

This is crucial point, the health of your gut, in particular the intestinal flora has direct impact on the production of dopamine. 

Bad bacteria in the gut causes the build up of lipopolysaccharides which destroy the brain cells responsible for dopamine production.

Foods To Avoid

There are some foods that you should ideally avoid as they can be detrimental to dopamine production. Foods high in saturated fat for instance reduce the sensitivity of dopamine receptors.

Sugar can help provide a temporary boost to dopamine, but this quickly wears off and can actually lead to dopamine deficiency.

Avoid artificial sweeteners too, Aspartame for instance reduces both dopamine and serotonin, another key neurotransmitter.

Dopamine Supplements

dopamine supplements

Food on its own cannot always be relied on to fully boost your dopamine levels. There are some natural supplements that are proven to help boost dopamine levels.

Here Are 5 Of The Best Dopamine Enhancing Supplements:

L-Tyrosine

One of the most crucial of all brain supplements, it is a natural dopamine precursor that is not always found in sufficient quantities in our diet. L-Tyrosine can also help alleviate stress, fatigue and certain illnesses too.

Gingko Biloba

A traditional natural extract that is used to treat a number of brain related conditions. memory, poor concentration, fatigue, depression and anxiety are all improved with ginkgo biloba supplementation.  It works by naturally increasing dopamine production

L-Theanine

Commonly found in green, black and white teas. It helps to improve recall, learning and moods. Dopamine can be increased by either taking a good supplement or by drinking these teas. 

Green tea appears to offer the best results, whats more it contains the lowest amount of caffeine too.

L-Theanine helps to increase dopamine, serotonin as well as the realising neurotransmitter GABA.

Mucuna Pruriens

A natural bean (legume) high in L-Dopa – a key dopamine precursor. 

Supplements containing mucuna pruriens can help enhance moods, libido and boost general brain health. 

It has also been found to be highly effective at the treatment of parkinsons disease, a condition that is characterised by low dopamine levels

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Think of Phosphatidylserine as your brains doorman, it controls the nutrients and waste that both come into and go out of your brain. 

Supplementing with PS has been shown to boost memory, learning, concentration, mood and also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD

Healthy Lifestyle

dopamine healthy lifestyle

Its not just our diet and supplements that can help boost dopamine naturally, some sensible changes to lifestyle can also have a huge effect on its production.

Physical exercise is an amazing tonic for the brain and its overall health, it boosts the regeneration of brain cells, slowing down brain cell ageing and increases the flow of essential nutrients and oxygen throughout the brain. 

It also helps to boost production of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine to help reduce stress and relax the body.

Dopamine also release natural pain killers endorphins – something responsible for the effect known as “Runners High”

But you don’t have to run miles every day, you can boost your dopamine simply by taking a daily walk, maybe a cycle ride or simply doing yoga or any other low impact exercise can have far reaching benefits to the mind and body.

If the weather allows, get outside in the sun, exposure to the sun delivers crucial vitamin D to the body, this is another key precursor to dopamine production.

Other ways to naturally boost dopamine can include meditation, taking part in creative hobbies such as knitting, drawing, photography, wood and metal working all calm the mind and help to elevate dopamine production. 

Listening to music is another proven way to increase your dopamine levels.

Losing weight can really help too, there is a strong link between obesity and reduced dopamine. 

Its actually a proven fact that those who are obese have fewer dopamine receptors, this can reduce the usual feeling of satisfaction from eating which in turn leads them to eat more in what can be a ‘hard to break’ circle

Cold showers (if you are brave) are a sure fire way to give your dopamine production a healthy boost.

In fact experts tell us that you can increase it by up to 250% by showering in water at 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Centigrade) – even for the final 30 seconds before you leave the shower.

Enjoy The Feeling Of Success

dopamine

We all love to celebrate when things go well, or we win a game or meet a challenge.. Now those feelings do not naturally happen in our general everyday lives. 

You can trigger dopamine production by mimicking those feelings of joy by setting small challenges each day  – set small tasks such as catching up on all your emails, or clearing that garage out. 

Also try to set a few larger challenges, maybe quit a bad habit like smoking or set and stick to a strict budget to reduce any debts. 

All of these can provide small victories that can and will send your dopamine production soaring. The harder the goal, the better you will feel when you reach it and this will mean more dopamine overall.

To Sum Up

Boosting dopamine can be achieved in many ways. 

Having adequate dopamine production will help your life in so many ways, you will feel energised, happier and ready for everything life can and possibly will throw at you. 

Let its production drop and you could face daily fatigue, poor moods and even depression and possibly addiction.

By following these hints and tips, eating well, exercising and using the right supplements alongside proper goal setting techniques you can enjoy strong dopamine production with all the health benefits that it brings.

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The information in this website is for advice and guidance only. It is based on my own intensive research into nootropics and my personal experiences with certain products. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, or to diagnose or treat any health conditions. All rights reserved.