Dopamine : Natural ways to Increase Dopamine Levels
Dopamine is an excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter, depending on the dopamine receptor it binds to. It is derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Dopamine is the precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine, which are all catecholamines. The function of dopamine is diverse but plays a large role in the pleasure/reward pathway (addiction and thrills), memory, and motor control. Dopamine, like norepinephrine and epinephrine, is stored in vesicles in the axon terminal.
Symptoms of Dopamine Deficiency
Low dopamine levels can cause depression, loss of motor control, loss of satisfaction, addictions, cravings, compulsions, low sex drive, poor attention and focus. When dopamine levels are elevated symptoms may manifest in the form of anxiety, paranoia, or hyperactivity.
If you answered yes to any of the above you could have low dopmine levels.
What causes low dopamine levels?
Dopamine levels are depleted by stress, certain antidepressants, drug use, poor nutrition, and poor sleep. Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar all seem to decrease dopamine activity in the brain.
Foods that increase Dopamine
Food sources of dopamine increasing tyrosine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Dopamine is easily oxidized. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables may help protect dopamine-using neurons from free radical damage. Many healthcare professionals recommend supplementing with vitamins C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.
Foods such as sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol, and refined foods interfere with proper brain function and can cause low dopamine. Consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol should also be reduced because they can clog the arteries to the brain, heart, and other organs.
Caffeine must also be avoided by persons with depression. Caffeine is a stimulant which initially speeds up neurotransmission, raises the amount of serotonin, and temporarily elevates mood.
Increase dopamine production through the use of dopamine precursors.
Dopamine precursors are specific amino acids that our brains utilize to manufacture dopamine. Neurotransmitters are frequently not supplied in great enough levels by our modern diet or in the way our brain best utilizes them. As stress further depletes supplies it is difficult, if not impossible, for the brain to restore necessary amounts to proper levels. Dopamine supplements are required to increase dopamine and other neurotransmitter supplies. Dopamine supplements increase dopamine naturally with little to no side effects.