Dr. Dave here again. As I discussed in my last blog, by Groundhog Day, more New Year's resolutions have been broken than kept. Assuming for a moment that, despite what you have may have been told, you are neither stupid nor lazy, then why is it so hard to keep resolutions â€" lose weight, slow down, get organized, spend more time with family and friends – in the long run? And what if the behavior you resolve to change is actually a significant compulsion or addiction: sex, drugs (+/- rock and roll), alcohol, cigarettes, shopping, or food?
Such habits offer you either immediate relief or substantial gratification or both, and can be extremely difficult to kick. Is it really poor self-control that prevents you from making headway toward changing your behavior? Probably not. Neurotransmitter imbalance is likely to blame.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that travel between nerve cells (neurons) and communicate information throughout your brain and body. Neurotransmitters influence â€" among other things – the way you act, think, feel, move, learn, eat, and sleep. Imbalances among these chemical messengers may cause any number of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
While a variety of neurotransmitters affect your behavior, dopamine is the one most strongly associated with the pleasure and reward mechanisms in the brain. Drugs like opioids, nicotine and alcohol directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Risky behaviors like gambling and sex addiction also increase dopamine levels. If it feels good, dopamine neurons are probably involved.
In addition, dopamine, derived from the amino acid tyrosine, plays a pivotal role in a wide range of brain functions: movement, emotions, the experience of pleasure, and memory.
Moreover, as a member of the catecholamine family, dopamine is also a building block for two other critical energizing neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and epinephrine. This means that too much or too little dopamine can also contribute to symptoms associated with norepinephrine and epinephrine imbalance.
Insufficient levels of dopamine can lead to a wide range of serious symptoms, including:
If your dopamine is low, you may experience feelings of boredom, apathy, or even depressed mood. You may lack the energy and motivation to carry out ordinary tasks, and you may have trouble focusing or making decisions. In addition, you may experience physical symptoms such as becoming easily chilled, and you may have a tendency to put on weight.
So what should you do if you think your dopamine level is low or out of balance with your other neurotransmitters?
Ideally, you should have your dopamine level checked. We offer several safe, reliable, non-invasive, and convenient laboratory kits that can measure dopamine and your other neurotransmitters.
Identifying neurotransmitter imbalances and correcting them with nutritional therapies creates a foundation for addressing not only addiction but also many core total-person functions: improved sleep, increased energy, sharpened focus and concentration, heightened motivation, lower anxiety, less intense cravings and improved sense of well-being.
If you decide to forgo testing because you are already convinced by your signs and symptoms you suffer from low dopamine, then check out some of our Dopamine Nutritional Supplements. We are very proud of our newest and most powerful dopamine supplement: DOPA Maxx ES.
A unique combination of amino acid building blocks, vitamins, and minerals, DOPA Maxx ES supports the excitatory neurotransmitter systems of dopamine, norepinephrine, PEA, and epinephrine. To read more about our exciting new formulation DOPA Maxx, ES click here.
And as always, let us know what you think,