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by Dr.Dave on Jun 2, 2014
Our mood is regulated by certain chemicals in our body. These components make it possible for us to feel different types of emotions. One of the hormones that make us feel good is dopamine. Dopamine is produced by the brain when we experience pleasurable situations. It is among the “happy hormones” that mediates the feeling of bliss, pleasure and even euphoria.
Aside from its role in regulating mood, dopamine is important for proper movement and cognitive functions. Abnormal levels of dopamine can cause delayed, uncoordinated or unnecessary movements. This hormone improves memory and concentration, and also controls the flow of information in some portions of the brain.
3 Do you often feel down, flat, bored or apathetic?
2 Tired, fatigued, low on physical or mental energy? Inability to feel pleasure?
2 Suffer from low drive, enthusiasm and motivation?
2 Difficulty focusing or concentrating, ever been diagnosed with ADD?
3 Are you a thrill seeker or risk-taker?
3 Do you get easily chilled? Do you have cold hands or feet?
2 Tend to put on weight too easily?
3 Use a lot of coffee or other “uppers” like sugar, diet soda, or ephedra to get motivated?
3 Have restless legs or tremors?
Total Score ____________
Instructions: Add up the points for the questions you ansered yes to.
If your score is more than 6 points then you are probably experiencing symptoms of low dopamine.
Insufficient amount of dopamine can cause weight gain, depression and impaired brain functions, while extreme deficiency can lead to Parkinson’s disease characterized by permanent impairment of motor capabilities. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase dopamine naturally.
You can increase dopamine levels naturally through diet. Here are some foods known to boost dopamine levels:
This fruit contains tyrosine, an amino acid that promotes an increase in dopamine levels. High concentration of these is found in ripe bananas.
Apples have quercetin, an antioxidant known to increase the production of dopamine and protects against degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Betain, an amino acid present in beets, supports the production of a chemical involved in the synthesis of dopamine.
Packed with vitamin B6, watermelon can help boost dopamine levels. Vitamin B6 is involved in the manufacture of dopamine.
Protein-rich foods, specifically the ones with amino acid phenylalanine, encourage the production dopamine. Phenylalanine is converted to tyrosine, an important component in the synthesis of dopamine. Good sources of protein with phenylalanine are chicken, beef, cheese, beans, legumes, wheat germ and eggs.
These vegetables are rich in folate that promotes dopamine synthesis.
Herbs like fenugreek, milk thistle, ginseng, red clover, nettles and peppermint help increase dopamine levels.
Other foods that boost dopamine production are artichokes, avocado, strawberries, prunes and blueberries.
Exercise increases dopamine levels. It promotes brain activity and stimulates the release of dopamine. It takes about 20-30 minutes of exercise a day to trigger dopamine production.
Too much sugar can disrupt brain chemistry and deplete dopamine levels. Diminished dopamine levels can result to sugar addiction.
Caffeine has a stimulating effect, but it can cause significant drop in dopamine levels. You can opt to consume decaf or reduce your coffee consumption.
Sleep allows the brain to rejuvenate and produce dopamine efficiently. Lack of sleep can also cause a decrease in dopamine levels.
Antioxidants are important to maintain dopamine levels as this chemical is easily oxidized. Vitamins C and E prevent free-radical damage and protect the brain neurons that utilize dopamine. Similarly, vitamin B, folic acid and tyrosine promote the release of dopamine.
Stress is highly associated with dopamine deficiency. As much as possible, do not let stress beat you. Keep a positive outlook and do activities that you enjoy.
Having a new goal can keep you motivated, and as you move towards your goal, you experience the feelings of excitement and happiness. Your motivation and anticipation of a reward will increase your dopamine levels to give you that “feel-good” emotion.
Dopamine supplements provide the raw materials for your brain to make more dopamine. This allows you to safely increase your dopamine levels naturally. Our best dopamine supplement is Dopa Maxx ES. It is a unique combination of precursor amino acids, nutriceuticals and cofactors that activates biosynthesis, release and signal strength. Higher levels can boost alertness, libido, feelings of pleasure and emotional wellbeing.
Dr. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA, is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Education at Integrative Psychiatry, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida and the President of Tiberius Enterprises, Inc. in Roanoke, Virginia.An accomplished clinician, educator, and lecturer, Dr. Dave has established himself as a key opinion leader in the fields of both mainstream psychiatry and functional medicine. Dissatisfied with the patient outcomes using only conventional treatments, he began treating his patients by addressing biological imbalances with lifestyle improvements, nutrition and nutraceuticals to get better outcomes. His integrative approach provided much improved results. Dr. Dave is passionate about helping the community he serves by personalizing treatments and educating the public about mental health and healthy aging. He has formulated several of our supplements and sat on the advisory board for many others, ensuring the products we carry are based on science and experience and have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available.