The way the brain and the rest of the body connect to each other is complicated but intriguing. Neurotransmitters, chemicals within the brain, relay signals between nerve cells to tell your body what to do. Your breathing, heartbeat, and digestion are all functions of neurotransmitters performing their job of communication. There are two types of neurotransmitters, excitatory and inhibitory. Excitatory neurotransmitters work to stimulate the brain whereas inhibitory neurotransmitters create a calming balance.
There are many different neurotransmitters that perform various functions for the brain and body. One familiar neurotransmitter is serotonin, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that balances mood, manages the sleep cycle, regulates pain, and controls certain dietary cravings. Dopamine is another very common neurotransmitter.
While serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, dopamine can be considered both inhibitory and excitatory. Whether dopamine levels are high are low within someone’s brain generates very different repercussions. Low levels of dopamine are associated with anxiety, attention problems, decreased expression of feelings, suboptimal cognitive efficiency, depression, disorganization, tiredness, lack of concentration, deterioration of memory, and social withdrawal. Obviously, it’s essential to keep dopamine levels balanced for these critical reasons.
Low dopamine levels can be caused by a neurodegenerative disease, mental illness, or drug use. If this is the case, it’s important to talk to a doctor for instructions on consuming supplemental dopamine properly. Aside from those three more serious disorders, it’s possible to boost dopamine levels without medication. Boosting dopamine levels, however, doesn’t always mean that your body is creating more dopamine. Sometimes the breakdown of dopamine is being slowed, dopamine is being reused, receptors are being made, or receptors are simply working more efficiently.
Dopamine can be sought after through destructive substances and activities. Nicotine, cocaine, and amphetamines increase dopamine levels by 200%, 400%, and 1,000% respectively. These addictive behaviors decrease the levels of dopamine produced and accepted by receptors in the long run. Other actions like excess sex, video games, shopping, alcohol consumption, gambling, caffeine consumption, and other power-hungry behaviors also boost dopamine levels in the short run, but can lead to the negative long-term consequences of maintaining lower dopamine levels.
If you’re looking for a direct dopamine boost without the unhealthy and addicting behavior, but you’re also not looking to cook a meal, there are supplements that can boost your dopamine levels in a healthy manner. L-tyrosine is the most common dopamine booster on the market. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that has a lot to do with the production and absorption of dopamine. Without adequate levels of L-tyrosine, dopamine cannot perform functionally. You would most likely benefit from L-tyrosine supplements if you find yourself to be excessively stressed, tired, or consistently sick.
Mucuna Pruriens is similar to L-tyrosine in relevance to it being needed for dopamine to act accordingly. The chemical within Mucuna Pruriens is l-dopa, the sought after precursor. The herb is used to boost all the evidence of a good balance of dopamine levels in one’s system.
Curcumin is another ingredient that is known to boost dopamine levels. Curcumin is found in the spice turmeric. Curcumin can be bought as a pure supplement. When purchasing this supplement, it’s beneficial to look for a brand that has piperine in it. Piperine aids with Curcumin consumption by almost 2,000%.
Ginkgo Biloba is a supplement also known as a nootropic, meaning it impacts the brain. Ginkgo Biloba is usually consumed to enhance concentration, memory, and mental clarity, as well as decreasing tiredness, anxiety, and headaches. One of the prime ways that Ginkgo Bilboa enhances these features is by increasing dopamine levels.
L-Theanine is a supplement that can be consumed by drinking both green and black tea. Aside from drinking tea for its flavor, L-theanine is used for increased mood, learning, and memory recollection. It works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.
You can also successfully boost your dopamine levels by eating the proper foods. There is a fad diet out there called the “Dopamine Diet.” These foods include:
• Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs)
• Beef, Chicken, Turkey (unprocessed only)
• Bananas (but other fruits and vegetables as well)
• Nuts (almonds and walnuts in particular)
• Fish with Omega-3’s (Salmon and Mackerel)
Most of these ingredients are found in your shopping cart on a weekly basis anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to work them into your diet more regularly. With this, there are other natural ways to boost dopamine levels including exercise, meditation, listening to music, getting a massage, taking a power nap, or a relaxing shower.
Dopamine levels are necessary to maintain for your happiness, proper social function, learning, and memory abilities. Too much dopamine, like most other things, can be detrimental. With a balanced diet or adequate supplementation use, keeping your dopamine levels up to par should be a simple feat.