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Dopamine Hormone: Ways To Increase Dopamine

Ways To Increase Dopamine: Dopamine is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) and hormone in your brain that impacts reward, motivation, memory, attention, and body movements. When dopamine is released in large amounts—like when exercising or when eating something tasty—it creates feelings of pleasure, which motivates you to repeat the behavior in order to recreate those feel-good sensations.

Conversely, when your body has low levels of dopamine, you might experience decreased enthusiasm as well as lack of motivation—even for things that other people might take pleasure in. Although your dopamine levels are typically regulated by your central nervous system, there are things you can do to increase your dopamine levels.

What Are the Symptoms of Low Dopamine?

Ways To Increase Dopamine, Low levels of dopamine have been linked to a number of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome, attention deficit disorder, and depression. That means the condition symptoms themselves could be a sign your dopamine is low. Some of the potential symptoms of low dopamine include:

Ongoing constipation

Chronic pain

Difficulty swallowing

Insomnia and other sleep disorders

Fatigue or excessive tiredness

Attention difficulties or brain fog

Uncontrollable movements, tremors, or shakiness

Impulsive tendencies

Low mood and loss of interest in activities

How to Know If You Have Low Dopamine

While healthcare providers do not routinely check your dopamine levels, levels can be measured through a urine test. Less commonly, dopamine levels can be measured with a blood test. Both the urine and blood test measure three catecholamines, which are types of hormones. Dopamine is one, and the other two are epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine.

Ways To Increase Dopamine, Normal levels of dopamine using the urine test are 65 to 400 micrograms (mcg) over a 24-hour period. Normal levels of dopamine using the blood test are 0 to 30 picograms per milliliter. These normal ranges can vary slightly from lab to lab. A healthcare provider will interpret the catecholamine test results for you and decide whether any additional testing is needed.

However, these catecholamine tests are most often done to help diagnose and monitor treatment for rare tumors. If a healthcare provider suspects a condition related to low dopamine, they will follow the diagnostic steps for that specific condition, which might not include a catecholamine test.

A healthcare provider might measure the density of dopamine transporters, which are responsible for the movement of dopamine. They do this by injecting you with a radioactive substance and monitoring how the substance binds to the transporters. the test itself is not a diagnostic tool. Rather, it can be one part of a series of tests and imaging that can support a diagnosis of a condition related to low dopamine, such as Parkinson’s.

Ways to Increase Dopamine

Ways To Increase Dopamine, There are a number of ways to increase your dopamine levels. Depending on what health condition you have, you might be prescribed medication to address your low dopamine levels. There are also dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to increase your dopamine.

1. Make Dietary Changes

Eating certain foods can be an effective way to increase your dopamine levels. For instance, foods high in the amino acid tyrosine make a great addition to your diet, especially since your body needs this substance to make dopamine. You can consider incorporating the following high-tyrosine foods into your diet:











Whole grains

Beans—particularly fava beans and velvet beans—have also been shown to have a positive impact on dopamine levels. These beans naturally contain L-dopa, which is a precursor to dopamine. Research shows that for people with dopamine-deficiency diseases like Parkinson’s disease, eating beans that have L-dopa may help improve dopamine levels.

Meanwhile, bananas, plantains, and avocados are natural sources of dopamine itself.

2. Consider Taking Supplements

Ways To Increase Dopamine, While the connection between supplements and dopamine levels is still being studied, some preliminary research suggests that taking certain supplements may increase your dopamine levels. For instance, a study in 2019 of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that supplementing with vitamin D3 daily increased dopamine levels.

There is also research indicating that supplements like curcumin, oregano extract, and green tea have been linked to increased dopamine levels.

Meanwhile, some vitamins and minerals are needed to make dopamine. Some of these include niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.

Before taking any supplement, talk with a healthcare provider. Supplements can interact with other supplements you may be taking, as well as with medication or conditions. A provider can advise if the supplement you want to take is safe for you.

3. Get More Physical Activity

Ways To Increase Dopamine

Consistent exercise can improve your mood and your cognitive function. Many of these benefits are the result of dopamine, which is released when you get your body moving.26 For example, a three-month study found that performing one hour of yoga six days a week increased dopamine levels.

4. Engage in Meditation


Meditation is known for its positive impact on physical and mental health. What’s more, research shows that engaging in focused attention meditation, where you learn to maintain focus and attention despite the distractions around you, can help increase your dopamine levels. In fact, neuroimaging studies show that your striatum, a core part of the dopamine system in the brain, is activated during meditation. As such, it’s believed that meditation can foster dopamine production.

5. Socialize With Others

socialized with others

Ways To Increase Dopamine, When you interact with other people, you promote the release of dopamine in your brain. Social interaction can trigger the release of oxytocin throughout your body. This feel-good chemical, in turn, stimulates dopamine release in the brain.

6. Make Sleep a Priority

sleep well

Ways To Increase Dopamine, Although dopamine is usually associated with being alert and active, there is research that suggests being alert for too long can deplete your dopamine reserves. In fact, one study found that when people are forced to stay awake, the availability of dopamine receptors in their brains are dramatically depleted by the next morning.

Getting regular sleep can keep you feeling rested and alert. It also can help maintain your dopamine levels and help you function better throughout the day.

7. Get Some Sunlight


Ways To Increase Dopamine, It is well established that sunlight—or the lack of it—can have a direct impact on your mood. More specifically, sunlight can play a key role in your dopamine production. For instance, an older study involving 68 adults found that those who received the most sunlight exposure had the highest amount of dopamine receptors in the reward and movement parts of their brains.

8. Listen to Music

listen to music

There is nothing like listening to a favorite song or selecting an upbeat tune to boost your mood. A lot of this has to do with the fact that listening to music increases activity in the reward areas of your brain, which are rich with dopamine receptors.

Likewise, research has shown that listening to music can help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their fine motor control, particularly because of the impact it has on your dopamine system.

9. Take Medications


Ways To Increase Dopamine, Some medications increase the level of dopamine in your brain. This includes Ritlin (methylphenidate), which is used in the management of ADHD.

Levodopa, which is used to manage Parkinson’s motor symptoms, can also increase your dopamine. When taken in pill form, the blood in the small intestine absorbs the drug. When the Levodopa-containing blood gets to the brain, the drug is converted into dopamine.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are a class of drugs that maybe used to treat Parkinson’s disease and certain types of depression. The drugs break down dopamine in the brain, increasing levels and making the substance more available.

Dopaminergic agonists, such as Requip (ropinirole) and Mirapex (pramipexole), that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome don’t actually increase dopamine levels but instead act in a way that tricks the body into thinking it has the dopamine it needs. The drugs do this by mimicking the effects of dopamine.

A healthcare provider will determine whether you need a dopamine-targeting medication for whatever condition you have and decide which one is best for you.

10. When To See a Healthcare Provider


Consider seeing a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of any condition associated with low dopamine, such as depression, restless legs syndrome, attention deficit disorders, or Parkinson’s disease. Psychological symptoms can include depressed mood, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, feelings of hopelessness, and trouble concentrating. Physical symptoms may include tremors, difficulty swallowing, and changes in how you walk.

A healthcare provider can take a thorough medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and order tests as needed. Once they determine the root of your symptoms, they can begin to treat your condition, which may include targeting your dopamine levels.

A Quick Review

Ways To Increase Dopamine, Having low dopamine levels is often associated with medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, and attention deficit disorders. If you have low dopamine levels, you will likely experience a variety of symptoms depending on your underlying condition. For instance, people with low dopamine levels and depression might experience a depressed mood, loss of interest in favorite activities, and hopelessness.

While healthcare providers do not typically test for low dopamine levels, your levels can be tested with either a blood test or a urine test. If you are concerned that your dopamine levels could be low or you think you have a condition that often occurs alongside low dopamine levels, visit a healthcare provider. They can review your medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and order any necessary tests needed for your suspected condition.

Also Read:

Easy Ways To Manage And Relieve Stress

Boosting Brain Function: 7 Tea For Focus, Memory & Energy To Boosting Brain Function 

7 Ways To Improve Your Memory

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