Dopamine: How and Why to Give Yourself a Boost

August 28, 2017 | Wellness Resources

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Dopamine: How and Why to Give Yourself a Boost
Want to break bad habits, and increase your focus, motivation, and mood? Boosting your levels of dopamine can help you do just that. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. A rush of dopamine in the brain plays a role in influencing our guilty pleasures, motivation, mood, eating habits, and possible addictions.

A person who is lacking dopamine enters a level of “brain pain” that is typically associated with the desire for a quick fix that can be self-destructive (too much food, drugs, risk-taking, etc.). Without enough dopamine, life often feels a bit bleak. Symptoms include:

• Lack of motivation
• Lethargy
• Addiction
• Procrastination
• Low libido
• Sleep trouble
• Low mood or moodiness
• Inability to concentrate
• Self-destructive behavior
• Cravings for food or obesity
• Parkinson’s
• Depression and other psychiatric disorders

Low levels of dopamine can result from a poor diet, lack of exercise, nutritional deficiencies, addictions, depression and other psychiatric disorders, head trauma, a genetic propensity, or obesity.
If you suspect you might have low dopamine levels, are overweight, have addictions, or need a mood boost, try these tips to boost dopamine levels in a healthy way.

1. Listen to Music
Scientists have demonstrated that listening to music releases dopamine the brain. The key is to listen to music you truly enjoy. Listening to music you like is supportive of a low-level dopamine release that may be able to boost dopamine levels enough to help you resist cravings and undesirable addictions and even boost your mood.

2. Exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost dopamine levels naturally. Just like with music, the best forms of exercise are types you actually enjoy. Many experts have demonstrated that exercise is helpful in breaking unhealthy habits, even addictions. Therefore, exercise may help to overcome obesity by increasing calorie expenditure as well as addressing food addiction.

3. Get Outside
Researchers studying nearsightedness (which is made worse by low dopamine levels in the eye) note that the best way to stimulate dopamine naturally in the eye is through outdoor light exposure (violet light). By stimulating light receptors and natural circadian rhythms within the eye, violet light increases dopamine production in the retina. Because of this finding, researchers now recommend outdoor activity as a therapy to help prevent nearsightedness.

4. Increase Tyrosine Intake
The amino acid tyrosine is used as the main building block of making dopamine. Acetyl-l-tyrosine is a highly absorbable form of tyrosine that crosses the blood-brain barrier and can help boost production of dopamine and norepinephrine (adrenaline). Both these neurotransmitters are associated with alertness, drive, and motivation. Acetyl-l-tyrosine has also been shown to help a person maintain cognitive function while under stress. Your body also needs adequate zinc, copper, iron, and vitamins B3, B6, and C to convert tyrosine into dopamine.

5. Take Oregano Oil
Oregano oil and its active component, carvacrol, are well-known anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Research is now beginning to explore its potential as a mood boosting antidepressant nutrient.

The fat-soluble nutrient can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and is very active within the brain. Researchers have proven it boosts dopamine in various regions of the brain. Now research is showing it also improves serotonin and neurotransmitter function. One mechanism of action identified so far is that it prevents the reuptake of these neurotransmitters.

Oregano oil has a potent anti-inflammatory effect within the nerves. This may offer another mechanism of action. Reducing inflammation in the brain is likely one of the most effective ways to boost mood and resolve depression.

6. Take Acetyl-L-Carnitine
Research shows that acetyl-l-carnitine increases the natural production of both serotonin and dopamine and helps stress tolerance. In a study in rats, just seven days of supplementation with acetyl-l-carnitine was enough to increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the nucleus accumbens. When dopamine binds to this part of the brain, there is a response that is involved with feelings of pleasure, reward, and addiction.

Combining these lifestyle tricks with key dopamine-boosting nutrients is a great way to boost dopamine levels in a healthy way. Doing so may possibly even increase your happiness and productivity in life, so go ahead and get addicted to living a healthy lifestyle.

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