Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and plays a crucial part in controlling mental and motor functions, regulating attention, mood, memory, learning and movement. When normal levels of dopamine are present, a person can feel pleasure, attachment, love and altruism and it is possible to integrate thoughts and feelings. Sex, money, food and work rewards motivate humans, but when dopamine is low, you are less likely to experience happiness from one of these "rewards." Low levels result in a lack of pleasure and remorse, an inability to feel love and attachment, and a decline in memory, attention, focus and problem solving.
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Address your diet to increase your dopamine levels. Eat foods high in tyrosine, such as avocados, almonds, dairy products, almonds, lima beans, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants to help protect the neurons, which use dopamine from free radical damage. Apples, beets, watermelon and green leafy vegetables are all good building blocks for dopamine. Do not eat foods containing high amounts of cholesterol, saturated fats, sugar and those that are refined as they all interfere with the function of your brain and can cause your levels of dopamine to drop. Avoid caffeine as it only temporarily elevates your mood, resulting in lower levels of dopamine than before.
Take a supplement. Diet alone doesn't supply you with the ability to build enough neurotransmitters such as dopamine in great enough levels and it becomes impossible for your brain to produce the necessary level. Simple supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E and other antioxidant supplements will complement a healthy diet and assist in increasing levels of dopamine. Dopamine supplements increase your levels of dopamine with little side effects. Try a supplement such as Balance D by Neuroscience, Brain Energy by Douglas Labs or DOPA Max Dopamine Supplement.
Exercise. Levels of transmitters, including dopamine, are elevated after strenuous exercise, which helps to increase feelings of calmness and ability to focus. Dr John Harvey, a Harvard clinical associate professor of psychiatry, says exercise is "like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin."
Meditate. A study by Perreau-Linck and colleagues reported that meditation increased the release of dopamine. Yoga also has some asanas (movements) that help increase blood flow to the brain. Along with the increased blood come oxygen and glucose, which are the building blocks of neurotransmitters like dopamine.
Tips and warnings
- Speak to your physician if you feel you are lacking in dopamine.
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