Dopamine and norepinephrine are both excitatory neurotransmitters that are important in your alertness, motivation, memory and concentration. Dopamine has several functions in your brain and has an impact on your behaviour, cognition, motivation, voluntary movement, mood, sleep, learning and attention. When your brain produces enough dopamine, you feel pleasure, bliss and, sometimes, euphoria. There are a few ways to boost dopamine levels in your brain; the method that is the best depends on what works for you and how your body responds to the techniques.
According to a study, "Exercise Decreases Oxidative Stress and Inflammation and Restores Renal Dopamine D1 Receptor Function in Old Rats," published in the American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology in 2007, exercise can help raise dopamine levels. The study, conducted by physicians from the Heart and Kidney Institute at the University of Houston found that exercise could not only raise dopamine levels, but could also restore dopamine receptor functions in elderly rats.
Aerboic exercise is the most common exercise that can be performed to boost dopamine levels. Aerobic exercise may even help prevent cases of depression--which is sometimes caused by a chemical imbalance and low dopamine levels--by increasing dopamine levels.
There are certain foods that can also naturally increase dopamine. Beets contains the amino acid betaine, which is an antidepressant. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, the betaine acts as a stimulant in the production of S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e. The SAM-e is linked to the production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. A study titled "Essential Amino Acids Affect Interstitial Dopamine Metabolites in the Anterior Piriform Cortex of Rats" published in the Journal of Nutrition in 1999, also suggests that foods rich in certain amino acids can help to boost dopamines. Bananas are great sources of tyrosine, which is another type of amino acid. Its neurons turn into dopamine and norepinephrine. Cheese is a recognised form of protein food. This same study suggests that proteins, which are composed of amino acids, can also aid in the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. Chicken also contains proteins that promote the increase in the levels of the excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. It is also a great source of coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10) that also boosts the energy-generating potential of certain neurons. Beans and legumes are nutritious proteins that can boost your health as well as levels of dopamine. Other meats, cheeses, fish, eggs, and seafood are all high in protein, are nutritious, and are all dopamine-boosters. Finally, watermelon may help. The juice from a watermelon is fat-free and full of vitamins A, B6, and C. Vitamin B6 is used by your body in the manufacturing of neurotransmitters such as melatonin, serotonin and dopamine. Vitamin C on the other hand, enhances your immune system while safeguarding your body against free radicals.
According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, taking vitamin supplements can also help increase dopamine levels. Include vitamin B12, folic acid (vitamin B9), omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6 in your supplements. The American Journal of Psychiatry in 1997 published a study titled "Folate, Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine in Major Depressive Disorder," which showed that deficiencies in these vitamins are common in those who are depressed.
- American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology: Exercise Decreases Oxidative Stress and Inflammation and Restores Renal Dopamine D1 Receptor Function in Old Rats
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Betaine in Human Nutrition
- The Journal of Nutrition: Essential Amino Acids Affect Interstitial Dopamine Metabolites in the Anterior Piriform Cortex of Rats