Do you feel motivated and focused? Do you feel pleasure easily? If not, low levels of dopamine in your brain may be the cause of them. So you need to know about natural dopamine enhancers.
Depression is a disease. In many cases, it is the main cause of real physiological changes in the brain. Therefore, when you feel depressed, do not assume it as a defect of your personality, but rather as you would with any other illness. If you have a broken bone, you have to use a cast to solve the problem. Similarly, if you suffer from depression, you need to address the underlying causes of the problem. And, one of the underlying fundamental problems could be a dopamine deficiency. If so, the good news is that you can overcome this condition by using natural dopamine enhancers that will restore your health.
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a brain chemical that allows us to have feelings of happiness, pleasure, euphoria, motivation, attention, and concentration. But let’s start at the beginning: the brain communicates with itself. It has a system closely linked to neurons nerve cells that “communicate” with each other through specialized receptors. Dopamine is a chemical (neurotransmitter) that nerves use to send messages. When a nerve releases dopamine, it crosses a very small space called a synapse and then binds to a dopamine receptor on the next nerve. Therefore, when dopamine levels are low in the brain, nerve impulses, or “messages”, can not transmit correctly. It can affect brain functions: behavior, mood, cognition, attention, learning, movement, and sleep.
How can I know if I have a deficiency of dopamine?
When there is not enough dopamine, emotions can not regulate correctly. Mental impulses that mitigate intense feelings of sadness. Therefore, the most common signs of a dopamine deficiency are the same signs relevant with clinical depression:
- Lack of interest in life
- Decreased motivation (procrastination)
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Altered sleep patterns
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Humor changes
- Excessive feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Bad memory, inability to concentrate
- Impulsive or self-destructive behavior
- Addictions to caffeine or other stimulants
- Weight gain
Severe dopamine insufficiency is the main cause of Parkinson’s disease, permanent and degenerative decrease in motor skills; it also includes muscle stiffness and tremors.
Dopamine Enhancers #01 -Decrease sugar consumption.
Sugar alters brain chemistry because it alters dopamine levels. This is one of the reasons why people often experience a “sugar HIGH” shortly after eating sweets. Just as alcohol and some drugs can reduce dopamine levels, sugar does the same. In fact, sugar stimulates the same route of “euphoria” as alcohol and drugs, that is, the decrease in dopamine levels leads to real addictions to sugar. Whether due to alcohol, psychotropic or sugar, the resulting compulsive behavior is the same. Limiting sugar consumption will help combat the addictive cycle. It makes you crave even more sugar by further depleting your dopamine levels.
Dopamine Enhancers #02 -Monitor consumption of dopamine precursors
When brain cells need to “make” neurotransmitters to regulate mood, they use amino acids as the essential raw material. Amino acids are the basis of proteins; there are 20 different amino acids that make up the protein that our body needs. The brain uses the amino acid L-phenylalanine as a precursor for the production of dopamine. Phenylalanine is one of the “essential” amino acids, the body can not produce it on its own, so it must be obtained through food or supplements. Once the body receives phenylalanine, it converts it into tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize dopamine. So the way to increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system is by providing adequate amounts of precursors.
Dopamine Enhancers #03 –Eat bananas
Bananas, especially if they are well ripe, are an exceptional food for the regulation of dopamine because they have a high concentration of tyrosine. Other food sources of tyrosine include almonds, apples, watermelons, cherries, yogurt, beans, eggs, and meats.
It is important to keep in mind that food alone does not usually have the therapeutic levels of amino acids needed to increase dopamine levels in people who experience major depressive disorders. Therefore, to adequately enhance the levels of dopamine in these cases, often, there has need to have tyrosine supplements.
Dopamine Enhancers #04 -Reduces caffeine consumption
Even though coffee gives us an energy boost, just like sugar, it only offers temporary relief and can actually end up doing more damage. After the initial push that caffeine gives us, the levels of dopamine in the body decrease, therefore, it is preferable to drink decaffeinated coffee or at least minimize coffee consumption to counteract the dopamine deficiency.
Dopamine Enhancers #05 -Set routines and schedules
Establish a routine schedule with the time needed for work and rest. Ideally, your day should include at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night combined with periods of physical activity. Not getting enough sleep and/or sleeping too much coupled with a lack of regular exercise can drain the brain of the dopamine you need. Why? Because sleeping well allows the brain to recover from the day and recharge its neurotransmitter reserves. Additionally, regular physical activity increases blood circulation which influences the presence of different hormones in the brain, which also affects dopamine levels. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to increase dopamine is by maintaining a healthy routine.
Dopamine Enhancers #06 -Reduces stress levels
High levels of stress are also have strong relation with dopamine deficiency. Stress can be caused by two sources: a bad adrenal function or by stressors of daily life. Although we can not always control the circumstances that surround us, there are “safeguards” that we can use to help us cope with day-to-day anxieties. Remember, if stress is not handled properly, it can be devastating to your health. Therefore, establish a constant plan that allows you to deal with stress effectively.
Dopamine Enhancers #07 -Make sure you do not have a magnesium deficiency
Magnesium deficiency can cause a decrease in dopamine levels. If you have been eating a diet rich in junk foods or processed foods, you are likely to have magnesium deficiency! Common symptoms include cravings for salty or carbohydrate foods, constipation, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, depression, and symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. There are blood and urine tests that your doctor can do to see if you have a magnesium deficiency. However, these tests may not be very accurate since most of the body’s magnesium stay in the cells, rather than in the bloodstream or in the urine. There is a laboratory test called sublingual epithelial test, which is more effective. To perform this test, the doctor scrapes under the tongue to obtain epithelial cells, which are sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Dopamine Enhancers #08 -Take vitamins
Dopamine is easily oxidized. Cancer prevention agents contained in vitamins, (for example, vitamins C and E) ensure the soundness of mind neurons that utilization dopamine. Consequently, many specialists prescribe multi-vitamins to shield neurons from free radical harm.
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