A lack of dopamine in the body is strongly linked to dysfunctions of the nervous system and neurological conditions resulting in a number of health disorders. The production and uptake of dopamine is a physiologically complex system but a critical one in regulating emotions and mental functioning. A dopamine deficiency can significantly impact normal day-to-day living.
What is Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in various areas of the brain. The production of dopamine takes place in nerve cells and then released into the brain and binds to certain receptors. During this process, it generates an electric signal that stimulates positive neurological actions.
Low levels of dopamine means this process is being inhibited, which causes negative and repressed neurological activity. Healthy brain pathways and connectivity is the foundation of mental health and any impediment will cause an imbalance that has a ripple effect throughout the human body.
How Dopamine influences the body and mindset
Dopamine plays an essential part in controlling movement and reward within the brain. It has several important functions that modulate our cognition and behavior, voluntary movements, sleep patterns, moods, concentration, and memory. Dopamine is explicitly connected to how we feel pleasure, our general happiness, and motivation.
When our bodies are lacking in dopamine, we experience unconstructive and even harmful symptoms such as depression, mood swings, food cravings, poor levels of attention, and addictive behaviors can also manifest. Dopamine can be depleted through stress, substance abuse, malnutrition, insufficient sleep, and from prolonged use of antidepressants.
In healthy people, dopamine levels are generally well-regulated. However, there are ways to naturally increase dopamine. For example, 1p LSD acts on a number of different receptors in the brain, including dopamine receptors. While that implies the body is producing more dopamine, which may be the case, it also refers to improving conditions without our system to utilize dopamine more effectively.
When dopamine increases, more dopamine is made, the breakdown of dopamine slows down, more dopamine is distributed, more dopamine receptors are created and existing receptors are enhanced. Here are four ways to help your dopamine levels without reverting to medications.
At some point or another, we’ve all experienced what happens when we skip a meal or go for hours on end without eating. We get “hangry”, a mixture of angry and hungry. This is because a lack of food or eating infrequently affects our dopamine levels.
Sticking to a consistent schedule of healthy meals is fundamental to sustaining a good production and release of dopamine into our bodies. Certain foods also play a key role such as having enough proteins, avoiding too many saturated fats, and taking probiotics for improved gut health. Out of the 23 amino acids that our bodies need, we can naturally synthesize most but many can only be sourced from food.
Physical exercise is the best thing to do to overcome or prevent any health problem but when it comes to dopamine, it’s a great booster for producing new brain cells, slowing down the aging process and improving our blood flow.
There are many beneficial brain-enhancing effects and therapeutic benefits of exercise that supports brain and physical injury recovery, prevents inflammation, degeneration, and oxidative stress while increasing energy, dopamine, and other neurotransmitter levels. Regular exercise is understated when it comes to its advantages in preventing neurological and health disorders.
One night of broken sleep will affect dopamine levels. Brain processes are impacted by sleep deprivation, which is why we are more inclined to be grumpy, unhappy, and unfocused when we don’t have a good night’s sleep.
Getting adequate sleep is not only important for our general well-being but it’s crucial for brain health. Dopamine regulates sleep by controlling the production of melatonin, which is a hormone for the body’s sleep and wake cycle. A lack of sleep reduces dopamine levels and receptors, which causes cognitive deficits.
In the past, meditation was considered a technique used exclusively in Eastern cultures and religions but it has gained increased attention worldwide. Evidence-based studies have shown there are many benefits of meditation that stimulate the production of neurotransmitters and help regulate psychological disorders, like anxiety.
Yoga is a form of meditation that directly and indirectly minimizes stress, thereby lowering risk for stress-related diseases. Tai Chi, transcendental and Kundalini meditation are just some of the other techniques used to reduce sensitivity to negative stimuli, giving us greater control over our thoughts and emotions. Meditation helps preserve dopamine levels that would otherwise be consumed in fast-paced and highly stressful situations.
Healthy levels of dopamine can improve our lives in a multitude of ways such as maintaining a healthy weight, preventing destructive behaviors, counteracting depression, and it acts as a general motivating factor for life.
Over and above the methods described to naturally increase dopamine, there are supplements that are considered dopamine-boosting. Curcumin, Ginkgo Biloba, L-theanine, and Tyrosine are organic compounds that can also help our brains in creating and utilizing dopamine efficiently.
Seeking Medical Advice
People who follow a healthy lifestyle but experience symptoms synonymous with a dopamine deficiency should consult with a doctor. There may be underlying conditions that need further examination and a medical practitioner will be able to prescribe effective remedies.
Individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or Parkinson’s disease, or who are suffering from addiction should seek medical advice where dopamine-enhancing medications are used for treatment.