Dopamine Supplements to Boost Mood (and More) Naturally

Dopamine Supplements to Boost Mood (and More) Naturally
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Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter which causes us to feel good and motivated. Dopamine supplements can naturally boost levels of dopamine in the brain to combat feelings of depression, stress, anxiety and to improve our memory, and learning abilities.

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Sometimes dopamine boosting supplements or drugs are referred to as dopaminergic which means “related to dopamine” (literally, “working on dopamine”).

It is important to note that some people with low dopamine levels over-consume caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods. While that can give a sharp dopamine boost, it will not last very long and can lead to fall in dopamine levels just as quick. It can also lead to addictions which can be hard to break and ultimately be harmful to you.

So if you feel that you need to boost your dopamine levels, then dopaminergic supplements are a much better way for helping you to feel good rather than going for a ‘quick fix’ such as coffee or alcohol.

If you want to find out more about the symptoms of dopamine deficiency, then please read my article: Dopamine Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions.

Let’s look at the best dopamine boosting supplements which are known to stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain.

The Best Supplements to Increase Dopamine Levels

We know that all the food we eat affects us in various ways. For example, some foods give us more energy than other foods. In a similar way, some natural extracts are known to stimulate the release of certain chemicals in the brain, dopamine being one of them. Most dopamine supplements contain natural extracts of herbs or plants.

It is important to note that dopaminergic supplements help your body to naturally boost dopamine levels but they do not contain dopamine. In fact dopamine is a drug that is injected intravenously for treating a range of serious health conditions and it is used under strict medical supervision.

L-Tyrosine supplement

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid which the body converts into dopamine. L-Tyrosine is found mainly in meat, dairy and soy products, legumes, nuts, oats and wheat.

The Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics says that tyrosine is one of the most important agents in determining dopamine levels.1

Mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is sometimes called Velvet Bean and it grows in tropical areas of the world. The bean contains a high concentration of L-dopa, which increases levels of dopamine in the brain and central nervous system.2

Mucuna pruriens extracts are one of the principle natural ways of treating Parkinson’s disease, which is characterized by a low dopamine levels in the brain.

Research published by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry on the effects of Mucuna pruriens on people with Parkinson’s disease showed that it quickly boosted levels of L-dopa in the brain.3 Clinical studies on mice showed that it was more effective than synthetically produced L-dopa.4

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is a natural brain supplement which has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cognitive processes. It also helps the brain cope with stress better.5

The British Dietetic Association published a study showing that natural supplements of phosphatidylserine can improve the symptoms of ADHD in children. It showed that short-term memory and attention was improved.6 It is interesting to note that ADHD has been linked to a dopamine deficiency.

The best way to get phosphatidylserine into your diet is by taking supplements.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a very popular brain supplement and natural remedy. I’ve already mentioned that Ginkgo Biloba is one of the best natural remedies for stress, allergies, and blood circulation issues.

Most people associate Ginkgo Biloba with the way it helps to improve brain function and help with memory issues.

One of the positive effects of Ginkgo Biloba is that is an effective dopaminergic supplement. Clinical studies have shown that levels of dopamine increase when taking extracts of Ginkgo Biloba .7

Ginkgo Biloba also has shown to have positive results in treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.8

 L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid which is found mainly in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). L-Theanine has powerful natural dopaminergic properties which boost dopamine levels in the brain, thus making you feel better.

The Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy reported that L-Theanine can enhance cognitive abilities and it increases dopamine and serotonin (also a ‘feel good’ chemical) levels in the brain.9

Green tea and oolong tea are also good sources of L-Theanine and studies have shown that drinking green tea can increase reward learning and prevent symptoms of depression.10

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One benefit of drinking green tea or oolong tea is that L-Theanine also lessens the stimulating effect of caffeine in the tea. Therefore, it helps you to relax but at the same time helps you avoid the side effects of caffeine.

SAM-e

SAM-e (s-adenosylmethionine) has properties which naturally boost dopamine levels in the brain. It is also becoming one of the most popular natural remedies for depression.

Dr. Richard Brown, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, uses SAM-e supplements to treat patients suffering from depression. He says that the effectiveness of SAM-e is comparable to many antidepressants and that it boosts the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.11

Because people with Parkinson’s disease often suffer from depression, SAM-e can help alleviate those symptoms and boost dopamine levels naturally.

Hypericum perforatum L (St John’s wort)

St John’s Wort has been used for centuries to treat many conditions including depression, healing wounds, reducing inflammation, and it’s also one of the best natural remedies for stress and anxiety.

Studies into St John’s Wort show that it helps dopamine to be metabolized more efficiently in the brain. This results in a reduction of mild to moderate depression symptoms.12

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is another herb which has been used for centuries as a neural tonic and memory enhancer. It is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine and it also exhibits dopaminergic activities.

Studies into the properties of Bacopa monnieri have shown that it can help boost levels of dopamine and also helps to protect the central nervous system.13

Curcumin

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric.

One of the amazing health benefits of curcumin supplement is its ability to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Research into its dopaminergic properties has shown that curcumin can be just as effective as some of the leading antidepressants, for example, Prozac.14 When combined with piperine (an extract from black pepper) its antidepressant activities are enhanced.15

It’s important to consume curcumin with other foods to boost its absorption in your body.

Blueberry extract supplement

Blueberry extract is an effective supplement for boosting dopamine levels in the brain.

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A study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed that the phytochemicals in blueberry extract supplements can help protect dopamine neurons from damage.16

Magnesium

There is some evidence to suggest that a magnesium deficiency can also affect levels of dopamine. Magnesium deficiencies are becoming more common because of the increase in eating junk or processed foods.

One study into the effects of magnesium deficiencies in the body showed that magnesium interacts with the dopamine receptors in the brain. It also has an antidepressant-like effect.17 So, if a magnesium deficiency is the cause of low dopamine levels, taking a magnesium supplement can help boost dopamine.

Read my related article about the top signs of magnesium deficiency.

Vitamin B6

According to a report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, the body needs sufficient vitamin B6 to make the brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

Also, a rat study associated vitamin B6 deficiency during fetal development and lactation with changes in the number and binding of dopamine receptors.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a corresponding decrease in dopamine levels, depression, dementia, and impairing the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

I’ve already mentioned that vitamin D deficiency can also cause 12 other common diseases.

Researchers have found that vitamin D is very important for the brain to function properly and that it regulates the immune system and affects neurotransmitters.18

Essential fatty acids

Most people usually don’t associate fatty acids and dopamine levels, but research shows that the brain needs a supply of omega-3 fatty acids for it to function properly.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published their findings that a deficiency in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids affects dopamine levels and can lead to various psychiatric diseases.19

Omega-3 fatty acids can also delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s also interesting to note that there is a connection between the consumption of omega-3 and breast cancer.

Taking omega 3 is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

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Omega 3 supplements can be purchased at your local health food store but you can also find them in Amazon.

Dopamine Supplements to Avoid

While there are many healthy and natural supplements that you can take to increase dopamine levels, there are also some supplements which can have a negative effect on overall dopamine levels.

Caffeine

You should avoid taking caffeine supplement to boost dopamine levels. Although caffeine provides an initial dopamine boost, continual overuse can lead to elevated stress levels and even addiction. This is because the body builds up a tolerance to it and produces less dopamine naturally.

In an article entitled Caffeine and the Dopaminergic System it said that wide caffeine use can show the effects of “classical drugs of abuse.”20

5 HTP

5 HTP became popular because it helps the body to release more serotonin which can alleviate symptoms of depression. However, it can have a negative impact on dopamine levels.

A study published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment stated that long-term use can cause side effects, one of them being a depletion in dopamine levels. When dopamine levels become too low, 5 HTP loses its effectiveness and can make the symptoms of depression worse.21

Dopamine Supplements – Potential Side Effects

Just as low dopamine levels can negatively affect you, so, high levels of dopamine can also have a negative effect on the body.

Unless directed by your healthcare practitioner, you should avoid using these supplements to boost dopamine levels if you are taking antidepressants. You should also remember that some of the natural supplements can interact with other medications.

If you are taking medications or are planning to have an operation, you should consult with your doctor about these dopamine supplements.

Other Ways to Naturally Boost Dopamine Levels

There are other ways to increase dopamine levels naturally. For example, some foods can help boost dopamine levels in the brain. Also, physical exercise and taking time out to relax also has a beneficial effect on the brain and can help keep your mind healthy.

If you want to find out more ways to increase dopamine levels in the brain, then please read my article about The Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Naturally.

Read these related articles:
1. Dopamine Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions
2. The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood
3. Quick and Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood
4. The Best Serotonin Supplements to Boost your Mood

Resources:
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