You’ve heard of dopamine but what exactly is it, why do we need it and how do we get more of it? Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that plays a role in the regulation of cognition, memory, motivation, mood, attention and learning. It also aids in decision-making and sleep regulation. So I don’t know about you, but I need lots of dopamine in my day to keep me going!
Unfortunately, certain lifestyle factors and medical conditions can interfere with our happy dopamine levels. How do you know you’re low on dopamine? Do you have loss of pleasure in things that you once found enjoyable, or lack in motivation and apathy? It might be time to boost your dopamine. Here are some simple ways to increase dopamine naturally:
- Eat Lots of Protein
Proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Dopamine is produced from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. Studies show that increasing the amount of tyrosine and phenylalanine in your diet can increase dopamine levels in the brain, which may promote deep thinking and improve memory. Both tyrosine and phenylalanine are naturally found in protein-rich foods like turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy and legumes. So we can actually eat our way to happiness if we eat the right foods. Bon appetite!
- Get Enough Sleep
When dopamine is released in the brain, it creates feelings of alertness and wakefulness.
Animal studies show that dopamine is released in large amounts in the morning when it is time to wake up and that levels naturally fall in the evening when it is time to go to sleep. Getting regular, high-quality sleep may help to keep your dopamine levels balanced and help you feel more alert and high-functioning during the day. However, getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep appears to disrupt these natural rhythms and can reduce concentration and increase poor coordination.
You can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by sleeping and waking at the same time each day, reducing noise and light in your bedroom, avoiding caffeine after 2 PM, and only using your bedroom for sleeping—no TV, computers and phones.
- Use Supplements That May Increase Dopamine
Velvet Beans, or Mucuna pruriens, is a type of tropical bean native to parts of Africa, India and Southern China, which contains L-dopa and is required for your brain to produce dopamine. These beans are often processed into a dried powder and sold as dietary supplements.
Research has shown that Velvet Beans help boost dopamine levels in humans, particularly those with Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that affects movement and is caused by a dopamine deficiency. Velvet Beans may also be effective in boosting dopamine levels in those without Parkinson’s disease.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and comes in capsule, tea, extract and powdered forms. It is known to have antidepressant effects, because it increases the release of dopamine.
Although more research is needed to understand curcumin’s role in increasing dopamine levels, one small, controlled study found that taking 1 gram of curcumin had similar effects as that of Prozac on improving mood in people with major depressive disorder.
IN:MOTION contains Curcumae Longae Root, which is a curcumin derivative. After I take a sachet of IN:MOTION, not only do I get relief from any muscle and joint discomfort, but I also feel my mood elevate and I feel sharper.
Rhodiola Rosea and Schisandra Fruit
Both Rhodiola and Shisandra have profound effects on the balance of neurotransmitters, including noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. In laboratory studies, both have Rhodiola and Shisandra been found to increase the sensitivity of neurons to the presence of dopamine and serotonin, two prominent neurotransmitters involved in motivation, focus, enjoyment and mood. Rhodiola has been used as a successful alternative to antidepressants in Europe and may offer benefit to those suffering from attention issues or memory loss.
Because of all of their associated benefits, Rhodiola and Shisandra were absolute musts as in ingredients in IN:PEACE!
- Listen to Music
Listening to music can be an easy and entertaining way to stimulate dopamine release in the brain. Several brain imaging studies have found that listening to music increases activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, which are rich with dopamine receptors.
A small study investigating the effects of music on dopamine found a 9% increase in brain dopamine levels when people listened to instrumental music. Since music can boost dopamine levels, listening to music has even been shown to help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their fine motor control.
So, eat some quality protein, listen to some of your favorite music, add dopamine-increasing supplements to your regimen and get some sleep! Hopefully, your mood, motivation and attention levels will be on the rise!
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