Do you ever feel the intense desire to have someone who always has your back? It’s understandable to feel that way. These days, the average person is bombarded by so much stress. There are so many obligations to fulfill and so many tasks to accomplish.
It’s a good thing that the average person is equipped with a way to handle stress. One of these mechanisms comes in the form of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are molecules that serve as messengers. They deliver signals from your brain to your nerve cells.
What Dopamine Is and What It Does
The body reacts to stress by activating dopamine, and this neurotransmitter, in turn, initiates adrenaline. This enables you to respond to potential threats and then relax when the threat is no longer present.
In the case of modern living, these “threats” may come in the form of stress in the workplace as well as difficult tasks. However, chronic stress may lead to low dopamine levels – and that can have plenty of negative effects on your health.
Dopamine is one of the most important substances in your body, and it has multiple functions.
You release high amounts of dopamine by performing enjoyable activities and are rewarded with pleasurable feelings. Dopamine is what makes you feel good.
With sufficient dopamine, you can benefit from the following:
– Heightened Motivation – You will feel like you can do anything. You are hyped and motivated.
– Increased Concentration – Dopamine can boost your cognition, enhance mental performance, improve memory and also improve learning.
Those are just a few of the benefits of high dopamine levels. However, excessively high dopamine levels, as is the result when using drugs such as amphetamine, result in insomnia and hyperactivity.
What Happens If You Have Low Dopamine Levels?
Because dopamine is involved in many brain functions, lower than normal dopamine levels will result in a range of unpleasant symptoms, many of which reduce your quality of life.
– A decrease in drive – With low dopamine, you will feel lazy. Severe cases could even result in complete motivational impairment wherein a person ends up unable to properly care for themselves and find it impossible to justify working or doing anything that does not give them pleasure.
– Fatigue – In addition to the decrease in motivation, you’ll feel tired all the time, or you’ll become tired quickly.
– Anxiety – This is usually associated with abnormally high dopamine levels but it can also be brought on by low dopamine levels in some people.
– Lack of emotion – Some people become unable to show and feel the appropriate levels of joy, sadness, fear, or excitement because of low dopamine levels.
– Impaired mental performance – Low dopamine levels can cause poor memory and inability to solve problems that require cognition. Some people even experience confusion or brain fog, and would therefore have difficulties performing their job and functioning in society in general.
– Depersonalization – In some cases, a person will be unable to derive pleasure in any activity – even those that they used to enjoy.
– Low libido – With low dopamine levels, you could become less interested in sex and damage personal relationships. Some people also become unable to reach orgasm because of low dopamine levels, this is often what happens in the case of watching porn in excess.
– Depression – Low dopamine levels could aggravate depressive symptoms as well.
These are just a few of the possible symptoms and adverse effects of low dopamine levels. Those with Parkinson’s disease are particularly susceptible to the symptoms of low dopamine levels.
Parkinson’s disease is a ruthless disease that attacks the nervous system and kills off vital nerve cells in the brain. With this condition, your body will move erratically and you will not be able to think clearly. It is a degenerative condition, which means that it will only get worse as the dopamine receptors gradually lose their function.
Dopamine, Growth Hormones, and Testosterone
Dopamine stimulates growth hormones and increases the production of testosterone. Preliminary studies have shown that dopamine positively boosts the secretion of testosterone and growth hormone. It triggers the testes to make more testosterone, effectively increasing libido.
What Can You Do To Boost Dopamine Levels?
There are ways to boost dopamine levels using inexpensive, natural alternatives. For starters, you can make some lifestyle changes and maintain a proper diet. Some of the solutions on this list can also increase testosterone and growth hormones, heighten sex drive, and elevate your mood.
One thing to realize is that most doctors are not going to order neurotransmitter tests and be able to diagnose low dopamine levels. Instead, anti-depressants are generally prescribed, without actually pinpointing the true cause. The better option would be to focus on natural dopamine supplements rather than relying on anti-depressants full of potential side effects.
However, the best way to address the problem is to try to raise dopamine levels the natural way – through the right diet. Even if you absolutely have to take medication, the right diet can boost the effectiveness of the drugs you are taking.
The following are some tips to increase dopamine levels naturally.
Eat Tyrosine Rich Foods
Tyrosine is an amino acid and helps dopamine production. Consuming Tyrosine-rich foods helps to keep your dopamine levels at their peak. Tyrosine is from the Greek word “tyros” which means cheese. You can get Tyrosine from animal products like cheese, milk, and meat. Parmesan cheese is known to contain the highest levels of Tyrosine.
Almond nuts, avocados, watermelon, bananas, apples, chocolate, egg whites, and dark leafy vegetables also contain Tyrosine.
In addition, coffee, chocolate, apple juice, and green tea also contain tyrosine. If you do prefer tea among the beverages, we recommend Matcha Green Tea, as it is the most potent form of green tea, containing plenty of caffeine and theanine. The caffeine-theanine combo is especially effective for boosting dopamine levels.
Probiotics, although not a dopamine producer, healthy bacterial intestinal colonies are also important in maintaining normal dopamine levels.
Consume Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens, also called velvet bean, contains L-Dopa, which is a dopamine precursor.
Studies on the bean extract as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease showed that dopamine-related disorders such as depression and sexual dysfunction can also be treated with L-Dopa. What’s even better is that Mucuna Pruriens can also promote the production of growth hormones.
Avoid Watching Too Much Porn
Too much porn might be killing your sex drive. Did you know that viewing too much porn can be bad for you, your dopamine levels, and your sexual performance? Too much porn or porn addiction messes with your dopamine levels.
Excessive porn trains your brain and its pleasure centers to get used to certain stimulus to the point that it minimizes your brain’s ability to respond to stimuli. As a result, you no longer feel excited by certain things. Porn addiction will make it harder for you to derive pleasure from real sex because your brain no longer reacts to the pleasures. However, dopamine levels can be normalized over time by reconditioning your brain and allowing your dopamine receptors to work as they used to.
The Cold is Your Friend
A cold shower can revitalize you the same way that a cup of a coffee can. Cold showers have shown potential in treating depression by stimulating dopamine pathways in your brain.
Boosting dopamine through cold showers can also boost immune function while reducing pain and swelling. It improves blood circulation, helps in the removal of harmful toxins, and boosts your body’s metabolic rate.
Enjoy Tea and Other Stimulants
As mentioned before, stimulant beverages such as coffee and tea have dopamine boosting effects due to their caffeine and theanine content. Caffeine is a powerful psychoactive compound and an adenosine antagonist that blocks adenosine and prevents sleepiness.
Caffeine increases brain activity leading to more production of neurotransmitters, making you more alert and motivated. The combination of caffeine and theanine improves perception, mental capability, and concentration. You get better reaction time and become more mentally sharp.
Always take care of your dopamine levels but be aware that tolerance build-up can happen with caffeine. Like with porn, your body and brain can get used to it and your tolerance levels might increase, always needed more to get the same effects.
Dopamine makes you feel truly alive and gives you the feeling that anything is possible. However, you should not aim for a permanently high dopamine state. Your goal should be to maintain balance. After all, balance is what your body will always naturally strive for.
Instead of focusing on increasing dopamine levels so much, your goal should be to boost your dopamine receptor’s sensitivity. You can do this by avoiding porn, excess caffeine, and overstimulation (such as from video games and too much TV). There is nothing wrong with enjoying life – you only need to make sure that you don’t go overboard so that you can keep on benefiting from dopamine. Everything is good in moderation!
Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for maintaining optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out www.anabolichealth.com to learn more about Alex and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook: