Can we raise our levels of dopamine ourselves?
This topic was such a good reminder for me. Yes! Have more pleasure! Enjoy time with friends, savor your food, make love with your partner, dance, sing, spend time in nature, laugh, have fun, appreciate life, connect with what makes you feel alive. The more pleasure you have, the more your dopamine pathways are deepened which increases your likelihood for more pleasure. There are also studies that show a drastic increase in dopamine release during meditation. The idea is do what feels good, what puts you at ease, what makes you feel safe, what makes you feel deeply connected with yourself and the world.
I also think that exercise and good nutrition boost dopamine levels. I believe I’ve also read that regulating blood sugar is an effective way to maintain healthy dopamine levels in the brain. This is accomplished by what and how we eat. Eating smaller meals more frequently and a lot of protein, vegetables and complex carbohydrates seems to help with dopamine levels.
Supplementing the diet or centering the diet around specific amino acids also sounds promising. Dopamine has a nutrient precursor, and is derived from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. There are a few co-factors such as B6, iron, copper and Vitamin C, and folic acid for absorption. While taking supplements is not the overall answer to our health, I feel that if we are dopamine deficient, tyrosine is a very good option and can “turn on the lights” in 10 -15 minutes, which is the time it takes to absorb and reach the brain. You can also get it from high-protien foods, especially beef, fish and eggs. I’m hoping veggies in the know can add a veggie perspective here. From the research I’ve done, it says that vegetable protien is not high in amino acids. But maybe vegetarians don’t need as much because they are typically more in tune with the energetics of food and life (?)
I really enjoyed reading about dopamine. I thought this article was a good summary: http://www.createvibranthealth.com/NT.htm#dopamine. I also looked it up in a fabulous book, “The Mood Cure.”