How to Increase Your Dopamine Levels Naturally

Dopamine is a type of chemical found in the brain called a neurotransmitter. These are chemical messengers that send information between neurons. Dopamine is used in reward and pleasure responses.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls your feelings of motivation and reward. Too much or too little dopamine causes immediate imbalances in your health and mood. Long-term, a dopamine imbalance can raise your risk for diseases. As you age, your brain’s ability to uptake dopamine can diminish, causing an age-related dopamine deficiency. You can promote balanced dopamine levels naturally by sticking to the right lifestyle choices and habits.

What Is Dopamine?

As a neurotransmitter, dopamine sends signals through the central nervous system, affecting the way you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically. It boosts feelings of satisfaction and motivation while improving your ability to concentrate. Dopamine also plays a role in your brain’s directing of voluntary movement.

Dopamine production is triggered when you feel pleasure, exercise, go in the sun, or listen to music. Alcohol and drug consumption boosts dopamine levels in an unhealthy way that can lead to addiction.

Are You Dopamine Deficient?

If you have chronically low dopamine levels, you may experience a range of mental and physical symptoms. There’s no test for dopamine levels you can order, and only a physician can make a diagnosis. However, if you’ve been having a number of these symptoms, it may indicate low dopamine:

  • Lack of focus and motivation
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Challenges with short-term memory
  • Reduced libido
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Constipation
  • Frequent muscle cramps

Can You Have Too Much Dopamine?

Yes, you can have too much dopamine. Having more dopamine than you need can cause mental health problems, such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, aggression, and mania.[1]

Natural Ways to Balance Dopamine Levels

The truth is, there’s no “magic pill” that can boost your dopamine levels. What works is getting enough sleep, working out, and getting the nutrition you need.

Catch Your Z’s

When you don’t get the seven to nine hours of sweet slumber you need every night, your brain won’t have as many dopamine receptors the next day.[2] Take the time to relax and unwind for an hour before bed without exposing your eyes to blue light. Try deep breathing, yoga, or a guided meditation for sleep.

Challenge Your Body

Completing a workout stimulates dopamine production, which you can notice from feelings of greater motivation. Strength training strengthens not just your muscles, but also your central nervous system, improving your resilience to stress. By keeping your stress hormone levels balanced, exercise helps keep your dopamine levels balanced, too.

Get the Nutrition You Need

Deficiencies in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids can cause low dopamine levels, as both of these nutrients are involved in the brain’s production of dopamine. Be sure to supplement with fish oil and vitamin D if you aren’t sure you’re sufficient. Adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet to support a healthy gut biome also helps balance dopamine production.[3]

Healthy Dopamine Levels Naturally

If you’re looking to shore up a dopamine deficiency, incorporate more vitamin D and omega-3 fats into your diet. Include strength training in your exercise routine and avoid sleep deprivation by getting the eight hours you need. Another natural way to boost dopamine levels is to check things off your to-do list.

References:

  1. verywellhealth.com/dopamine-5086831
  2. verywellmind.com/common-symptoms-of-low-dopamine-5120239
  3. gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/scientists-identified-two-bacteria-from-gut-microbiota-linked-to-mental-health/

Mental HealthNutritionSleep Science
Comments ( 17 )
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  • Sam

    And meditate!
    Not this New-Age crap out of the USA, true ancient Indian yogi meditations or Buddhist meditation.

  • Dhali

    Thats very close minded of someone touting meditation. Truthfull any and all mindfulness and breathing techniques are beneficial to any human being.
    Spread positivity, not negativity…..friend

    • Sam

      What on earth are you talking about? Touting meditation is not closed minded. Does Thich Nhat Hanh or Sadhguru tout close mindedness?
      And meditation is negativity?
      Did something get lost in your translation of my words?

      • Isaac

        I believe he was referring the part where you said “Not this New-Age crap out of the USA”, meaning that for someone who is ‘promoting’ meditation to say you should do some meditation but “Not this New-Age [meditation] crap out of the USA” is a bit closed minded, since as the user puts it, “Truthfull any and all mindfulness and breathing techniques are beneficial to any human being.”

        • Lewis Goudy

          I think the demand for the patina of age, the notion that there was once an ideal age when our lives were more authentic, is a trap. It doesn’t matter if it is a Sumerian clay tile or something posted on the internet this morning. There is but one truth and one way and will ever be but one rule.

        • Sam

          Ahhh, I see what your getting at.
          I am a fan of classical Indian Kriya Yoga/meditation. I guess it’s a “accepted predjudice” that “new” is not the best. Something we must work on.

          • Andy

            Wow…

      • Bro Hamm

        Do you know what the term New Age even means? Sounds like you’re in the dip without the chip.

  • Mr. Rain✔️

    Nice article

  • Me

    There is but one true god, Ahura Mazda. I have spoken.

  • Jeanette

    Hvorfor er dosis opgivet aldersbestemt og ikke efter hvor meget man vejer, og det er ligemeget om det er vitaminer og mineraler eller smertestillende, når man bliver bedøvet går lægerne ud fra hvor meget man vejer, ligesom der også er forskel på om det er en kat eller en hest der skal bedøves.
    Billedligt talt bruger en lille bil jo heller ikke lige så meget brændstof som en lastbil.
    Så burde anbefalede dosis ikke være både alder og vægt inddelt?

  • Andy

    Wow Sam… Just wow…

    • Sam

      Just go home, Andy. There’s no discussion for you here.

  • Rick

    Meditation reduces Dopamine. Modern man needs to detox from too much Dopamine, not stimulate more. And Sam, Kriya Yoga is corrupt. Too much emphasis on Guru/Disciple to the point of being a cult.

  • Not Sam

    Very helpful article. I wonder how informative and interesting the comment section could have become if Sam hadn’t driven it off a cliff. Sam, your initial comment sucked, and your responses were all face palms. You probably lower people’s dopamine levels wherever you go.

  • Tom B

    Smoke pot !!!!!

  • Bear

    Whine whine piss and moan