The following foods may naturally increase dopamine: bananas, (the riper the better), almonds, apples, watermelons, cherries, yogurt, beans, eggs, and meats (17). You can also take L-tyrosine supplements, including collagen, or tyrosine rich foods. This is as the amino acid tyrosine is an important precursor, or building block, of dopamine. Dopamine then forms norepinephrine, another mood related chemical. Tyrosine can be found in protein rich foods (32).
Sources are: almonds, peanuts; eggs; lean meat, cheese, turkey, chicken and fish; also, green vegetables like spinach and kale; and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
Supplements that help boost dopamine, are L-Tyrosine (see above), Mucuna, L-theanine, and Rhodiola.
Mucuna or velvet bean. It has up to 5 percent L-Dopa or levodopa. It can cross the blood-brain barrier (this is a natural shield protecting the brain from noxious substances) and increase dopamine levels in the brain. It has been used as a natural treatment for stress, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. It also boosts serotonin and norepinephrine. If you take the supplement, take it as an extract with 15% L-Dopa, take 300 mg two times per day (33).
L-theanine is an amino aid found in green tea and it is known to create relaxation, but not sleepiness. It helps to treat depression, anxiety, and stress (both physical and mental). It also improves cognitive functioning (learning and memory). It helps boost GABA and serotonin in the brain, as well as dopamine. This is as it can cross the blood-brain barrier. 100 mgs will improve attention and focus. It is recommended that a person take 200 mg of L-theanine two to three times per day (33). Green tea (organic, one cup a day) is also associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. Regarding weight loose, in one study women with polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS who drank green tea experienced a greater weight reduction.
Rhodiola or golden root can help with depression, improve work performance, reduce fatigue, and treat stress (mental and physical). It helps stabilize dopamine and supports its reuptake, leading to decreases in: anxiety, fatigue, and depression. It also increases the ability to deal with stress. If you want a supplement, get it in standardized root form, (Rhodiola rosea root) containing 3% total rosavines and at least 1% salidroside’s. Take 170 mg per day, twice a day (33).
Multi-vitamins and minerals can help boost mood: zinc, vitamin B6, and folate, are all needed for dopamine synthesis and neurotransmission. They are often depleted by stress, medications (including hormone-based birth control/HRT), poor diet, and toxic environmental exposure.
Keep in mind that too much dopamine is unhealthy or dangerous. Talk to a health car provider. Don’t mix dopamine supplements with methyldopa, antidepressants, or antipsychotic drugs without talking to a doctor and pharmacist. Tyrosine and mucuna can interact with other supplements like St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, Tryptophan, and SAM-e. Don’t take if pregnant or breast feeding.
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