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Aug 04 2017

Dopamine – The Motivation Molecule

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced by our brain and is critcally important for the roles of regulating our mood, our emotions and for increasing our ability to respond to stress. On top of this it also plays a role in regulating the sleep pattern.

Due to its ability to boost drive, focus and concentration, it  allows us to plan ahead and do what we need to in order to achieve our goals. It makes us competitive and will allow you to experience feelings of enjoyment ,bliss and euphoria.

Too little dopamine can result in you being unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic and in most cases depressed.

Low levels of dopamine can cause:

  • Stiffness;
  • Loss of Balance;
  • Difficulty while walking;
  • Rigid muscles;
  • Frozen facial features;
  • Lack of motivation;
  • Fatigue;
  • Apathy;
  • Procrastination;
  • Inability to feel pleasure;
  • Low Libido;
  • Sleep Issues;
  • Mood Swings;
  • Inability to concentrate; and
  • Memory.

Functions of Dopamine:

  • Blood Vessels – Inhibits norepinephrine release and acts as a vasodilator;
  • Kidneys – Increases sodium excretion and urine output;
  • Pancreas – Reduces insulin production;
  • Digestive System – Reduces gastrointestinal motility and protects intestinal mucosa;
  • Immune System – Reduces the activity of lymphocytes.
  • Reduces Pain.

High levels of dopamine can cause:

  • Paranoia; and/or
  • Addiction.

Conditions that Increased Dopamine is useful for include:

  • Parkinsons Disease – Increase levels of dopamine so as to relieve pain. People suffering from parkinsons lose the portion of their nerve cells that produce dopamine.
  • Depression/Bipolar – Increase levels of dopamine so as to cure depression.
  • ADHD – Increase levels of dopamine.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Burning Mouth Syndrome.

Conditions that can be caused by too much Dopamine in the system:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety and/or Nervous State of Mind, including such conditions as Paranoia, Violent Behavior or Schizophrenia.
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Stuttering.

Techniques to decrease levels of dopamine in the brain:

  • Avoid Caffeine as it releases dopamine in the brain.
  • Use herbs that increase serotonin levels, therefore decreasing dopamine levels. Before trying herbs to lower your dopamine levels make sure that you check with your health practitioner, especially if doing it to treat such conditions as schizophrenia.
    • Ginseng;
    • St Johns Wort;
    • Dandelion.
  • Avoid foods high in tyrosine and phenylalanine including chicken, turkey, chocolate, cottage cheese and eggs as these are the building blocks of dopamine.
  • Avoid L-Thianine from green tea, high doses of Omega 3 Fish Oils, Fava Beans, Grape Seeds, Gingko Biloba or Pine Bark as they all raise dopamine levels.

Techniques to raise levels of dopamine in the brain:

  • Increase your consumption of foods which impact your dopamine production:
    • All animal products;
    • Almonds;
    • Apples;
    • Avocado;
    • Bananas;
    • Beets;
    • Chocolate;
    • Coffee;
    • Fava Beans;
    • Green Leafy Vegetables;
    • Green Tea;
    • Lima Beans;
    • Oatmeal;
    • Sea Vegetables;
    • Sesame/Pumpkin Seeds;
    • Turmeric;
    • Watermelon;
    • Wheat Germ.
  • Increase your consumption of natural probiotics such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut.
  • Incorporate supplements that can increase your dopamine levels:
    • Turmeric and Curcumin;
    • Ginkgo Biloba;
    • L-Theanine;
    • L-Tyrosine.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Exercise raises base levels of dopamine by promoting the growth of new brain cell receptors.
  • Start to Meditate as it has been shown to increase your dopamine levels.
  • Listen to music.
  • Create short and long term goals. Dopamine is released when we achieve a goal.
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