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. In the long term, a dopamine imbalance can increase your risk of diseases. As you age, your brain’s ability to absorb dopamine may decrease, leading to age-related dopamine deficiency. You can naturally promote balanced dopamine levels by sticking to the right lifestyle choices and habits.
What is dopamine?
As a neurotransmitter, dopamine sends signals through the central nervous system, affecting how you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically. It enhances feelings of satisfaction and motivation while improving your ability to concentrate. Dopamine also plays a role in directing your brain’s voluntary movements.
Dopamine production is triggered when you feel pleasure, exercise, go out in the sun, or listen to music. Alcohol and drug use raise dopamine levels in an unhealthy way that can lead to addiction.
Are you deficient in dopamine?
If you have chronically low dopamine levels, you may experience a range of mental and physical symptoms. There is no test for dopamine levels that you can order, and only a doctor can make a diagnosis. However, if you’ve had any number of these symptoms, it may indicate low dopamine:
- Lack of focus and motivation
- brain fog
- The Depression
- Challenges with short-term memory
- Reduced libido
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- 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 issues, such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, aggression, and mania.
Natural Ways to Balance Dopamine Levels
The truth is, there is no “magic pill” that can raise your dopamine levels. What works is getting enough sleep, exercising, and getting the nutrition you need.
Catch your Z’s
When you don’t get the seven to nine hours of sweet sleep you need each night, your brain won’t have as many dopamine receptors the next day. Take time to relax for an hour before bed without exposing your eyes to blue light. Try deep breathing, yoga, or guided meditation for sleep.
Challenge your body
Completing a workout boosts dopamine production, which you can notice in feelings of greater motivation. Strength training not only strengthens your muscles, but also your central nervous system, improving your resistance to stress. By keeping your stress hormone levels balanced, exercise also helps keep your dopamine levels balanced.
Get the nutrition you need
Deficiencies in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids can lead to low dopamine levels because 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’re not sure you’re getting enough. Adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet to support a healthy gut biome also helps balance dopamine production.
Healthy Dopamine Levels Naturally
If you’re looking to fill a dopamine deficiency, incorporate more vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids 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 increase dopamine levels is to check things off your to-do list.