How to Increase Levels of Dopamine
The neurotransmitter dopamine helps to regulate your mood, motor control, cognition, attention responses to motivation and reward. Lower levels of the hormone can lead to depression, a low sex drive and poor attention. Dopamine levels can decrease due to stress, drug use, and poor diet. By producing tyrosine, an amino acid that helps form dopamine, or other precursors to dopamine, you can increase your energy to exercise, prevent addiction and anxiety, and generally feel better physically and mentally.
Be aware of the potential side effects of antidepressants you are taking, since some can inhibit dopamine reuptake. While the depression itself may be improved, symptoms tied to lower levels of dopamine may persist, e.g., lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, and a loss of pleasure.
Reduce stress by making a conscious decision to step back and relax whenever necessary. Try doing yoga or meditation to calm yourself from a busy, stressful day.
Cut out foods like alcohol, caffeine, sugar and saturated fats and replace them with foods fruits high in antioxidants, like apples. These foods contain an antioxidant called quercetin that aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders, which negatively affect dopamine levels.
Eat plenty of bananas, which are an excellent source of tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid used by neurons to produce dopamine. Include beets in your diet as well. They contain betaine, which helps produce SAM-e (S-adenoslmethionine), an important component of dopamine production.
Make sure to eat foods that are high in protein (such as chicken, beans, legumes, and cottage cheese.) Protein provides amino acids, which increase dopamine levels. Fish also contains healthy levels of protein as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, which stimulate dopamine levels.