Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that causes feelings of happiness and euphoria, increases concentration and focus, and is also known as the “motivational molecule.” It is the neurotransmitter that makes us feel motivated. Dopamine increases when we are active, when we have successfully completed a task, whether it is small or large. It gives us a boost of energy and motivation and promotes productivity. Low dopamine levels can make you feel tired, moody and unmotivated. Dopamine deficiency symptoms are associated with lethargy, depression, and chronic fatigue, as well as a number of mental disorders, such as depression, panic attacks, various types of addictions, Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and others. Low dopamine levels literally drain our vitality – you become short-tempered, irritable, apathetic, unmotivated, find it hard to start something and even harder to finish it.
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What is dopamine deficiency
Dopamine is a hormone that transmits chemical messages between nerve cells in your brain or between your brain and the rest of your body. It plays an important role in many bodily functions, including memory , motivation, learning, reward, and exercise. Dopamine deficiency means that you have low levels of dopamine. This is associated with certain health conditions such as depression. It can also make you more prone to developing addictions.
What causes the hormone deficiency.
The hormone is produced in certain areas of your brain. Low dopamine can happen if the areas of your brain that produce the hormone have been injured. It can also happen when your body doesn’t respond properly to the hormone (when there is a problem with the receptors on the nerve cells that pick up the chemical message and pass it on). People with Parkinson’s disease have a loss of nerve cells and dopamine in certain areas of their brain. And people with cocaine addiction need more and more of the drug to get the positive effect because the dopamine receptors in their brain are damaged and hormone release is decreased.
What are the dopamine deficiency symptoms
Symptoms may include:
- Lack of motivation
- Chronic fatigue
- Unable to concentrate
- Moody or anxious states
- You do not feel pleasure from previously pleasant experiences
- You are depressed and feel hopeless
- You have a low sex drive
- You have sleep disturbances or disturbed sleep
- Shaking of the hands or other tremors at rest
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Increased muscle/limb stiffness, muscle spasms (symptoms of Parkinson’s disease)
- Restless leg syndrome
- Problems with short-term memory, completing everyday tasks, and solving simple thinking problems (symptoms of cognitive changes)
- Problems with anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, forgetfulness, impulsivity, and lack of organizational skills
- Social withdrawal, diminished emotions, not feeling pleasure
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, including chronic constipation
How are dopamine deficiency symptoms diagnosed
Dopamine deficiency symptoms are not associated with a medical diagnosis. Health care providers rarely check dopamine levels. A blood test alone also doesn’t provide much useful information. For example, while a blood test can measure dopamine levels, it cannot determine how your brain responds to the hormone. Instead, your healthcare provider will collect your medical history, ask questions about your lifestyle (including alcohol and drug use), ask you about your symptoms, examine you, and order any necessary tests based on your symptoms. Based on this information and the results of your tests, your healthcare provider will determine if you have a condition related to low dopamine.
How to increase hormone levels naturally
- Make sure you eat a diet rich in magnesium and tyrosine. These are the building blocks of dopamine production. Tyrosine is an amino acid. It is absorbed in the body and then enters the brain where it is converted into dopamine. Foods known to increase hormone production include chicken, almonds, apples, avocados, bananas, beets, chocolate, green leafy vegetables, green tea, lima beans, oatmeal, oranges, peas, sesame and pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, turmeric, watermelon and wheat germ.
- Engage in activities that make you happy or relax. This will increase dopamine levels . Examples include exercise, meditation, yoga, massage, playing with a pet, walking in nature or reading a book.
Which dietary supplements increase dopamine levels?
Dietary supplements that increase dopamine levels include:
- Tyrosine: Tyrosine is a natural amino acid and a precursor to dopamine. (Dopamine is made from tyrosine).
- L-theanine: L-theanine is another precursor to dopamine.
- Vitamin D, B5 and B6. These vitamins are needed for the formation of dopamine.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids
What else do you need to know about the problem
Low dopamine cannot be looked at in a “black and white” scheme. It is a complex issue. It is important to know that low dopamine does not cause disease. While there is a connection or association, low dopamine levels do not directly cause disease. It is known that diet and exercise can affect how the brain uses the hormone. After all, no neurotransmitter functions in isolation from others. Dopamine, for example, works closely with serotonin. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin releases signals between nerve cells or neurons and regulates their intensity. It is thought to play a key role in the central nervous system and in the general functioning of the body, especially the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin affects most brain cells, both directly and indirectly.