Increase dopamine: Improve your mood & brain function

You want to increase dopamine? Well, luckily for us there are several tips, herbs and tricks which do just that. 

In order to boost dopamine, we need to lower prolactin since these two are like ying and yang. When one goes up, the other one goes down. 

Sexual arousal and orgasm describe their relationship perfectly. During sex dopamine goes up. However, during orgasm, prolactin which is responsible for sexual gratification, goes up. Raise in prolactin causes drop in dopamine synthesis. 

Besides, prolactin there are other hormones such as adrenaline, progesterone and estrogen which can reduce or increase dopamine levels. 


Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine are precursors to dopamine. The body converts L-Phenylalanine to tyrosine which is then converted to L-DOPA. Dopamine is produced from L-DOPA. So, by giving your body more  building blocks of dopamine, the brain can make more of it. My personal favorite is Acetyl-L-Tyrosine due to higher bioavailability and low price.

Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, is natural source of amino acid L-DOPA, from which dopamine is produced. Because of it, the herb is one step in front of tyrosine and two steps in front of L-Phenylalanine. If you decide to try it, look for herbs with higher L-DOPA content. 

Vitex is mainly used for raising progesterone and balancing progesterone to estrogen ratio. However, due to its dopaminergic effects it can reduce prolactin and increase dopamine but only when taken in higher doses. It is more suited for women, than for men. 

Antioxidant rich foods can help raise dopamine, too. Since dopamine is easily oxidized, foods with high ORAC value can help solve this problem, by neutralizing free radicals. Berries have the highest ORAC value. 

Vitamin B-6 is vital nutrient involved in metabolism of amino acids and in synthesis of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Rich food sources of vitamin B-6 are vegetables, all kinds of meat, nuts, whole grains and bananas. 

Phosphatidylserine(PS) is an essential lipid for healthy cerebral function that is highly concentrated in the brain cells. It improves brain's homeostasis response to stress hormones which may raise dopamine since stress hormones are produced from it.

Anti-estrogens may help reduce prolactin which would increase dopamine. According to the latest reaserch, estrogens stimulate prolactin secretion, while suppressing dopamine. However, in pregnant mothers situation is a little bit more complicated, due to opposing effects of highly elevated progesterone levels. 

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea which can boost dopamine, by relaxing the central nervous system. However, it seems to work only when taken in higher amounts. 

Adaptogens are used to balance hormones, especially the ones associated with stress, including adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced from dopamine via oxidation. By reducing stress hormones, more dopamine will be left circulating in the blood. 

Ginkgo Biloba and Vinpocetine may improve cerebral blood flow which can help the brain utilize more nutrients thereby boosting production of neurotransmitters. 

Exercise can improve circulation, trigger the release of endorphins, reduces stress, raise serotonin levels and increase dopamine, in the long run. Beter mood is associated with higher, yet balanced level of several neurotransmitters such as GABA, oxytocinacetylocholine, serotonin and dopamine


Besides these tips, meditation may help, too. It relaxes the central nervous system which reduces secretion of stress hormones such as adrenaline.

Since adrenaline is produced from dopamine, the more relaxed you are, less adrenaline will be produced and more dopamine will be left for the brain cells to use. 

Also, stimulants such as caffeine raise adrenaline, too. So, if you want to increase dopamine stay away from them or limit their use. 

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