What is dopamine and how to maintain healthy dopamine levels?

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What is dopamine and how to maintain healthy dopamine levels
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Dopamine is an incredibly important natural chemical the body produces, it is essentially a neurotransmitter, meaning it transmits signals from the neurons to the brain.

Usually, it is activated when something good happens, like the body’s own reward method, it’s also linked to motivation, memory, attention and it is heavily involved in the motor system as well.

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There’s a whole lot of ways you can naturally activate dopamine releases in your body, for instance mentally challenging activities like games can help, playing a roulette game that gives you even more action than before can activate those areas of the brain that create dopamine, and these are other ways to increase them:

Sleeping

Getting z’s is instrumental for the body to be able to produce and release dopamine. Lack of sleep can lead to a decrease in motivation and less creativity, both of those are also related to a diminished level of dopamine.


Setting up a healthy sleep routine can help to maintain dopamine quantity, doctors recommend between 7-9 hours daily and keeping set hour for going to bed plus waking up.

Avoid saturated fats

Studies have shown that eating saturated fats, like the ones you find in animal products, palm oil, and butter, which can disturb the brain’s dopamine signal reading when ingested in large amounts. A study done on rats found that the ones that consumed 50% of their calories from saturated fat had decreased levels of dopamine signaling in the brain.


While more research is needed, it is an interesting find, especially considering the number of saturated fats in diets today.

To summarize, excluding saturated fats from your diet will aid your brain health, as well as your general well being.

More protein

Proteins contain the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, these two are needed for the creation of dopamine.

Both of these can be found in protein-rich food like beef, eggs, legumes, soy, and turkey. Increasing the intake proteins has been shown to also elevate the level of dopamine making in the brain, which can enhance memory and analysis.

Include probiotics

Many studies have pointed to a link between the gut and the brain, even going as far as to rename the first as “the second brain”.

The gut houses a large number of cells that produce neurotransmitters signaling molecules, including dopamine. And some species of bacteria there can even produce it.

So maintaining a healthy gut could have a direct effect on the levels of dopamine the body produces, which is why introducing probiotics into diets is suggested.

Exercise

Staying active is just plain good for your brain, your body, your mood, everything. Regular physical activity can improve mood and could increase dopamine levels.

While more studies are needed to prove the direct link, so far the research has shown a link between the two, one study points to yoga as a type of exercise that can significantly boost dopamine creation.

In conclusion

Improving the production of dopamine is linked to generally living a healthy life. Always remember that doing right by your body is doing right by your brain.




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