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How to Increase Dopamine in a Natural Way

Dopamine is a chemical messenger in the brain. It is essential for motivation, movement, mood, sleep and energy memory it is essential for motivation, movement, mood, sleep and behavior regulation. Dopamine is also at the heart of how the brain’s reward system works. Dopamine rewards you every time you perform a beneficial behavior and motivates you to repeat it.

Every time we do something enjoyable, such as eating a good meal, having sex or going for a run, some dopamine is released in our brain. However, consuming vices such as alcohol or recreational drugs also causes dopamine to be released in the brain. This chemical messenger has therefore been closely linked to addiction.

Low levels of dopamine have been linked to several medical conditions such as depression, addiction, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Low dopamine levels can make you feel less motivated, apathetic, listless and affect your ability to concentrate.

Some symptoms of low dopamine levels are

  • Low libido
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of attention
  • Apathy
  • Listlessness

Most of the dopamine produced by the body is manufactured in the midbrain, after which it is distributed to different areas of the brain. Despite decades of research, scientists are still puzzled by the exact mechanism of dopamine in the brain.

There are four main pathways for dopamine in the brain. Each controls a different process in the body. Three of these pathways are reward pathways and their function is to release dopamine in the brain when a rewarding activity is performed.

Many things can cause low dopamine levels. Some of these include

  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions have been linked to low dopamine levels. Conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, substance abuse, and bipolar disorder are common culprits for low dopamine levels.
  • Improper diet: Eating a diet that does not contain adequate nutrients for optimal brain health could cause low dopamine levels, especially a diet that lacks tyrosine.
  • Substance abuse: Alcohol abuse and recreational drug use can, over the long term, cause your body to reduce its natural production of dopamine. This, in turn, causes you to become dependent on the abused substance.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, act by binding to dopamine receptors. This blocks the natural activity of dopamine in the brain.

Treating dopamine loss aims to trigger the production of more dopamine, slow down the breakdown of dopamine being produced, create more dopamine receptors and repair existing dopamine receptors so they can function better.

There are several supplements and medications available for people who have low dopamine levels. Medication is often used in cases where decreased dopamine levels are caused by an illness such as depression or schizophrenia.

However, there are some techniques you can also use to increase your dopamine levels naturally.

Getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep each night is necessary to maintain our health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get an average of seven or more hours of sleep each night.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the body’s dopamine receptors can be negatively affected. Research has linked lack of sleep to the suppression of some dopamine receptors in the body.

Listen to some music

Make a playlist of your favorite music and listen to it when you’re feeling listless, unmotivated or experiencing other symptoms that indicate your dopamine levels are low.

In a 2011 study, researchers found that when you listen to music that you find pleasurable it can trigger a release of dopamine in your brain.

Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet has several benefits for both body and mind, and increasing dopamine levels is part of that. Foods rich in tyrosine, such as almonds, eggs, fish and chicken, are especially good for increasing dopamine levels.

Tyrosine is an amino acid that the body produces naturally. Dopamine is produced from this amino acid and can be found in protein-rich foods. Foods containing natural probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir, can also increase dopamine production.

Beverages such as coffee also increase dopamine, but be aware that as dopamine levels drop after drinking it, this could cause a caffeine addiction.

Exercise more

Regular exercise has been shown to be very important for brain health. It can also help you increase your dopamine levels. Every time you exercise, your brain releases some dopamine.6

Although the exact mechanism that leads the brain to produce dopamine when we exercise needs to be further investigated, you are probably familiar with the feeling you get after a workout.

Frequent runners also report experiencing something called the “runner’s high.” It’s described as a feeling of relaxation and euphoria and is the result of the brain releasing dopamine.


Cómo comenzar a meditar fácilmente en tu día a día.

Meditating has a positive effect on a number of mental health conditions. Research also shows that meditation has the ability to increase dopamine levels

want to learn how to meditate? Check out our article on how to start meditating in 7 steps.

Reduce processed sugars

Consuming processed sugars, such as sweets and soft drinks, has the ability to increase your dopamine levels, but this increase is only temporary and artificial. As with alcohol and recreational drugs, sugar can provide you with a temporary increase in dopamine, while affecting the rate at which your body naturally produces it.

When you consume a large amount of sugar in a short amount of time, you may notice that you feel a rush of euphoria. This is a sugar rush. It is usually very temporary and is followed by a low that makes you feel depressed.

Eliminate stressors from your life

Stress is a precursor to many medical conditions and also causes low dopamine levels. We don’t always have control over the things that cause stress in our lives, but you can eliminate the stressors over which you have some control.

For example, if long commutes to work cause you stress, you can consider moving closer to work. You can also engage in stress-reducing activities, such as meditating, exercising or getting a massage.

Best stress management techniques


Ismael Abogado

Psychologist and constant learner of the mind and soul.

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