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Foods That Increase Dopamine Naturally

Jun 26, 2008 - 21 comments

Foods That Increase Your Dopamine
And Norepinephrine Naturally!
What we eat affects the formation of neurotransmitters,
and some diet-related neurotransmitters have a significant
affect on our mood, our appetite and our cravings.

This in turn causes the brain to communicate in the form of an impulse (craving for certain foods) the need for certain neurotransmitters that it requires to restore balance.
While many other factors influence the level of these chemicals, such as hormones, heredity, drugs, and alcohol, three neurotransmitters—dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin—have been studied in relation to food, and this research has shown that neurotransmitters are produced in the brain from components of certain foods.

When our body has enough Dopamine we're blessed with feelings of bliss and pleasure, euphoric, appetite control, controlled motor movements, and we feel focused.

When we are low in Dopamine we feel no pleasure, our world looks colorless, we have an inability to "love", and we have no remorse about personal behavior.

The brain cells which "manufacture" dopamine use l-phenylalanine as a "raw material" (precursor.) Phenylanine is an essential amino acid found in the brain and blood plasma that can convert in the body to tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize dopamine. Sources of phenylanine are high-protein foods such as meat, cottage cheese, and wheat germ.

10 Foods That Help To Increase
Dopamine And Norepinephrine Naturally!

Apples: A compound found in apples called "quercetin' is an antioxidant that studies have shown may not only help in the prevention of cancer but may also play an important role in the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.
There may be something to that old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away . . ."

Banana: A banana is a good source of tyrosine. Tyrosine is the amino acid neurons turn into norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine and dopamine are excitatory neurotransmitters that are important in motivation, alertness, concentration and memory.

Beets: Betaine, an amino acid naturally present in certain vegetables, particularly beetroot (beets), is an antidepressant of the first order. Betaine acts as a stimulant for the production of SAM-e (S-adenoslmethionine). The body cannot do without SAM-e, which it produces.
SAM-e is directly related to the production of certain hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of well-being and pleasure.

Chicken: Chicken, like eggs, contains complete protein that increases levels of the excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Chicken is also a good source of coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10), which increases the energy generating potential of neurons.

Cheese: Cheese is a well known protein food . . . Protein provides amino acids, which help produce dopamine and norepinephrine.

Cottage Cheese: One of the “must eat” foods on every expert’s list, cottage cheese is recommended as a substitute for other soft cheeses and dairy products. Cottage cheese provides the protein that can help boost mood and energy levels, without some of the fat of hard cheeses.

Eggs: Research from the University of California, Berkeley suggests that people who suffer from depression have low amount of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in their brains. One natural antidepressant is to increase dopamine by eating protein-rich foods. such as eggs for this purpose, because they are versatile and appeal to some people who choose not to eat meat.

Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids are found in seafood, especially mackerel, salmon, striped bass, rainbow trout, halibut, tuna, and sardines.
These fatty acids may have many jobs in the body, including a possible role in the production of neurotransmitters. Fish have easily digestible protein, many trace nutrients, high quality essential fatty acids, low cholesterol levels and low saturated fat levels.

French scientists have shown that rats deficient in omega-3 fatty acids had more receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin and a corresponding decrease in dopamine in the frontal cortex.

Watermelon: Watermelon juice is fat free and loaded with vitamins A, B6, and C! Vitamin B6 is used by the body to manufacture neurotransmitters such as serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Vitamin C also enhances the immune system while protecting the body from free radicals.

Wheat Germ: Wheat Germ is a good source of Phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid found in the brain and blood plasma that can convert in the body to tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize dopamine.
A healthly, balanced diet is rich in whole “natural” and unprocessed foods. It is especially high in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Fruits are vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants that protect the body cells from damaging. They also help raise serotonin levels in the brain.

Beans and legumes are rich in protein and are healthful boosters of both dopamine and norepinephrine. Also, Protein Meat, Milk, Eggs, Cheese, fish and other seafood are very healthy, high-protein, dopamine-and-norepinephrine-booster food.

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by cathy5841, Jun 26, 2008
wow, that is great info...maybe thats why i am always bouncing off the walls.  i eat alot of fish.  lol

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by worried878, Jun 26, 2008
U r funny fuel!

Avatar universal
by Smithy2525, Dec 02, 2008
I have AD/HD and it's WAY important for those of us with this condition to eat these foods and avoid processed foods (especially those high in sugar and caffeine--these substances [along with alocohol] tend to deplete dopamine levels).  Thanks for the info!

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by micheleTX, Dec 02, 2008
I love all that stuff you mentioned too!!  I grow my own veggies, lettuce, greens of all types, beans, squash, tomatoes which have lycopene a great antioxidant for killing  bad free radicals, and all those meats, fish and cheeses.  yummy and great to know they are helping our brains get better too!!  thanks for reminding me in my brain fog of that :)

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by felylaran, Jun 04, 2009
now i finally knew why i felt so low few weeks ago because of my serotonin and dopamine level decreased... thanks for the new info....

Avatar universal
by Adalad, Sep 11, 2009
I used to have a lot of ticks as a lad.I`ve not been diagnosed but I feel it`s a mild form of tourettes.I`m 42 now and I still have is an eye rolling tick,neck tension,lip biting,leg shaking and other minor ones.Could this diet be effective in controlling these ticks ? as I`ve heard that sufferers have a low dopamine levels..

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by Buzzkillington, Nov 14, 2009
If you have seriously low levels of these neurotransmitters you may be able to boost them a bit after a few years of healthy eating.  But if you're really worried about yourself, go to a psychiatrist and get some meds, they work in as little as two weeks.  Sorry Adalad!

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by khassounah, Dec 08, 2009
This is extremely useful. I know you wrote it more than a year ago, but I just ran across it and I'm happy I did :). Thanks!

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by Lucinda_ball, Dec 22, 2009
A very worthwhile article. I like reading well written informative articles on health and this is excellent.
Lucinda Ball

Avatar universal
by TheTruthisWithin, Feb 01, 2010
I've tried all these things but I have to say green leafy vegetables chewed well seem to boost my mood more.  

Leafy greens are good sources of folate. Folate deficiency has been linked with depression in some studies. You can ensure that your diet is not folate deficient by regularly consuming some spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens. Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts) and legumes (all daals and peas) are also a good source of folate.

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by mariastrvl, Feb 09, 2010
I have a good friend who has parkinson's and she would rather control it with foods rather than the drugs, is this possible

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by adwaitb, Feb 23, 2010
hi i am suffering from dystonia and doctor told that it is caused due to low dopamine levels.
what should i do

Avatar universal
by thompsls, Mar 18, 2010
Just because these foods increase the proteins needed to produce dopamine does not mean that your body will necessarily do it. While these foods are great for everyone, this does not mean they are a cure for Parkinson's disease. ANALOGY:: If you give someone expensive sporting equipment, they might not necessarily improve in the sport if they lack the talent. This means: if someone's body is genetically or otherwise altered to have a low ability to produce dopamine then it doesn't matter what "equipment" or food is available to his or her body. You don't have to have Parkinson's to have this deficiency either. People who take narcotics, psychiatric drugs, excessive alcohol, or even adrenaline junkies have more receptors that have developed in the brain. These people require more dopamine and cannot be happy until the brain readjusts with time, lifestyle change,exercise, and a healthy diet.

Avatar universal
by Stephen1985, Apr 13, 2010
About 2 years ago my moods changed and I became dull ad unable to enjoy life. Present day I've foun out that I have h-pylori which is a stomach bacteria, which I have seen aspecialist and is probally gone now but find out for sure may 6th. I also took blood work and was told that my body does not produce or have enough dopamine and lithium. 2 things which deffintly ensure happiness to an extent. Also not having enough dopamine effec heart rythm which has become annoying with palpitations. I pretty much eat all the foods required to ensure the body gets enough dopamine but still I don't seem to get happier. At times te world is very dull, emotionless and boring. I find it hard to love or hve feelings for anything. Anyone have any ideas? It's important to say that I'm sure this was brought on by drug use 4-5 years ago for a period of only 6 months ever in my life. Never done it since and won't do it again because that also causes anxiety... Any ideas are usefull. Thank

Avatar universal
by fredr823, Apr 14, 2010
It's the body's ability to utilize nutrients - this is the key. I COMPLETELY disagree with the gentleman who made the analogy of expensive ski equipment.  

So we must focus on FUNCTION.  It's not what you put in your body, it's if your body make available for use (bio-availability).

But...High Quality supplements can IMPROVE FUNCTION and structure.

So, increasing dopamine or rather BALANCING DOPAMINE along with every other NT lies in the body's ability to function, utilize and absorb whatever we put into it.

Utilization comes through Enzymatic Ability, number 1.  If your diet is low in raw vegetables, you are, most likely, not having enough enzymes present at the time of digestion/absorption.

Balance your meals and combine them correctly.  Don't mix protein and carbohydrates at the same meal.  don't eat animal protein after 1:00PM when the body starts it's alkaline processes. Don't EVER mix any liquid with protein consumption due dilution of hydrochloric acid.

Use high quality digestive enzymes.  And use a probiotic - this is crucial to digestion as well.  your internal makes up a very large part of your immune system

i get my probioitc from here.  I've looked around and this place sells them the cheapest.

these are homeostatic soil organisms.  The same strains that built your immune system when breastfeeding.  Don't underestimate this probiotic.

If you can tolerate raw vegetables, include them at every meal (THE GREEN, LEAFY VEGETABLES - ESPECIALLY SPINACH, KALE, ROMAINE LETTUCE AND COLLARD GREENS.  Also, use digestive enzymes with every meal as well.

I wish you the best in health.  And please don't eat de-natured foods!  anything with WHITE FLOUR (this includes whole wheat as well, unless it's sprouted WHOLE, living whole wheat like in manna bread) it tears villi off the small intestine that stops you FROM ABSORBING MINERALS, etc... and you don't want this.

So, if you switch to an appropriate diet, mostly raw, WHOLE and UNPROCESSED foods, you will go far.

May the Force be with you.

Avatar universal
by Anonymous576, Feb 14, 2011
Sadly eating foods that your body can convert into dopamine, and other neurotransmitters will not necessarily make your body do it, but only makes the materials available if it chooses to.  If this were true you could alleviate severe depression or anxiety with a proper diet (it help, but sorry ask someone who has tried everything, it absolutely does not)  This is not to say that a proper diet isn't helpful, it is, but it is far from curative.  Actually having too much tyrosine can interfere with the proper production of dopamine in the brain, having the opposite effect of what is intended.

  One thing you can do to boost the serotonin in your brain though is to consume adequate carbohydrates as this will stimulate the uptake of competing amino acids into the muscles, leaving tryptophan free to be taken into the brain and used to synthesize serotonin.  

As for fredr823's comments, not only is consuming protein and carbohydrates at the same time good, it is the best thing you can possibly do as the carbohydrates stimulate amino acid uptake and proper use.  This is absolutely correct science, and the necessity of carbohydrates to make use of protein is very well documented.

The alkaline diet is unfortunately total ********, and I don't use that term lightly.  It has no basis in reality, and if you take a look at the various lists of acid and alkaline foods they are usually contradictory, outright wrong (I have seen vinegar, a fairly strong acid on the alkaline side), and very misleading.  Your body is extremely good at balancing acid and alkaline with the help of an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase, and having too much of either acid or alkaline can be very dangerous.  If you eat healthy and avoid the extremes at either side such as drinking acidic juice all day, or taking too many antacids you will be fine.

Finally even if it were possible through diet, dopamine is not a neurotransmitter that you would want to haphazardly increase.  It causes blood pressure elevation, psychosis, and nausea; it is only its release in very specific areas that is beneficial.

Avatar universal
by dr_robyn, Mar 11, 2011
Hi everyone,

These are all constructive comments. I would also like to let you now about the wonderful world of functional neurology.
This involves making the most of the plasticity of the nervous system. See (Worldwide) or (Austalia) to locate your nearest doctor.
Having the right chemistry is all good and well, but without the right neurological pathways being stimulated it will always be an uphill battle. Functional neurology can help with this.
Also see the book "Your Brain, Your Life - Make It what YOU Want http://www.yourbrainyourlife for a fabulous explanation.

Avatar universal
by donnawho, May 17, 2011
hello! Well... these are all interesting comments. My low dopamine is genetic. I always feel better eating 60-70% vegatables and the rest protien and carbs. (No white carbs).It is an up hill battle and the only thing that really helps is wellbuterine xl. Allergies and hormones changing every month, food cravings etc. It is a battle along with genetics. It is confusing. Iam open to reading any thanks everyone for that.

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by Mischka57, May 27, 2012
A few weeks ago, my daddy died. My serotonin levels fell through the floor. I developed a very serious binge eating disorder, that could lead to obesity if left untreated. My doctor wanted to put me on serious anti depressants. I asked for a few days to experiment and manage to cure my depression and binge eating disorder on my own.  This is how I did it: I take L-tyrosine and vit B6 in the morning and afternoon to increase dopamine, and 5HTP in the afternoon to increase serotonin levels. I've added GABA into the mix, and there is something special about L-glutamine as well. To cure my binge eating I had to increase the 5HTP a little higher than the recommended dose, but it was all worth it. It worked!! I'm happy, the world is colourful, I have control over my weight, I have energy again and I want to start dancing! Now only do I really WANT to eat healthy before as before I could not.  My suggestion, research research research. Determine which amino acids you should not be taken together, avoid milk as it inhibits the uptake of L-tyrosine. When you start researching, a new world opens and you can cure anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorders, addiction and depression. Take it with the above foods and you will become superman, he he. Just kidding.  I'm high on life people, and I love it! Take care!! Cherios doctor, you can keep your pills with its serious side effects in a place where the sun don't shine, cos this face aint interested :)

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by Fanann, Sep 01, 2012
Great information, should be published into mainstream news . Teachers in schools can benefit from this, as I see them eating junk all the time, then they try and teach children about healthy eating and living, when they have sent the kids to a canteen at break times, for the most unhealthy food imaginable, stog puddings, battered fish and chips,  and the amount of pasta is shocking, the kids have no serotonin in them at all when they have been feed this junk day in and day out. This is why we have so much behaviour problems, mabe if we look at the price of the meals it is the lowest price possible. Then what do we expect back in return.  Great info

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by worried878, Oct 27, 2012
There are so many drugs that interfer or enhance anti-depressants..seratoin uptake inhibitors.  Seratonin syndrome is not fun to witness and I ve seen folks end up with permanent neurological damage from over-doing the seratonin sure you know what you are putting in your mouth to make you feel happy..cos in the end it can be a nightmare

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