5 Natural Ways to Increase Dopamine Receptor Density
Dopamine is the brain’s pleasure chemical. Enhancing levels can lead to array of benefits including heightened concentration and peak performance.
Digging deeper, research has shown time and again that dopamine’s impact on the body is not localized to one area of the brain.
In fact, heightened levels of dopamine can have profound effects on many day-to-day functions including motivation, memory, behavior and cognition, attention, sleep, mood, learning, and activities such as sex and intense exercise.
Sounds pretty good, right? But before embarking on any journey to boost your dopamine receptor density, it’s important that you understand how dopamine works and why a natural course is often the most effective avenue.
Dopamine starts and ends in the brain. It functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells.
Dopamine also comes in different varieties. Within the brain, several distinct dopamine pathways exist which play one of the most major roles in having a reward-motivated behavior.
Many people use alcohol, drugs and other stimulants to inadvertently boost dopamine levels.
Unfortunately, the impact on dopamine receptors is short-lived and the brain’s transmitters are left more imbalanced than before. Not to mention, the impact on other organs and parts of the body.
Unsurprisingly, the most effective method of increasing dopamine and receptor density can be found in natural therapies and solutions.
Furthermore, most of these dopamine-enhancers are readily available and come without the side effects that are associated with chemically based and synthesized substances.
While many health and wellness experts have their own views on the best natural therapies to increase dopamine function, you are best served starting any course with research-based natural treatments.
You can’t go wrong with more sleep and exercise, but here are five natural ways that will have an immediate effect on your dopamine receptor density that can be done in the comfort of your home or office.
1. Green Tea
Long-established as a tried and tested friend to dopamine receptors, green tea is one of the most reliable sources of clearing neurotransmitters and improving brain function, while also acting as an antioxidant.
Green tea aids in manufacturing dopamine through its high Polyphenol count. Polyphenols, the antioxidant that produces the sour taste of green tea, has been proven by researchers to help maintain positive mood states and prevent Parkinson’s disease.
Additional research also points to the compounds in green tea supporting insulin sensitivity.
Why is this important to enhancing dopamine function? First and foremost, green tea keeps the brain in a steady supply of glucose, the primary fuel of maintaining all brain functionality.
2. Counting the calories
The fact that a low calorie diet is associated with longevity and an increased lifespan doesn’t create headlines any more. However, it is newsworthy when the link between brain activity and calories is examined.
Research continues to prove that restricting the number of calories you consume influences weight, heart and yes, brain activity. Most recently, much has been written on effect on neurotransmitter levels and dopamine neurons.
Significantly, researchers discovered that chronic mild caloric restriction resulted in significantly different neurological activity in various lab tests. Yet another reason to watch the sugar intake.
Meditation and mindfulness activities have surged in popularity across the United States in the past decade.
A proven agent in the fight against stress, anxiety and depression, there also exists significant evidence that various types of meditation can increase concentrations of dopamine in the cortex.
Daily practitioners have been known to experience altered concentrations of various neurotransmitters, including dopamine.
Studies also suggest in particular that mindfulness meditation is capable of increasing signalling in areas of the brain involved in emotional regulation and control of attention.Yes, we’re talking about dopamine here.
For example, a sample of monks tested by researchers at Stanford University also confirmed the argument for meditation as natural solution for enhancing dopamine receptors.
Meditation can also be aided through technology, with apps like Headspace providing a useful starting point.
The adjective is no misnomer. Superfoods boost health, metabolism and once again, brain function. A paper published by the National Society in 2012 identified numerous superfoods for their dopamine boosting principals.
Foods high in Omega-3 such as fish have been known as brain foods for several decades now. More recent research also indicates that some of the newer marketed superfoods such as kale and spirulina contain agents including folate and tyrosine that trigger dopamine.
Don’t know where to find these? Don’t worry! Eggs, bananas and strawberries do the trick according to researchers.
5. Cut down the coffee
Your morning cup of joe might seem like an unlikely inclusion especially given that caffeine is one of the common dopamine enhancers available commercially.
However, limiting your consumption of caffeine is held up by researchers and medical professionals as a surefire way to keep your dopamine in check.
Excessive caffeine consumption produces increased concentrations of dopamine in your brain synapses, which is not too dissimilar to cocaine.
In other words, it is possible to overdo it in your quest to boost dopamine levels. Too much caffeine is the most common path to this result.
In addition to the aforementioned natural methods to enhance dopamine levels, there are numerous supplements available to help the process.
These supplements are typically available at most health food stores. Supplements can often have adverse effects on individuals with existing medical conditions, If in doubt, consult a doctor, a naturopath or a health professional.
In short, the sources of dopamine boosters are broad enough and naturally-based to ensure that safely increasing your levels of the pleasure transmitter can be done in line with wider health goals.
However, as with all changes in diet and lifestyle, consider what works for you best before undertaking a major shift. Also be mindful that generating meaningful change to your dopamine receptors takes time and commitment.
It’s highly unlikely that one cup of green tea a week will do the trick alone.
More on dopamine
- How To Increase Dopamine Naturally (and Recover From Dopamine Deficiency)
- Dopamine Deficiency and ADHD: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
- How to Restore your Dopamine Receptors after Years of Adderall Use and Abuse
- 5 Natural Ways to Increase Dopamine Receptor Density
- How Modafinil Strikes the Perfect Balance With Dopamine
- How to Increase Dopamine Naturally: 5 Proven Strategies
- Uridine Supplement Stacks Help Repair Dopamine Receptors
- Dopamine: Pleasure, Pain, Motivation and Learning
- Three Weeks Using the Uridine Stack
- How Using Tyrosine Naturally Boosts Your Dopamine