Best dopamine supplement

5 Dopamine Foods And Supplements To Boost Your Mood – Forbes Health

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Table of Contents

  • What Is Dopamine—and How Does It Impact Mood?
  • Are Supplements Effective for Increasing Dopamine?
  • 5 Supplements for Boosting Dopamine
  • Lifestyle Choices That Can Increase Dopamine Levels
  • When to See a Doctor

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Feeling down? You may be dealing with low levels of dopamine.

Dopamine is a major neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in how our brain communicates with our body, and has been found to heavily influence mood, particularly feelings of reward and pleasure.

Evidence shows that some medications and lifestyle factors can boost levels of dopamine in the brain—positively impacting mood—but research on natural dopamine supplements is not as comprehensive.

Below, experts weigh in on what dopamine is—and whether supplements can help boost levels of this important neurotransmitter.


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What Is Dopamine—and How Does It Impact Mood?

The human brain relies on chemical messages sent from tiny but powerful molecules called neurotransmitters to carry out various functions, including learning, emotional regulation, sleep and movement. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or “feel-good chemical”, that serves as a messenger between neurons or the cells of the brain, says Ash Nadkarni, M.D., an associate psychiatrist and instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Dopamine is involved in many functions of the brain,” adds Jennifer Minami, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. Research shows dopamine plays a role in the following:

  • Motivation
  • Cognitive function
  • Reward
  • Reproductive behaviors
  • Maternal behaviors
  • Movement

“One of its most notable roles is in our brain’s reward system,” says Dr. Minami. And, perhaps unsurprisingly since the brain’s reward system and mood go hand in hand, dopamine has a role in elevating mood or producing the feeling of happiness, adds Dr. Nadkarni.

Not having enough dopamine has been correlated with major depressive disorder, a very common mood disorder that can lead to lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, poor concentration and more.

“One of the hallmark features of major depressive disorder, besides depressed mood, is anhedonia,” says Dr. Minami. Anhedonia, which is the inability or reduced ability to experience pleasure, has been linked to dysfunction of the brain’s dopamine system, she says.

Are Supplements Effective for Increasing Dopamine?

Certain antidepressant medications, such as norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)—most commonly prescribed in the U.S. as Wellbutrin—are effective at increasing dopamine levels in the brain (but require a prescription and careful monitoring from a doctor).

There’s some evidence that certain foods or supplements can boost dopamine levels, too, but, researchers emphasize further investigation is warranted before we can fully understand the efficacy of certain dopamine-boosting foods and supplements.

“Can certain foods or supplements increase dopamine and therefore improve mood? The answer is maybe,” says Dr. Minami. “However, we are far from clear answers on which supplements are effective, at what doses and what the safe amount of those supplements would be.”

Dr. Nadkarni shares a similar sentiment adding, “in general, there is limited high-quality empirical evidence to support the efficacy of dietary supplements in boosting mood.”

While medications like NDRIs block the reuptake, or reabsorption, of norepinephrine and dopamine, thereby increasing their activity in the brain, Dr. Nadkarni says supplements have been shown to elevate dopamine levels through different mechanisms, such as by reducing oxidative stress or by acting as natural inhibitors to enzymes that break down the neurotransmitter.

For example, tyrosine—one of the 20 to 22 amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein—is required in the production of dopamine. “One might then think, ‘If I consume more tyrosine, I can make more dopamine or make it faster, and then my mood will get better,” says Dr. Minami. “But we simply don’t have enough well-designed, scientifically rigorous studies to support these kinds of seemingly linear conclusions.”

With these important precautions in mind, below are some of the foods and supplements that may increase dopamine levels in the brain.

5 Supplements for Boosting Dopamine

Coffee and Caffeinated Tea

Some studies on humans and animals have found a link between the intake of caffeine—most often found naturally in coffee and black and green teas—and changes in dopamine pathways[1]Alasmari F. Caffeine induces neurobehavioral effects through modulating neurotransmitters. Saudi Pharm J. 2020;28(4):445–451. . In other words, while some studies found no significant changes in brain levels of dopamine, others have found that caffeine can elevate dopamine concentrations, especially in the brain areas known for helping us stay alert and attentive.


Remember the amino acid tyrosine we mentioned earlier that’s required in the production of dopamine? Chocolate contains it. Research has found that highly palatable foods, including chocolate, can have a major impact on mood—potentially even inducing feelings of euphoria[2]Casperson SL, Lanza L, Albajri E, Nasser JA. Increasing Chocolate’s Sugar Content Enhances Its Psychoactive Effects and Intake. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):596. . With that said, researchers point out the findings surrounding chocolate and dopamine are mixed.


Considering studies have found a strong connection between microbiota in the gut and dopamine release in the brain, it’s understandable that supplementing with probiotics—live bacteria and other microorganisms—may influence neurotransmitter activity. Animal studies, for instance, have found that supplementing with certain strains of probiotics may increase dopamine synthesis[3]Huey Tan A, Wei Hor J, Wie Chong C, Yang Lim, S. Probiotics for Parkinson's disease: Current evidence and future directions. JGH Open. 2021;5(4):414–419. .


Some animal research suggests curcumin—an antioxidant compound found in the Curcuma longa plant, more commonly known as turmeric—has protective effects on dopaminergic neurons, suggesting regularly consuming the golden spice may help prevent the loss of dopamine[4]Sharma N, Sharma S, Nehru B. Curcumin protects dopaminergic neurons against inflammation-mediated damage and improves motor dysfunction induced by single intranigral lipopolysaccharide injection. Inflammopharmacology. 2017;25(3):351-368. . More specifically, animal studies also suggest it may elevate dopamine levels in the frontal cortex of the brain[5]Ramaholimihaso T, Bouazzaoui F, Kaladjian A. Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review. Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:57253. .


As one of the most ancient tree species in the world, the ginkgo tree has long been used for different health and wellness applications. Animal studies have shown that extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo tree protect dopaminergic neurons, thereby boosting dopamine levels in the brain[6]Yu D, Zhang P, Li J, Liu T, Zhang Y, Wang Q, Zhang J, Lu X, Fana X. Neuroprotective effects of Ginkgo biloba dropping pills in Parkinson’s disease. J Pharm Anal. 2021;11(2): 220–231. .

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Lifestyle Choices That Can Increase Dopamine Levels

Beyond medication and supplements, there are other known ways to boost dopamine levels in the brain—many of which have multiple pathways to improving mood and well-being, including potentially elevating dopamine levels.

Get Moving

Carve out some time in your daily routine for a walk or workout. “It’s been said many times before, but bears repeating: Aiming to get 30 minutes daily of moderate aerobic activity has both physical and mental health benefits,” says Dr. Minami. Experts note that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and the release of many neurotransmitters, including dopamine.

Focus on Your Sleep

Make getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night a priority. “Ensuring we get enough restorative sleep on a regular basis is essential to maintaining mood,” says Dr. Minami. “The impact of poor sleep on mental health, cognitive functioning (such as memory and focus) and daily stress levels cannot be underestimated.”


Experts suggest that meditation likely affects the brain through multiple pathways, one of which may be changing dopamine sensitivity so that ordinary activities can be more pleasurable.

“There are many kinds of meditation and no one right way to engage in it,” says Dr. Minami. She suggests taking a moment at the end of the day to notice and appreciate something you’re grateful for. “For instance, immerse yourself in gratitude for a conversation you had with someone, a commute to work that had less traffic or something you noticed during a short walk outside,” she says.

When to See a Doctor

In general, it’s time to seek help if you notice your mood is affecting your daily functioning and you can no longer take care of yourself, engage in social relationships or perform your daily work responsibilities, says Dr. Nadkarni.

“It is never a bad idea to visit your primary care doctor or a mental health professional if you feel your mood is low, despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” adds Dr. Minami. If you have questions about whether a specific supplement can be helpful for your mood, she suggests asking your doctor to review published clinical studies with you and discuss any known pros and cons before taking it.

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  • Alasmari F. Caffeine induces neurobehavioral effects through modulating neurotransmitters. Saudi Pharm J. 2020;28(4):445–451.
  • Casperson SL, Lanza L, Albajri E, Nasser JA. Increasing Chocolate’s Sugar Content Enhances Its Psychoactive Effects and Intake. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):596.
  • Huey Tan A, Wei Hor J, Wie Chong C, Yang Lim, S. Probiotics for Parkinson's disease: Current evidence and future directions. JGH Open. 2021;5(4):414–419.
  • Sharma N, Sharma S, Nehru B. Curcumin protects dopaminergic neurons against inflammation-mediated damage and improves motor dysfunction induced by single intranigral lipopolysaccharide injection. Inflammopharmacology. 2017;25(3):351-368.
  • Ramaholimihaso T, Bouazzaoui F, Kaladjian A. Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review. Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:57253.
  • Yu D, Zhang P, Li J, Liu T, Zhang Y, Wang Q, Zhang J, Lu X, Fana X. Neuroprotective effects of Ginkgo biloba dropping pills in Parkinson’s disease. J Pharm Anal. 2021;11(2): 220–231.


  • Sheffler ZM, Reddy V, Sharath Pillarisetty L. Physiology, Neurotransmitters. StatPearls. 2022.
  • Radwan B, Liu H, Chaudhury D. The role of dopamine in mood disorders and the associated changes in circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycle. Brain Res. 2019;1713:42-51.
  • Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors (NDRIs). American Addiction Centers. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Basso JC, Suzuki WA. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain Plast. 2017; 2(2):127–152.
  • Volkow ND, Tomasi D, Wang G-J, Telang F, Fowler JS, Logan J, Benveniste H, Kim R, Thanos PK, Ferré S. Evidence That Sleep Deprivation Downregulates Dopamine D2R in Ventral Striatum in the Human Brain. J Neurosci. 2012;32(19):6711–6717.
  • Klein MO, Battagello DS, Cardoso AR, Hauser DN, Bittencourt JC, Correa RG. Dopamine: Functions, Signaling, and Association with Neurological Diseases. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2019;39(1):31-59.
  • Dopamine affects how brain decides whether a goal is worth the effort. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Russo SJ, Nestler EJ. The Brain Reward Circuitry in Mood Disorders. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013;14(9):609-625.
  • Belujon P, Grace AA. Dopamine System Dysregulation in Major Depressive Disorders. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017;20(12):1036–1046.
  • Bains N, Abdijadid S. Major Depressive Disorder. StatPearls. 2022.
  • Gorwood P. Neurobiological mechanisms of anhedonia. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(3):291–299.
  • What is Dopamine?. Mental Health America. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Dopamine: The pathway to pleasure. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Briguglio M, Dell’Osso B, Panzica G, Malgaroli A, Banfi G, Zanaboni Dina C, Galentino R, Porta M. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):591.
  • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Hypersomnia Foundation. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Bloemendaal M, Froböse MI, Wegman J, Bastiaan Zandbelt B, van de Rest O, Cools R, Aarts E. Neuro-Cognitive Effects of Acute Tyrosine Administration on Reactive and Proactive Response Inhibition in Healthy Older Adults. eNeuro. 2018;5(2):ENEURO.0035-17.2018.
  • Lopez MJ, Mohiuddin SS. Biochemistry, Essential Amino Acids. StatPearls. 2022.
  • Meeusen R, Roelands B, Spriet LL. Caffeine, Exercise and the Brain. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:1-12.
  • Nehlig A. The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013;75(3): 716–727.
  • Scholey A, Owen L. Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(10):665-81.
  • Hamamah S, Aghazarian A, Nazaryan A, Hajnal A, Covasa M. Role of Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Regulating Dopaminergic Signaling. Biomedicines. 2022;10(2):436.
  • Probiotics: What You Need To Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Accessed 12/28/2022.
  • Ginkgo. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Accessed 12/28/2022.

12 Dopamine Supplements to Boost Your Mood

12 Dopamine Supplements to Boost Your Mood
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By Kaitlyn Berkheiser on August 1, 2018

Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that plays a role in the regulation of cognition, memory, motivation, mood, attention and learning.

It also aids in decision making and sleep regulation (1, 2).

Under normal circumstances, dopamine production is managed effectively by your body’s nervous system. However, there are various lifestyle factors and medical conditions that can cause dopamine levels to plummet.

Symptoms of low dopamine levels include loss of pleasure in things that you once found enjoyable, lack of motivation and apathy (3).

Here are 12 dopamine supplements to boost your mood.

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that line your digestive tract. They help your body function properly.

Also known as the good gut bacteria, probiotics not only benefit gut health but may also prevent or treat various health problems, including mood disorders (4).

In fact, while harmful gut bacteria have been shown to decrease dopamine production, probiotics have the ability to increase it, which may boost mood (4, 5, 6).

Several rat studies have shown increased dopamine production and improved mood and anxiety with probiotic supplements (7, 8, 9).

Additionally, one study in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found that those who received probiotic supplements had a reduction in depressive symptoms, compared to those who received a placebo (10).

While probiotic research is rapidly evolving, further studies are needed to fully understand the effect of probiotics on mood and dopamine production.

You can add probiotics to your diet by consuming fermented food products, such as yogurt or kefir, or taking a dietary supplement.

Summary Probiotics are important not only for digestive health but also for many functions in your body. They’ve been shown to increase dopamine production and improve mood in both animal and human studies.

2. Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is a type of tropical bean native to parts of Africa, India and Southern China (11).

These beans are often processed into a dried powder and sold as dietary supplements.

The most significant compound found in Mucuna pruriens is an amino acid called levodopa (L-dopa). L-dopa is needed for your brain to produce dopamine (12).

Research has shown that Mucuna pruriens helps boost dopamine levels in humans, particularly those with Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that affects movement and is caused by a dopamine deficiency (13).

In fact, studies have indicated that Mucuna pruriens supplements may be just as effective as certain Parkinson’s medications at increasing dopamine levels (14, 15).

Mucuna pruriens may also be effective in boosting dopamine levels in those without Parkinson’s disease.

For example, one study found that taking 5 grams of Mucuna pruriens powder for three months increased dopamine levels in infertile men (16).

Another study found that Mucuna pruriens had an antidepressant effect in mice due to an increase in dopamine production (17).

Summary Mucuna pruriens has been shown to be effective in increasing dopamine levels in both humans and animals and may have an antidepressant effect.

3. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a plant native to China that has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for various health conditions.

Although research is inconsistent, ginkgo supplements may improve mental performance, brain function and mood in certain people.

Some studies have found that supplementing with Ginkgo biloba in the long term increased dopamine levels in rats, which helped improve cognitive function, memory and motivation (18, 19, 20).

One test-tube study showed that Ginkgo biloba extract appeared to increase dopamine secretion by reducing oxidative stress (21).

These preliminary animal and test-tube studies are promising. However, further research is needed before scientists can determine if Ginkgo biloba also increases dopamine levels in humans.

Summary Ginkgo biloba supplements have been shown to increase dopamine levels in animal and test-tube studies. However, further research is needed to conclude whether ginkgo is successful in increasing levels in humans.

4. Curcumin

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin comes in capsule, tea, extract and powdered forms.

It’s thought to have antidepressant effects, as it increases the release of dopamine (22).

One small, controlled study found that taking 1 gram of curcumin had similar effects as that of Prozac on improving mood in people with major depressive disorder (MDD) (23).

There is also evidence that curcumin increases dopamine levels in mice (24, 25).

However, more research is needed to understand curcumin’s role in increasing dopamine levels in humans and its use in the management of depression.

Summary Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It has been shown to increase dopamine levels in mice and may have antidepressant effects.

5. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil has various antioxidant and antibacterial properties that are likely due to its active ingredient, carvacrol (26).

One study showed that ingesting carvacrol promoted dopamine production and provided antidepressant effects in mice as a result (27).

Another study in mice found that oregano extract supplements inhibited the deterioration of dopamine and induced positive behavioral effects (28).

While these animal studies are encouraging, more human studies are warranted to determine whether oregano oil provides similar effects in people.

Summary Oregano oil supplements have been proven to increase levels of dopamine and produce antidepressant effects in mice. Human-based research is lacking.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium plays a vital role in keeping your body and mind healthy.

Magnesium and its antidepressant qualities are still not fully understood, but there is evidence that magnesium deficiency may contribute to decreased dopamine levels and an increased risk of depression (29, 30).

What’s more, one study showed that supplementing with magnesium boosted dopamine levels and produced antidepressant effects in mice (31).

Currently, research on the effects of magnesium supplements on dopamine levels is limited to animal studies.

However, if you’re unable to get enough magnesium from your diet alone, taking a supplement may be a good idea to ensure you’re meeting your requirements.

Summary Most research is limited to animal studies, but magnesium deficiency may contribute to low dopamine levels. Taking a magnesium supplement can help.

7. Green Tea

Green tea has long been touted for its antioxidant properties and nutrient content.

It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which directly affects your brain (32).

L-theanine can increase certain neurotransmitters in your brain, including dopamine.

Multiple studies have shown that L-theanine increases dopamine production, thus causing an antidepressant effect and enhancing cognitive function (32, 33, 34).

Additionally, studies suggest that both green tea extract and frequent consumption of green tea as a beverage can increase dopamine production and are associated with lower rates of depressive symptoms (35, 36).

Summary Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to increase dopamine levels.

8. Vitamin D

Vitamin D has many roles in your body, including the regulation of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine (37).

One study showed decreased dopamine levels in vitamin-D-deprived mice and improved levels when supplementing with vitamin D3 (38).

Since research is limited, it’s difficult to say whether vitamin D supplements would have any effect on dopamine levels without an existing vitamin D deficiency.

Preliminary animal studies show promise, but human studies are needed to better understand the relationship between vitamin D and dopamine in people.

Summary While animal studies show promise, human studies are needed to see if vitamin D supplements increase dopamine levels in those with vitamin D deficiency.

9. Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements primarily contain two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Many studies have discovered that fish oil supplements have antidepressant effects and are linked to improved mental health when taken regularly (39, 40, 41).

These benefits may be attributed in part to fish oil’s influence on dopamine regulation.

For instance, one rat study observed that a fish-oil-enriched diet increased dopamine levels in the frontal cortex of the brain by 40% and enhanced dopamine binding capabilities (42).

However, more human-based research is needed to make a definitive recommendation.

Summary Fish oil supplements may increase dopamine levels in the brain and prevent and treat depressive symptoms.

10. Caffeine

Studies have found that caffeine can boost cognitive performance, including by enhancing the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (43, 44, 45).

It’s thought that caffeine improves brain function by increasing dopamine receptor levels in your brain (45).

However, your body can develop a tolerance to caffeine, meaning it learns how to process increased amounts.

Therefore, you may need to consume more caffeine than you did before to experience the same effects (46).

Summary Caffeine is linked to increased dopamine levels by enhancing dopamine receptors in your brain. Over time, you may develop a greater tolerance for caffeine and may need to increase your consumption to have the same effects.

11. Ginseng

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times.

Its root can be eaten raw or steamed, but it’s also available in other forms, such as tea, capsules or pills.

Studies have shown that ginseng may enhance brain skills, including mood, behavior and memory (47, 48).

Many animal and test-tube studies indicate that these benefits may be due to ginseng’s ability to increase dopamine levels (49, 50, 51).

It has also been suggested that certain components in ginseng, such as ginsenosides, are responsible for the increase of dopamine in the brain and for beneficial effects on mental health, including cognitive function and attention (52).

One study on the effects of Korean red ginseng on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children observed that lower levels of dopamine were associated with symptoms of ADHD.

The children involved in the study received 2,000 mg of Korean red ginseng daily for eight weeks. At the end of the study, the results showed that ginseng improved attention in children with ADHD (53).

However, further studies are needed to draw definite conclusions about the extent to which ginseng enhances dopamine production and brain function in humans.

Summary Many animal and test-tube studies have shown an increase in dopamine levels after supplementing with ginseng. Ginseng may increase dopamine levels in humans, especially those with ADHD, but more research is needed.

12. Berberine

Berberine is an active component present in and extracted from certain plants and herbs.

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years and has recently gained popularity as a natural supplement.

Several animal studies show that berberine increases dopamine levels and may help fight depression and anxiety (54, 55, 56, 57).

Currently, there is no research on the effects of berberine supplements on dopamine in humans. Therefore, more research is needed before recommendations can be made.

Summary Many studies show that berberine increases dopamine levels in the brains of mice. However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of berberine and dopamine levels in humans.

Special Considerations and Side Effects

It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your daily routine.

This is especially true if you have a medical condition or if you’re on any medications.

Generally, the risk associated with taking the above supplements is relatively low. They all have good safety profiles and low toxicity levels in low-to-moderate dosages.

The primary possible side effects of some of these supplements are related to digestive symptoms, such as gas, diarrhea, nausea or stomach pain.

Headaches, dizziness and heart palpitations have also been reported with certain supplements, including ginkgo, ginseng and caffeine (58, 59, 60).

Summary It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking dietary supplements and stop using them if negative side effects or medication interactions occur.

The Bottom Line

Dopamine is an important chemical in your body that influences many brain-related functions, such as mood, motivation and memory.

Generally, your body regulates dopamine levels well on its own, but some medical conditions and diet and lifestyle choices can lower your levels.

Along with eating a balanced diet, many possible supplements may help boost dopamine levels, including probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, ginkgo and ginseng.

This, in turn, could help improve brain function and mental health.

Each of the supplements on this list has a good safety profile when used properly. However, some supplements may interfere with certain prescription or over-the-counter medications.

It’s always best to talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine if certain supplements are right for you.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

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By Kaitlyn Berkheiser on August 1, 2018

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✒ Best Mood Dopamine Supplements - [SAYYES]

Dopamine is a unique substance located in the human brain and used by the human body to improve memory, learning, attention, motivation, and mood. It is also worth noting that this substance is involved in the normalization of sleep.

The nervous system is responsible for the production of dopamine and the regulation of its level. In some cases, the level of this substance may decrease. The main reasons for the decrease in the level of this substance are some lifestyle factors, as well as certain medications. nine0003

Decrease in dopamine levels in most cases is accompanied by symptoms such as loss of pleasure from activities that were previously pleasant, loss of motivation and, as a result, apathy.

In this article, we will look at the most effective supplements to improve mood and increase dopamine levels.

Probiotics are micro-organisms needed to improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and restore intestinal microflora. Supplements of this type can significantly improve the condition of the body. nine0003

According to the scientists, these microorganisms can be used not only to improve the condition of the intestine, but also to solve a number of problems, including worsening mood. This is because harmful gut bacteria can have a negative effect on the production of dopamine, while probiotics can stimulate the body's production of this substance, which can improve mood.

Researchers in rats have found that probiotic supplements not only reduce anxiety, but also improve mood. nine0003

Another study in people suffering from IBS showed that taking probiotics improved some of the symptoms of depression and made participants feel better than placebo supplements.

Despite the fact that scientists have recently devoted much time to studying the effect of probiotics, more research is needed to confirm the above results.

In addition to dietary supplements, probiotics can also be obtained from natural foods such as kefir and yogurt. nine0003

Mucuna pruriens, also commonly found under the name Mucuna pruriens, is a tropical bean native to southern China, India and Africa. In most cases, supplements of this plant are sold in the form of a powder, which is obtained by grinding the beans of this plant.

The main active substance of Mucuna sting is an amino acid called levodopa or L-dopa, which is used by the human brain to generate dopamine. As a result of research, scientists have found that this substance can most effectively stimulate the production of dopamine in people with impaired functioning of the nervous system, as well as in people with Parkinson's disease. nine0003

Furthermore, in a comparative analysis, the researchers were able to establish that the effect of Mucuna stings on dopamine production is comparable to the effect of some drugs intended for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. At the same time, it was also found that the addition of this leguminous plant can increase the level of this substance in absolutely healthy individuals.

During the experiment, scientists found that the use of only 5 grams of powder Mucuna sting for three months can significantly increase the level of dopamine in men suffering from infertility. nine0003

Ginkgo Biloba is a herb that has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat a variety of ailments.

Recent studies have shown that supplementing this plant not only improves brain function and memory, but also improves mood. Moreover, with long-term use of ginkgo biloba, dopamine levels are significantly increased, memory and cognitive functions are improved, and motivation appears. nine0003

Laboratory experiments have shown that this plant can increase the level of dopamine production by reducing the level of oxidative stress.

Despite these promising results, scientists need to do more research to determine the effect of ginkgo biloba on dopamine production in the human body.

Curcumin is one of the main active ingredients in turmeric. Supplements of this substance are on the market mainly in the form of extract, powder and tea. According to scientists, this microelement stimulates the production of dopamine, and also eliminates the symptoms of depression. nine0003

In one comparative analysis, one gram of curcumin was found to be as effective as the drug Prozac in improving mood in people with depression.

Another study showed that this substance can significantly increase the level of dopamine production in mice.

Despite this, more experimentation is needed to determine whether curcumin can be used as a treatment for depression. nine0003

According to experts, oregano oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which are provided by its main active ingredient, carvacrol. Scientists report that this substance stimulates the production of dopamine and has an antidepressant effect.

Studies have shown that supplementing with oregano extract can reduce the negative impact of certain processes on the production of dopamine and improve mood.

It is worth noting that all the above results were obtained in experiments involving animals. In this regard, more research is needed to determine the effect of oregano oil on dopamine production in humans. nine0003

Magnesium is one of the minerals used by the human body to normalize a number of vital functions, as well as for brain function. Despite the fact that the antidepressant properties of this mineral are not fully understood, scientists report that lowering the level of this substance helps to reduce dopamine levels and the development of symptoms of depression.

One study in mice found that supplementing with magnesium can alleviate symptoms of depression and stimulate dopamine production. nine0003

Although the effect of this mineral on dopamine production is not fully understood, experts recommend consuming natural foods high in magnesium.

Green tea has been popular for many years for its antioxidant properties and high nutritional content. However, few people know that this drink contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can affect brain function. This amino acid promotes an increase in certain neurotransmitters, including dopamine. nine0003

In a number of studies, scientists have found that L-theanine can improve cognitive function and eliminate symptoms of depression by stimulating the production of dopamine. At the same time, researchers were able to find out that green tea extract and the drink of the same name have approximately the same effect on the human body.

One of the most important substances necessary for the normalization of the functions of the human body is vitamin D. This substance ensures the normalization of the level of neurotransmitters, one of which is dopamine. When conducting one of the studies, scientists found that a decrease in the level of this vitamin leads to a decrease in dopamine, and the inclusion of vitamin D3 in the diet with its deficiency - to increase the level of this substance. nine0003

But due to the fact that the study was conducted in people who were deficient in this vitamin, it cannot be argued that the “sunshine” vitamin will increase dopamine levels in people without vitamin D deficiency. » vitamin and dopamine production, scientists will need to do more research in this area.

The main constituent of fish oil are omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. According to the researchers, these substances can improve mental state and eliminate the symptoms of depression with regular use. This effect is due to the influence of omega-3 fatty amino acids on dopamine levels. nine0003

In one study involving rats, scientists were able to determine that the inclusion of fish oil in the diet can increase the level of dopamine in the cerebral cortex by 40 percent.

But human studies are needed before fish oil can be recommended as a dopamine-boosting supplement.


A scientific analysis of the effects of caffeine showed that this substance is able to stimulate the production of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. nine0003

According to researchers, caffeine improves brain function and cognitive function by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain.

However, due to the fact that the body is able to adapt to caffeine, after some time with regular consumption of coffee drinks, it may be necessary to increase the level of production of dopamine by increasing the volume of this substance.

Ginseng is a plant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. In the treatment of various diseases in most cases, the root of this plant is used. But today, ginseng is also found in other forms - capsules, tablets, and even in the form of tea. nine0003

Scientists have found that regular consumption of ginseng can improve brain function, memory and mood. This effect of this plant is due to the influence of its active components - gensenosides, which can increase the level of dopamine production, as well as improve attention and cognitive functions of the brain.

One study found that attention deficit disorder and increased activity levels in children were associated with low levels of dopamine. To increase it, the researchers gave the children 2,000 mg of Korean red ginseng for 8 weeks. After the completion of this experiment, in children with attention deficit disorder and an increased level of activity, an increase in the level of attention was noticed due to an increase in dopamine volumes. nine0003

But despite the above results, more research is needed to more accurately determine the effect of ginseng on brain function and dopamine production.

Berberine is one of the active substances obtained from certain types of herbs and plants. This supplement is considered natural and has been used for many years in Chinese traditional medicine.

Animal studies have shown that supplementation of this active ingredient can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as increase dopamine levels. nine0003

Unfortunately, the effect of berberine on dopamine levels in humans has not been studied.

What you need to know about taking dopamine supplements

It is recommended that you consult your healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplement, especially if you are undergoing any treatment that involves medication.

Most of the above supplements are safe for the human body when consumed in the recommended amount. However, some of them can cause nausea, increased levels of gas, gastrointestinal disturbances, and abdominal pain. nine0003

Abuse of additives such as ginseng, caffeine and ginkgo biloba can cause heart rhythm disturbances, dizziness and frequent headaches.


Dopamine is one of the most important substances in the human brain. He is responsible for the work of this body, mood, memory and motivation.

In most cases, the level of dopamine is regulated by the human body itself. However, some factors such as poor diet, hard work and other living conditions can negatively affect the level of this substance. nine0003

You can increase your blood levels of dopamine with a balanced diet or with the supplements listed above, which, in addition to improving mood, can have a positive effect on mental health.

Most of the supplements listed in this article are safe for the human body. However, taking them in excess or in combination with medications can cause certain side effects. Therefore, before you start taking them, you should always consult with your doctor. nine0003

Research links

1. The Role of Dopamine and Its Dysfunction as a Consequence of Oxidative Stress.

2. The role of dopamine in mood disorders.

3. The role of dopamine in the pathophysiology and treatment of apathy.

10 Legal Ways to Boost Your Dopamine (Pleasure Hormone!) Naturally


Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, memory, attention and even control of our body movements. When there is a lot of dopamine released, you experience a feeling of pleasure and desire to repeat a certain behavior. Low levels of dopamine, in contrast, are associated with a decrease in life enthusiasm. Dopamine levels are well regulated by the nervous system, but here's what the science says about how you can increase them naturally. nine0144

Eat more protein

Proteins are made up of small building blocks called amino acids. There are a total of 23 different types of amino acids, some of which your body can synthesize itself, while others you must get from food. The amino acid tyrosine plays a key role in the production of dopamine. Enzymes in your body are able to convert tyrosine into dopamine, so having adequate levels of tyrosine is important for dopamine production. Tyrosine can also be made from another amino acid called phenylalanine. nine0003

Both tyrosine and phenylalanine are found in protein-rich foods such as turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy, and legumes. Studies show that increasing the amount of tyrosine and phenylalanine in the diet can increase dopamine levels and improve memory, deep thinking. Conversely, when phenylalanine and tyrosine are drastically eliminated from the diet, dopamine levels may decrease. Note that the studies looked at extremely high or extremely low intakes of these amino acids - it is not known whether small fluctuations in protein intake will have an effect on dopamine. nine0003

Eat less saturated fat

Research has shown that saturated fat, found in animal fat, butter, palm oil, coconut oil, and full-fat dairy products, when consumed in very high amounts, can interfere with dopamine signaling. For example, rats that consumed 50% of their calories from saturated fat had reduced levels of dopamine signaling in brain areas responsible for reward compared to other rats that received the same amount of calories from unsaturated fat. Whether this works in humans is unknown, but the results in lab animals are intriguing. nine0003

In addition, some scientists suggest that a diet high in saturated fat may increase inflammation in the body, leading to changes in the dopamine system, but this issue needs further study. One study also found a link between high saturated fat intake and poor memory and cognitive performance, but it is not known whether these effects are related to low dopamine levels.

Think probiotics

In recent years, scientists have shown that our gut and brain are closely connected. Sometimes the gut is even called the "second brain" - it contains a large number of nerve cells, which in turn produce neurotransmitter signaling molecules, including dopamine. Thus, some types of bacteria that live in our intestines are able to produce dopamine, which affects our mood and behavior. nine0003

Research in this area is still scarce, but several studies show that high enough intake of certain strains of bacteria can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in both animals and humans.

To recap, probiotic supplements are associated with improved mood in humans and animals, but more research is needed to determine the exact role of dopamine in this process. Read about why you should not self-prescribe a probiotic and how to choose a quality product, read here. nine0003

Velvet beans can help too

Velvet beans, also known as Mucuna pruriens, contain high levels of L-DOPA, a precursor molecule to dopamine itself. Observations by scientists show that consumption of these beans can naturally increase dopamine levels. One small study related to Parkinson's disease found that eating 250 grams of cooked velvet beans can significantly increase blood levels of dopamine and reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease itself for a while. Also, by researching Mucuna pruriens nutritional supplements, scientists have shown that velvet beans can be more effective than traditional Parkinson's drugs while having fewer side effects. nine0003

Although these foods are natural sources of L-DOPA, you should consult your doctor before adding them to your diet. In addition, in large quantities, velvet beans may not be useful, but harmful. Be sure to follow the dosage recommendations on the product label.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best activities for the mind and body. During sports, the level of endorphin increases: an improvement in mood can be observed after 10 minutes of aerobic activity, for example, when running long distances at an average pace, and after 20 minutes it reaches its peak. nine0003

Although these effects are not directly related to dopamine fluctuations, animal studies do suggest that exercise can increase dopamine levels in the brain. For example, running on a treadmill increased the release of dopamine in rats and regulated the number of dopamine receptors in reward areas of the brain. However, these results have not been as thoroughly studied in humans. For example, in one study, running for 30 minutes on a treadmill did not lead to an increase in dopamine levels in people. However, another study showed that an hour of yoga six days a week can significantly increase dopamine levels. Frequent aerobic exercise also benefits people with Parkinson's disease, a condition in which low dopamine levels impair the brain's ability to control body movements. nine0003

Watch your sleep

In order for your brain to naturally increase dopamine, you need to make sure you get enough sleep. When dopamine is produced in the brain, it creates the feeling of being awake. Animal studies show that dopamine is released in high amounts in the morning, when it's time to wake up, and in the evening, when it's time to go to bed, its levels naturally decrease. However, lack of sleep disrupts these natural rhythms. When a person, for example, is forced to stay awake all night, by the next morning the number of dopamine receptors in the brain is sharply reduced. Moreover, low dopamine levels are usually accompanied by other unpleasant consequences, such as decreased concentration or poor coordination. nine0003

Regular, good sleep can help keep your dopamine levels in balance, making you feel better and improving your productivity throughout the day. Sleep duration, according to the recommendations of the National Sleep Foundation, should be at least 7 hours, ideally a person should sleep from 7 to 9 hours.

Sleep quality can be improved by waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, removing all sources of noise from the bedroom, trying to avoid caffeine in the evenings, and using the bed exclusively for sleeping and not as a rest or work area. nine0003

Listen to music

Several brain imaging studies have shown that listening to music increases activity in an area of ​​the brain that is normally associated with pleasure and reward and is rich in dopamine receptors. Another study looking at the direct effects of music on dopamine production found a 9 percent increase in dopamine levels in the brain when people listened to songs that made them feel euphoric and goosebumps. To date, all studies on the relationship between music and dopamine use instrumental melodies, so it is safe to say that the increase in dopamine levels is primarily associated with the melody of the music itself, and not with specific lyrics. nine0003


Regular meditation has been repeatedly associated with improved mental and physical health. Some work by scientists has shown that these benefits can also be accompanied by an increase in dopamine levels in the brain. One study of 8 experienced meditation teachers found that there was a 64% increase in dopamine production within one hour of meditation compared to a period of quiet rest. It is believed that this is what helps meditators maintain a good mood, stay motivated, stay in a meditative state for a longer period of time. So, meditation does increase brain dopamine levels in experienced meditators, but it's not clear if the same effect will occur in those who are just starting to meditate. nine0003

Get enough sunlight

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition in which people feel sad or depressed during the winter season when they don't get enough sunlight. Its deficiency can lead to decreased levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, including dopamine.

A study in 68 healthy adults found that participants who received the most exposure to sunlight in the previous 30 days had the highest density of dopamine receptors in reward and movement brain regions. nine0003

While sun exposure can increase dopamine levels and improve mood, it's important to be safe, as too much sun can be harmful to the body, increase skin cancer risk, and possibly be addictive. A study involving tanners who used tanning beds at least twice a week for one year found that sessions led to a significant increase in dopamine levels and a desire to repeat the behavior again.

Include vitamins and minerals as needed

Your body will need several vitamins and minerals to produce enough dopamine, such as iron, niacin, folate, and vitamin B6. If your body lacks one or more of these nutrients, you may have trouble producing enough dopamine to meet all of your body's needs. If you do not know what exactly you are missing, laboratory tests can determine this. nine0003

A healthy diet can be supplemented with several supplements that can also help increase dopamine levels. These supplements include magnesium, vitamin D, curcumin, oregano extract, and green tea. However, it is worth noting that so far the study of this issue has been limited only to animal studies, so additional studies in humans are needed.

Prepared by Ekaterina Goncharova.

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