Discussing solutions is one of my favorite topics to write about, but if we didn’t first identify root causes, how would what we are doing be any different than the tendency to bandage a festering abscess? Solutions can be clues all on their own too, right? I ask that you be mindful of three things while navigating and identifying ways to improve and support healthy dopamine levels:
Would I be prone to developing an addictive tendency to something I already particularly enjoy? (Too much of a good thing makes it not necessarily a good thing.)
Am I willing to step outside of my comfort zone in the pursuit of happiness and improved dopamine balance in the body?
There is no magic “one hit wonder”. Lifestyle is where the sweet spot lies….. Just as it took every single person doing their part in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem (read Nehemiah 3 sometime!), it takes symphonic effort to succeed in body balance! Now, on to the fun stuff!
Exercise: Exercise slows the breakdown of dopamine in the body, and helps prevent loss of dopaminergic brain cells. You may have heard of the “runner’s high”. There are several neurotransmitters involved in this sensation of feeling great, and dopamine is one of them. The brain is literally washed with dopamine in these moments. If strenuous exercise is new to you, start with walking, yoga, pilates, or aquatic exercise. Mild exercise causes dopamine release too. Bonus points for exercise outdoors and with a group of friends!
Learn something new: Learning a new skill (language, hobby, sport, or activity) or simply learning new information causes dopamine to be released. It’s very likely happening right now as you read this information! You’ve heard of “seminar highs” or research junkies (yep, this is one area I receive a huge dopamine dump from!). When the dopamine release happens, it makes you want to learn more and repeat the experience. Bonus points…. The more you engage in learning new things, the stronger your brain gets too!
Vitamin D: Vitamin D has a role in the production of dopamine and in also protecting dopamine receptors. Evidence suggests that supporting healthy Vitamin D levels also supports healthy dopamine levels, especially if clinically deficient in Vitamin D. Make sure to ask for Vitamin D levels whenever you have the opportunity to get labwork! Young Living’s Super D is most bioavailable when it is dissolved in the cheek or under the tongue.
Phenylalanine and tyrosine are two amino acids used in the biosynthesis of dopamine. Foods high in phenylalanine and/or tyrosine include meats, beans, milk, nuts, seeds, whole grains, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, cherries, eggs, yogurt, and NingXia Wolfberries! Supporting healthy dopamine production is just one more reason to get your ounce or two (or four!) of NingXia Red every day!
Increasing Vagal Tone: There is a direct correlation between low vagal tone and lower levels of dopamine. You’ll want to go back and review ALL the wonderful and fun ways you can improve vagal tone! (We talked about this a few months ago….use the search option in this group to find the posts.)
Uridine is a supplement. It’s also found in beer, brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is not the same yeast that bakers use. If you do a little digging, you’ll find recipes incorporating nutritional yeast into tasty options.
Here’s a quick recipe for Caesar Salad Dressing:1 & ½ cups extra virgin olive oil¾ cup coconut milk½ avocadoJuice of one lemon1 tsp balsamic vinegar3 cloves of garlic2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast¾ tsp sea salt or pink saltA toothpick swirl or two of Young Living oregano vitality essential oil (1 drop might be WAY strong!)½ tsp onion powder(Use organic ingredients whenever possible). Put all ingredients (except olive oil) into a blender and blend til smooth. Slowly add in olive oil while blender is running at low speed. Stores up to one week in the fridge. Note: may also be used for a dipping sauce!
Cryotherapy: You’ve seen advertisements for it I’m sure. Be brave and consider giving it a try! Remember, simply exploring something new increases dopamine in the brain. Ice water immersion (or cryotherapy tanks) increase dopamine by an estimated 250%! Yowza! I am a fan of cryo….. I find it both terrifying and exhilarating (probably from that ginormous dopamine dump I received!)
Intermittent Fasting not only leads to higher levels of dopamine release; it also reduces age related dopamine receptor attrition. There are many additional reasons to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle if you’ve not considered it before now.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment found in turmeric. Curcumin reduces the metabolism of dopamine in the brain thereby increasing levels. YL Golden Turmeric or Spiced Turmeric Vitality Tea for the win! You might also consider adding Golden Turmeric to yogurt or smoothies!We’re about halfway through this pretty amazing dopamine support list! Next week we’ll wrap up with more simple and inexpensive ways to support this happy hormone.