Natural pharmacology is an ideal course of treatment to enhance dopamine naturally. Dopamine is one of several brain chemicals that regulate mood and other cognitive processes of the brain. Indications of low dopamine levels may include agitation, lack of concentration, poor memory and loss of appetite, among others. Attention-deficit and depressive disorders are among the conditions that signify low dopamine levels. For most patients, a natural course of treatment provides sufficient intervention and does not require a prescription.
Eat foods that contain phenylalanine, an important and essential amino acid involved in dopamine production. Food sources rich in phenylalanine include poultry, beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese and soy products such as soybean flour and tofu.
Add food sources to your diet that contain tyrosine, a nonessential amino acid. Phenylalanine makes tyrosine, another precursor to dopamine production. Meats and dairy products contain high tyrosine content. Peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds also contain tyrosine and are healthy choices for snacking between meals.
Take a B-complex, super C and copper supplement each day, in addition to a daily multivitamin. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets nutritional guidelines based on adequate nutrient needs for maintaining a healthy body. Contrary to the USDA’s standard guidelines, clinical nutritionists often set different guidelines for treating patients, such as patients with low dopamine levels, which may include increasing daily values for certain nutrients. B-complex vitamins contain a full spectrum of B vitamins, particularly vitamins B6 and B9, which are essential in producing dopamine and other important chemicals in the brain. Vitamin C and the mineral copper are also vital nutrients that help enhance dopamine levels.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Aerobic exercise improves circulation, thereby allowing the brain and other body systems to receive the vital nutrients needed for optimal function. Physical activity also improves mental health, but some exercises may offer more support in combating the symptoms associated with low dopamine levels. Take a hike or a long walk, navigating a new route, path or neighborhood each day. Hiking utilizes the navigation skills of the brain, thereby improving the thought processes in areas of concentration, memory, coordination and rationalizing, among others.
Sleep at least eight hours every night so your body can produce dopamine. During the night, the brain produces and synchronizes important brain chemicals. The body needs a deep, restful state of sleep to enhance dopamine levels. Stick to a regular bedtime schedule and abstain from exercise, caffeine and heavy snacks at least two hours before bedtime.
Add a cup or two of green tea to your diet each day. Several studies show the positive effects that green tea has on mental health, but a study conducted at the Institute of Health and Environmental Medicine in China showed that green tea significantly improves dopamine levels in rats.
Aspartame contains high phenylalanine content and increases dopamine levels. Aspartame is not a natural sugar, but a synthesized version of sugar that bonds an amino acid and phenylalanine together. Even so, both elements are natural building blocks of protein, and aspartame is an ingredient used in some foods and beverages, therefore making aspartame a notable mention as a source for naturally enhancing dopamine production. Use only in moderation or on occasion. For more information on the use of aspartame, see Resources.
Always talk to your doctor or clinical nutritionist before making changes in your diet, taking additional supplements, or starting a new exercise regime, especially if you are on medications or treated for a medical condition. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) should abstain from products containing phenylalanine, the Mayo Clinic warns. If conditions do not improve by using natural methods to enhance dopamine, talk to your doctor.