The Facts about Oxytocin

Oxytocin is one of the “happy hormones.”  In fact, it is called the “love hormone.”  Find out why from this article that explores the facts about oxytocin.

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone.  Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers made by specialist cells which travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs, and control most of our body’s major systems.  For more on hormones see the article, The Importance of Hormones on this website.

It is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland.  Oxytocin is released when the cells of the neurons in the hypothalamus become excited.

What does Oxytocin do?

Oxytocin is an important hormone in that it plays an essential role in the childbirth process and also helps with male reproduction.

In women, it is liable for signaling contractions of the womb all through labor.  Oxytocin engages the uterine muscles to contract, so labor begins.  It additionally increases the production of prostaglandins, which move labor along and multiplies the contractions even further.  Because of this effect, sometimes synthetic oxytocin (pitocin) is used to cause a woman to start labor if she cannot start naturally, or to make contractions stronger if the labor is slowing.

Once the baby has arrived, oxytocin advances lactation by moving the milk into the breast.  When the baby draws at the mother’s breast, oxytocin secretion triggers the milk to release so the baby can feed.  Simultaneously, oxytocin is released into the brain to stimulate further oxytocin production.  Once the baby ceases feeding, the production of the hormone terminates until the next feeding.

In men, oxytocin function is less crucial, but it does have a role to play in moving sperm.  It additionally appears to affect the making of testosterone in the testes.

Additionally, studies of oxytocin have discovered that it is a crucial chemical messenger that manages some human behaviors and social interaction.  It is oxytocin that activates the bond between a mother and an infant, and it may additionally play a role in recognition, sexual arousal, trust, and anxiety.  Some research shows that the hormone may even affect addiction and stress also.

The discharge of oxytocin is understood to have a positive effect on family relationships, trust, recognition, anxiety, and sexual arousal.  As a result of this, having low levels of the hormone can be detrimental to one’s emotional wellbeing.

The Love Hormone

Oxytocin is sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” for the reason that it is released when individuals cuddle up or bond socially.  Similarly, playing with a dog can cause an oxytocin rush, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.  Facts about OxytocinBut there is another side of this coin.

Oxytocin can also increase memories of bonding gone bad, for instance in cases where men have poor relationships with their mothers.  It can also make individuals less accepting of other individuals they see as outsiders.  In other words, whether oxytocin makes one feel cuddly or suspicious of others depends on the environment.

Similarly, with men as with women, oxytocin smoothes the progress of bonding.  Fathers who received a boost of oxytocin by means of a nasal spray played more closely with their babies than dads who didn’t get the hormone boost, according to a 2012.  Another hormone, called vasopressin, plays a stronger role in men.

Oxytocin Deficiency

Deficiency of the oxytocin hormone is linked to a number of chronic health problems.  Below are some signs of low oxytocin levels.

Lack of desire to socialize – Oxytocin is not only known as the “love hormone,” it is additionally referred to it as the “social hormone” because the release of it encourages social interaction.  Individuals who are introverted and withdrawn or have social anxiety may additionally have low Facts about Oxytocinoxytocin levels.  According to  Autism Speaks, among children with autism, there is a link between low levels of oxytocin and severe social difficulties.

Poor communication skills – Couple interaction and close relationships are linked to oxytocin levels.  A study within the journal Biological Psychiatry of forty-seven couples who were given either oxytocin or a placebo administered nasally before an instructed couple conflict session, found that those who received the oxytocin showed increased positive communication behavior in reference to negative behavior.

Low libido –when the brain is experiencing a chemical deficiency, interest in sex declines, it doesn’t seem as enticing as before, and the physical act will leave an individual deficient.  As we age, our chemical deficiencies can wane.  Having low levels of oxytocin can cause difficulty in one’s sex life with waning desire and performance.

According to an article in The Huffington Post by Eric R. Braverman, MD, the founder father of PATH Medical, women who are deficient in oxytocin may have difficulty with sexual arousal and the ability to achieve orgasm.

Craving Sugar – reduced activity in the brain’s oxytocin system, which is in charge of making us feel full, can be caused by consuming an excess amount of sugar.  When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted, the body seeks out sweets, thus creating a sugar-craving cycle.

Distrust – Another name for oxytocin is the “trust hormone.”  If one is feeling distrustful toward their spouse, friends, or society as a whole, that individual could have low oxytocin levels.

Problems with Oxytocin Production

Men with high levels of oxytocin on occasion develop benign prostatic hyperplasia, or the enlarging of the prostate gland.  This consequence can cause urinary complaints.  On the other hand, a lack of oxytocin can thwart the milk letdown reflex and make breastfeeding difficult.  Low oxytocin levels have also been connected to depression, but using oxytocin to treat mental health issues has not yet been studied adequately.

How to Increase Oxytocin

Naturally

Facts about Oxytocin
Get that Vitamin D from the sun!!

Vitamin D – It’s just good to get outside and get some sunshine.  This is how we get vitamin D.  Every tissue in our bodies has Vitamin D receptors, together with our brain, therefore an insufficiency can lead to damaging physiological and psychological costs.

Research has shown that oxytocin is directly activated and controlled by Vitamin D.  In fact, some researchers additionally believe that autistic children possess low levels of oxytocin likely because they are deficient in Vitamin D.

It is particularly important to get some sunlight in the morning to set their circadian rhythm.  But for the most part, individuals just don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, and that is why I generally recommend taking a vitamin D supplement or using a Vitamin D lamp.

It has been estimated by researchers that half (50 percent) of the general population is in danger of Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D also naturally increases dopamine levels in the brain, and being deficient in Vitamin D can make you more anxious and more depressed. For more on dopamine, see the article, Facts about Dopamine on this website.

Vitamin C – is an additional way to optimize and increase the levels of oxytocin.

Researchers have long recognized that Vitamin C is a cofactor in the making of oxytocin, and the synthesis of oxytocin is dependent upon Vitamin C.

One study established that Vitamin C promotes the secretion of oxytocin. And another study found that supplementing with a high dosage of Vitamin C increases the release of oxytocin, which then increases intercourse frequency, improves mood, and decreases stress.

As is commonly known, Vitamin C is established in fruits and vegetables for example green peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.

Although getting Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables are an excellent route to take, additionally supplements are available to fulfill this goal.

Magnesium – This is a vital mineral that take part in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, many individuals have a magnesium deficiency today.  This is unfortunate as magnesium is absolutely crucial for the suitable functioning of the nervous system and optimal neurotransmitter activity.Facts about Oxytocin

Researchers have discovered that the oxytocin receptor requires magnesium to perform properly, and magnesium increases the action of oxytocin at the receptor.

There are a number of things an individual can do to make sure they are getting enough magnesium.

First, make sure to consume magnesium-rich sources of food on a regular basis, including spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dark chocolate and bananas.

Epsom salt baths are an enormous way to increase the body’s intake of magnesium.

Magnesium supplements are additionally a good way to produce more oxytocin

Besides supporting oxytocin levels, magnesium can additionally naturally increase dopamine, reduce anxiety, and assist one to overcome trauma, withdrawal and addiction.  For more information on magnesium, see the article How Important is Magnesium on this website.

Taurine – Taurine is an organic compound found in food, mainly found in animal products and it has a wide variety of health benefits.  It can cross the blood-brain barrier, improve mood and produces anti-anxiety effects.

Researchers consider that one of the ways it improves mood and reduces anxiety is by naturally intensifying the discharge of oxytocin in the brain.

Touch – There is significant research indicating that personal can touch quickly increase oxytocin levels in the brain. This includes kissing, sex, and cuddling.  But also non-sexual touch such as hugging and shaking hands increases oxytocin as well.

A 10-second hug every day can help boost your immune system, fight infection, increase dopamine, reduce depression, and lessen fatigue.

Therefore, to produce more oxytocin, start hugging people… just wait until after the pandemic is over!

Pets – Animals bring us peace and calm, and it’s because they increase oxytocin levels.

Research has shown that just touching a pet lowers an individual’s blood pressure and increases their oxytocin levels.

One study found that oxytocin amounts increased in both humans and dogs after just five (5) minutes of petting.  This may explain the emotional connection between humans and dogs.

Even just staring into a dog’s eyes can trigger the release of oxytocin in the brain and increase levels.

Massage – Research has shown that a massage can appreciably boost oxytocin levels and reduce stress hormones.

Music – Music carries a host of benefits.  It brings joy, energy, and relaxation.  Music is in fact healing and can have a calming effect on the brain by increasing oxytocin levels. This holds true of any kind of music as long as it’s the kind that an individual enjoys.

Yoga – Yoga is a well-known “mind-body” leisure method that increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Researchers further believe that it works because it increases oxytocin levels in the brain by stimulating the vagus nerve.

Socialization – Socializing can reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and stimulate the vagus nerve. But additionally, positive social interactions can also increase oxytocin levels.

Researchers have found that the brain releases more oxytocin during social contact and social bonding, and can actually speed up the healing from disease.

You just can’t beat that human communication factor.

Supplementation

If additionally you wish to use supplements to make sure you’re getting what you need to maintain your oxytocin at optimum levels, The Vitamin Shoppe is an excellent on-line source for your supplemental needs.

Please leave any comment, question, or concern below

Good Health!!

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Serotonin: The Facts

Serotonin is a hormone that belongs to a family of hormones known as “happy hormones.” This is because among a host of other functions, it has an influence on mood and sense of well-being. Come along as we look at Serotonin: The Facts.

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which carries signals between nerve cells throughout the body. It is also functions as a (hormone). For more information on hormones, read the article: The Importance of Hormones on this website.

Brain-derived serotonin (BDS) acts as a neurotransmitter, while gut-derived serotonin (GDS) acts as a hormone and regulates a wide range of functions.

What does Serotonin Do?

Mood – Serotonin’s effects in the brain are its most popular function because it helps regulate one’s mood. This is why serotonin is often called the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. Serotonin’s effect on mood makes it one of numerous brain chemicals that are fundamental to our overall sense of well-being.

Serotonin’s effect on mood is also why it’s often a target of medications that are used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.Serotonin: The Facts

For example, serotonin plays a starring role in treatments with the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Digestion – Serotonin plays a role in normal bowel function and reduces the appetite as an individual eats to help them know when they’re full. Serotonin also plays a protective role in the gut.

For example, if someone were to eat something irritating or toxic, the gut would respond by producing more serotonin. The extra “dose” of the substance would remove the unwanted food along, expelling it from the body faster.

The response is also why increased levels of serotonin can make one nauseated and why drugs that target specific serotonin receptors can be used to alleviate nausea and vomiting.

Sleep – The precise nature of serotonin’s role in sleep has been disputed by researchers, but it’s believed to influence when, how much, and how well one sleeps. Serotonin does not regulate these tasks alone; other neurotransmitters like dopamine also play a key role. For more information on Dopamine, see the article: Facts about Dopamine on this website.

Another hormone named melatonin is also vital to the proper functioning of the sleep cycle. However, the body needs serotonin to make melatonin, so not having enough of serotonin (or having an excessive amount of it) can affect the pattern and quality of one’s sleep.

The brain has specific sections that control when someone falls asleep, regulate their sleep patterns, and wake them up. The areas of the brain that are responsible for regulating sleep additionally have serotonin receptors.

Also, note that the serotonin-melatonin relationship may additionally contribute to sleep disruptions such as insomnia that are common in individuals with depression.

Blood Clotting – When an individual has any kind of tissue damage, like a cut, the platelet cells in the blood release serotonin to help heal the wound. Increased serotonin levels cause the tiny arteries (known as arterioles) of the circulatory system to narrow. As they get smaller, blood flow slows.

This narrowing (known as vasoconstriction) and slowed blood flow are two crucial elements of blood clotting—a vital step in the process of wound healing.

Bone Density – Studies have shown that serotonin levels may influence bone density (the strength of the bones). Research also suggests that high circulating levels of serotonin in the gut might be associated with lower bone density and conditions such as osteoporosis.

Research suggests that a type of antidepressant that works on serotonin called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is associated with decreased bone mineral density. Low bone density puts the body at a greater risk for fractures.

If you are worried about how taking an antidepressant could affect your bone density, do not refrain from taking your medication. Start by consulting with your doctor about other risk factors, such as having a family history of osteoporosis or smoking.

Sexual Function – In addition to altering one’s mood, serotonin can additionally influence the frequency and intensity of the sexual feelings one might you have.

Certain antidepressants that add to serotonin levels can have an effect on libido, as elevated serotonin levels have been associated with a decrease in sexual desire.

Serotonin’s influence on libido is also somewhat related to the neurotransmitter’s association to another chemical in the brain: dopamine. For instance, a 2017 study of women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) revealed that symptoms of the condition were associated with increased serotonin activity and reduced dopamine activity.

Causes of Low Serotonin Levels

Depression and other mood illnesses that are linked to serotonin are multi-factorial, meaning there is more than one reason they happen. Therefore, having low serotonin levels is not, by itself, enough to cause depression. However, low levels can contribute to sleep, mood, digestive, and other issues.

There’s no single cause of low serotonin levels, but it typically occurs for one of two reasons: not having enough serotonin or inefficient use of the serotonin produced.

In the first scenario, an individual may have low levels of serotonin because their body isn’t producing enough to maintain normal levels. In this case, the body may not be able to produce enough serotonin because of factors such as nutritional and vitamin deficiencies.

For example, low levels of vitamin B6 and vitamin D have both been linked to decreased levels of serotonin. Also, Tryptophan, an essential amino acid involved in serotonin production, can only be obtained through diet.

The other reason one might have low serotonin is that while the body is producing serotonin, it is not using it effectively. This can happen if an individual doesn’t have enough serotonin receptors in their brain, or if the ones on hand don’t work well (for example, they break down and take in serotonin too rapidly).

Treating Serotonin Deficiency

Drugs

Antidepressants are a common treatment for depression. Depression is known to be associated with chemical imbalances in the brain. Although serotonin’s role in depression is more complicated than an imbalance, it is thought to play a significant function.

The theory of how serotonin affects the brain and causes depression is the Facts About Endorphinsstarting point for many drugs used to treat clinical depression and other mood disorders.

One of the most popular types is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs are the most frequently prescribed antidepressants globally. These drugs are used to reduce the symptoms of moderate to severe depression by escalating the amount of serotonin in the brain.

When brain cells send signals to one another, they release neurotransmitters that include serotonin. Before they can send the next signal, the cells must reabsorb and recycle the hormones they released. This process is called reuptake. SSRIs make added serotonin obtainable within the brain by plugging the serotonin reuptake process.

Another group of serotonin-based medications for treating depression is understood as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These drugs work similarly to SSRIs in that they block the reuptake of serotonin, but they also work on norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter that affects mood.

Two older groups of antidepressants also affect serotonin levels: tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

TCAs appear to block the reabsorption of serotonin and epinephrine, which effectively increases the amounts available in the brain.

MAOIs, conversely, block the effects of the monoamine oxidase enzyme, which breaks down serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. Preventing these neurotransmitters from being broken down effectively increases the amounts available in the brain.

Treating Serotonin Deficiency Naturally

In addition to prescription antidepressant medications, there are additionally natural ways to increase serotonin levels. Everything from the food individuals eat to how much sunlight they get can affect how much serotonin the body has, as well as how efficiently it can use it.

Diet – Numerous foods naturally have serotonin, but the body additionally needs supplementary nutrients, such as tryptophan, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids, to produce this serotonin.

Foods that are good sources of these key nutrients include:

  • Leafy greens (such as spinach, kale)
  • Bananas
  • Turkey
  • Nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, flaxseed)Beans (such as chickpeas, kidney, pinto, black beans)
  • Eggs
  • Oily, fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Probiotic/fermented foods (such as kefir, yogurt, tofu)

Eating a high-fiber diet that is heavy in fruits and vegetables will help keep an individual’s gut bacteria healthy. Having a good balance of friendly bacteria in the intestines has been linked to adequate serotonin levels (as the intestines make about 95% of your body’s supply of serotonin)

Exposure to light – Levels of serotonin may decrease and become low if we don’t get out in the sun regularly. Not getting enough exposure to sunlight is one theory behind the reasoning of why people encounter depression during the short, dark days of fall and winter (a mood disorder called seasonal affective disorder)

It’s best to try to spend 10 to 15 minutes outside in the sun each day. Sunlight also boosts vitamin D levels, which is needed for serotonin production.

If one resides in a place with little to no sunlight, they can also use light therapy to make sure they’re getting their daily dose of sunlight.

Exercise – Regular physical activity (particularly aerobic exercise) has been proven to boost serotonin levels. However, the advantages of normal-regular exercise go beyond your brain.

A workout can assist individuals control depression and other mood disorders by additionally promoting cardiovascular health, improving strength and endurance, and helping to sustain a healthy weight.

The Department of Health and Human Services President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition advises that adults obtain at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week plus two days of strength training.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Be sure to pick activities that you enjoy as you’ll be more likely to stick with it, and regularity is vital to getting all the benefits.

Massage – Massage therapy has been established to advance the release of serotonin and decrease the stress hormone cortisol, making it an interesting non-pharmaceutical addition to depression and anxiety treatment plans. One does not need a professional massage to harvest the benefits.

A commonly referenced study of pregnant women with depression published in the International Journal of Neuroscience
in 2004 reached the conclusion that a massage could be beneficial even when given by someone who isn’t a trained massage therapist. After contributors to the study had two (2) 20-minute massage sessions given by their partners, their serotonin levels increased by 28% and their dopamine levels by 31%.

Supplements – Research has shown that nutritional insufficiencies are widespread in individuals with low serotonin levels. In particularly, they frequently lack the crucial nutrients the body requires to make serotonin and other substances.

While you can improve your overall nutrition through your diet, certain supplements also can be helpful. Popular dietary supplements you might want consider include:

  • Pure tryptophan
  • 5-HTP
  • St. John’s wort
  • Probiotics
  • SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine)

If you need an excellent on-line source for supplements, check out the Vitamin Shoppe by clicking here.

When your body doesn’t have enough serotonin, or if it isn’t using the serotonin you have efficiently, you might be more inclined to indicators of depression and other mood disorders. And while inadequate levels of serotonin can cause problems, having excessive levels of serotonin can also be a problem.

If you’re concerned about symptoms you’re experiencing, consult with your doctor. If your serotonin levels are a problem, you are not by yourself and there are many treatment options available from medications to lifestyle changes.

For questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them below.

Good Health!

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Facts about Dopamine: A Happy Hormone

Dopamine pronounced doe·puh·meen is known as is the feel good hormone.  You’ll find out why as you read on and discover the facts about dopamine.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a hormone produced in the brain and transmitted by the nervous system between nerve cells.  This is why hormones are called chemical messengers.  For more information on hormones, read the article: Facts about DopamineThe Importance of Hormones on this website.

Dopamine belongs to a group of hormones known as “happy hormones.” It is produced in the brain by means of a two-step process.  For starters, it changes the amino acid tyrosine to a substance called dopa, and from there on to dopamine.

What does Dopamine do?

Dopamine plays a crucial role in how individuals feel pleasure.  It is a huge part of our distinct human ability to plan and think.  It helps us strive, focus, and have an interest in things.

It also affects many parts of behavior and physical functions, such as:

  • Motivation
  • Learning
  • Heart rate
  • Blood vessel function
  • Kidney function
  • Lactation
  • Pain processing
  • Sleep
  • Movement
  • Mood
  • Attention
  • Control of vomiting and nausea

The Effects of Dopamine Deficiency

The foremost symptom of a dopamine deficiency is depression, the feeling of boredom (chronic boredom), lack of concern or interest, loss of satisfaction, chronic fatigue and low physical energy with no desire to put the body in motion.  There is a universal lack of drive, enthusiasm and motivation.

Other symptoms such as mood swings, food cravings and depression, poor attention levels, can also manifest.  Individuals who suffer from low dopamine level are more susceptible to form some kind of addiction.  Specifically, one dopamine receptor is linked to an individual’s “risk-taking” side.

Severe dopamine deficiency (i.e. Parkinson’s disease) is the source of a degenerative decline of a person’s motor skills.  Dopamine enables neurons Facts about Dopaminein the brain to communicate and control movement.  In Parkinson’s, one type of neuron steadily degenerates.  It doesn’t have a signal to send anymore; as a result the body makes less dopamine.  This chemical imbalance causes physical symptoms.  These include tremor, stiffness, and slowness of spontaneous movement, poor balance, and poor coordination.  Doctors treat these symptoms with medications that raise the levels of this chemical.  This consequence on the body’s movement and control can be permanent.

Rapid weight gain can occur.  Low levels of dopamine in the body tend to make an individual crave for harmful indulgences such as sodas, alcohol, sugary food and saturated fats.  These longings result in gaining weight rapidly.  This condition is further goaded by the individual’s lack of motivation to move and exercise, immobility and feeling of fatigue.  Additionally, studies have established that uncontrollable consumption of sugar, refined foods and saturated fats can sink dopamine levels and lessen activity in the brain.

Obesity can be a result.  Most of the time, if an individual takes in more calories than is burnt, they’ll gain weight.  So then obese people can merely eat less and slim down—right?  Of only the answer was that simple.  They may face issues that are uncommon for most.  They could have an issue with their natural reward systems.  This could be affecting the amount of food they eat before they feel satisfied.  Imaging studies propose that in individuals with this condition, the body may not release enough dopamine and another feel-good hormone, serotonin (to be covered in a future article).

Having difficulty waking up in the morning and oversleeping can be a sign.  When the body is deficient of certain nutrients like iron, magnesium or zinc, an individual can additionally suffer from a dopamine deficiency, resulting to oversleeping.  Additionally the problem of sleeping too much is the lack of motivation in individuals that have dopamine deficiency.

Having a low libido (Sex Drive).With low dopamine in the body, there is additionally a fading of pleasure.  In this case, the individual will have the incapacity to feel gratification and as a consequence, a dwindling of libido.  If a person is suspect of suffering from dopamine deficiency, they should consult their doctor.  Dopamine levels are simply checked with a simple blood or urine test.

Having to struggle to finish projects or tasks— procrastination.  An individual’s ability to focus and think can be affected even by somewhat low levels of dopamine.  The feeling of despondency due to an insufficient amount of this neurotransmitter to accurately normalize can interfere with the capability to pay attention, to think abstractly or to remember details.  Low dopamine levels affects a person’s capability to commence daily activities (especially exercise) and an inclination to put off doing things and responsibilities as well as a feeling that one is not able to cope with life.

Having restless leg syndrome—Various researches has indicated that restless leg syndrome may be due to an imbalance of dopamine in the brain since this hormone is responsible for transmitting and sending messages that control the muscle movement.  Dopamine deficient individuals can experience weakness of the entire body as well as muscle tremors and seizures.

Role in Mental Health

It’s hard to identify a single cause of most mental health disorders and challenges.  But they are frequently linked to surplus or insufficient amounts dopamine in various parts of the brain.  Examples include:

Schizophrenia—Earlier, researchers believed that symptoms derived from a hyperactive dopamine system.  Presently we know that some are due to too much of this chemical in specific areas of the brain.  This includes hallucinations and delusions.  A lack of it in other parts can cause different signs, such as lack of motivation and desire.

ADHD.  It is not known for certain what causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Some research shows it may be due to a shortage of dopamine.  This problem may be due to your genes.  The common ADHD drug methylphenidate (Ritalin) works by increasing dopamine.

Drug misuse and addiction.  Drugs like cocaine can cause an enormous, fast increase of dopamine in your brain.  That satisfies your natural reward system in a very big way.  But repeated drug use also raises the brink for this type of delight.  This means an individual needs to consume more to get the same effects.  In the interim, these drugs make the body less able to produce dopamine biologically.  This leads to emotional lows when the drug is no longer in the system; otherwise known as crashing.

What causes Dopamine Deficiency

Dopamine deficiency can occur because of drug use, poor nutrition, and lack

Facts about Dopamine

of sleep, stress and chronic use of antidepressants.

Treating Dopamine Deficiency

Treating dopamine imbalance first involves, determining the cause of it.  Dopamine levels may be lowered directly to a physical or mental condition.  Additionally, studies have shown that, as mentioned earlier, a diet high in sugar and saturated fat and low in protein can significantly affect dopamine levels in the brain.  Also, overweight individuals tend to have lower levels of dopamine.  If a patient is diagnosed with depression, he or she could also be prescribed a medicine which may boost dopamine levels.  Those affected by Parkinson’s disease are often prescribed specific drugs that are shown to be effective at increasing dopamine.

Boosting Dopamine

Individuals that have a high amount of dopamine in their systems are usually focused go-getters.  Regrettably, many of the things that folks do to boost their focus and energy end up backfiring.  There are numerous unhealthy ways to seek out a dopamine bump.  For example, anything addicting substance such as nicotine, caffeine, as well as sugar-laden, fat-filled treats that are all very effective at increasing dopamine levels and be Facts about Dopaminecapable of in turn, be the main cause of addictive behavior in our lives.

The fact is, these things that provide a quick boost end up disrupting the natural dopamine production process resulting in decreased dopamine production in the long-term.

However, there are some safe, healthy, natural ways to boost our dopamine levels:

Eat foods rich in Tyrosine (an amino acid).  In order to produce dopamine, the body needs tyrosine which can be found in almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken.

Exercise regularly.  As a general rule, physical exercise is one of the best things one can do for their brain.  It increases the production of new brain cells, slows down brain cell aging, and can increase the levels of dopamine.  Exercise has also been linked with improved mood and overall a better outlook on life.

Meditate.  The overall health benefits of meditation have been demonstrated through hundreds of research studies.  Many of these have shown that meditation increases dopamine resulting in improved focus and concentration.

Massages help.  It has long been suggested that one way to keep dopamine levels high is to avoid stress, which is close to impossible in these days.  To offset the effects of stress, research has demonstrated that massage therapy boost dopamine levels by nearly 30% while diminishing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels.

Get enough sleep.  To ensure that our brain increases dopamine naturally, it’s best to make sure that we’re getting enough sleep.  This includes setting aside time before bed away from the computer or TV screen.  Sleep assists all the cells in the body to repair and renew themselves.  It gives the brain a chance to wash away toxins that build up during the day and helps keep the nerve cell connections and pathways active and constantly self-renewing.  Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce concentrations of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, and their receptors.  For more information on sleep, please read the article: The Importance of Sleep for Health on this website.

Music helps.  It is not surprising that taking in calming music can increase pleasurable feelings; perk up mood, decrease stress, and aid with focus and concentration.  Research
has established that much of this is accomplished due to an increase in dopamine levels.

Supplements can be valuable in supplementing our food with the valuable nutrients for the production of dopamine.  Amazon has a variety of supplements to choose from.  To take a peak, click here.  [Affiliate link]

Other Uses for Dopamine

This hormone most often plays a secondary function in the body, but in certain medical situations, it is clearly a lifesaver.  Doctors use prescription dopamine (aka: Inotropin) to treat the following conditions:

  • Some cases of septic shock
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor blood flow to vital organs
  • Poor cardiac output (when the heart doesn’t pump out enough blood)

There are possible complications with any drug, even when taken under close supervision.  The main ones associated with dopamine include:

  • Headache
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Faster heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting

Because many drugs interact with it, it’s crucial that an individual’s doctor knows all the medications being used.

Questions, comments and concerns are more than welcomed below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

Please follow and like us: