Dopamine is associated with physical movement, memory, alertness, attention, emotions and perception Think of dopamine as the reward and pleasure center of the brain.
Dopamine is part of the family of Neurotransmitters which are chemical substances that transmit signals or messages to the neurons in the brain and other cells in the body. Dopamine plays an important role in cell communication because it helps to control the messages by modulating the signals and even helps to determine when or if a neuron will fire.
Dopamine is associated with physical movement, memory, alertness, attention, emotions and perception Think of dopamine as the reward and pleasure center of the brain. Highly pleasurable or intense emotional experiences will release dopamine in the body which then creates a memory. That memory creates an association link at a conscious or subconscious level. The stronger the experience, the more dopamine and the more likely we will feel motivated to recreate the experience or feeling.
How does the body get Dopamine?
Dopamine does not already exist in the body. It has to be “manufactured” by the body based on the foods we consume. The amino acid Tyrosine, which comes from protein, undergoes a chemical reaction which eventually changes into dopamine.
A few foods that support or increase dopamine levels:
Balance is the key
Like all things in life, balance is the key. When the right amount of dopamine is release at the right time we feel motivated, have focused attention, we have more impulse control and our body’s metabolism is optimized. Too much dopamine can cause aggression, social withdrawal, paranoia and psychosis while too little can be related to addictions, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and bipolar disorders.
An ecological approach to health always seeks balance. To find balance, you must start by knowing your current levels of dopamine as well as the other neurotransmitters. All of these brain chemicals must work together for optimal brain health. Getting your levels checked by a simple urine test can get you started towards better brain health.