Dopamine is a very important neurotransmitter synthesized in the brain. It is synthesized from phenylalanine, tyrosine or L-DOPA. Tyrosine is converted into L-DOPA via the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), which requires vitamin B6 as a cofactor, and then L-DOPA is converted to dopamine. Once dopamine is released from neurons, free dopamine is pumped out of the synaptic cleft, by dopamine transporters (DAT) and is then stored for later use, or broken down by monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B). Less DAT and MAO-B means more dopamine to exert it’s actions.
So what we want to do is, provide enough precursors for dopamine synthesis, increase the function of TH and DDC and inhibit MAO-B and DAT for maximal dopamine action. But before we get into the top 5 supplements for that, here are the most common symptoms of low dopamine.
Symptoms of low dopamine include:
- Lack of motivation, no goal setting or ambition, lack of self-grooming
- No creativity, brain fog, low problem solving ability
- Don’t want to explore, not curious, closed minded
- Anhedonia, lack of pleasure, don’t enjoy much, negativity (rarely happy), no humor, disconnected
- Diminished ability or just don’t want to connect with people
- Lack of content, no purpose or beauty in life
- Anti-social / social anxiety, fearful, nervous, anxious
- Attention deficit, short term memory loss, etc…
- Low appetite (because of elevated serotonin)
- High prolactin
- Might increase dependence of stimulants
- Dilated pupils (because of elevated serotonin and/or norepinephrine)
Top 5 supplements to increase dopamine
This herb has the highest concentration of L-DOPA and provides the immediate precursor to dopamine. It also lowers prolactin very effectively. Start with 1/2 tsp to a full tsp twice daily. Other precursors include N-acetyl-L-tyrosine (NALT) (2 caps in the morning) and phenylalanine (4 caps in the morning).
- Mucuna pruriens powder – 180mg L-DOPA per 1/4 tsp serving, 83 servings. Start with one serving twice daily.
Forskolin is a compound found in forskolii coleus plant which increases TH. It’s also an effective fat burner, increases free testosterone, as well as dopamine receptors and vasodilation. Use Butea Superba with forskolin for a synergistic increase in androgens and dopamine. This combo is really potent for increasing confidence, energy, motivation and focus.
- Forkolin – 400mg forkolii (40mg extract) per serving, 60 servings
- Butea superba – 500mg (30:1 extract ratio) per serving, 60 servings
Cat’s claw is a herb that has potent MAO-B inhibitory properties, which will prevent dopamine breakdown. (1)
- Cat’s claw extract – 334mg 10:1 concentrate per serving, 120 caps
Inhibit dopamine reuptake
Catuaba inhibits DAT (dopamine transporters ) and increases the potency of dopamine release.
- Catuaba – 500mg per serving, 60 servings
There you have the full packet of how to increase dopamine. For the best effect, it would be best to take all these 5 herbs together. For a more comprehensive guide on how to increase dopamine, continue reading here…