Dopamine is the driving force in the body. It is responsible for movements, coordination, concentration, motivation and mental performance. The effect of dopamine is very significant, especially when there is a noticeable drop in performance.
In this article we explain the effects of dopamine. You will find out what it is and what triggers it in your body. Dopamine treatment will help you improve your motivation and mental toughness. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages and what you can do to counteract your listlessness. Have fun while reading!
the essentials in brief
- Known as the happiness hormone, dopamine is a major contributor to mood. It is a neurotransmitter and is responsible for the communication between nerve cells.
- Dopamine only develops its positive effect when the balance is right. Too much or too little dopamine is harmful to the body.
- Dopamine is mainly used in emergency rooms. The miracle substance is used in the event of cardiac arrest or in the event of serious infections, saving the lives of so many people.
Dopamine in the body: What you should know about it
Dopamine is our brain food. It is responsible for the communication between the nerve cells in our brain. In short: it is a neurotransmitter. It is precisely these neurotransmitters that transmit the messages and signals from one nerve cell to the next.
At certain "synapses" it conveys positive emotional experiences and a reward effect develops from this. Dopamine is considered a happiness hormone, as is serotonin. It is a messenger substance that makes us happy and increases our motivation and drive in the long term.
Dopamine is known as the happiness hormone and is responsible for our motivation. (Image source: KAL VISUALS / unsplash)
This happiness hormone influences our mood, movement, motivation and concentration. When nerve impulses aren't transmitting properly because the brain's dopamine levels are depleted, it can have many effects. Here are a few signs of a deficiency:
- sleep disorders
- inability to feel pleasure
- Decreased motivation
- Lack of interest in life
- mood swings
- Bad memory
- lack of concentration
- weight gain
- general fatigue
Dopamine has a major impact on our well-being. It makes us happier, more productive and more satisfied. The effect has been confirmed in many studies. Among other things, the intake of dopamine in older people supports the variability of brain activity and leads to an increase in mental performance (1).
How does dopamine work in healthy people?
In a healthy body, dopamine causes the internal organs to dilate, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. It also has a stimulating effect on the metabolism and stimulus processing.
In addition, the blood circulation in the kidneys is promoted by the dopamine effect. In addition, dopamine stimulates the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, i.e. the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the willingness to perform. In pregnant women, it regulates the release of prolactin, a hormone responsible for breast growth and milk production.
The level of dopamine can be detected in the urine, whereby the amount of urine is collected over 24 hours. The following dopamine standard values (in micrograms per day) apply to the 24-hour urine collection:
|years of life||dopamine level|
|up to 1 year||≤ 85.0 µg/d|
|1 to 2 years||≤ 140.0 µg/d|
|2 to 4 years||≤ 260.0 µg/d|
|4 to 18 years||≤ 450.0 µg/d|
|Adult||≤ 620 µg/d|
Children's dopamine levels are significantly lower. Overall, the value depends on age, stress, life situation and individual physical constitution. (2)
Dopamine can be obtained from diet as it is present in many foods. Unfortunately, it cannot be used as a source because it is quickly broken down in the intestine. Because of this, it is not possible to increase dopamine levels by consuming certain foods.
The body has to produce the messenger substance itself. The first step would be to reduce chronic stress and lack of sleep. You can counteract a deficiency by getting enough sleep and relaxation.
What effect does dopamine have on the psyche?
Dopamine is responsible for the transmission of feelings and sensations. It creates an uplifted mood and activation in the human psyche.
It also leads to increased sexual activity, such as feeling better and having an increased appetite. Like some addictive substances, like drugs and cocaine, it is also part of the reward system. In healthy people, this ensures stable emotional perception.
Due to its direct effect on the nervous system, especially on the psyche, it plays a central role in some mental illnesses. Especially in people who suffer from hypersensitivity, especially from psychoses. But also with the following mental illnesses:
- drug addiction
- ADD and ADHD
- anxiety states
Dopamine has a very positive effect in the body. She pours out feelings of happiness and is responsible for the reward system. The less we have of it, the sadder and less motivated we are. A good balance of dopamine cheers us up, makes us happy and more energetic.
What effect does dopamine have on the heart?
Dopamine is used in particular in emergency medicine. The drug is used as a life-saving stabilizer in heart attacks, states of shock and sudden circulatory collapse. But also in the case of very severe inflammation or a severe drop in blood pressure.
It widens the blood vessels and ensures better blood and oxygen supply. In this way, the states of shock, which can be life-threatening, are temporarily lifted. Shock can be caused by blood poisoning, for example.
What effect does dopamine have on the stomach?
The golden mean is of central importance to people. It affects our well-being. It's not for nothing that the phrase "listen to your gut feeling" exists. That's not just said like that, it makes sense. According to a study, the positive effect of dopamine in the stomach has been proven.
Scientists have found that the state of your gut flora may be related to your mood (3). This has to do with the gut-brain-gut communication that runs through the gut-brain axis.
This pathway is via the nerve connections in the spinal cord. And another possibility of communication between the gut and the brain is through the hormone dopamine.
Researchers at Cork University in Ireland agree that gut microbes affect the brain and mood through a variety of mechanisms (4). They discovered that gut bacteria are important building blocks for neurotransmitters like dopamine. This substance plays an important role in maintaining a positive mood.
What Are the Side Effects of Dopamine?
The only reason to use dopamine is when it is deficient. Drug treatment aims to compensate for the lack of dopamine. Especially in Parkinson's patients accompanied by side effects.
With individual medication and slow dosing, the side effects can be largely avoided or alleviated. The possible side effects of dopamine are:
- cardiac arrhythmias
- shortness of breath
- nausea - vomiting
- drop in blood pressure
- excessive rise in blood pressure
The use of dopamine has a comparatively high potential for side effects. Dopamine is very powerful, used in emergencies such as cardiac arrest or life-threatening shock.
It has a powerful effect, but not without side effects. Older people are particularly affected. However, this also depends very much on the individual state of health of the person concerned.
What are the effects of too much dopamine?
A dopamine excess, like a dopamine deficiency, has massive consequences for your organism. Therefore, careful and slow dosing is essential. The treatment should always take place under the supervision of a doctor.
There's not much room for maneuver anyway - dopamine is always prescription. Rightly so. Controlling the formation and breakdown of dopamine is of great importance for your health and well-being.
Dopamine is responsible for the transmission of feelings. In healthy people, this ensures stable perception. If your dopamine level is in the normal range, you can process external impressions very well.
People with an excess of dopamine perceive their environment much more intensively. Due to the sensory overload, they increasingly lose the ability to distinguish between important and unimportant sensations. Too high a level of dopamine leads to psychosis or schizophrenia.
Regardless of whether the excess dopamine was caused naturally or artificially, it must be brought back into balance. Affected people suffer from delusions, cannot sleep and often lead to manic behavior. Certain drugs also have this stimulating effect.
What should you consider when using dopamine?
You already know how important and how dopamine affects your body. It is not tangible and also not visible, but it does a lot with you and especially with your mood. Dopamine is responsible for your happiness and well-being.
In the following section we will show you how you can increase your dopamine level, because this substance only unfolds its effect with the right dosage. A lack or excess of dopamine leads to health problems and would also have long-term effects on your health.
Also, dopamine is not easy to regulate. A lot depends on your personal health. Circumstances have to be changed. Read through!
Natural use of dopamine
Too much or too little dopamine can cause serious health consequences. You either feel listless when there is a shortage, or when there is a surplus, your body is on high-voltage current.
Normally, dopamine levels are automatically regulated in the nervous system. But you have the opportunity to improve your dopamine levels in a natural way and influence your well-being yourself. Here are a few tips on how to increase your dopamine levels:
|increase sleep quality||Getting a good night's sleep is definitely the first step in increasing your dopamine levels. Lack of sleep leads to disturbances in your natural rhythm and also has negative consequences when you are awake. If you stay up for just one whole night, your brain will reduce the amount of dopamine (5). This is because a small amount of dopamine is needed to fall asleep. Try to sleep 7-9 hours a day.|
|Sports||Regular exercise stimulates the production of dopamine. Mood improvement is apparent after as little as 10 minutes of activity and peaks after at least 20 minutes(6). Additionally, one study found that doing yoga for an hour six times a week significantly increased dopamine levels (7).|
|Stress relief through meditation||Persistent stress is known to be unhealthy. In addition, it inhibits the production of dopamine. Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. It has also been scientifically proven that meditating increases dopamine (8).|
|proteins||Some foods contain special amino acids that increase dopamine levels. These are naturally found in protein-rich foods like eggs, legumes, dairy, turkey and beef. Studies have shown that high-quality protein leads to the growth of dopamine (9).|
|digestion||Our gut is in close communication with our brain. So it is not surprising that healthy digestion promotes mood. Of course, this requires a balanced diet.|
|Music||The music has a magical power and releases a lot of feelings. It increases brain activity in the reward and pleasure areas, which are high in dopamine receptors (10). Sound touches people and makes us happy.|
|Sun||In the wintertime, many people suffer from depression, it is also called winter depression. The sun has a great effect on us. Now, scientists have found that the sun not only produces vitamin D, but also boosts the production of dopamine (11). So enjoy every ray of sunshine .|
If you follow these seven tips from us, you will gradually notice how your mood and well-being will improve. You can incorporate all these suggestions into your everyday life in small steps and contribute to more comfort. And this without side effects.
Use of dopamine - drugs to improve health conditions
You have now learned how to increase your dopamine levels naturally. Through food, music, meditation, exercise or just enjoying the sun.
However, in certain life situations, this is not enough and taking medication seems to be the only way. For example, in a state of shock, or heart failure - heart attack, or severe infections.