Dopamine is an essential chemical that influences brain-related functions, including mood, sleep, and memory.
The body controls dopamine levels on its own. Under normal circumstances, the nervous system manages the development of dopamine.
Luckily, there are some supplements that can boost dopamine levels.
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1. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has different antioxidant and antibacterial properties, such as carvacrol (1).
One study showed that consumption of carvacrol stimulated the development of dopamine in mice (2).
Another mouse study found that supplements with oregano extract reduced dopamine degradation and caused positive behavioral effects (3).
While such animal studies are promising, we need further human studies to determine whether oregano oil has similar effects on humans.
2. Green Tea
Because of its antioxidant properties and nutrient content, green tea has been praised. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a direct effect on your brain (4).
L-theanine will increase some of your brain’s neurotransmitters, like dopamine.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements (omega-3) contain two types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
One rat study showed that a fish-oil-enriched diet increased dopamine levels by 40 percent in the brain’s frontal cortex (13).
We need more human-based research to make a conclusive decision.
It has also been proposed that some ginseng ingredients, such as ginsenosides, increase brain dopamine, including cognitive function and focus (19).
One study on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children showed that lower dopamine levels were associated with ADHD symptoms (20).
The children involved in the study received 2,000 mg of Korean red ginseng daily for eight weeks. The results showed that ginseng has an increased concentration in ADHD children.
We need more studies to draw definite conclusions about how much ginseng improves the development of dopamine and the functioning of the brain in humans.
A small, controlled study found that taking 1 gram of curcumin had similar effects to Prozac medicine. Improving mood in people with major depressive disorder (22).
We need further research to understand the role of curcumin in increasing dopamine in humans and its use in depression management.
Probiotics, also known as “good gut bacteria,” not only benefit the health of the gut but can also prevent or treat various health problems, including mood disorders (25).
In addition, one study of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) showed that those who received probiotic supplements had a reduction in symptoms of depression compared with those who received a placebo (32).
Although probiotic research is progressing, we need more human studies to better understand the effects of probiotics on the mood and development of dopamine.
By consuming fermented food products such as yogurt or kefir, or by taking a dietary supplement, you can easily add probiotics to your diet.
7. Vitamin D
In one animal study, dopamine levels increased when supplemented with vitamin D3 (34).
Because of limited research, it is hard to say whether vitamin D supplementation would boost dopamine levels.
Some animal studies are promising, but we need more human studies to understand the relationship between vitamin D and dopamine.
Caffeine can improve brain function by raising the dopamine receptor levels in the brain (38).
Your body will establish a caffeine tolerance, however, meaning it will learn how to handle increased amounts.
Thus, you can consume more caffeine than you did before and experience the same effects (39).
Magnesium plays a vital role in ensuring a healthy body and mind. Its antidepressant properties are not yet fully understood.
One study showed that magnesium supplementation increased dopamine levels and had antidepressant effects on mice (42).
They limit studies on the impact of magnesium supplements on dopamine concentrations in animals.
However, if you can not get enough magnesium from your diet alone, it may be a good idea to take a supplement to ensure that you fulfill your requirements.
Berberine is an active component found in plants and herbs that is extracted. It has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine and has become popular as a natural supplement recently.
There are no reports that berberine supplements affect dopamine levels in humans. Therefore, we need further research.
Some medical conditions and diet and lifestyle decisions can lower the levels of dopamine.
Along with eating a balanced diet, many supplements can help boost the levels of dopamine.
Speaking to your health care provider or registered dietitian is always the best way to determine whether certain supplements are right for you.