How can the level of dopamine be increased?

Dopamine level is a decisive factor in a person's mood. Many refer to this substance as the "happy hormone" because its presence was previously thought to generate feelings of satisfaction. Today it is known that it is associated more with motivation.

Science has also discovered that the level of dopamine influences the development of certain diseases. A high or a very low level can cause dysfunctions and even well-defined pathologies.

It is important to know that dopamine level can be increased naturally. The ways to achieve this are many and include some habits, as well as substances that can be incorporated without problem into the daily diet. We will see all of this below.

What is the role of dopamine?

The neurotransmitter dopamine influences mood, sleep, and motivation, among other functions.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter; that is, a chemical messenger from the brain. This means that it serves for neurons to communicate with each other: they transmit a message from one to the other. This substance is related to several functions such as the following:

  • Motivation.
  • Memory.
  • Attention.
  • Learning.
  • Mood.
  • Dream.
  • Renal function.
  • Function of blood cells.
  • Inhibition of prolactin production.

This neurotransmitter makes a person feel more capable, committed and willing to carry out some activity. It leads to more curiosity and a sense of energy to get things done. However, the level of dopamine is decisive, that is, it only helps if it is at the right levels.

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Ways to increase the level of dopamine

This neurotransmitter can be created in a laboratory. However, there are several natural ways to increase the level of dopamine. The main ones are the following.

Physical activity

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to have good mental health. From a physiological point of view, just physical activity causes dopamine levels to rise.

If to this is added the feeling of accomplishment when meeting exercise goals or breaking a personal record, all the better. Additionally, exercise helps manage stress, which is also helpful.

Relaxation techniques

A study carried out in Denmark in 2002 proved that yoga practice raises your dopamine level. Something similar happens with all meditation and relaxation techniques. In general, these types of activities trigger the secretion of neurotransmitters that regulate anxiety.

Proper nutrition

A 2018 investigation conducted in the United States found that low levels of Omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids contribute to better regulate the level of dopamine. A diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats is recommended. It is advised to avoid coffee and sugar.


There is not enough evidence yet on the benefit of supplements to raise the level of dopamine. However, several indications suggest that they would have a positive impact on this function. So for that purpose It would be advisable to consume omega 3 of vegetable origin, magnesium, ginkgo biloba and curcumin.

Avoid addictive behaviors

In the short term, satisfying an addiction raises dopamine levels. However, in the medium and long term, addictions have the opposite effect, similar to the depletion of a resource.

This applies not only to the compulsive consumption of alcohol or other psychoactive substances, but also to behavioral addictions such as that of social networks, sex, gambling, etc.

Dedication and achievement

The sense of satisfaction that an achievement generates causes dopamine levels to rise. This applies for the great conquests, but also for those small daily goals that are achieved. In contrast, not achieving a goal causes neurotransmitter secretion to be reduced.


There are several studies in which it is evidenced that music causes almost immediate dopamine segregation. Everything indicates that the levels are even more significant when listening to the culminating moment of a melody or in those moments in which the music shakes.

Solidarity and gratitude

Cooperation and generosity activate areas of the brain that are receptive to large amounts of dopamine. Generous and grateful people have also been shown to have a better mood overall. This, in turn, affects dopamine levels.

Routines and rest

The proper level of dopamine facilitates better rest. At once, a restful sleep increases this substance. It is best to respect the cycles of light and dark to make them coincide with wakefulness and rest respectively. Having stable schedules and routines causes a feeling of well-being, as it constitutes a chain of achievements.

Love and new experiences

Feeling love for a person causes more dopamine to be released. The same way, living new, pleasant and varied experiences increases the level of this neurotransmitter. Sometimes just going through a photo album gives you a feeling of greater well-being and motivation.

Effects of dopamine

Both excess and lack of dopamine can lead to health problems.

Dopamine is a chemical that intervenes in the pleasure receptors of the brain. What it does is activate the desire to go for that which provides pleasure. For this reason, it is said that it intervenes directly in motivation.

On the other hand, the basal ganglia (an area of ​​the brain that regulates movement) depend on dopamine to function properly. If the level of this substance is very low, it causes slow and uncoordinated movements. If it is too high, it leads to unnecessary and repetitive movements.

The level of dopamine influences several cognitive functions like memory, attention, problem solving and creativity. It is also believed to be involved in sociability: the lower the dopamine level, the more isolation.

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Health problems associated with dopamine levels

An inadequate level of dopamine is directly associated with some pathologies. First of all, it is related to addictions. There are situations and behaviors that raise the level of this neurotransmitter and cause these types of compulsions.

As already noted, in the medium and long term, the opposite effect occurs, which is why consumption or activity must be increased to achieve the same pleasure. On the other hand, low dopamine has been associated with Parkinson's disease.

A high level of dopamine, meanwhile, is related to manias, hallucinations and schizophrenia. Science is not yet clear why these excessive levels occur and, therefore, more research is needed in this regard.

Increase your dopamine and improve your general condition

There are many functions of the body that are influenced by the level of dopamine. Within them, there are physical aspects, such as movement, and psychic aspects, such as cognitive functions and motivation. As you can see, this neurotransmitter is very important in a person's life.

Dopamine levels can be increased naturally and if this is achieved, the result is greater motivation, a better mood and a more adequate performance in intellectual activities and social relationships.

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