Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for carrying information to various parts of the body and, when released, it causes a sensation of pleasure and increases motivation.
In addition, dopamine is involved in emotions, cognitive processes, movement control, cardiac function, learning, attention span and bowel movements. It is also directly related to neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia or ADHD, for example.
Although dopamine is produced naturally by the body, in the central nervous system and in the adrenals, its levels can be increased by consuming foods rich in tyrosine such as eggs, fish, meat or beans.
What dopamine is for
Dopamine is very important in several functions of the body and, therefore, it is essential to maintain its levels in healthy concentrations. The main functions of dopamine are:
1. Increases libido
Dopamine is linked to increased libido because during sexual intercourse, dopamine levels increase, giving a greater sense of pleasure. Dopamine also stimulates male ejaculation, and in some cases, men who experience changes in dopamine and serotonin levels may experience premature ejaculation. Better understand what it is and how to control premature ejaculation.
2. Promotes the increase of muscle mass
Protein-rich foods indicated for people who want to increase muscle mass, also help to increase dopamine, which makes the person feel pleasure when eating this type of food, stimulating its consumption. Likewise, exercise that is accompanied by this type of diet also promotes the release of dopamine.
3. May cause changes in perception
High levels of dopamine can produce mental changes that are linked to disorders such as schizophrenia, for example, causing hallucinations and delusions. In these cases, it is necessary for the person to carry out the treatment prescribed by the doctor properly, avoiding episodes of hallucination.
It is important that people with schizophrenia do the treatment prescribed by the psychiatrist, in a correct way, so that the drugs help to lower and keep dopamine levels stable, avoiding new episodes of hallucinations or delusions. Know what the delusion is and how to identify it.
4. Help in controlling movements
Dopamine helps to control the coordination of body movements. The concentration of dopamine even seems to be associated with Parkinson's disease, since people with low levels of dopamine show greater difficulty in controlling and coordinating movements, causing tremors.
Treatment of Parkinson's disease can include drugs to increase dopamine and thus improve control of movement. Find out more details about the treatment for Parkinson's Disease.
5. Ensures intestinal health
Dopamine levels have been shown to increase with the consumption of probiotics, since there are some species of bacteria such as Coprococcus and Dialister, who live in the intestine and are linked to the production of this neurotransmitter, which promotes good intestinal health.
Signs of low dopamine
When dopamine is low, the main symptoms are a lack of motivation and pleasure.In addition, loss of libido, feeling of tiredness or altered movements is also frequent.
Foods that help increase dopamine
Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine and, therefore, foods rich in tyrosine, such as eggs, fish, meat, beans, nuts, dairy products or soy, help to increase dopamine levels. See other foods rich in tyrosine.
What is the difference between dopamine and serotonin
One of the differences between dopamine and serotonin is the source of its production, since dopamine is produced from tyrosine, while serotonin from an amino acid called tryptophan.
When serotonin is at high levels, the amount of dopamine tends to decrease, causing a reduction in libido, for example. On the other hand, low levels of serotonin, can cause an excessive increase in dopamine, which causes an increase in libido and the search for activities that cause pleasure.
Low levels of serotonin tend to make the person more eager to eat sweets, while low levels of dopamine mean less pleasure and desire to eat.
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