Bad moods. We all have them. Even though something specific may happen to trigger a bad mood like a bad morning commute or missing lunch, sometimes we just wake up in a bad mood and we aren’t even sure why. The triggers of a bad mood often depend on the people and the stresses in our lives. But once you find yourself in a bad mood, is there anything you can do to turn things around? That’s where dopamine comes in. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system known as the “happy hormone”. Dopamine interacts with the pleasure and reward center in the brain, and just makes you feel good. So, it makes sense that increasing dopamine production can help lift your mood. Getting enough sleep, exercising, listening to music, and spending time in the sun can all boost dopamine levels. Certain nutrients and supplements may also help to naturally support dopamine levels. These include:
- Multivitamin: Your body requires several vitamins and minerals to create dopamine including niacin, iron, folate and vitamin B6. If your body is deficient in one or more of these nutrients, you may have trouble making enough dopamine to meet your body’s needs.
- Tyrosine: Tyrosine plays a critical role in the production of dopamine. Tyrosine can also be made from another amino acid called phenylalanine. Studies show that increasing the amount of tyrosine and phenylalanine in the diet can increase dopamine levels in the brain.
- Probiotics: Probiotics support gut health. An unhealthy gut (such as when you’re eating a poor diet) has been shown to decrease dopamine production. A healthy gut on the other hand has been shown to increase dopamine production.
- Vitamin C: As a cofactor, vitamin C helps with the formation and conversion of dopamine in the brain. Adequate vitamin C levels are linked to helping you feel happier.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil contains the long-chain omega-3s DHA and EPA which may play a role in increasing dopamine levels in the brain.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is linked to depression, as well as a decrease in dopamine levels.
- Curcumin/Turmeric: The spice turmeric, through the active ingredient curcumin, may help the body release dopamine.
- L-Theanine: An amino acid naturally found in green tea, L-theanine helps to increase the regulation of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine.
- Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin is involved in the brain’s management of neurotransmitters, including dopamine.
So, if you frequently find yourself in a bad mood, get to bed early, lace up your sneakers, listen to some music, spend some time in the sun, and remember to take your vitamins. Over time you may kick your bad moods to the curb.
(1) Berkheiser, K. (2018, August 01). 12 Dopamine Supplements to Boost Your Mood. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dopamine-supplementshttps://health.usnews.com/wellness/mind/articles/dopamine-supplements-to-boost-mood
(2) Dopamine Supplements. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/product-category/neurotransmitters/dopamine/