#12. Caffeine enhances the release of dopamine and boosts cognitive performance but can also require larger doses to achieve prior effects as a tolerance develops.
18 Facts about Dopamine
- Dopamine is a neurotransmitter(a molecule that sends signals to neurons, glands, or muscle cells) and that serves the brain in several important ways, one of which is our pleasure/pain and reward motivated behavior. When dopamine is released and activated it can radically effect our choices depending on the target neurons, receptors, and internal responses from the second messenger.
- Cocaine, amphetamines, and other psychostimulants, like Adderall, raise dopamine levels and increase heart rates, body temperature, improve alertness and attention yet can also cause anxiety and psychosis’ such as delusions and hallucinations.
- Bananas, especially very ripe bananas, contain healthy levels of dopamine and antioxidants, but it’s actually the amino acid, Tyrosine, in bananas that helps create the dopamine in the first place.
- Dopamine is released during gambling and winning and at lower levels when losing. This erratic flow accounts for the high and lows experienced by gamblers, not unlike drug use.
- Dopamine triggers sexual desire and is essential for sexual activity.
- Sex addiction, like most addictions, occurs when higher dopamine levels are necessary to achieve and maintain the same level of pleasure in the addict.
- Low dopamine levels are associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease as well as Depression and Social Phobia. Feeling low? Eat a ripe banana! That could help.
- Too much dopamine can cause Schizophrenia. When too much dopamine is produced and finds its way to dysfunctional areas of the brain serious mental problems occur.
- The effects of low motivation experienced by long-time Marijuana users is because their dopamine levels in the part of the brain that manages reward and anticipatory response, the nucleus accumbens, are detrimentally effected.
- Nicotine, the psychostimulant in tobacco, promotes dopamine pleasure release hence nicotine addiction.
- The frequent consumption of Green Tea, via the active amino acid L-theanine, will raise dopamine levels and decrease Depression.
- Caffeine enhances the release of dopamine and boosts cognitive performance but can also require larger doses to achieve prior effects as a tolerance develops.
- Chocolate contains tryamine, derived from tyrosine, the amino acid precursor necessary for dopamine production. When eating chocolate, the neurotransmitter chain goes to work on the brain’s reward and pleasure center and thus keeps us coming back to relive the tasty moment.
- Healthy levels of, and the healthy production of, dopamine in our system can make or break our sense of satisfaction when learning something new or achieving something important. Our mental health, healthy motivation, and mood, comes from balanced levels of dopamine and serotonin—the other neurotransmitter that works to maintain our sense of happiness.
- Dopamine addiction may be at the root of most major addictions as the process of addictive behavior starts and ends with dopamine levels. As each addiction has its own differences, all addictions include the rollercoaster manufacture and depletion of dopamine as the source factor.
- Each of the four “happiness hormones”, Dopamine, Serotonin, Adrenaline, and Endorphins, have their own ways to get boosted in our bodies and brains. When it comes to maintaining healthy dopamine levels, setting a goal each day, no matter how small, and celebrating its completion is a good way to stay on top of anxiety and self esteem. Getting a good night’s sleep is also a critical factor in balanced dopamine levels.
- Serious Thrill-Seekers pump all of the above mentioned hormones relying on Adrenaline for quick action to face danger but stand on dopamine when it comes to accomplishing the challenge.
- A 2021 study from Vanderbilt University may turn all of the above facts for a loop as it shows that dopamine may not be responsible wholly as a reward and pleasure center facilitator but also a tracker of all our positive, and negative, or stressful events, and as such drive our adaptive behavior in more ways than previously explored. Now, if that doesn’t warrant a piece of chocolate I don’t know what does.