Dopamine increase with natural herbs, vitamins, and supplements - Information about this neurotransmitter and dietary products that enhance levels and how to improve sexual health naturally
March 19 2014 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Dopamine is an important brain chemical involved in motor functions and general arousal. This neurotransmitter is also involved in the ability to learn and the encoding of stimuli. Virtually all drugs of abuse, including heroin and other opiates, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine and nicotine activate dopamine neuronal systems. So called "natural" rewards such as food, positive social interactions and even humor, likewise activate dopamine neurons and are powerful aids to attention and learning. Sweet solutions are a well-characterized natural reward. When a source of sugar is encountered, animals will consume substantial amounts, return to it preferentially, and will work to obtain access. The brain's so-called reward center actually responds to both good and bad experiences, even experiences causing fear. This is why some people are thrill-seekers.
   A number of psychiatric disorders are associated with imbalances with dopamine, particularly schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and mood disorders, including certain types of depression.
This neurotransmitter may also be involved in restless legs syndrome. There are several other interesting and important brain chemicals to learn about, including serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, and others.

High on Dopamine
Temporary elevation of dopamine levels often leads to an improvement in mood, alertness, libido, and perhaps even an enhancement in verbal fluency and creativity. However, a dopamine increase can lead to side effects to including the propensity to have an addictive behavior. For instance, there have been a few reports that patients with Parkinson's disease became involved in gambling when the dosage of their dopamine-enhancing medicines was increased. Interestingly, at times, elevation of the levels may lead to a sleepy state.
   People with high levels of the hormone dopamine in the brain, and low sensitivity to it, tend to be greater risk takers and may be more prone to addictive behavior, drug abuse and gambling.

Dopamine agonist drugs are used as a treatment for a variety of indications, including Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome, but may have serious side effects, such as orthostatic hypotension, hallucinations, and impulse control disorders (including pathological gambling, compulsive eating, compulsive shopping/buying, and hypersexuality). The most effective way to alleviate these side effects is to taper or discontinue dopamine agonist therapy.

How is this neurotransmitter made?
Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine, however taking a tyrosine supplement is not a helpful way to increase dopamine since the tyrosine can be metabolized also in different paths. Once produced, it can, in turn, convert into the brain chemicals norepinephrine and epinephrine. The full sequence is:
Phenylalanine converts to Tyrosine, then to L-Dopa, followed by Dopamine which in turns converts to Norepinephrine and Epinephrine

Libido and sexuality enhancement with dopamine increase
Dopamine can improve sex drive. Serotonin has the opposite effect, it dampens it. Certain natural supplements can increase dopamine levels and enhance sexual interest, for instance mucuna pruriens. Herbs involved in libido enhancement are included in Passion Rx, a potent aphrodisiac formula that boosts sex drive.

If dopamine levels increase libido, and amphetamines increase dopamine levels in the synaptic cleft, why does Adderall have the effect of decreasing my sex drive?
   Amphetamines influence dopamine levels, but they have an influence on other neurotransmitters which could influence libido.

Passion Rx for Men and Women

This natural sexual performance enhancer that increases dopamine provides results that are often seen within 3 to 4 days, but continue to improve over several days of use. Most people notice enhanced: Libido and sexual thoughts; Erectile function; Orgasms and climaxes.
  
The potent herbal extracts in this formula include ashwagandha, catuaba, cnidium, damiana, jorny goat weed, maca, mucuna pruriens, muira puama, passion flower,
Rhodiola, yohimbe, tongkat Ali and tribulus.

 

 

Natural Ways to increase dopamine
A decline in dopamine activity in the brain is linked to cognitive (learning and memory) and movement problems in those with Parkinson's disease. The amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine, along with the nutrient NADH and some of the B vitamins, influence the production of dopamine. An herbal supplement called Mucuna Pruriens elevates dopamine levels and it has been used in India for many centuries for Parkinson's disease. Mucuna Pruriens is found in a sex booster called Passion Rx. Dopamine is also enhanced by massage therapy.

What is the “best” product to take for increasing my dopamine levels? Also, are there any types of herbs or prescription drugs that I take that would cause a problem taking dopamine?
    I have not seen studies comparing different herbs or supplements in terms of their enhancement of dopamine levels so I don't know which would be best in increasing the levels but mucuna pruriens is certainly a good option. There are countless medications and it is not easy or simple to say how they interact with various supplements. The dosage of the drugs and the herbs is a significant factor in prescription medication and supplement interactions. However, rather than focusing one's attention on elevating the level of a single neurotransmitter, it is better to address one's overall health improvement and and a larger wholistic approach to health and symptom relief.

Brain metabolism
When released into the synaptic cleft (the space between brain cells), dopamine is broken down by the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). This is an important point to keep in mind since many pharmaceutical drugs take advantage of this reaction. In fact, there are drugs that block the activity of MAO, and hence are known as MAO inhibitors. There are two types of MAO inhibitors — type A and type B. These monoamine oxidase inhibitors can act as antidepressants, and the type B inhibitors are also used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Selegiline (or deprenyl) is a well-known pharmaceutical MAO type-B inhibitor.

Dopamine related to gambling and impulsive behavior?
Use of dopamine agonists, which include Mirapex (pramipexole) and Requip (ropinirole),
pergolide, bromocriptine, can lead to impulse control disorders, such as gambling addiction and hypersexuality, and to compulsive behaviors, such as binge eating, overspending and excessive computer use.

Risk of dopamine agonist drugs
Case reports and echocardiographic studies suggest that the ergot-derived dopamine agonists pergolide and cabergoline, used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome, may increase the risk of cardiac-valve regurgitation.

Drugs like AstraZeneca's Seroquel and Eli Lilly's Zyprexa, which belong to a class of drugs known as antipsychotics, work by blocking the action of dopamine in the brain.

Parkinson's disease
Comparing dopamine agonists in Parkinson's disease.
Curr Opin Neurol. 2003.
Dopamine agonists are effective in the management of both advanced and early-stage Parkinson's disease. Indirect comparisons show that ergot derivatives, such as pergolide and cabergoline, are as effective as non-ergot derivatives, such as ropinirole and pramipexole, in ameliorating Parkinson's disease symptoms in patients in early or advanced stages of the condition. Some specific adverse events, such as somnolence and sleep attacks, seem less frequent in monotherapy studies with pergolide than in those with the non-ergot dopamine agonists; however, because of the lack of direct-comparison studies this cannot be proved conclusively.

Rationale for dopamine agonist use as monotherapy in Parkinson's disease.
Curr Opin Neurol. 2003.
Dopamine agonists are increasingly being used in the initial treatment of patients with de-novo Parkinson's disease because they provide symptom relief and a low risk of the dyskinesia frequently associated with levodopa. Dopamine agonists protect dopaminergic neurons from the toxic effects of oxidative stress and the by-products of dopamine and L-dopa metabolism. Ergot derivatives, such as pergolide, induce minor side-effects and provide significant and sustained improvements in motor function in patients with early Parkinson's disease.

Dopamine research trials
Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.
Int J Neurosci. 2005

The two faces of Eve: dopamine's modulation of wakefulness and sleep.
Neurology. 2004.
In Parkinson's disease, waking is frequently punctuated by sleep episodes, including rapid eye movement (REM) (i.e., dream) sleep, and sleep is interrupted by motor activities such as periodic limb movements and REM sleep behavior disorder. Because these pathologic behaviors are unaccounted for by contemporary models, this review summarizes the complex effects of dopamine on normal and pathological waking-sleeping. Maintenance of wakefulness is probably promoted by mesocorticolimbic dopamine circuits, and suppression of nocturnal movement appears to be influenced by indirect pathways linking midbrain dopamine neurons with pre-motor structures in the mesopontine tegmentum and ventromedial medulla. A diencephalospinal dopamine system may have an additional important role in mediating state-specific sensorimotor activity that is relevant to periodic limb movements and restless legs syndrome.

Prolactin release is enhanced in proportion to excess visceral fat in obese women.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004.
Prolactin promotes visceral fat accrual in a variety of animal models. The release of prolactin by the pituitary gland is tonically inhibited by dopamine through activation of the dopamine D2 receptor, and obese humans appear to have reduced these D2R-binding sites in their brain. Our data show that spontaneous prolactin release is considerably enhanced in obese women in proportion to the size of their visceral fat mass. Because prolactin is inhibited by Dopamine D2R activation we speculate that elevated prolactin secretion may be due to reduced D2R availability in the brain.

Dopamine enhancement with natural supplements questions
To the best of my knowledge the neurotransmitter serotonin is naturally best increased with 5-HTP supplementation, acetylcholine with choline but how about the neurotransmitter dopamine? Is dopamine best increased with an individual suppliment or nutrient or is it automatically boosted when the  other neurotransmitters (serotonin, acetylcholine) have been heighted?
    We don't see the clear connection between the other neurotransmitters being heightened influencing dopamine increase.

What is the difference between dopamine and anti-dopaminergic drugs?
    There are no dopamine supplements but l dopa is a medication that increases levels. An anti-dopaminergic drug is a medication that prevents or counteracts the effects of dopamine.

I am currently taking Risperdal. I read that it lowers dopamine. I've been reading the symptoms of dopamine deficiency and I have many of them. I've been thinking about taking L-Phenylalanine or Tyrosine to raise my dopamine but it doesn't seem to make sense to take one thing to raise it and another to lower it. I know you can't give medical advice, but I'd like your opinion about this.
    Rather than focusing on the manipulation of one brain chemical, one has to evaluate and treat the whole person. It takes a full medical evaluation with review of physical exam and blood tests to determine the appropriate course of action.