Dopamine increase with natural herbs, vitamins, and supplements
Dietary supplement products that enhance levels and how to improve sexual health naturally
February 1 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Benefit of dopamine increase, my personal experience
I have experimented with taking mucuna pruriens herbal extract that contains L-dopa, the precursor to dopamine. Within hours I have noticed an improvement in mood, wellbeing, a sense of the mystery of life returning, visual acuity improvement, and feeling that life is good, really good. Atter a couple of days of taking it, I also notice an improvement in libido. There are other substance besides L-dopa in mucuna herb, so I do not know if they have an effect, also. I have not tried a pharmaceutical levodopa pill which is pure l-dopa, so I cannot compare the herb to the prescription medication.

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.

Natural Ways to increase dopamine with vitamins, herbs, supplements
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. As earlier mentioned, the herbal supplement called Mucuna Pruriens elevates dopamine levels and it has been used in India for many centuries as a natural treatment for Parkinson's disease. Mucuna Pruriens extract is found in a natural sex booster called Passion Rx. Dopamine is also enhanced by massage therapy.

Q. What is the “best” natural or herbal product to take for increasing my dopamine levels?
    A. 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 the best and most consistent option that I know of.

Q. I am wondering how safe taking the supplement mucuna with a 15 percent l-dopa, is? I have Dysautonomia and it seems to be helping me be more relaxed. My biggest worry is if it could cause future dopamine down regulation similar to the way the drug does. Also wondering if after long-term use, years one could develop a tolerance? I currently take 1200 mg per day for two weeks. I telt a change after 12 days.
   A. I am not concerned about dopamine downregulation but long term use of a mucuna extract supplement is not well known and I suggest occasional breaks from use.

Libido and sexuality enhancement with dopamine increase
Dopamine can improve sex drive. Herbs involved in libido enhancement are included in Passion Rx with Yohimbe, a potent aphrodisiac formula that boosts sex drive.

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.

High on Dopamine, increase in levels
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 (most often due to chronic use of medications) can lead to side effects including the propensity to have an addictive behavior. For instance, there have been 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.

Dopamine increasing medications
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.

Dopamine associated medical and brain conditions
A number of psychiatric disorders are associated with imbalances with dopamine, particularly schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, 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.

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
Curr Opin Neurol. 2003. Comparing dopamine agonists in Parkinson's disease. 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.

Curr Opin Neurol. 2003. Rationale for dopamine agonist use as monotherapy in Parkinson's disease.  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
Int J Neurosci. 2005. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.

Neurology. 2004. The two faces of Eve: dopamine's modulation of wakefulness and sleep. 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. 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.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004. Prolactin release is enhanced in proportion to excess visceral fat in obese women. 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.

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 supplement or nutrient or is it automatically boosted when the  other neurotransmitters (serotonin, acetylcholine) have been heightened?
    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.

Q.  Are there any types of herbs or prescription drugs that would cause a problem taking dopamine?
   A. 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.

Q. 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?
   A. Amphetamines influence dopamine levels, but they have an influence on other neurotransmitters which could influence libido.

Dopamine reduction from natural supplements
Hum Psychopharmacol. 2013. Effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan on a standardized planning task: insight into possible dopamine/serotonin interactions in the forebrain. Several studies have suggested that exogenous administration of the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can result in the ectopic production of serotonin in dopaminergic neurons and a concomitant reduction in dopamine release. Oral exogenous 5-HTP disrupts dopaminergic function in the human forebrain.

Serotonin is a brain chemical that, in high amounts (often due to taking Prozac and other SSRI drugs) reduces sex drive.

Reward center
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.