Signs of low dopamine and the top 5 supplements to increase it

Dopamine is a very important neurotransmitter synthesized in the brain. It is synthesized from phenylalanine, tyrosine or L-DOPA. Tyrosine is converted into L-DOPA via the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), which requires vitamin B6 as a cofactor, and then L-DOPA is converted to dopamine. Once dopamine is released from neurons, free dopamine is pumped out of the synaptic cleft, by dopamine transporters (DAT) and is then stored for later use, or broken down by monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B). Less DAT and MAO-B means more dopamine to exert it’s actions.

So what we want to do is, provide enough precursors for dopamine synthesis, increase the function of TH and DDC and inhibit MAO-B and DAT for maximal dopamine action. But before we get into the top 5 supplements for that, here are the most common symptoms of low dopamine.

Symptoms of low dopamine include:

  • Lack of motivation, no goal setting or ambition, lack of self-grooming
  • No creativity, brain fog, low problem solving ability
  • Don’t want to explore, not curious, closed minded
  • Anhedonia, lack of pleasure, don’t enjoy much, negativity (rarely happy), no humor, disconnected
  • Diminished ability or just don’t want to connect with people
  • Lack of content, no purpose or beauty in life
  • Anti-social / social anxiety, fearful, nervous, anxious
  • Attention deficit, short term memory loss, etc…
  • Low appetite (because of elevated serotonin)
  • High prolactin
  • Might increase dependence of stimulants
  • Dilated pupils (because of elevated serotonin and/or norepinephrine)

Top 5 supplements to increase dopamine

Precursors 

Mucuna pruriens

This herb has the highest concentration of L-DOPA and provides the immediate precursor to dopamine. It also lowers prolactin very effectively. Start with 1/2 tsp to a full tsp twice daily. Other precursors include N-acetyl-L-tyrosine (NALT) (2 caps in the morning) and phenylalanine (4 caps in the morning).

Increase TH

Forskolin

Forskolin is a compound found in forskolii coleus plant which increases TH. It’s also an effective fat burner, increases free testosterone, as well as dopamine receptors and vasodilation. Use Butea Superba with forskolin for a synergistic increase in androgens and dopamine. This combo is really potent for increasing confidence, energy, motivation and focus.

  • Forkolin – 400mg forkolii (40mg extract) per serving, 60 servings
  • Butea superba – 500mg (30:1 extract ratio) per serving, 60 servings

MAO-B inhibitor

Cat’s claw

Cat’s claw is a herb that has potent MAO-B inhibitory properties, which will prevent dopamine breakdown. (1)

Inhibit dopamine reuptake

Catuaba

Catuaba inhibits DAT (dopamine transporters ) and increases the potency of dopamine release.

  • Catuaba – 500mg per serving, 60 servings

There you have the full packet of how to increase dopamine. For the best effect, it would be best to take all these 5 herbs together. For a more comprehensive guide on how to increase dopamine, continue reading here

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Shane Holley says:

    I have just recently come across your site. You have fantastic content here!

    What is your opinion on Lions Mane to improve cognitive function? Any drawbacks that you are aware of?

    Thanks!

    1. Hans Amato says:

      Hi Shane,
      Thanks for the positive feedback.
      I think Lions Mane can be very helpful for cognition. Only downside is that it’s an inhibitor of 5-AR, but I don’t think that’s much of a concern as many other things in the diet is also inhibitors and the overall effect is not as potent. The downside doesn’t outweigh the upside.

  2. Tim says:

    What is TH referring to in your summary of Forskolin? And what are it’s benefits?

    1. Hans Amato says:

      Hi Tim,
      TH is tyrosine hydroxylase, which is the enzyme that creates dopamine. So mre TH = more dopamine.

  3. Tim says:

    Have you since updated this article? There are only 4 supplements listed now, any particular reason?

    1. Hans Amato says:

      Hey Tim, no I have not updated it. No idea why the 5th one is missing. The 5th one would be uridine.

  4. Doug says:

    Hans, you should consider recommending l-tyrosine over mucuna.Taking mucuna for dopamine is like taking 5-HTP for serotonin.

    1. Hans Amato says:

      True, however I think it’s worth experimenting with both.

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