Secret of Dopamine Mood and Motivation

Secret of Dopamine Mood and Motivation

May 03, 2024

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is one of the feel-good hormones (along with serotonin). It is a very important brain chemical necessary for controlling mood, motivation, learning, sleep, focus, memory, and fluent body movements.

Dopamine deficiency is associated with various health problems including depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s, ADHD, among other conditions.

Various forms of chronic addictions including sex, food, sugar, and stimulants are believed to lead to the deficiency of this hormone.

Signs of Deficiency

  • Chronic boredom and lack of motivation. Without enough dopamine whenever we start doing things that require patience and time, we quickly give up due to the lack of motivation.

We are unable to keep promises and resolutions. Lab mice with deficiency of this hormone are so deprived of motivation to eat that they starve to death even though food is available (1). 

A researcher A.V. Kravitz wondered why it is difficult to encourage obese animals to exercise. According to the common explanation they are less physically active because they must carry more body weight.

However, Kravitz noticed similarities between obese mice and mice with Parkinson’s disease. This observation triggered a hypothesis that perhaps dopamine deficiency (cause of Parkinson’s) could contribute to physical inactivity.

Numerous other studies have connected dopamine signalling defects to obesity. Today we know that this hormone is critical for movement, and obesity is associated with a lack of movement (2).

  • Low mood, depression and mood swings. Dopamine-based depression expresses itself in the form of lethargy and lack of enjoyment of life, while serotonin-based depression tends to be accompanied by anxiety.

According to Ward W. Bond, Ph.D., “The type of depressive-feeling caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain is a very low energy depression. With a lack of motivation. If you are low in serotonin, you would be craving carbs (sugar), dairy or even bananas. If you are low in dopamine, then you tend to reach for stimulating foods such as coffee or chocolate.

If your problem is not with serotonin, but only a lack of dopamine, then you probably won’t feel much anxiety, but you will have trouble getting going in the morning” (3).


  • Inability to concentrate or focus properly (mental fog).

  • Learning difficulties.

  • Insomnia and other sleep problems.

  • Problems with coordinating fluent body movements (shaking hands, etc.).

  • Slow thinking and monotone speech.

  • Forgetfulness.

  • Difficulties in experiencing pleasure.

  • Fatigue and difficulty to get going in the morning.

  • Social withdrawal and inability to connect with others.

  • Tendencies to avoid eye contact.

  • Sugar or caffeine cravings.


Possible Causes of Deficiency

  • All forms of addiction (drugs, sugar, chocolate, stimulants, sex, food, etc.) lead to a severe dopamine deficiency.

Addictions (chronic masturbation, addiction to caffeine, alcohol, smoking, drugs, chocolate, sugar, games, etc.) significantly contribute to the deficiency of this hormone. This is so because whenever we experience a pleasure (associated with addiction) our dopamine-producing cells flood our brain with this hormone so that we could experience a pleasure.

Certain addictions including drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines cause up to ten times more dopamine release. Also, other addictive behaviours produce a similar effect.

Continual repeating the same addictive behaviours and forcing brain cells to produce so much dopamine makes them exhausted and unable to make enough of this hormone between the moments of pleasure associated with addictions, thus leading to deficiency symptoms.

Studies confirmed that brains of addicts release much less this hormone and have fewer dopamine receptors. This is so because the exhausted by addictions brain cells are so exploited that they are not able to make enough dopamine required for normal brain and nervous system function.

  • Lack of exercisesleep, and sunlight contribute to the lack of this hormone.

  • In Parkinson’s disease own immune system turns against dopamine-producing brain cells destroying them and causing deficiency (4).

  • Diet high in sugar and saturated fats leads to dopamine deficiency (5). Studies have demonstrated that chronic excessive sugar intake may lead to alterations in dopamine signalling, which contribute to the symptoms associated with ADHD (6).

  • Caffeine initially blocks adenosine receptors, leading to an increase in dopamine signalling. When the hormone is released, it makes people feel good, so they reach for another cup of coffee. Unfortunately, frequent consumption of caffeine and any stimulant leads to the deficiency of this hormone.

  • Deficiency of amino acid L-tyrosine (the major building block of dopamine) contributes to the lack of this hormone.

  • Deficiency of all B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron (all are cofactors needed to turn l-tyrosine into dopamine) (7).

  • Vitamin D deficiency (extremely common today) as it activates the genes that release dopamine (8).

  • Obese people have a fewer number of dopamine receptors.

  • Hypothyroidism could be another factor.

  • Exposure to leadmercuryarsenic and cadmium.



How to Boost Dopamine Without Side Effects

  • The most important element of improving the ability to regulate this hormone is treating addictions including caffeine, drugs, chocolate, sugar, alcohol, smoking, pizza, cola, and sexual addictions (9).

  • Exercise for 60 minutes every day is one of the most efficient ways to increase the production of dopamine.

  • Sunlight exposures may increase dopamine levels (10).

  • Consume more of the following foods to boost dopamine: Almonds, bananas, sunflower seeds, apples, strawberries, pulses, sesame and pumpkin seeds, avocados, watermelon, beets, green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, turmeric, wheat germ.

  • L-Tyrosine is the most important supplement to boost dopamine: 2000mg a day on an empty stomach. In the case of depression and drug addiction increase the dosage to over 5000mg per day.

  • L-Phenylalanine supplementation might be useful to as this amino acid is converted into L-tyrosine.

  • Antioxidants (especially Alpha Lipoic Acid) are important as they prevent dopamine oxidation.

  • L-Phenylalanine: 1000mg on an empty stomach in the morning.

  • A study published in September 2009 has shown that ashwagandha root extract was able to raise dopamine levels. At the same time, it improved motor function in test animals who had lower levels of this hormone reduced to mimic Parkinson’s disease (11).

  • Rhodiola: 300-700 mg two times a day may help boost levels of this hormone.

  • Increasing Omega-3 intake can help elevate levels. Focus on consuming chlorella, fresh ground flax seed, fresh cold-pressed flax oil, chia seeds, and good quality Omega-3 oil high in EPA and DHA. Avoid eating fish and seafoods as they are usually contaminated with mercury, lead, and other toxins.

  • Resveratrol may help increase levels of this hormone (12).

  • There’s evidence that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by phones disrupts levels of hormones (13).

  • Remove mercury from your body using Chlorella.

  • The following supplements and herbs help boost dopamine: phosphatidylserine, Ginkgo biloba, l-theanine, curcumin (key active ingredients in Turmeric).

  • Meditationenjoying nature, playing and listening to melodious and happy music, knitting, gardening, painting, photography, and other healthy and happy activities can positively influence dopamine levels (14).


Related Articles



  1. A Molecule of Motivation, Dopamine Excels at Its Task - The New York Times (
  2. Unmotivated to exercise? Dopamine could be to blame (
  3. Depression & Anxiety
  4. Parkinson's disease
  5. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it Time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption? - PMC (
  6. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it Time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption? - PMC (
  7. Zinc regulates the dopamine transporter in a membrane potential and chloride dependent manner - PubMed (
  8. Vitamin D3: A Role in Dopamine Circuit Regulation, Diet-Induced Obesity, and Drug Consumption - PMC (
  9. Sex Addictions
  10. Sunshine-exposure variation of human striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor (
  11. Withania somnifera root extract improves catecholamines and physiological abnormalities seen in a Parkinson's disease model mouse - PubMed (
  12. Resveratrol attenuates 6-hydroxydopamine-induced oxidative damage and (
  13. The effect of pulsed electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone on the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in four different areas of rat brain - PubMed (
  14. This is your brain on crafting | CNN


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