Herbs And Natural Remedies For Low Dopamine (FULL Report)

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Herbs And Natural Remedies For Low Dopamine
Herbs And Natural Remedies For Low Dopamine (FULL Report) Graphic © healthpowerboost.com. Photos: Pixabay (PD). Dopamine molecule pic: Wikipedia (PD)

Welcome to my in-depth report on dopamine! Tons of useful information here; learn all about this highly influential chemical in your body and become a dopamine expert now!

Dopamine is the brain’s “pleasure chemical” and is a crucial neurotransmitter. Dopamine influences well-being, alertness, learning, creativity, attention and concentration. It also affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response and is the source of the brain’s power and energy. Dopamine plays a significant role in regulating mood, motivation, and cognitive functions. Low dopamine levels are associated with various neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Symptoms Of Low Dopamine:

Lack of interest in life
Decreased motivation
Inability to feel pleasure
Low sex drive
Altered sleep patterns
Restless leg syndrome
Fatigue / low energy
Mood swings
Excessive feelings of hopelessness or guilt
Poor memory
Inability to focus / impaired concentration
Impulsive or self-destructive behaviors
Addictions to caffeine or other stimulants
Weight gain. [1]

How Dopamine Is Created In The Body:

The brain uses the amino acid l-phenylalanine as the source (precursor) for the production of dopamine. Phenylalanine is one of the “essential” amino acids, that is, the body cannot make it on its own so we have to get it from the foods we eat or from supplements. Once the body receives phenylalanine, it can convert it to tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize dopamine. So the simplest and “most natural” way to support / boost central nervous system neurotransmitter levels is to provide proper amounts of the amino acid precursors [1] – giving the body a plentiful supply of the building blocks it needs to create the neurotransmitters and other substances as required.

The full sequence is: Phenylalanine converts to Tyrosine, then to L-Dopa, followed by Dopamine (which in turns converts to Norepinephrine and Epinephrine) [2]

Helping the body to function optimally is really the fundamental goal of natural remedies: Rather than use medicines which tend to boost one part of the machine in a somewhat “artificial” way, natural medicine seeks to harmonize and tune the function of the “entire machine”. The body is a complete system that works synergistically when healthy.

Activities That Raise Dopamine (Some Interesting Ones Here!)

a) Massage – raises dopamine levels

b) Exercise every day. Going for a walk is great. Exercise can improve circulation, trigger the release of endorphins, reduces stress, raise serotonin levels and increase dopamine, in the long run. Better mood is associated with higher, yet balanced level of several neurotransmitters such as GABA, oxytocin, acetylocholine, serotonin and dopamine. [3]

c) Laughing.

d) “Sleep hygiene” – having a regular sleep pattern. Go to bed at the same time each night (including on weekends) if possible.

e) Getting some sunlight every day.

f) Dancing.

g) Eating something really delicious.

h) Sex – orgasm is the biggest natural dopamine release of all 🙂 but levels drop quickly afterwards (especially in males) due to prolactin release which lowers dopamine (prolactin is also the thing that makes males more likely to go to sleep afterwards!)

i) Loud pleasurable music. The report doesn’t say what type; what seems to matter in this case is not whether it is Vivaldi or heavy metal, but whether you are fully enjoying it.

j) Exciting action-based events from hi-energy shows to dangerous sports

k) Singing – also raises oxytocin and lowers cortisol (this is a good thing because cortisol is the stress hormone!)

Food Sources Of The Natural “Building Blocks” Of Dopamine:

a) Phenylalanine rich foods: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, soy (incl tempeh and miso), tofu

b) Tyrosine rich foods: – ripe bananas are supposed to be the best. Other food sources of tyrosine include almonds, apples, watermelons, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cherries, yogurt, beans, eggs and meats. [1] [4]

c) L-tyrosine rich foods: – fava beans, duck, chicken, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, mustard greens, edamame, dark chocolate, seaweed, wheat germ [5]

d) Black tea and green tea: L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea which can boost dopamine, by relaxing the central nervous system. However, it seems to work only when taken in higher amounts. [3]

Be careful of / avoid the following:

a) Coffee – craved intensely by people who are low dopamine – but can be negative long term – it gives a dopamine boost but leads to crash later and long term lower levels!

b) Refined sugar & fat-heavy foods – can play havoc with dopamine levels, leading to highs and lows

c) Excitotoxins. Watch out for excitotoxins. There are many reasons that the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) can be compromised and, if it is, the MSG, autolyzed yeast extracts, aspartame and hydrolyzed proteins (in standard wheys, fast and processed foods) are reported to wreak havoc on your neurons.

Supplement Sources Of The Natural “Building Blocks” Of Dopamine:

a) L Tyrosine. Studies have reported that there is decreased concentration of tyrosine, a precursor to dopamine, in the blood plasma, ventricular spinal fluid, and lumbar spinal fluid of depressed patients compared to control subjects. [6] Start gently. (250mg). Do not use with MAO inhibitors. Too much can make you manic, espec if bipolar and prone to mania. One source says it may take a few weeks for full effects. Acetyl-L-Tyrosine has higher bioavailability and low price. [3]

b) Vitamin D with fish oil – this combination is reported to work well in combination with L tyrosine. [7]

b) L-Phenylalanine (Phe) [8] Needs iron to work. NOTE: Effects can stack if taken with tyrosine, leading to excess dopamine. Take phenylalanine separately from meals for greater absorption.
d) Phenylethylamine (PEA) (found in chocolate) [8]

e) Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an essential lipid for healthy cerebral function that is highly concentrated in the brain cells. It improves brain’s homeostasis response to stress hormones which may raise dopamine since stress hormones are produced from it. [3]

f) CoQ10 : CoQ10 is a relatively safe supplement that appears to preserve brain dopamine levels. This is one of the reasons that it can play a role in Migraine Prevention and has been found helpful in the treatment of RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) as well. The only caution that I know of with CoQ10 is that one study showed that higher levels were tied to breast cancer risk.

10+ Herbs For Low Dopamine:

Numerous plants impact neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, either by interfering with receptors or affecting their metabolism.

If you are taking medications, be sure to check with your physician before trying any of these – as some may interact with prescription medications.

Notable examples include:

Mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens, commonly known as velvet bean, is known for its high content of L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine, which is crucial for brain function and implicated in various neurological disorders.

Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and reduced dopamine levels in the striatum. Mucuna pruriens has been studied for its role in protecting against neuroinflammation in PD. The plant’s seeds contain L-Dopa, which is converted into dopamine in the brain, potentially compensating for the dopamine deficit seen in PD. Research has shown that Mucuna pruriens can mitigate behavioral abnormalities and decrease oxidative stress in animal models of PD. The plant’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may contribute to its neuroprotective effects. [9]

L-Dopa Content and Dopamine Synthesis: Mucuna pruriens seeds accumulate 0.2%-2% L-Dopa in their dry weight. L-Dopa, once ingested, is converted into dopamine, an essential neurotransmitter for brain function. This conversion is particularly significant in conditions like PD, where dopamine production is impaired. The high L-Dopa content in Mucuna pruriens makes it a natural source for boosting dopamine levels. [9]

Neuroprotective Mechanisms: The neuroprotective mechanisms of Mucuna pruriens involve the modulation of inflammatory pathways and antioxidant defense in the brain. The plant’s extract has been observed to reduce inflammatory markers like Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein, Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase, Intercellular Cell Adhesion Molecule, and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha in the SNpc of parkinsonian models. Additionally, Mucuna pruriens inhibits the activation of NF-κB and promotes pAkt1 activity, which prevents the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons. These actions collectively contribute to its neuroprotective effects. [9]

Note – Go carefully with this one. I found it too intense. Start small and observe changes.


Saffron has been identified as a natural antidepressant. Studies have shown that it can influence mood and emotional well-being, potentially through its impact on neurotransmitters like dopamine. The antidepressant effects of saffron are attributed to its bioactive compounds, such as crocin and safranal, which may interact with the dopaminergic system in the brain. This interaction can lead to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. Saffron’s impact on dopamine is also significant in the context of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, where dopamine levels are critically low. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of saffron, along with its potential neuroprotective effects, make it a promising candidate for managing symptoms of dopamine-related disorders. [10]


While the direct impact of turmeric on dopamine levels is not extensively studied, its active compound, curcumin, has shown potential effects on the dopaminergic system. Curcumin’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier allows it to interact with various neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine. Studies suggest that curcumin may influence dopamine levels and dopamine-related pathways, potentially offering therapeutic benefits for conditions associated with dopamine dysfunction.

In the context of neurological disorders where dopamine plays a critical role, such as Parkinson’s disease and depression, turmeric’s potential effects on dopamine are of particular interest. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric may contribute to neuroprotection and modulation of neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine. This suggests a possible role for turmeric in managing symptoms of dopamine-related disorders. [11]

St. John’s Wort

This herb increases serotonin and dopamine. Please note that St John’s Wort should always be used with caution. It has multiple actions and may not be advisable. It is also often contraindicated with prescription meds, especially those that influence seratonin (potentially dangerous interaction!)


Kava, derived from the root of the Piper methysticum plant, has been traditionally used in Pacific Island cultures for its relaxant and medicinal effects. Recent scientific studies have explored kava’s impact on various neurological functions, including its influence on the dopaminergic system. While kava is primarily known for its anxiolytic properties, its interaction with dopamine pathways is an area of growing interest.

Research indicates that kava and its key phytochemicals, including kavalactones, may have a modulating effect on dopamine levels. Kava’s neurological benefits, particularly in reducing stress and anxiety, suggest that it may influence dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation and pleasure. The exact mechanisms of how kava affects dopamine levels and dopaminergic pathways are still being explored. However, the potential for kava to impact dopamine-related functions, such as mood and cognitive processes, is significant. [12]

MORE HERBS that may be beneficial for dopamine:

Ginseng, nettles, red clover, fenugreek, dandelion, peppermint, milk thistle, rosemary, rose, oatstraw, garlic, gingko.[13]

Vitamins And Minerals For Dopamine Support:

B Vitamins

B vitamins play a crucial role in brain health, impacting various aspects of brain function, including the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters like dopamine. This group of water-soluble vitamins is essential for cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in numerous enzymatic reactions. Their collective effects are particularly significant in brain function, influencing energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis and repair, methylation processes, and the synthesis of neurochemicals and signaling molecules.

B Vitamins and Dopamine Synthesis: The synthesis of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter associated with mood, motivation, and reward, is influenced by the availability of certain B vitamins. Vitamins B6, B9 (folate), and B12 play direct roles in the synthesis and metabolism of dopamine. Vitamin B6, in particular, is crucial for the conversion of L-Dopa to dopamine. Adequate levels of these vitamins are essential for maintaining optimal dopamine levels and, consequently, for neurological functioning. [4]

Deficiencies and Neurological Implications: Deficiencies or insufficiencies in B vitamins can lead to impaired dopamine synthesis and regulation. This can manifest in various neurological and psychological symptoms, including mood disturbances, cognitive impairments, and other disorders related to dopamine dysfunction. Ensuring adequate intake of all B vitamins is vital for preserving brain health and supporting dopamine-related functions.

Vit C – Dopamine is easily oxidized. So, the antioxidants contained in vitamins (such as vitamins C and E) protect the health of brain neurons that use dopamine. [1] Also valuable are foods with high ORAC levels (antioxidant) – i.e. berries.

Vit D – important to relieve depression

Vit E – Dopamine is easily oxidized. So, the antioxidants contained in vitamins (such as vitamins C and E) protect the health of brain neurons that use dopamine. [1]

Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency can cause decreased levels of dopamine, and natural health experts estimate over half of the US population to be deficient in this relaxation mineral. [1]

Zinc – has been linked to dopamine. top zinc sources include oysters, beef, lamb, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, cacao, pork, chicken, mung or adzuki beans, mushrooms.

A Quick note On Serotonin:

While Dopamine is regarded as the “pleasure chemical”, Serotonin – another neurotransmitter – is regarded as the “happiness chemical”. Subtle difference 😉

Symptoms of serotonin deficiency include –

depression [14]
repetitive negative thoughts
a tendency to be a bit (or a lot) obsessive
cravings for sugar or carbohydrates
depression that’s worse in winter. [7]

5-HTP is a natural serotonin precursor and taken by some as a supplement to provide abundant “raw materials” for the body’s synthesis of serotonin. May not be advisable in conjunction with medications (Herb, nutrient and drug interactions p. 715)


[1] 8 Natural Dopamine Boosters to Overcome Depression. Jami Cooley, RN, CNWC https://web.archive.org/web/20160417221202/https://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/depression-and-anxiety/8-natural-dopamine-boosters-to-overcome-depression/

[2] Ray Sahelian – “Dopamine” https://www.raysahelian.com/dopamine.html

[3] Heart Health Guide: Increase dopamine: Improve your mood & brain function – https://www.heart-health-guide.com/increase-dopamine.html

[4] “B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review” – David O. Kennedy (2016). [MDPI Nutrients] https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068

[5] Bruce Wylde – “The Dopamine Diet” https://web.archive.org/web/20141022181715/http://www.doctoroz.com/article/dopamine-diet

[6] Wikipedia – “Dopamine”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine

[7] Natural Remedies for Depression. Good Health. https://www.goodhealth.com.au/265/depression/natural-remedies-for-depression/

[8] How to Increase Dopamine (Paul Chernyak, LPC – Wikihow) https://www.wikihow.com/Increase-Dopamine

[9] “Mucuna pruriens Protects against MPTP Intoxicated Neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s Disease through NF-κB/pAKT Signaling Pathways” – S. Rai, H. Birla, S. Singh, Walia Zahra, R. Patil, J. Jadhav, M. Gedda, S. P. Singh (2017). [Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience] https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00421

[10] “The role of saffron (Crocus sativus L) on testosterone and depression in andropause middle-aged and elderly men: a systematic review” – Shirin Amini et al. (2023). [Nutrition & Food Science] https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/nfs-03-2023-0071

[11] “Test the Cardioprotective Effectiveness of Turmeric Ethanol Extract (Curcuma Longa) in Doxorubicin-In-Rat Wistar (Rattus Norvegicus) Doxorubicin-Induced Males” – Wang Xiqin et al. (2021). [Budapest International Research in Exact Sciences] https://dx.doi.org/10.33258/BIREX.V3I4.2661

[12] “Kava as a Clinical Nutrient: Promises and Challenges” – Chengguo Xing et al. (2020). [MDPI Nutrients] https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12103044

[13] Gail Faith Edwards: “Herbs For Mind And Spirit” https://web.archive.org/web/20170705100017/https://www.blessedmaineherbs.com/hearthealth.html

[14] Dr. Ward Bond: DEPRESSION: Low Dopamine, Not Low Serotonin (2013) https://web.archive.org/web/20140726175443/https://drwardbond.weebly.com/dr-bonds-blog/depression-low-dopamine-not-low-serotonin (this page is GREAT)

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