Dopamine is known as the feel good neurotransmitter. The brain releases it when we eat food that we crave (including less than healthy foods and alcohol), while we have sex, and you guessed it- high intensity workouts. All these things (with adequate nutrients) contribute to feelings of pleasure, happiness and satisfaction.
The principal symptoms of dopamine deficiency are depression, the feeling of boredom (chronic boredom), apathy, loss of satisfaction, chronic fatigue and low physical energy with no desire to move the body. There is a general lack of drive, motivation and enthusiasm. Kind of sounds like lockdown doesn't it ? (But you're sitting home alone with a mask and safe . .right ? - don't get me started).
Clearly the junk foods have become more frequent, the kids are locked down with you 24/7 making intimacy near impossible for many parents, the glass of wine is turning into a bottle of wine, gyms are hard to come by - and home workouts are tough to make as rewarding as time pumping iron with the gang.
Intelligent food choices, low sugar/ limited alcohol drinks, cold showers and a home workout with your favourite playlist are a step in the right direction to avoiding the dopamine/ depression spiral becoming so prevalent.
The right nutrients will help lift your dopamine enough so you find the above measures more rewarding- a positive cycle, right ?
Consider the following in your path out of the lockdown blues:
TYROSINE: Tyrosine is an amino acid that plays a critical role in the production of dopamine. Enzymes within your body turn tyrosine into dopamine, so having adequate tyrosine levels is important for dopamine production.
CITICOLINE: Citicoline is also known as CDP choline. This compound has neuroprotective properties and is made up of choline and cytidine. As a plentiful source of choline, citicoline helps to transport dopamine, increasing its release into the brain !
ALPHA-GPC: Alpha GPC (alpha glycerophosphocholine), like citicoline has neuroprotective activity. It’s a compound composed of glycerophosphate and choline. Alpha GPC works fast and helps deliver choline to the brain and actually increases the production of acetylcholine along with release of dopamine, calcium and cell membrane phospholipids. Alpha GPC will raise dopamine levels, which benefits brain (and our mood and outlook) function significantly.
ACETYL-L-CARNITINE: Acetyl-L-carnitine, ALCAR or ALC, is an acetylated form of L-carnitine. L-carnitine is a derivative of an amino acid. L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine are used to help the body turn fat into energy. It is used for a variety of mental disorders including Alzheimer's disease, age-related memory loss, late-life depression, thinking problems related to alcoholism, and thinking problems related to very poor liver function. A 7-day administration of ALCAR in rats increased dopamine levels significantly.
The above are micronutrients. For them to stay prevalent and maximize their absorption, it's best taken as a stand alone on an empty stomach. Adding it to a meal/ protein shake full of other nutrients may make the various elements compete for absorption. To take it a step further, Coach Charles Poliquin taught the value of mixing into a carbonated medium to increase the speed of absorption, and given the enhanced dopamine/ mental acuity, they make a terrific pre workout drink as well.
I use ATP's NEURO BRAIN FACTOR ( 2 small scoops) as it contains all the above along with magnesium and methylated B vitamins to enhance uptake. At the prompting of a client, I tried it upon arising with a splash from my Soda Stream and extra orange flavouring. That kicked ! Mood elevation to mental focus and the desire to get off my butt and have a great workout. (Yes- it could conceivably work with champagne and a touch of orange juice- but let's not go there).
If you're profiling with low dopamine and suffering the lockdown apathy/ depressive issues . .this will definitely lift you back in the right direction.
Who loves ya ?
Lockdown Blues ? Here's how to fix your dopamine