When dopamine, the hormone of happiness, decreases in the brain, it can lead to problems such as depression, attention deficit and Parkinson’s. Prof. Dr. Uludüz explained the ways to keep this hormone in balance.
Nazan DOĞANER HALICI
dopamine It is a hormone that provides motivation, pleasure, interest, reward, impulse control and strengthens memory. It affects the reward center in the brain, which increases the person’s motivation and helps him direct towards his goals. Dopamine levels are at the forefront in body functions such as mood, memory and movement. It regulates learning and memory processes. It strengthens the connections between nerve cells. It also plays a role in attention focusing functions. Neurology Specialist Prof. Dr. Uludüz shared the following information about such an important hormone:
How to understand its deficiency?
If; If your energy is low and you don’t want to do anything, if you have a very rapidly changing mood, if you cannot control your anger with your impulses, if you feel chronic fatigue and unhappiness, if you have a decrease in desire, if you have difficulty concentrating, lack of attention and focus, and if you are extremely anxious, the reason may be dopamine deficiency.
What problems does it cause?
A deficiency of dopamine, or a decrease in the normal functioning of dopamine in the brain, can lead to a range of symptoms. Parkinson’s is ociated with a variety of neurological-psychiatric conditions and diseases, such as depression, Restless Legs Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and mood swings.
For what reasons does it decrease?
The amount of dopamine may decrease due to unbalanced nutrition, iron deficiency, stress, low estrogen during menopause, insomnia or frequent use of anti-depressant medication. Some neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. The most well-known of these is Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by dopamine loss and likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some and toxins can damage dopamine production in the brain. For example, antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders can block dopamine receptors, leading to a decrease in dopamine activity. Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides used in agriculture, can also damage dopamine-producing neurons. Dopamine levels may also naturally decrease with age. Traumatic brain injury or other head trauma can damage dopamine-producing neurons and disrupt the normal functioning of dopamine pathways. Infections and inflammation in the brain can lead to a decrease in dopamine production and function. Conditions that affect the brain, such as encephalitis or autoimmune disorders, can sometimes cause dopamine-related symptoms. Some psychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, are ociated with altered dopamine activity in certain brain regions. Although these conditions are not primarily caused by dopamine deficiency, they cause dysregulation of the dopamine system. Long-term and chronic stress can affect the functioning of the dopamine system, potentially leading to changes in dopamine release and receptor sensitivity.
HOW TO KEEP IT IN BALANCE?
1-Edit your diet
Protein-rich foods contain amino acids necessary for dopamine synthesis. To increase the brain’s dopamine secretion, we need to consume foods containing tyrosine and phenylalanine at meals. Apple, banana, strawberry, watermelon, cheese, yoghurt, egg, avocado, artichoke, red beet, broccoli, spinach, sauerkraut, turmeric, raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, oatmeal, green tea, seafood, chicken, broad beans Foods such as increase dopamine levels. Broad beans contain L-Dopa, a dopamine precursor. It is also important to stay away from foods that increase blood sugar and cholesterol in order to maintain dopamine balance.
When you interact with other people, you stimulate the release of dopamine in your brain. Social interaction can trigger the release of oxytocin in your body. This feel-good chemical also stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain.
Regular exercise can improve your mood and cognitive functions. Many of these benefits are the result of dopamine released when you move your body. Activities such as yoga and walking all increase dopamine release. This oscillation is often ociated with the feeling of peace and pleasure we experience during and after exercise. Regular exercise helps reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, which can inhibit dopamine signaling.
4-Take advantage of sunlight
Sunlight, or lack thereof, is known to have a direct impact on your mood. Sunlight plays an important role in your dopamine production. Getting out in the sunlight for 15 minutes a day and walking outdoors for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week is very important for dopamine production.
5-Listen to music
There’s nothing like listening to your favorite song or picking a cheerful tune to lift your mood. Listening to music increases activity in the reward areas of your brain, which are rich in dopamine receptors.
Although dopamine is often ociated with being alert and active, there is research showing that staying awake for too long can deplete your dopamine reserves. Not disrupting your sleep hours and sleeping at least 7-8 hours every day ensures that your dopamine levels are maintained and you are positive and energetic the next day.
Avoid excessive excitement, which exhausts your brain’s pleasure center and consumes dopamine quickly.
When to consult a doctor?
Be sure to see a specialist if you suspect symptoms of any condition ociated with low dopamine, such as depression, restless legs syndrome, attention deficit disorders, or Parkinson’s.