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Dopamine - an important signaling substance in our brains

By Guest Chronicle on 2013/05/27 · 6 Comments

By Mona Gullström

Dopamine is a hormone that is linked to the brain's reward system; It gives signals that make us happy, euphoric and calm. It also regulates muscle movements, vigilance, enthusiasm and creativity. It makes us want to do things and enjoy them. The dopamine in the brain increases at pleasure, whether it concerns food or sex. Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs increase the dopamine level, which causes the body to become addicted to these elevated levels after a while and just want more. This also applies to sugar.

If you are not observant of this, you are soon stuck in an addiction which can have negative consequences. Different activities induce a variety of dopamine. For example, drugs like amphetamine release the most dopamine, then on a falling scale alcohol, sex, sweetness, food, exercise and physical exercise.

If you have a lack of dopamine, you become tired and depressed, and you may also get sleep and concentration difficulties. You can not do what usually involves and interest you. If the deficiency is high, it may lead to depressions, Parkinson's disease, ADHD or RLS. Under stress, dopamine is secreted in response to cortisol and then you become more alert, focused, stimulated and alert but only for a short period of time. The sensitivity of dopamine receptors is lowered during prolonged stress, and then you become dysphoric, depressed and dissociative.

Dopamine interacts with other hormones such as endorphins and grin which are released when eating candy. Dopamine increases the lust, the endorphine makes you feel good and the grin creates an increased sweetness and makes you hungry. That's why it's hard to stop eating candy once you've started. The sugar causes blood sugar to rise and insulin is secreted into the body and it gives even more hunger feelings. Sugar addiction / abuse is a major reason why many are overweight today. The sugar also makes the body sore and it is a good environment for diseases.

To overcome dopamine deficiency, you should eat more lean proteins. It is found in legumes such as beans, peanuts and lentils, in almonds, avocados, bananas and nuts. To form dopamine, the body also needs vitamins B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and iron minerals. Vitamin D enhances dopamine and during the sunny winter season, people living in the Nordic region should always take extra vitamin D supplementation.

New research by James Swanson and brain scanning expert Nora Volkow has been done in two different groups; One with ADHD diagnosis and one without diagnosis. There were no differences between the groups' dopamine supply when the study began. The group of ADHD diagnosis who received methylphenidate for one year proved to be injurious to dopamine regulation that was not available before medication commenced.

According to Dr. Henry Emmons, it is equally beneficial to handle mood swings with regular exercise about 30 minutes each day as in therapy or medication. Rhythmic movements, meditation and yoga also increase the production of dopamine, and it is about breathing, awareness, body awareness and visualization.

6 Replies

Smartly, concisely, applied explanation of dopamine. There is no greater reward system than toast. Can I recommend toast.

1 like

I wonder if high sugar intake makes people more susceptible to Parkinsons, for example by over-working the dopamine receptors.


Dear Gussilago, Thanks for posting. This translation deteriorates very badly after the first few sentences. If you pasted the original (Swedish?) into Google Translate (available here translate.google.com/ ), I am sure it would produce a much less fractured English. As it stands now, reading it is like having your teeth pulled by a drunken dentist.

You may prefer to see this comment in your native language:

Kära Gussilago, Tack för inlägget. Denna översättning försämras mycket dåligt efter de första meningarna. Om du klistrade in originalet (Swedish?) I Google Translate (tillgängligt här translate.google.com/), är jag säker på att det skulle producera en mycket mindre sprängd engelska. Som det står nu, är läsning det som att ha tänderna dras av en berusad tandläkare.

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Thanks. Here is the new translation


Thank you, the new translation is a big improvement. I still have a few questions, and I assume you are the author of this guest column. I hope you will forgive me if I grill you. I have the mentality of an editor. (My dopamine makes me behave like this!)

Does "grin" in the 4th paragraph stand for the hormone grelin? It is very surprising to hear, in the 5th paragraph that bananas or avocados are a good source of protein; also, should high-fat foods such as avocados, peanuts, almonds, and nuts be called "lean"? I am also perplexed by the difference between "exercise and physical exercise" (2nd paragraph) and "awareness, physical awareness" (7th paragraph)--these sound uncomfortably close to each other.


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