Too Much Dopamine in Blood, What Does It Do to You?

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, which belongs to the family of catecholamines. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are two other members of catecholamine family. Dopamine is produced mainly in the adrenal medulla and the nervous system. It has a role to play in many functions of the brain such as cognition and behavior. The release of dopamine has association with feelings of reward and pleasure. The normal range of dopamine in plasma is 0 to 30 pg/mL (195.8 pmol/L).

What Are the Causes of too Much Dopamine?

According to the website “Psychology Today”, there is an association of dopamine with initiation of movement of muscles, sleeplessness, euphoria, motivation and appetite loss. It also takes part in your ability to pay attention and concentrate. The causes of excess dopamine in the blood are described below:

Drugs: Both medicinal and illegal drugs can raise the levels of dopamine in blood.

Risk-taking behavior: A study conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Vanderbilt University has connected thrill seeking and risk taking behavior to excessive dopamine in blood. The study done on 34 subjects demonstrated that those who took risks had less dopamine receptors in comparison to non-risk takers. The brains of risk takers were not able to limit the quantity of dopamine secreted, therefore, making risk a great high and leaving them asking for more.

Insomnia and stimulants: The levels of dopamine in brain can also increase due to insomnia and stimulants, which are formulated to prevent sleep, including amphetamines.

Others: Exercise, certain supplements and foods also increase the levels of dopamine in brain. Supplements including vitamin E and C leads to too much dopamine in brain and foods, which contain antioxidants or tyrosine such as vegetables, fruits, avocados, almonds, lima beans, bananas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, or dairy products may raise levels of dopamine.

What Are the Symptoms of Excessive Dopamine in the Body?

A list of symptoms is described below that may occur from excessive dopamine:

How to Decrease too Much Dopamine?

Some ways you can consider to decrease dopamine levels are:

Step 1: Discuss with your physician about antipsychotic drugs. Antipsychotic medicines are psychiatric drugs, which affect levels of dopamine and are utilized in the treatment of serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia. However, they can be used to decrease levels of dopamine in cases of stuttering, addiction and impulsive behaviors.

Step 2: Increase your dietary intake of foods, which increase serotonin, for instance carbohydrates. This may help you decrease the effects of dopamine. Also avoid the use of caffeine as it releases dopamine in brain. Avoid black teas, caffeinated sodas and coffee to reduce your levels of dopamine. Avoid foods rich in L-tyrosine, which is a precursor of dopamine such as duck, dark chocolate, cheese, chicken and oatmeal.

Step 3: You can try some herbal supplements. Certain herbs may increase the level of serotonin, which helps in lowering dopamine. Some examples of these supplements are St. John’s wort, ginseng and dandelion. However, scientific evidence is lacking regarding these supplements and their use is not under the regulation of the FDA. Hence, you should always consult your physician before starting herbal supplement.

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