As neurotransmitters with diverse functions in the body, dopamine and serotonin are part of the catecholamine family, and help the body function properly. Being “agents of happiness”, they are responsible for the good performance of important areas of our system.
Through new studies, Pascal Kaeser, assistant professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, says, “The dopamine system plays an essential role in many diseases, but few studies have questioned the fundamental question of how healthy dopamine neurons release the neurotransmitter.”
This tells us how unclear their internal transmission is, but important information has already been discovered about the extensions of these neurotransmitters:
Serotonin is produced in the brainstem area and can regulate mood, appetite, sleep, libido, and even heart rate. When its production is insufficient, it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, poor memory, irritability, and learning difficulties.
A lack of serotonin in the brain is one of the factors associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as with other neurotransmitter deficiencies and other changes. On the other hand, excess serotonin in the brain can occur artificially, for example due to the use of certain substances, such as amphetamines and cocaine.
Some medications used to treat depression and anxiety can enhance the effects of neurotransmitters, causing a sense of well-being, which helps reduce the symptoms of these illnesses.
Dopamine is produced in the adrenal glands, and its main functions are motor activity, reward sensation, behavior, and attention. It can be considered the main substance that drives people to act toward their goals.
Dopamine deficiency is associated with a number of diseases, from exercise problems to neurological problems, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease: degeneration of dopaminergic neurons occurs. In its treatment, dopamine precursors are used.
- Schizophrenia: Some studies indicate that schizophrenia can be caused by excess dopamine released in the postsynaptic. Therefore, one of the treatments is the use of drugs that block dopamine receptors.
Natural Ways to Produce Serotonin and Dopamine
- Protein: Foods such as quinoa, rice, beans, and pumpkin seeds are agents that aid in the consumption of amino acids, producers of dopamine.
- Natural Probiotics: Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and others, are probiotic-rich foods that help with dopamine production in a natural way.
- Quality sleep: A good night’s sleep is important. Lack of sleep prevents the dopamine and serotonin receptors from working properly. Sleeping for the necessary amount of time and in the right way helps the whole organism work better.
- Physical exercise: Serum calcium levels can increase according to physical activity, thus boosting dopamine and releasing the brain’s pleasure mechanism.
- Foods rich in tryptophan: Tryptophan facilitates the production of serotonin, foods such as dark chocolate, pineapple, and tomatoes have this amino acid
The actions that boost the increase of these hormones can be easily inserted into our routine, so take care of your health frequently, the practices of these activities are more effective over time. In more serious cases, the low level of serotonin and/or dopamine can cause depression and anxiety, if necessary, seek a professional for the most appropriate procedure.