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Dopamine Deficiency -- Deficiency Symptoms

Updated on September 28, 2011

Dopamine Deficiency -- Deficiency Symptoms

Dopamine deficiency is actually more common than most people realize. A person can have a dopamine deficiency without really knowing it. Dopamine is what's called a neurotransmitter, which is basically just a chemical messenger in the brain. It helps a person with memory, mental clarity, mood, and other brain function. Dopamine is a tricky chemical because when a person is deficient in it, they don't just take a dopamine supplement like they would for another kind of deficiency, like a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Dopamine is a complex brain chemical that the body produces naturally in abundant supply, so if you're experiencing a deficiency, it might be because of genetics or illness, poor diet and habits, or environmental factors.

The chemical balance in the brain can be difficult to keep properly functioning. It takes a lot of precursor compounds in order to make complex neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. In order for brain chemistry to function properly, the diet must be nutritious, your habits must be healthy, and your environment has to have a few key factors. A lot of things can throw brain chemistry into imbalance. Some general dopamine deficiency symptoms are:

  • Lack of Motivation
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Depression
  • Procrastination
  • Low Libido
  • Increased Cravings and Addiction Predisposition
  • Mental and Physical Fatigue

Dopamine deficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including diet, habits, genetics, ailments, and more.
Dopamine deficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including diet, habits, genetics, ailments, and more.

Overcoming Dopamine Deficiency

Here are a few tips to help boost your dopamine and overcome dopamine deficiency:

1. Eat Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids

  • Omega 3 essential fatty acids are the form of fat found primarily in fish and fish oil, among other sources. Omega 3s are the building blocks of the brain and are found in great supply in the gray matter of the brain. Studies have shown that the Standard American Diet is heavily deficient in Omega 3s. Studies have also shown that one of the components of Omega 3s, DHA, has had positive results in battling chronic depression. Omega 3s are absolutely essential to proper brain function, make sure you're getting enough of them. If you're feeling lousy and don't have the right balance of chemicals in your brain, a lot of the time, the problem lies right here. Start taking a fish oil supplement, and see how it makes you feel. I think you'll be amazed at the difference. I've left you a link at the bottom to the supplement that I take.

2. Take Brain Supporting Supplements

  • There are a few brain supporting supplements that have been used for a long time to increase brain function. Among them are St Johns Wort, Ginseng, and Ginkgo Biloba. These compounds encourage healthy brain function. A good idea is to drink green tea that has these components in it instead of coffee.
  • Other brain supporting supplements include the basic building blocks for neurotransmitters and hormones that your body will use to produce the essential chemicals it needs.  There are a few amino acids in particular that the body turns directly into dopamine, serotonin, and other essential brain chemicals.  I've left you a link to a good one at the bottom.

3. Get Rid of Stress

  • Stress affects many areas of the body, and the brain is no exception. An elevated level of stress for an extended period of time has been shown to cause chemical problems in the brain.

4. Get Enough Sleep

  • The body needs a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Not getting good amounts of sleep affects chemical production throughout the body. The metabolism reacts to the lack of sleep as well and other problems might ensue. So make sure you're getting enough sleep.

5. Exercise

  • Exercise makes people feel happy. One of the reasons is because exercise encourages the production and release of positive brain chemicals. Doing regular exercise is required for healthy dopamine levels.

6. Get Outside More

  • Studies have shown that a lack of sunlight affects brain chemistry. Even though sunlight has been heavily demonized in recent years by dermatologists, sunlight is absolutely essential to life, and without it, you can end up with a lot of unwanted problems. Taking a stroll through the park at lunch and watching the sunset in the evening can do wonders for your body and mind.

Amino Acid Therapy for Depression

Amino acid therapy was once a common treatment for depression and mental issues. This is because amino acids are the precursors for the various neurotransmitters used by the brain. It was once understood that a poor diet is the biggest contributing factor to neurotransmitter deficiency in the body, and that once neurotransmitters become deficient or imbalanced, depression, lack of motivation, and mental problems can very easily set in. L-Tyrosine is one of the best precursors for dopamine production. But here's a list of other amino acid precursors and what neurotransmitter they help the body to produce:

  • 5-HTP -- Serotonin and Melatonin
  • L-Tryptophan -- Serotonin and Melatonin
  • L-Tyrosine -- Dopamine and Norepinephrine
  • L-Dopa -- Dopamine
  • Choline -- Acetylcholine
  • Glutamine -- GABA
  • GABA -- Inhibitory neurotransmitter. Boosts overall brain chemical message function.


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    • profile image

      Gina Schafer 

      5 years ago

      I know I have low dopamine activity. For several years I took adderal and it turned me back into a normal person. My psychiatrist too me off of it bacause of some panic attacts. If I am on some psychiatric drugs but nothing for dopamine, would L-Dopa or any other listed supplement do me harm?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I found your info helpful but I am interested in low levels of dopamine in reference to early symtoms of Parkinson's disease. Already taking extra omega 3 and b complex.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      6 years ago

      Yep, I certainly agree with getting enough omega-3, exercise, sleep, and sun. I would also add B vitamins and magnesium to that list of "brain vitamins".

    • Benjimester profile imageAUTHOR

      Benji Mester 

      8 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks for mentioning that. I wrote a little bit more about it in the article and left a link to a great one at the bottom.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hello Benjimester,

      Interesting article, but It's not clear for me about Brain Supporting Supplements...what is that? Vitamines?




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