A Balanced Testosterone Boost with Dopamine and Serotonin
Experience Renewed Energy, Focus and a Positive Mood Uplift by Boosting Testosterone with a Balanced Dopamine and Serotonin Supplement
Dopamine [DOPA] is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain, which acts as a chemical messenger between brain cells and although it is produced by just a handful of cells, dopamine has a powerful effect on many physical and cognitive functions, including movement, motivation and memory.
On the down side, dopamine is also responsible for addictive behaviors, like addiction to drugs, food, shopping, sex, gambling, and various other addictions. And the reason that drugs like cocaine, amphetamines and heroin are so addictive is that they increase the release of dopamine and then act as a dopamine re-uptake inhibitors – meaning that dopamine is active in the brain for extended periods when the drugs are taken.
Dopamine also stimulates emotions that make us feel good and boosts our self-confidence and we are in turn rewarded thought a hormonal biofeedback mechanism with a new rush of dopamine in response to our pleasurable activities, which is why it’s also called “the pleasure neurotransmitter”
On the other hand, without enough dopamine, we begin to feel sluggish, depressed and uninterested in life. Which in turn effects testosterone production in men and estrogen in women. Low testosterone and estrogen are linked with depression, mood disturbances, fatigue, anxiety, decreased working memory, mental fog, lack of interest in sex and on and on the list goes
This is a very long article so I have indexed the contents, for your convenience and you can jump to the important part which is How to boost your dopamine levels.
Contents of this article:
- What is Dopamine
- What is Serotonin
- What is Testosterone
- Dopamine and Testosterone: A Bidirectional Relationship
- The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis
- Menopause Estrogen and Dopamine
- Low Dopamine effects
- How to Boost your Dopamine Levels
What is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter within the brain and body that plays important roles in emotion, motor control, focus maintenance, working memory, and is involved in reward and pleasure pathways. Imbalanced dopamine can be implicated in addiction, depression, apathy, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) carries signals along and between nerves – a neurotransmitter. It is mainly found in the brain, bowels and blood platelets.
Serotonin is thought to be especially active in constricting smooth muscles, transmitting impulses between nerve cells, regulating cyclic body processes and contributing to wellbeing and happiness.
It is most well-known for its role in the brain where it plays a major part in mood, anxiety and happiness. Illicit mood-altering drugs such as Ecstasy and LSD cause a massive rise in serotonin levels.
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin influences both directly and indirectly the majority of brain cells, and stimulating dopamine levels for long periods of time without balancing it out with serotonin, could lead to a depletion of serotonin levels.
A study from researchers at Duke University in Durham, NC (published in February 2015) found that mice deficient in serotonin were more vulnerable to social stressors than a group of healthy control mice.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone (primarily produced in the gonads and secondarily produced in the adrenal glands) that is involved in libido, vitality, bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, face and body hair, the production of sperm in males, and the production of red blood cells. Imbalanced testosterone can lead to decreased sexual desire, changes in sleep, reduced muscle mass, and decreased self-esteem.
Dopamine and Testosterone: A Bi-directional Relationship
What these two organic substances have in common is a bi-directional relationship, Testosterone regulates dopamine and dopamine stimulates testosterone production. And the one big area where they share a significant relationship and play a crucial role in health is in male sexual function and the area of the brain responsible for this sexual function is the medial preoptic area.
One study found that microinjecting dopamine agonists (which increase dopamine function) in the medial preoptic area of rats resulted in an increase of sexual activity (Dominguez et al. 2005). Another study observed that castrated male rats showed no interest in fornicating and no dopamine release in the medial preoptic area. After testosterone injections, the castrated rats were able to engage in sexual intercourse and showed an increase in dopamine release in the medial preoptic area (Putnam et al. 2001).
These studies demonstrate how dopamine is important for libido and how testosterone regulates its release in the medial preoptic area. But as stated above, the dopamine-testosterone relationship is not one-sided.
The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis
The production of testosterone is controlled via a specific feedback loop called the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone [GnRH], which signals the pituitary gland to secrete luteinizing hormone LH, which in turn signals the gonads to produce testosterone.
One study observed the impact that dopamine has on GnRH production, and thus testosterone production. Researchers found that the administration of a dopamine agonist in rat brains increased the amount of GnRH and mRNA by 67%, which is involved in the DNA replication of GnRH (Li et al. 1992). Thus, adequate dopamine function is necessary for the production of testosterone and estrogen.
Researchers have found that the present data clearly demonstrate that GnRH and mRNA levels are positively regulated by dopamine, and GnRH secretion directly stimulates the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone and progesterone and in women GnRH effects the menstrual cycle which has a direct effect on estrogen and progesterone levels
Progesterone is a hormone critical for both men’s and women’s health and yet is poorly understood. Having adequate levels of progesterone is critical for erectile strength and libido. Unfortunately, very few doctors monitor progesterone levels in their male patients, because it is thought of as a “female hormone” since it plays a significant role in ovulation, pregnancy and fertility in women.
Menopause Estrogen and Dopamine
Estrogen is probably the most widely known and discussed of all hormones. The term “estrogen” actually refers to any of a group of chemically similar hormones; estrogenic hormones are sometimes mistakenly referred to as exclusively female hormones when in fact both men and women produce them. However, the role estrogen plays in men is not entirely clear.
In women the estrogenic hormones are uniquely responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. Overall, estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissues. More specifically, the estradiol and estrone forms are produced primarily in the ovaries in premenopausal women, while estriol is produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
In women, estrogen circulates in the bloodstream and binds to estrogen receptors on cells in targeted tissues, affecting not only the breasts and uterus, but also the brain, bone, liver, heart and other tissues. Estrogen also controls growth of the uterine lining during the first part of the menstrual cycle, and causes changes in the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy by regulating various metabolic processes.
Dopamine regulation has an effect on the secretion of Prolactin which regulates GnRH, which in females affects Follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH] and Luteinizing hormone [LH] release. Which also has a disruptive effect on the menstrual cycle, and both of those hormones also have a direct effect on estrogen and progesterone levels.
Progesterone production increases after ovulation in the middle of a woman’s cycle to prepare the lining to receive and nourish a fertilized egg so it can develop into a fetus. If fertilization does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop sharply, the lining of the uterus breaks down and menstruation occurs.
Low Dopamine Effects
Since dopamine is involved in a variety of brain functions, low extracellular levels of this neurotransmitter can result in a variety of unwanted symptoms. Keep in mind that the severity and number of symptoms you experience as a result of low dopamine is subject to individual variation.
If you have excessively low dopamine, you may run into problems with coordination, balance, communication, and thinking. But excessively low dopamine only tend to occur with neurodegenerative diseases and severe mental illness.
Fatigue: Without enough dopamine for fuel, you may feel excessively tired or lethargic.
Lack of motivation: Low dopamine can also lead to avolition or severe motivational deficits. Slightly reduced dopamine production may make you feel more tired than usual and feel lazy.
Learning problems: If you’re a person with low dopamine and are attempting to learn new information, your ability to learn is diminished. It may seem as if you’re reading or hearing information, but it’s going in one ear and out the other. Almost like you cannot absorb the new informational stimuli that you’ve presented your brain.
Poor concentration: You may have foggy thinking, be susceptible to daydreams, and have a tough time focusing when necessary. Low dopamine can create a state of mental fogginess, making it tougher than usual to concentrate. This is why those with concentration problems often find that ADHD medications (or psychostimulants) improve their ability to focus.
Low libido: A person with low dopamine tends to have a reduced interest in sex. They may have less desire to seek out a sexual partner and may have a non-existent sex drive. In some cases anorgasmia or inability to orgasm may result due to the fact that they lack dopamine to sustain interest. Low libido tends to quickly turn around when dopamine levels increase.
Monotone speech: A person’s speech may become extremely monotone, which is indicative of the fact that they are lacking pleasure. Life isn’t really as “bright” as it should be when dopamine levels are low. Voices of those with low dopamine may sound robotic and lack any emotional enthusiasm in a positive or negative direction.
Sleepiness: If your dopamine levels are low, you may feel more sleepy than usual. It isn’t uncommon to engage in excessive sleep as a way for your brain to increase dopamine production. Those withdrawing from stimulatory drugs like amphetamines typically notice that they are more sleepy than usual upon discontinuation. This is due to the fact that their dopamine levels are below baseline.
Low dopamine levels may hasten the onset of menopause by promoting weight gain, which is associated with early menopause. Menopause decreases dopamine’s effectiveness throughout the body by promoting a decline in the number of receptors for the neurotransmitter in brain, heart and other organs. Low dopamine levels may also explain common menopause complaints such as forgetfulness, clumsiness and brain fog.
Levels of norepinephrine which is made from dopamine, also decline when dopamine levels are low. Norepinephrine acts as a stress hormone in the brain, regulates the brain’s oxygen supply, and controls heart rate and blood sugar levels.
Social withdrawal: Since low dopamine saps the pleasure from life, it is common for those with low levels to withdraw from social situations. A person may no longer get pleasure from talking to friends, partaking in social activities, etc. The dopaminergic “feel good” reward from engaging with others in social situations is no longer present. This can provoke social isolation, which over time, can also result in poorer functioning of dopamine.
Weight changes: Generally a person with low dopamine may not derive as much interest in eating food as someone with greater production of dopamine. However, most people with low dopamine find that their metabolism is slowed, they sleep more than usual, and have a difficult time sustaining physical activity. This usually results in weight gain whereas higher dopamine production tends to stimulate weight loss.
How to Boost your Dopamine Levels.
If you’ve made dietary changes, but still aren’t finding them to be quite enough to elevate your dopamine level, there are ideas that you could consider.
Phenylethylamine [PEA], an ingredient found in chocolate, elevates dopamine, and although I don’t recommend eating chocolate as a way to increase dopamine levels. I thought it was worth mentioning and if you find yourself with a chocolate addiction, I would suggest you try the L-Tyrosine supplement as you most likely have low dopamine levels.
Friendly competition and involvement in sporting actives boosts dopamine and activates the brain’s reward system, and this can yield very significant increases in dopamine levels.
Replace sugary foods with ones that contain the amino acid tyrosine –Eggs, beef, avocados and milk will all help to lower stress, stimulate dopamine production and improve well-being. If you’re serious about your health and longevity then dopamine boosting foods should form a staple part of your diet.
Getting enough vitamin D. This sunshine hormone activates receptor in the adrenal gland to produce dopamine, and protects against the depletion of not only dopamine, but the another mood regulating neurotransmitter The fact that vitamin D helps with mood dysfunction and seasonal effective disorder (SAD), shows just how effective dopamine boosting are.
Zinc is a trace mineral that seems to be important for just about every process in the body, so it’s not a surprise that one of its many benefits is regulating dopamine levels. Studies have shown that increasing zinc levels lowers prolactin levels. Researchers are still not certain how it works but it has been found that “…zinc acts in a dynamic manner to selectively influence pituitary prolactin secretion“
L-Tyrosine acts as a precursors to the production of dopamine. Your body converts L-Tyrosine into dopamine upon ingestion. But taking L-Tyrosine for long periods of time without balancing it out with 5-HTP, could lead to depleted serotonin levels. A dose of L-Tyrosine 500 mg in the morning. (The recommended ratio is 10:1. Ten units of L-Tyrosine for every 1 unit of 5-HTP). Best if taken first thing in the morning and ideally 1 or 2 hrs. before breakfast.
5-HTP: 50 mg in the evening before bed. (5-HTP if taken without L-Tyrosine for long periods of time, you could end up depleting your dopamine levels.). Dosage 50 mg in the evening before bed. But you can safely use up to 3,000 mg of L-Tyrosine with 300 mg of 5-HTP daily, the important thing is to never use just 5-HTP or L-Tyrosine independently. Also it is a good idea with supplements to periodically cycle off them. Use them to make a correction and then see if the body supported by a nutrient dense diet can take it from there.
Some of the best natural sources of zinc can be found in shellfish, veal, lamb, liver, and pork. Zinc in animal sources tends to be highly absorbable. Best supplement form is L-OptiZinc as Zinc Chelated 30 mg (zinc should not be taken with other minerals “except copper” as it can stop their absorption by binding to the other minerals). Dosage take one(1) 30 mg tablet every other day @ lunch time of you take any other supplements or in the evening before bed if you dont.
I would really love to get your feedback if you decide to boost your dopamine levels, I started using the small dose L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP back in early 2016 for about 6 mths and noticed an immediate boost in energy and motivation. I then cycled off and restarted again after 3 mths when I felt my motivation start to drop off again.
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- ncbi: Prolactin and dopamine – what is the connection?
- Antagonism of estrogen-induced prolactin release by progesterone
- Medical News Today: Serotonin – Facts, What Does Serotonin Do?
- Medical News Today: Mouse study finds that serotonin deficiency does increase depression risk
- Menopause and Dopamine
- Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH)
- Zinc: Benefits and Sources
- ncbi: Zinc & Pituitary Prolactin Secretion