Did you know that the brain of a person with ADHD doesn’t produce as much dopamine as someone without ADHD? This shortage affects the anterior frontal cortex part of the brain and impacts attention and focus and impulsivity, mood, and motivation…core symptoms of ADHD.
The way ADHD medications work is by positively affecting dopamine levels. For example, Ritalin and Adderall work by blocking dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake so the dopamine that is produced stays in the synapse for longer. Adderall causes more neurotransmitters to be produced.
When your brain doesn’t have enough dopamine, it craves it. You might find yourself driven to do activities that aren’t particularly healthy, like overeat on carbs, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, drive fast, have extramarital affairs, over spend or take street drugs.
However, there are things you can do to increase the levels of dopamine in your brain in a healthy and natural way.
When you exercise your brain produces more dopamine. Find an exercise you love and do it every day.
2) Take Omega 3
Omega 3 increases your levels of dopamine. Take a supplement as well as including more Omega 3 rich foods in your diet.
When you meditate you also increase your dopamine levels.
4) Vitamin C
Include lots of Vitamin C in your diet. Vitamin C is very helpful in ensuring the dopamine synapses is working well.
5) Eat foods that raise dopamine levels contain the amino acid phenylalanine, once eaten the body converts it to tyrosine and then tyrosine manufactures dopamine. Include beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds in your diet as these are all good sources of phenylalanine.
6) Your body needs iron and vitamin B6 to convert food from phenylalanine to dopamine. So get your iron levels tested by your doctor, if they are low ask about taking a supplement. In one study researchers found that 84% of the children with ADHD had an iron deficiency, so it’s worth finding out.
When you sleep you don’t use much dopamine, which means your dopamine levels increase overnight ready for the new day.
8) Reduce stress… stress depletes dopamine.