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How to Balance Dopamine and Serotonin Levels

by
author image Jeffrey Traister
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
How to Balance Dopamine and Serotonin Levels
How to Balance Dopamine and Serotonin Levels Photo Credit Schieflage - Kernspintomographie image by Marem from Fotolia.com

Dopamine and serotonin are chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Dopamine stimulates pleasure and alertness. Serotonin stimulates peacefulness and sleep. The levels of these neurotransmitters are indirectly related to mood, according to research published in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry." An imbalance of either one or both is associated with mood disorders. L-tyrosine and l-tryptophan are amino acids found in protein foods which, with vitamin B6, make dopamine and serotonin in the brain. A 2003 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" demonstrates that a high complex carbohydrate, low protein meal can increase the amount of these amino acids that can cross the blood-brain barrier.

Steps

Step 1

Take 500 mg of L-tyrosine and 25 mg of vitamin B6 supplements with a glass of fresh fruit juice in the morning before breakfast. L-tyrosine and vitamin B6 can increase dopamine levels in the brain.

Step 2

Eat a breakfast that contains unprocessed complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereal with water, apple juice or soy milk. The goal in the morning is to increase dopamine production by increasing levels of L-tyrosine that can enter the brain. Milk is high in protein and may reduce the availability of L-tyrosine that can enter the brain.

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Step 3

Eat a lunch concentrated on protein foods that have high levels of L-tyrosine or L-phenylalanine. The goal for lunch is to obtain most of your daily requirements for protein. According to the Phenylketonuria Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, dairy, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, beans and nuts are good sources of L-phenylalanine, an amino acid that produces L-tyrosine in the body.

Step 4

Eat a dinner high in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains; low in protein; and with an ample amount of fresh vegetables for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The goal in the evening is to increase serotonin production by increasing levels of L-tryptophan that can enter the brain.

Step 5

Take 500 mg of L-tryptophan and 25 mg of vitamin B6 supplements with a glass of fresh fruit juice in the evening one hour before bedtime. L-tryptophan and vitamin B6 can increase serotonin levels in the brain.

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References

  • "Molecular Psychiatry"; "Mood Is Indirectly Related to Serotonin, Dopamine"; Ruhe, H.G.; Apr 2007
  • "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Effects of Normal Meals Rich in Carbohydrates; Wurtman, R.J.; Jan 2003
  • PKU Clinic University of Washington; "The Essentials of PKU"
  • "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Diurnal Variations in Plasma Concentrations; Fernstrom, J.D.; Sep 1979
  • "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Control of Brain Monoamine Synthesis by Diet; Wurtman, R.J.; Jun 1975
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