Vitamins That Increase Dopamine

Pyramidal neurons
Neurons in the brain. (Image: selvanegra/iStock/Getty Images)

Your brain relies on small molecules, called neurotransmitters, to facilitate signaling between brain cells, as well as transmission of signals to nerves throughout the body. One neurotransmitter important for signaling in the brain is dopamine. Dopamine signaling in the brain performs a number of roles, among which is emotional regulation, with increased dopamine signaling increasing your mood. The levels of dopamine signaling in the brain rely partially on dietary factors and nutrition, and ingesting specific vitamins can help boost the amount of dopamine in your brain.

Vitamin B6

One chemical that may help boost dopamine levels in the brain is vitamin B6. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin B6 obtained from the diet acts as a precursor for a number of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. As a result, meeting the daily recommended dose of vitamin B6 helps ensure your brain can make the dopamine it needs to function properly. The university warns that excessive vitamin B6 supplementation can cause nerve damage, so carefully monitor your vitamin B6 intake, and consult a doctor before beginning vitamin B6 supplementation.

Vitamin B9

Another vitamin that may help increase dopamine levels in your brain is vitamin B9, also called folate. Dopamine in the body is synthesized from precursor chemicals obtained through your diet, including the amino acid tyrosine, which forms a part of protein. After digestion, tyrosine's conversation to dopamine relies partially on the presence of vitamin B9. As a result, deficiencies in vitamin B9 may inhibit dopamine synthesis, and consuming adequate levels of the vitamin helps ensure your body can make the dopamine it needs. The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that a mild deficiency in folic acid is fairly common, so supplementing folate in your diet with a multivitamin may help increase dopamine in your brain.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 also helps regulate the levels of dopamine in your brain, and consuming adequate amounts of the vitamin may increase dopamine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin B12 aids in the production and metabolism of several brain chemicals, including dopamine. As a result, deficiencies in the vitamin may lead to decreased production of dopamine in the brain, leading to diminished dopamine signaling. Large doses of vitamin B12, either from dietary sources or supplements, do not generally have negative effects, so you can safely help increase dopamine in the brain.

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