Dopamine and Cravings - a key to Food Addiction – Dr Wendy Davis ND

Dopamine and Cravings - a key to Food Addiction

Eat sugar (You like it - you crave it - you eat it) 
→ Blood sugar levels spike (Dopamine is released in the brain = you feel good, Insulin levels spike to bring down blood sugar) 
→ Blood sugar and dopamine levels drop (You feel hungry and the cravings start to replace dopamine) 
→ You eat more sugar to get the same happy feeling 
→ The cycle continues 

If you are struggling with weight or addiction it might be that you have low levels of a neurotransmitter called Dopamine.  Dopamine is the ‘feel good/pleasure inducing' neurotransmitter that triggers your reward system in your brain, and if you don’t produce enough cravings and addictions are more common.

The DUTCH test, a simple urine test can measure dopamine levels and here is a list of common symptoms associated with low dopamine:

  • Depression.
  • Problems with motivation or concentration.
  • Working memory issues, such as difficulty remembering the first part of a sentence a person just spoke.
  • Restless leg syndrome.
  • Shaking hands or other tremors.
  • Changes in coordination.
  • Low sex drive

If you think you have low dopamine levels that might be contributing to food cravings and addiction, here are some possible solutions.

Eat the right diet: A low carb diet for people who want to lose fat and balance hormones, helps you to eliminate the foods, like sugar, which wreck havoc on your reward system.

The major problem with sugar is that, much like cocaine, it triggers your reward system and decreases the number of dopamine receptors in your brain. It’s a slippery slope — the more sugar you consume, the less pleasure you actually experience. By eating so much sugar, you eventually develop dopamine resistance.

Aim to eat foods that support healthy dopamine levels to begin with. These foods include grass-fed bison and beef, wild salmon, and even dark chocolate.

A well researched formula containing  L-tyrosine and mucuna pruriens to support healthy dopamine production and cognitive functioning including focus, stamina, memory and attention.  It also helps to relieve symptoms of stress and mental fatigue.

Get a daily dose of L-tyrosine: L-tyrosine is an amino acid that acts as a precursor to dopamine, meaning it helps your body make dopamine. You can take 500-2000mg per day in pure supplement form. Or eat L-tyrosine-rich foods like avocados, chicken, and turkey.

Supplement with mucuna pruriens: Like L-tyrosine, L-dopa — which is found in the natural supplement mucuna pruriens — is a precursor to dopamine so you’re less likely to overstimulate your receptors and become immune to it. Mucuna pruriens helps decrease appetite, while boosting your energy and mood. 

Focus Plus from Douglas Labs contains both of these nutrients

Mind your gut health: Consume probiotics and resistant starch – they boost the good bacteria in your gut and help moderate dopamine, which is synthesized in the gut.

Multi-strain 50B from CytoMatrix and RS Fiber from Designs for Health support improved gut health.