From sex to shopping, food, and exercise, that dose of dopamine feels really good. Dopamine is better known as the 'reward' neurotransmitter and we get a hit whenever our body is benefited. Created in the brain, dopamine is a chemical messenger that helps to regulate an array of processes within the body.
That said, low dopamine levels can be a driver of many health issues. Symptoms of low dopamine include anxiety, depression, or hopelessness. It's also now being linked to neurodegenerative conditions, potentially Schizophrenia, Parkinsons, and severe psychiatric disorders.
Low dopamine can also show up in behavioral changes alongside more generalized symptoms like chronic back pain, issues swallowing, sleep disorders, fatigue, attention difficulties, sex drive, libido challenges, and more. A common dopamine dysfunction that I've seen that gets overlooked is deficiencies in people with chronic yeast infections or candida overgrowth. You can read more about the connection between candida and mental health here. One of my key takeaways is that yeast can produce a toxin called acetaldehyde (also produced by drinking alcohol) and studies have shown that this acetaldehyde toxin directly interacts with our release of dopamine and our dopaminergic system.
There are ways you can increase dopamine naturally, including upping exercise, spending time outside, grounding, sleeping well and avoiding alcohol, recreational drugs, and junk food. But I’m most interested in the connection of how NAC is said to boost dopamine and how this might become a part of the future of our supplement regimens.
Naturally present in the body, NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) is a supplement and amino acid that has a lot of benefits, such as liver and detox support, breaking down biofilms in the body, and the ability to modulate and balance the immune system. But NAC is usually overlooked in the discussions of dopamine. New schools of thought and study are starting to find that neurological conditions are caused by oxidative stress in the body and can lead to the buildup of toxic substances in the brain. This buildup can deplete our glutathione levels, but studies have shown that NAC helps to combat this.
But the answer isn’t to make more glutathione as it doesn’t adequately restore the levels in your brain because it can’t cross your blood-brain barrier. That said, NAC easily penetrates this barrier, so it can help raise glutathione, making it a really effective supplement.
A lot of people don’t know where to get started with NAC or how to incorporate it into their daily routine. First, I think it’s really important to overhaul the foundations of your health, mentally and physically, and make sure that you are cleaning up your diet and moving. NAC will not solve all of your dopamine problems if you are not supporting it in other areas.
Taking NAC is a long-term supplement, not a quick fix, and most studies recommend that you should take 1500 to 2000mg of NAC orally daily and stay on this dose for 3 to 6 months. This gives your body time to really regulate the dopamine production. You can also get IV delivery of NAC through an intravenous drip and this is saiad to be way more effective than taking it orally. But this is usually saved for people with more severe issues like Parkinson’s. Please consult a healthcare provider to assess and decide what works best for you. At Agent, we love learning about new ways to help our minds and bodies and NAC is an exciting one.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.***