Here’s a list of foods, drinks, and spices known to increase dopamine:
Our modern medical system has converted our experience of being in the world into quantities of chemicals in our brains. And for good reason. So long as we understand the chemicals to preceded the experience, then drugs can attempt to create the experience by impacting the chemicals. But concomitant with the relentless rise in mood disorders is the rise in drugs to treat them. No coincidence.
Rate of antidepressant prescriptions has risen consistently:
Starting with the most fundamental: the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine are precursors of dopamine, and have VERY MILD dopaminergic activity. I stress “very mild” because the effects with supplementation ARE indeed quite mild; it seems that it is difficult to push this pathway with precursors, at least those precursors.
Are you aware of your iron status? Adequate iron nutrition is essential for synthesis of all the monoamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine. This is more of a problem for menstruating women, but it can effect men as well.
Are you attending to your DHA (docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3 metabolite) status? i.e. are you getting some fish oil in your diet? DHA is essential for normal dopamine synthesis. Animals with omega-3 fatty acid deficit have dramatically reduced levels of dopamine.
Caffeine is a mild dopaminergic, with generally mild and tolerable side effects (if any side effects). Nice cup of java, anyone?
Some fractions of the herb hypericum (St John’s Wort – often used for depression) have dopaminergic effects. Might be worth a try.
Without going overboard and injuring your eyes by looking directly into the sun at high noon (DON’T DO THIS), consider bright light. Bright light has a mild dopaminergic effect. This might be the mechanism, or ONE mechanism, of the anti-depressant action of bright light.
There are also some scrip drugs such as amantadine that have dopaminergic effects, which might be useful. Of course, the real heavy-hitters in this department are dextro-amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine — all extremely powerful dopaminergics. The natives of Peru chew coca leaves (natural source of cocaine) every day for years and decades with benefit, and without apparent harm; it may have something to do with the concentration/dose (i.e. they never get more than VERY SMALL quantities of cocaine).
Check out supplements L-Theanine, Suntheanine, and 5-HTP. They all increase the availability of seratonin.
Aerobic exercise has been scientifically proven to increase dopamine concentration immediately as well as in the long term.