October 31, 2023

The 10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally

woman smiling representing dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical messenger that is used by your brain to send feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. This chemical helps reinforce certain behaviors and provides motivation to complete tasks. 

However, low dopamine levels can cause issues like low energy, negative behavior patterns, mental health issues, addiction, and more. 

Improving your dopamine levels naturally can drastically improve these issues, and particularly aids in addiction recovery.

Let’s learn more about dopamine and the 10 best ways to increase dopamine levels naturally for better overall health and well-being.

Get Treatment for Addiction & Low Dopamine

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction & low dopamine, call our friendly recovery team today to begin insurance-covered treatment.


Your body produces dopamine in the brain, but certain substances and factors contribute to healthy dopamine levels and production.

If you’re in addiction recovery, make sure you add these daily practices to your sober lifestyle to boost your dopamine production for a better quality of life:

1) Eat Plenty of Protein

Protein is a natural source of important amino acids your body needs for all kinds of different functions. Add these things to increase dopamine to your diet and for more protein :


    • Chicken

    • Beef

    • Turkey

    • Seafood

    • Eggs

    • Bananas

    • Almonds

    • Avocados

    • Pumpkin seeds

    • Sesame seeds

2) Reduce Your Intake of Saturated Fat

Too much saturated fat, like animal fat, butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, can disrupt your production of dopamine. They are already unhealthy for other reasons, so this is just one more reason to limit your intake.

3) Get Plenty of Sunshine and Vitamin D

Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which is vital for healthy dopamine levels. Even a vitamin D supplement is a good option, as an estimated 50% of all people are vitamin D deficient.

4) Drink Good Coffee

While poor-quality coffee or too much coffee can be detrimental, high-quality coffee is a good source of natural caffeine, which triggers dopamine production. Enjoy a good cup of coffee each morning to start the day off right.

5) Meditate

Research shows that meditation actually increases your dopamine production. A daily period of meditation can help you relax and handle stress better, increasing dopamine levels while contributing to your overall health.

6) Stand Up

Believe it or not, the simple act of standing can trigger dopamine production. Conversely, prolonged sitting and laziness leads to chronic fatigue and increased weight gain. Try standing more at work or at home while watching television.

7) Exercise

Regular periods of exercise increase dopamine production and actually slow the use of it, making it available for prolonged periods of time. A healthy walk each day is all you need to boost dopamine production.

8) Use Probiotics

Probiotics not only improve gut health for better digestion, they help your body better process foods, including those that increase dopamine production. Better digestion and health is also a natural trigger for dopamine in the brain.

9) Get Plenty of Sleep

Dopamine is produced in large quantities in the morning and lessens throughout the day, trending down more toward bedtime. Not getting enough sleep can disrupt this natural cycle and actually reduce dopamine production.

10) Drink Green or Black Tea

Both green and black tea contain amino acids that directly contribute to the production of dopamine in the brain. They can also contain less caffeine than coffee, which can help those who get jitters from too much caffeine.

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The Benefits of Dopamine

Dopamine is the primary driver of the brain’s reward system. Many people struggling with addiction have difficulty getting sober because the substances they’re using causes a quick dopamine boost in the brain, mimicking the . Making sure you have enough dopamine in your system through healthy, natural means increases your well-being in practically every way.

Blood tests can measure dopamine levels in the blood, but this is not an indicator of how your brain manufactures or responds to it. Therefore, physicians rarely test for dopamine levels, choosing rather to look for symptoms that can be attributed to low dopamine. 

When dopamine levels are high, or healthy, you can recognize benefits including:


    • Increased enthusiasm

    • Higher motivation

    • Stronger drive to be productive

    • Improved cognition function

    • Faster learning

    • Better long-term memory and working memory

    • Increased focus and concentration

    • Increased creativity

    • Improved mood

    • Reduced fear

    • Increased social bonding

    • Stronger relationships

    • Increased tolerance to pain

How Can Dopamine Help With Addiction?

Dopamine plays a major role in your brain’s reward system, creating feelings of pleasure that reinforce certain behaviors.

For those who are low in dopamine, drugs and alcohol often mimic these effects, leading to “self-medication” and abuse of the substance.

Balancing your dopamine levels is essential for those in addiction recovery for these reasons:


    1. Reducing Cravings: Many addictive substances cause a surge of dopamine in the brain, which reinforces the behavior and makes the substance highly rewarding. By moderating these dopamine levels, cravings for the addictive substance can be reduced, helping individuals to abstain from use.
    2. Restoring Brain Function: Long-term substance abuse can disrupt the normal production and regulation of dopamine. This can affect mood, motivation, and pleasure from everyday activities. Recovery processes aim to normalize these levels, helping restore balance in the brain’s chemistry and improve overall brain function.
    3. Enhancing Motivation and Enjoyment: Proper dopamine levels can help recovering individuals find joy and fulfillment in non-addictive activities and pursuits. This is crucial for helping individuals develop new, healthier habits and hobbies that do not involve substance use.
    4. Preventing Relapse: Stabilizing dopamine levels can reduce the risk of relapse. When dopamine levels are balanced, the brain is less likely to seek the dramatic surges of addictive substances.




In addiction treatment, methods such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), behavioral therapies, and lifestyle changes can be used to help balance dopamine levels. These interventions contribute to a more stable and healthy dopamine system, supporting long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and low dopamine, call our friendly recovery team today at 800-994-2184 to start our insurance-covered treatment program.

Increased Dopamine Levels FAQs

Does meditation increase dopamine levels?

Yes, meditation is a great way to boost dopamine levels in the brain, providing a sense of well-being and relaxation as a result.

What is a low dopamine morning and how does it work?

A low-dopamine morning is a strategy for increasing dopamine levels throughout the day. It involves “fasting” from dopamine-rich activities like cell phone use and seeking natural light right when you wake up.

Can you increase dopamine with food?

Yes, eating a high-protein diet with foods like meat and eggs can help significantly stabilize dopamine levels.

How can I learn how to regulate dopamine levels?

You can develop a habit of making dopamine-inducing lifestyle changes, such as eating protein-rich foods, taking probiotics, and exercising.

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Get Treatment for Addiction & Dopamine Deficiency at Gratitude Lodge

Our evidence-based program in Southern California offers treatment for both substance use disorders and mental health disorders, which are often the root cause of addiction because of dopamine deficiency. 

Our programs offer customized treatment plans to help our clients correct any dopamine deficiencies, as well as provide them with new coping mechanisms outside of self-medicating with drugs & alcohol. 

Our world-class treatment program offers:


    • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

    • Motivational therapy

    • Psychotherapy

    • Individual counseling

    • Family therapy

    • Holistic interventions

    • Aftercare planning

Call Gratitude Lodge today at 800-994-2184 to begin your addiction recovery journey. 

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
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Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.