Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and cognition. Unfortunately, dopamine levels decline as we age, resulting in decreased mental performance, depression, libido and "drive". Low dopamine is also linked to Parkinson's disease and accelerated brain aging.6
How to Boost Dopamine
- Eat foods rich in tyrosine. In order to make dopamine, your body needs tyrosine which can be found in almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken.
- Exercise regularly. ...
- Learn to meditate. ...
- Get a massage. ...
- Sleep. ...
- Listen to music. ...
Nootropics (also called "smart drugs") are cognitive enhancers, which help optimize brain functions – such as memory, cognition, creativity, mental/processing speed, focus and even intelligence.10-13 Nootropics help boost BOTH mental and physical performance.
Stress disrupts multiple biochemical pathways, including cortisol production (a primary stress hormone), adrenal production (a primary cause of fatigue), pro-inflammatory enzyme production (a primary cause of disease) and neurotransmitter production (a primary cause of brain aging).7,14,15
How to Reduce Stress
- A Nutrient-Dense Diet
- Spending More Time in Nature and Being Social
- Slow, deep breathing
Stress can result from changes in your lifestyle like your diet, exercise routine, a lack of sleep, your environment (a new job or a move) or even simply recurring negative thoughts.
Behind every physiological process your body needs to survive and thrive, are cellular "energy generators" known as mitochondria. They supply power to energy intensive organs like your heart, brain, liver and kidneys.19,21 Their function is so crucial that mitochondrial longevity may determine overall longevity in aging humans.18-22
Boost Your Mitochondria Naturally
- Sun Exposure
- Cold Thermogenesis
Short bursts of exposure to extreme cold temperatures can up-regulate mitochondrial biogenesis (making new mitochondria) by tricking the body into thinking it has to enter survival mode.
- Intermittent Fasting
Numerous studies have linked caloric restriction to improved mitochondrial function and increased longevity.
- Move More
The average American sits for 13 hours a day. Add in the recommended 8 hours of sleep and we're sedentary for 21/24 hours each day - nearly 88% of our time.
Mitochondria like exercise, activity, and movement, and humans are designed for movement. Feed your mitochondria as much movement as possible, focusing on variety and quality.
- Use Fat For Fuel
Mitochondria can use fatty acids or carbohydrates to create the ATP (see below) our cells need for energy.
However the ATP creation process from fat is more efficient and creates less free radicals as a by product.
This is a crucial consideration when looking at longevity and our overall lifecycle.
Consider these findings from a Yale study that discovered mitochondria adapt their function in response to sugar:
"We found that when sugar increases in the body, mitochondria in some brain neurons rapidly change their shape and their function is altered. These findings imply that alterations in this mechanism may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, in which the body is not able to clear high levels of sugar from the blood."
For mitochondrial health, the answer appears to become fat-adapted and minimize our sugar intake. Simply put, burn as little sugar over a lifetime as possible.
The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is naturally present in almost every cell membrane in the body. A decline in acetylcholine levels coincides with advancing age and is a hallmark of neurodegeneration. Maintaining healthy acetylcholine function is essential to muscle control, sleep, and cognition.8,9
You can raise your acetylcholine levels naturally with choline-rich foods and plenty of healthy fats, supplements that increase acetylcholine, and by avoiding anticholinergic drugs.
Oxygen shortage in the human body has been linked to every major illness, disease and cancer - both body and mind.4,5 You can help avoid this by enhancing cerebral metabolism, which helps maintain healthy blood flow and oxygen utilization.1-3 Additional benefits are improved muscular contraction, endurance, reflex and coordination.
As people age, their cells’ ability to produce physical and mental energy is diminished.16 Additionally, this "cellular energy deficit" is a critical factor in the onset of many health problems.16 However, higher levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) provides the specific cellular energy your molecules need, to increase "whole-body" energy levels.17
While there are no known ways to definitively increase the amount of ATP your body produces, there are supplements that may help boost levels of ATP.