A highlight from Your Diet and Dopamine (According to Neuroscience)
On your host. Monica ryan eagle nutrition diva listener leeo la rights. Recently i've been reading a bit about l. dope in foods and supplements. There's also something called the dopamine diet however i'm struggling to make sense of the information can dopamine really boost your mood or is this just another fad. Leyla i think the reason. You may be struggling to make sense of this information. Is that a lot of what's circulating around the internet about diet. Dopamine doesn't actually make a lot of sentence let's start with the idea that foods or supplements that provide l. Dopita could improve your mood. One of dopamine primary functions in the brain is to help coordinate and control our muscle movements the tremors and jerky movements. That are typical of parkinson's disease for example are caused by low dopamine production in the brain a drug called lava doper or l. Daca can help reduce parkinson's symptoms by increasing dopamine levels in the brain a natural form of elda is also found in a tropical legume called the velvet bean in fact extracts from the velvet. Bean have been used in traditional. Ira vedic medicine to treat. Parkinson's disease. However i would not recommend adding velvet or l. dope supplements to your diet in an effort to raise your dopamine levels for one thing l. Doper whether it's coming from. The velvet being or from a lab can be neuro toxic and caused significant side effects now the dopamine diet which is a popular book by british chef. Tom kerridge doesn't include any recipes for velvet beans but it does claim to boost your mood by increasing dopamine levels in the brain now diets that are low in refined carbohydrates and other highly processed foods have been correlated with a lower risk of depression and the dopamine diet does focus on whole and minimally processed foods. But there's very little evidence that we can change our dopamine levels by manipulating our diet and more to the point the idea that boosting your dopamine levels would lift. Your mood seems to be based on a misunderstanding about how dopamine works in the brain joining me today to help sort all this out is dario rose. Darya is a neuroscientist by training with a deep interest in food nutrition and behavior. I i got to know dire years ago through her summer tomato blog and then she wrote a terrific book called food est and launched a popular podcast under the same name and her new podcast. The darya row show is due to launch later this year. Here's our conversation. And at the end i'll be back with some takeaways. Walk into the nutrition. Diva podcast area. It's so exciting to be here. Monica high so there are some crazy ideas floating around out there about dopamine and food and the brain and i thought who better to bring onto the podcast to talk about this with then scientist who also does a lot of work around food and eating behaviors so thanks so much for being game. I'm excited about it. This is something that i talk about some so. It's fun that it's coming up. I think a lot of people are talking about it. But i'm not sure everyone is making sense. And so that's what we're going to try to sort through today and let's just start with one claim that i've seen a lot in fact. There's a whole book organized around this idea that increasing your dopamine levels will boost. Your mood will make you happier so let me get the neuroscientist perspective on this. What is the relationship between dopamine levels. And your mood. You're perceived mood so mood isn't necessarily associated various strongly with dopamine so dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps you understand. How a a reaction that is happening based on your behavior is how how much reward there is that. That's that's not the same as mood. it's kind of. it's a little bit of learning. It's a little bit of a condition behavior. it's more it's more associated with a feeling of wanting more so dopamine teaches you that this was nice or knots and we should do more of it or not so it recognizes that something is rewarding and then kind of puts a marker down for you like. Let's remember this. Let's do this again. Exactly but the reward. The feeling of reward is not created by the dopamine. Is it so for a long time. We actually did think that dopamine must be associated with feeling good because for instance if you give a rat cocaine it will just push the cocaine lover and keep pushing it until it dies to the exclusion of food and water and things. So the idea was oh. This must feel so good that it is ignoring these other important things but actually it.