79 points by yamrzou
7 days ago
Keep in mind that every "Dopamine does ____" is an extreme simplification. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is used by a number of different neurons throughout the brain, as well as in different roles in the body outside of the brain.
This article, like every study of dopaminergic neurons, is about specific neurons that happen to use dopamine for some of their signaling. It's incorrect to extrapolate this to generalizations about what dopamine does or does not do, because it depends on the specific neurons.
So dopamine is more a sign of a change in activation of brain substructures.. which are the one interpreting current context and desired outcomes ?
Why dopamine makes some people more impulsive. Maybe I'll give the article a closer read tomorrow morning after the amphetamines kick in, until then, I'll smirk in ADHD
I seem to be one of the few people who don't like dopamin rushes.
I hate myself for 2-5 hours after intense sports. When I still did go to the gym I had to avoid people afterwards, each time.
Same for cocaine, it's fun. Sure is, but I don't like the personality I get. Nether do others.
I did Alcar (some dopamine level pushing nootropic) for a while. I loved it, but everyone started to beg me to stop it.
I still have no idea why I can't have fun with dopamine. Or what this ultimately means for me.
ALCAR is… really quite something. Acetyl-L-carnitine, right?
First it fixed me. Clarity and strength. Slept better too. I did not at all expect it to do anything.
Then I felt intensely sad. All of a sudden really. One morning. After taking ALCAR for 1-2 weeks or so?
The funny thing is that this sadness was absolutely warranted. The ALCAR kind of… unleashed it? At risk of appearing to overshare: It’s been a really tough time recently – my spouse has been on a long road to recovery. Doing great! Life is beautiful. But I’ve been running in tough-it-out mode for a lonnng time. ALCAR “broke the seal” on it. I swear.
It really really really does seem to have an effect on neurotransitters doesn’t it!
It wasn’t really the best time to have it happen. It was hard. I have a small close-knit support network and have had to acquire a reasonable amount of insight into thought processes and emotional states and both of these were kind of necessary to handle this kind of sudden and specific emotional unraveling. Much more noticeable effect than any antidepressant or ADHD medication I’ve tried. (!)
It doesn’t seem to make sense but I really do think this is what happened. Not from a perspective of wanting it to be true. It was really quite a clear effect and I’m really glad to have figured it out and stopped taking ALCAR at that point.
And indeed there seems to be a scientific paper trail between ALCAR and the cholinergic system and this sort of emotional state and state change.
And there are tons of research on the interaction of ALCAR and the nervous system, in dementia and depression as well as diabetic neuropathy. And it certainly works for that – it clearly and obviously helps diabetic neuropathy heal.
Why? Idk! Haven’t read the papers yet.
Cocaine is a Dopamine Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (DSRI) much like Anti-Depressants are Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI).
Yorkshire Tea increases the catecholamines (dopamine, adrenaline & noradrenaline) which means it increase dopamine in the brain. I stayed awake for 80hrs on calcium (carbonate) rich hard water and Yorkshire tea one time!
I should add that carbonates and bicarbonates aka Carbon have a stimulating effect because CO2 stimulates upto 30% blood saturation and anything over that makes CO2 have a noble gas effect, ie unconciousness and death. Its why a heaped teaspoon of baking soda aka sodium bicarbonate has a performance enhancing effect but I dont think its banned under the world anti-doping agency unlike Glycerine which is a sodium rich carbohydrate version of Glycerol.
Calcium also binds to adrenaline to make it more potent so one way of switching off enough to sleep is to take Vitamin K2-MK4 as this directs calcium to the bones, taking it out of circulation in the body reducing the potent stimulating effect it has with adrenaline. About 20mg of Vitamin K2-mk4 can make you go from totally wired to sleeping in about 30mins. So if you are stressed because of externals event in your life a lower dose of K2-mk4 can help keep you chilled out through the day and help you get off to sleep easily and quickly if having trouble sleeping and dont want to use anti-histamines.
Huberman Lab podcast on dopamine was a really cool listen. 
Important takeaway: coffee does not lower the baseline dopamine level. Yes!
What do you mean baseline?
I highly recommend watching that episode. Extremely interesting and worthwhile.
For anyone interested in reading more about dopamine, this is a great read imho. It also includes references for the claims and further reading.
NB not affiliated with authors.
Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke is also a great read on the subject. My favorite part is about why taking a cold shower feel so good afterward (your body create serotonin when it has a negative experience, and must compensate by creating dopamine after, and that dopamine is the feel good post shower feeling).
And yet dopamine is what make ADHDers focused.
Lack of dopamine is just as problematic as too much dopamine.