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How Important Is Dopamine?

There are many neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in our bodies and one of the most important ones is DOPAMINE.  Dopamine release is often associated with pleasure and reward sensations.  There are a number of other functions that dopamine is involved with including:

  • blood flow
  • digestion
  • executive functioning
  • heart and kidney function
  • memory and focus
  • mood and emotions
  • motor control
  • pain processing
  • pancreatic function and insulin regulation
  • pleasure and reward seeking behavior
  • sleep
  • stress response

Concerning weight control, let’s focus on the pleasure/reward seeking behaviors.  The ingestion of certain high-caloric foods is associated with the release of dopamine and then it gets to the point when simply the thoughts about ingesting these foods trigger the release.  Clearly, when it comes to weight control, this pattern of seeking pleasure/reward, leads to a very negative outcome.

There is an EXCELLENT book, called “Chasing Dopamine” that has tons of information about the impact of dopamine on our behaviors, focusing lots on addictions.  The book was written by Dr. Rick Campana, M.D., an addiction medicine specialist in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Dr. Campana has lots of experience treating people that have addictions.  

For anyone that has addictive behaviors or those of you that have loved ones with addictions, this book is a must read.  Dr. Campana is donating all proceeds from the book sales to the building of an animal shelter.  

Chasing Dopamine is available on Amazon:

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