Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction


Huberman Lab

This episode serves as a sort of “Dopamine Masterclass”. I discuss the immensely powerful chemical that we all make in our brain and body: dopamine. I describe what it does and the neural circuits involved. I explain dopamine peaks and baselines, and the cell biology of dopamine depletion. I include 14 tools for how to control your dopamine release for sake of motivation, focus, avoiding and combating addiction and depression, and I explain why dopamine stacking with chemicals and behaviors inevitably leads to states of underwhelm and poor performance. I explain how to achieve sustained increases in baseline dopamine, compounds that injure and protect dopamine neurons including caffeine from specific sources. I describe non-prescription supplements for increasing dopamine—both their benefits and risks—and synergy of pro-dopamine supplements with those that increase acetylcholine.

For the full show notes, visit

Thank you to our sponsors​

AG1 (Athletic Greens):


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(00:00:00) Introduction & Tool 1 to Induce Lasting Dopamine

(00:05:04) Sponsors: AG1, LMNT

(00:09:10) Upcoming (Zero-Cost) Neuroplasticity Seminar for Educators

(00:09:58) What Dopamine (Really) Does

(00:15:30) Two Main Neural Circuits for Dopamine

(00:18:14) How Dopamine Is Released: Locally and Broadly

(00:22:03) Fast and Slow Effects of Dopamine

(00:25:03) Dopamine Neurons Co-Release Glutamate

(00:28:00) Your Dopamine History Really Matters

(00:30:30) Parkinson’s & Drugs That Kill Dopamine Neurons. My Dopamine Experience

(00:36:58) Tool 3 Controlling Dopamine Peaks & Baselines

(00:40:06) Chocolate, Sex (Pursuit & Behavior), Nicotine, Cocaine, Amphetamine, Exercise

(00:46:46) Tool 4 Caffeine Increases Dopamine Receptors

(00:49:54) Pursuit, Excitement & Your “Dopamine Setpoint”

(00:56:46) Your Pleasure-Pain Balance & Defining “Pain”

(01:00:00) Addiction, Dopamine Depletion, & Replenishing Dopamine

(01:07:50) Tool 5 Ensure Your Best (Healthy) Dopamine Release

(01:15:28) Smart Phones: How They Alter Our Dopamine Circuits

(01:19:45) Stimulants & Spiking Dopamine: Counterproductive for Work, Exercise & Attention

(01:22:20) Caffeine Sources Matter: Yerba Mate & Dopamine Neuron Protection

(01:24:20) Caffeine & Neurotoxicity of MDMA

(01:26:15) Amphetamine, Cocaine & Detrimental Rewiring of Dopamine Circuits

(01:27:57) Ritalin, Adderall, (Ar)Modafinil: ADHD versus non-Prescription Uses

(01:28:45) Tool 6 Stimulating Long-Lasting Increases in Baseline Dopamine

(01:37:55) Tool 7 Tuning Your Dopamine for Ongoing Motivation

(01:47:40) Tool 8 Intermittent Fasting: Effects on Dopamine

(01:53:09) Validation of Your Pre-Existing Beliefs Increases Dopamine

(01:53:50) Tool 9 Quitting Sugar & Highly Palatable Foods: 48 Hours

(01:55:36) Pornography

(01:56:50) Wellbutrin & Depression & Anxiety

(01:58:30) Tool 10 Mucuna Pruriens, Prolactin, Sperm, Crash Warning

(02:01:45) Tool 11 L-Tyrosine: Dosages, Duration of Effects & Specificity

(02:05:20) Tool 12 Avoiding Melatonin Supplementation, & Avoiding Light 10pm-4am

(02:07:00) Tool 13 Phenylethylamine (with Alpha-GPC) For Dopamine Focus/Energy

(02:08:20) Tool 14 Huperzine A

(02:10:02) Social Connections, Oxytocin & Dopamine Release

(02:12:20) Direct & Indirect Effects: e.g., Maca; Synthesis & Application

(02:14:22) Zero-Cost & Other Ways To Support Podcast & Research

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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