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NOTABLE! What's the difference between Slackers and Go Getters? The answer may have to do w/ brain chemistry.

Edwin Fernandez

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I didn't read a single post in this thread but wanted to chime in...

I noticed when I change my food intake to eating more whole non-processed foods, less sugar, and a little more caffeine( black, no sugar ), and exercise everyday, I become a go getter.
 

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I didn't read a single post in this thread but wanted to chime in...

I noticed when I change my food intake to eating more whole non-processed foods, less sugar, and a little more caffeine( black, no sugar ), and exercise everyday, I become a go getter.
That’s funny because we were literally just talking about that:

if you go back in the thread I listed a number of wats to boost dopamine without using prescription substances,
Can you point me to them or relist please?
Exercise - Not only does it boost DA, but in addition exercise increases the number of receptors in the brain which actually has very very very pronounced effects.. it essentially raises DA neurotransmission exponentially [1] [2] [3]
setting small goals (breaking your big goals into chunks)
eat protein (foods high in phenylalanine/tyrosine)
reduce saturated fat [1] (but saturated fat is NOT as evil as the media make it out to be so wouldn’t go crazy)

One study found that rats that consumed 50% of their calories from saturated fat had reduced dopamine signaling in the reward areas of their brain, compared to animals receiving the same amount of calories from unsaturated fat
Probiotics [1] [2]
Velvet Beans [1] Parkinsons is caused by dopamine dysfunction
8 hours sleep
Listen to music [1] [2] [3]
Meditation [1] (This study found a SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT increase in dopamine release after meditation!
Plenty of sunlight! [1] [2]
Reduce sugar (sugar causes a dopamine spike, but down regulates receptors.. causing really bad long-term effects)
Supplements: L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalinine, L-theanine, Phosphatidylserine, Curcumin, Ginkgo Biloba, Mucuna Pruriens, More: 54 Supplements & Drugs/Agonists to Increase Dopamine - Selfhacked (Selfhacked is a great resource for stuff like this

Sorry I didn’t cite everything but it’s easily verifiable. Like if you type in “Sleep and dopamine” or “small goals dopamine" into Google the studies should pop right up.
 

ApparentHorizon

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I didn't read a single post in this thread but wanted to chime in...

I noticed when I change my food intake to eating more whole non-processed foods, less sugar, and a little more caffeine( black, no sugar ), and exercise everyday, I become a go getter.
Get rid of breads and pastas too if you eat them.

Then add in a bowl, one bigger than your head, of leafy greens like spinach for the iron. Do this the night before, for dinner. No later than 10PM. You'll wake up the next morning like coffee is a primitive tool. If you've ever wondered why people get up at 5 in the morning, you'll find it's not all about willpower and alarm clocks.
 

Edwin Fernandez

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Oh and another big thing was stopping drinking booze and smoking the hoo-ha, I was waking up way too groggy and it just slows me down all around, mentally, physically.

Meditate, too to kill the stress and anxiety. All these have probably already been mentioned but I didn't read anything.
 
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ChrisV

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Evaluation of the effort-related motivational effects of the novel dopamine uptake inhibitor PRX-14040

Abstract
Psychiatric disorders are often marked by effort-related motivational symptoms such as anergia, fatigue, psychomotor retardation, and alterations in effort-based decision making. Animal studies of effort-related choice behavior are being used to model these symptoms. With these procedures, animals are offered a choice between high effort instrumental actions leading to highly valued reinforcers vs. low effort/low reward options. In the present experiments the motivational effects of a novel dopamine (DA) uptake inhibitor, PRX-14040 (PRX), were assessed using tests of effort-based choice in rats. For the two experiments, rats were tested using the concurrent fixed ratio 5 (FR5)/chow feeding choice task. In the first 2 experiments, the vesicular monoamine transport (VMAT-2) inhibitor tetrabenazine (TBZ), which blocks dopamine storage and depletes dopamine, was used to produce a shift in effort-related choice, decreasing lever pressing and increasing chow intake. Co-administration of PRX reversed the effects of TBZ, increasing lever pressing and decreasing chow intake in TBZ-treated rats. In experiment 2, PRX was compared with the catecholamine uptake inhibitor and antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin), the stimulant drug methylphenidate, and the wakefulness agent modafinil. All four drugs reversed the effects of TBZ, and PRX compared favorably with these compounds. In the final experiment, PRX was assessed for its ability to increase work output in rats responding on a progressive ratio (PROG)/chow feeding choice task in rats that were otherwise untreated. PRX biased animals towards greater exertion of effort, increasing PROG lever pressing output while decreasing chow intake. In summary, PRX was able to reverse the effects of TBZ, and to increase selection of high effort activities. Taken together, these results suggest that PRX could be useful as a treatment for effort-related motivational dysfunction in humans.


English translation: when given drugs to decrease dopaminergic transmission, rats became lazy and unmotivated. When given drugs to reverse the original drug they become much more motivated to expend energy for a reward.


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ChrisV

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Okay guys, I organizing all this into something coherent when I have time, and I know we’re hitting on some complex stuff, but I wanted to talk about another very important topic which is genetics.

I’m gonna make this very clear right now because I know what’s gonna happen already. “GENES MEAN NOTHING... ACHIEVEMENT IS A DECISION.. YOU CAN’T USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE”

No, you don’t want to use it as an excuse, but you do have to realize the realities of genetics in order for you to beat them. Generics are real. They affect your personality. They affect your achievement. The reason you aren’t a sloth or a frog is because of a double helix. A sloth can’t think himself not being a tiger. But there are things you can do to beat your genetics to become an achiever, even if you’re not born one.

A lot of what we’ve been talking about comes down to an enzyme called COMT which is controlled by a gene of the same name.

Worrier or Warrior? Explaining The COMT V158M Gene (rs4680) - Selfhacked

678648.fig.001.jpg

This is from Dr Ben Lynch’s book Dirty Genes. He does a good job of talking about the two variants of this gene.

COMT is the main enzyme responsible for clearing dopamine from the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for higher level thinking.)

Essentially people with the slow COMT gene are go-getters (worriers) and those with the fast COMT gene are slackers (warriors.) There’s also a COMT variant that’s in the middle which is considered ideal. Essentially people exist on a spectrum of “Too wired/stressed,” “too laid back/lazy” or “just right.” But the people who are too wired can often be high achievers.

weinbergercomtseesaw_35652_1.jpg

15-Figure1-1.png

(Source)

From Dr Lynch’s book (I cut a lot out, so be sure to get the book!):

When Margo and I met, her exuberant personality seemed to fill the room. She smiled at me enthusiastically, but she looked tired and drawn, though she was only in her midthirties.

She had a demanding job as a high school administrator, which she loved, but which left her feeling burned out and exhausted at the end of every week.

Margo's personality and health assessment fit the profile of slow COMT SNPs so perfectly that I wasn't surprised when her test results came back. I explained to her that her particular inheritance of a dirty gene was loaded with both pros and cons:

Strengths
  • Natural enthusiasm and exuberance
  • Altruism and generosity
  • Energy and productivity
  • The ability to focus for long periods of time
Weaknesses
  • Trouble winding down
  • Sleep challenges
  • Workaholism
  • Difficulties metabolizing estrogen (which can lead to menstrual issues, fibroids, and female cancers)
When I met Blake the following hour, I was struck by the ways in which he was almost a mirror image of Margo. A carefree young man in his late twenties, Blake was the ultimate laid-back personality. He slept deeply but even after a good night's sleep, he rarely felt energetic. He loved his coffee a few times a day to energize him.

He had trouble focusing on any one activity for very long.

Strengths

  • Natural calm and ability to relax; high tolerance for stress
  • An undemanding and accepting nature
  • A broad focus; a wide range of interests
  • An ability to sleep well

Weaknesses
  • Trouble revving up
  • Difficulty maintaining focus; distractibility
  • Weak memory
  • Tendency toward depression

The COMT gene determines your ability to process catechols, estrogen, and some major neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline).

Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in excitement, thrills, and uncertainty. A burst of dopamine is a huge reward; it makes you feel terrific! When I tell you that falling in love is accompanied by a huge dopamine rush, you can see how good it makes you feel. Dopamine is also present in high levels when you're gambling, riding a roller coaster, or getting ready to meet a big challengecany high-stakes activity where the outcome feels uncertain.

Norepinephrine and Epinephrine

Norepinephrine and epinephrine are your two key stress neurotransmitters. They help you rev yourself up for big challenges anything that requires extra physical or emotional effort. I

Margo's slow COMT was slow to clear catechols, estrogen, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine from her system. As a result, her levels of these compounds tended to be high. The extra estrogen gave Margo glowing skin and good sexual function, but it also caused monster PMS and put her at risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Only half-joking, I told Margo, Most of the time, you're Superwoman. You’ve got tons of energy, drive, and focus.

Blake's dirty COMT the mirror image of Margo's, as I noted earlier was fast. It metabolized catechols, estrogen, and stress neurotransmitters so quickly that Blake's levels were usually low.

Meanwhile, Blake's low levels of stress neurotransmitters gave him an enviable serenity and calm an admirable ability to shake off the little irritants of life that so often bother the rest of us. Most things genuinely didn't bother Blake; he was wired for acceptance, adjustment, and compromise.

The downside was that he often lacked the ability to focus, bear down, and get things done. He didn't mind if you were an hour late to an appointment but he didn't necessarily mind if he was, either. And since his dopamine levels tended to be low, he often lacked energy and confidence. I do my best,” he told me, but I don't expect that much to come of it.
I have a confession: I’m a Blake. I have a fast COMT. I’m very relaxed, but I have to work extra hard to stay focused. Untended to, I’ll literally get nothing all day. Some of the strategies in this thread can help if you have those tendencies as well, or we can discuss more.
 
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andrewbaltimore

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Get rid of breads and pastas too if you eat them.

Then add in a bowl, one bigger than your head, of leafy greens like spinach for the iron. Do this the night before, for dinner. No later than 10PM. You'll wake up the next morning like coffee is a primitive tool. If you've ever wondered why people get up at 5 in the morning, you'll find it's not all about willpower and alarm clocks.
Can someone (or @ApparentHorizon directly) elaborate on this? Thank you
 

ApparentHorizon

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Can someone (or @ApparentHorizon directly) elaborate on this? Thank you
Processed grains are basically poison. They prevent your body from absorbing important minerals. Including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and a few others.

(I'm being dramatic. they won't kill you....too quickly)

If you need the carbs, eat whole grain like steel cut oats.

Iron helps your cells carry oxygen around your body. Including your brain!

The majority of people in the world have an iron deficiency and they don't even know it.
 

Jakeeck

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I have a confession: I’m a Blake. I have a fast COMT. I’m very relaxed, but I have to work extra hard to stay focused. Untended to, I’ll literally get nothing all day. Some of the strategies in this thread can help if you have those tendencies as well, or we can discuss more.
Great thread. This stuff fascinates me and allowed me to dive a bit deeper into some areas I was already digging in.

I'm a Blake as well, and I just googled "COMT inhibitors" and saw that they are medications used for Parkinson's.

My grandpa had Parkinson's and it kind of worries me that I might get it, since I'm already aware of dopamine-related issues I have. (I also have uncontrollable leg muscle twitches that don't change no matter how much I try to manipulate my electrolytes... they're not bad enough to affect my movement at all, but I know they are there, and it's very visible to the naked eye if I point it out to someone)

I've tried Adderall before (got my hands on a month's supply), and it was a miracle drug for me. But I'm not the type to want to treat myself with pharmaceuticals and prefer more natural/less risky methods.

Any recommendations you can give me, or more things to look into? I already eat a high-protein diet loaded with tyrosine/tryptophan. I saw you said matcha tea helps as well for COMT inhibition.

Thanks man! Loving the thread.
 
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reedracer

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Hannibal Lecter was down with some Velvet Beans!
 
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ChrisV

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Great thread. This stuff fascinates me and allowed me to dive a bit deeper into some areas I was already digging in.

I'm a Blake as well, and I just googled "COMT inhibitors" and saw that they are medications used for Parkinson's.

My grandpa had Parkinson's and it kind of worries me that I might get it, since I'm already aware of dopamine-related issues I have. (I also have uncontrollable leg muscle twitches that don't change no matter how much I try to manipulate my electrolytes... they're not bad enough to affect my movement at all, but I know they are there, and it's very visible to the naked eye if I point it out to someone)

I've tried Adderall before (got my hands on a month's supply), and it was a miracle drug for me. But I'm not the type to want to treat myself with pharmaceuticals and prefer more natural/less risky methods.

Any recommendations you can give me, or more things to look into? I already eat a high-protein diet loaded with tyrosine/tryptophan. I saw you said matcha tea helps as well for COMT inhibition.

Thanks man! Loving the thread.
Yep.. Parkinson’s is a dopamine related disorder which is why they use COMT Inhibitors. There's actually a reduced pd risk if you drink tea or cocoa:

Protective Mechanisms of Flavonoids in Parkinson's Disease

Neuroprotective effect of bioflavonoid quercetin in 6-hydroxydopamine-induced oxidative stress biomarkers in the rat striatum.

Cocoa is one of the most rich sources of bioflavonoids, and green or matcha tea is great too.

But this thread is almost 4 years old. I have seriously updated and organized all this in recent weeks:


I wrote about COMT here, but there are a bunch of different genes affecting the DA system. MAOB, DRD2, MTHFR, etc.

Then diet, exercise, habit.

I added a bunch of new solutions there. Any questions it may be better asking there

Parkinson's is a little different than other dopamine disorders because it involves death of dopamine producing cells. If it's that serious, I'd talk to a neurologist, since only they'll be able to know for sure. One thing they prescribe is L-DOPA, which bypasses a rate limiting step of Tyrosine:

26616

Essentially the body limits the amount of Tyrosine that can be metabolized, but it doesn't do that (as much) with L-DOPA.

Might be worth getting a $99 23andme test to see what you're working with genetically.

And I agree, Adderall isn't a great long term solution, but since you felt relief that does indicate that other methods of raising DA should work for you.
 

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Neuroplasticity is one thing, and it's touted in Self Help books as hard science, but dopamine is almost completely responsible for our reward system. People with low dopamine aren't driven by reward systems at all. There have been experiments where scientists gave rats drugs to block their dopamine receptors. They put them right next to food. The rats didn't even have the motivation to eat the food that was right next to them as they sat there and died.

The less dopamine the rats had, the less drive they had to seek rewards.



It's not about excuses, it's about finding the actual cause of things so that you can apply a solution. For example, you can influence dopamine through diet, which is one way to boost motivation where all the positive thinking in the world wouldn't do any good.

You have a kid with ADHD (a condition caused by low dopamine,) and he lacks the drive necessary to do well in school. You give him Adderal or Ritilin, TEN MINUTES later he will be functioning amazingly.

It's not about excuses. it's about finding answers that actually work.

The "excuses" mentality reminds me of this cartoon:



This is the old way of thinking. People used to think "oh you're depressed?! just cheer up" but we now know that depression is a actual, PHYSICAL problem and no matter how much cheering up and rays of sunshine and "think of butterflies," that person will never get better unless their brain chemistry issue is addressed. To call "Brain Chemistry" an excuse is like calling Diabetes an excuse.

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...
Imagine your childhood, you're about 7 years old. You're spending the weekend with your grandmother, she lives in the inner city. You had to beg and fight for your parents to allow you to take your new bike with you for the weekend.

You're at your grandma's. You ride your bike before dinner. After you've eaten, you go outside. You panic. Your bike is gone.

Your parents were right. Not only that you're not getting a new one. So out of her basement closet, grandma pulls out a gift wrapped box.

Hesitant, you unwrap it slowly, fighting back tears. Knowing it's not a bike.

"It was for your birthday," swallows your grandma with a smile...

You tilt your head, 'Nintendo 64,' & 'Super Mario 64...'

If one develops an addiction to video games, it would be this. Anytime they feel violated, they will jump on the game. But without knowing why they lose control. Like a magician. If the person doesn't know how the trick is performed, it seems real.

"Power lies in 'Why' it is the most powerful question in existence." - Ba Roje

My point is getting out of depression takes work. To have someone there to say "Cheer up," is a blessing. Everyone gets depressed, even dogs. The people telling you to cheer up are telling you to fight. And when you win, you realize you were being stupid.
 

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