Increasing dopamine is one of my favorite biohacks as it plays a central role in motivation, success, and pleasure. I cracked the code to enhancing dopamine levels that are custom tailored to your own genetic code.

Genes and SNPs Related to Dopamine Function

1) Dopamine Receptor Genes

Dopamine D1 Receptor gene (DRD1)

This gene encodes D1 dopamine receptors, which control neuronal growth and behavior [1].

Dopamine D2 Receptor gene (DRD2)

DRD2 variant rs1800497 T results in lower D2 receptor levels [2]. This variant is protective against ADHD [3].

Dopamine D3 Receptor gene (DRD3)

DRD3 encodes dopamine receptors that are located in the limbic areas of the brain, which are associated with cognitive, emotional, and hormonal functions [4].

Dopamine D4 Receptor gene (DRD4) [5]

Dopamine D5 Receptor gene (DRD5)

2) Dopamine Production, Breakdown, and Conversion

Tyrosine Hydroxylase (TH)

TH protein results in the increased chemical synthesis of dopamine. It is involved in the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine [6].

Dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH)

DBH helps with the conversion of dopamine to noradrenaline [7].

Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT)

COMT is an enzyme that degrades dopamine. It breaks down dopamine, mostly in parts of the brain that are responsible for higher cognitive or executive function (prefrontal cortex) [8].

A well-studied SNP in COMT (rs4680) affects dopamine levels and results in different personality traits. Read more about it here.

D-amino acid oxidase (DAO)

DAO contributes to dopamine synthesis [9].

DOPA decarboxylase (DDC)

DDC helps with the conversion of L-DOPA to dopamine. It is part of the pathway that produces dopamine and serotonin [10].

Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)

MAOA is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine [11].

Monoamine oxidase B (MAOB)

MAOB is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine [11].

Cholinergic receptor nicotinic alpha 4 subunits (CHRNA4)

CHRNA4 encodes a protein that is involved in the control of dopamine synthesis [12].

Cholinergic receptor nicotinic beta 2 subunits (CHRNB2)

CHRNB2 encodes a protein that is involved in the positive control of dopamine synthesis [13].

Dystrobrevin binding protein 1 (DTNBP1)

DTNBP1 encodes a protein that is involved in the control of dopamine synthesis [14].

Fibroblast growth factor 20 (FGF20)

FGF20 encodes a protein that is involved in the process of dopamine synthesis [15].

5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A (HTR2A or 5-HT2A)

HTR2A, a serotonin receptor, is involved in the process of dopamine synthesis [16].

5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (HTR1A or 5-HT1A)

HTR1A increases dopamine release in the medial prefrontal cortex, striatum, and hippocampus, which could be beneficial for schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease [17].

5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1B (HTR1B)

HTR1B is a protein that is thought to inhibit the release of dopamine in the frontal cortex [18].

Parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (PRKN)

PRKN is involved in the process of dopamine synthesis, the dopamine metabolic process, dopamine uptake, and dopamine secretion [19].

Parkinsonism associated deglycase (PARK7)

PARK7 is involved in the positive control of the dopamine biosynthetic process [20].

Synuclein alpha (SNCA)

SNCA reduces dopamine release and uptake [21].

Angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AGTR2)

AGTR2 is involved with the dopamine biosynthetic process [22].

GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1)

GCH1 is associated with the dopamine biosynthetic process [23].

G protein-coupled receptor 37 (GPR37)

GPR37 is associated with the dopamine transporter to help regulate dopamine uptake [24].

Transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGFB2)

TGFB2 is involved with the dopamine biosynthetic process [25].

PTEN induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1)

PINK1 increases the secretion of dopamine [26].

Neuropeptide Y receptor Y2 (NPY2R)

NPY2R is involved in the positive control of dopamine secretion [27].

4-aminobutyrate aminotransferase (ABAT)

ABAT is involved in the negative process of dopamine secretion and positive process of the dopamine metabolic process [28].

Monooxygenase DBH-like 1 (MOXD1)

MOXD1 is involved with breaking down dopamine [29].

3) Genes Involved with Dopamine Binding

Adrenoceptor beta 2 (ADRB2)

ADRB2 is involved with dopamine binding [30].

G protein-coupled receptor 143 (GPR143)

GPR143 is involved with dopamine binding. It is a receptor for tyrosine, L-DOPA, and dopamine [31].

4) Genes Involved with Dopamine Transport

Solute carrier family 22 member 1 (SLC22A1)

SLC22A1 encodes for a protein involved in dopamine transport [32].

Solute carrier family 22 member 2 (SLC22A2)

SLC22A2 encodes for a protein involved in dopamine transport [33].

Solute carrier family 22 member 3 (SLC22A3)

SLC22A3 encodes for a protein involved in dopamine transport [34].

Solute carrier family 6 member 3 (SLC6A3)

SLC6A3 encodes a protein dopamine transporter, which transports dopamine into the cell [35].

Vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2)

VMAT2 is a protein encoded by the SLC18A2 gene. It is involved in dopamine transport [36].

Torsin family 1 member A (TOR1A)

TOR1A controls the location of dopamine transporter SLC6A3, which also makes it in control of dopamine transmission [22].

Want Better Ways to Improve Your Mood?

If you’re interested in natural and targeted ways of improving your mood, we recommend checking out SelfDecode’s Mood DNA Wellness Report. It gives genetic-based diet, lifestyle and supplement tips that can help improve your mood. The recommendations are personalized based on your genes.

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About the Author

Nattha Wannissorn - PHD (MOLECULAR GENETICS) - Writer at Selfhacked

Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

PhD (Molecular Genetics)

Nattha received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto and her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Computational Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Aside from having spent 15 years in biomedical research and health sciences, Nattha is also a registered holistic nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, has a precision nutrition level 1 certification, and is a certified functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner. As a holistic practitioner with a strong science background, Nattha is an advocate of science literacy in health topics and self-experimentation.

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