Raise Your Dopamine with a Cold Shower

October 31, 2021

Increase dopamine, take a cold shower

Anxiety and depression are just about the most common maladies of our modern era. Lack of motivation, low productivity, low mood, and restless malaise make for a miserable life. Low dopamine could be part of this formula, and its repair could be central to leading a happier life. How can we fix it?

A few facts about dopamine. It's only made in a few parts of your brain: your hippocampus (memory), the amygdala (pleasure and addiction), and the substantial nigra (Parkinson's). And the GUT! Yes, the gut. A healthy gut makes some 50% of our dopamine and the gut, brain, immune axis is a key component of a healthy life. Lots of fermented foods help and curcumin, yes turmeric, can be as effective as anti-depressants in treating depression. Dopamine is only a few percent of all our neurotransmitters, but it might just be what makes us human, being that our levels are much higher than other animals.

But can we raise it in a simpler fashion? How about a cold shower? Yes, a cold shower that lasts just 15 seconds. Does that really work? If you know that you could raise your blood level of dopamine some 250% with a cold bath, would that change your mind?

There is growing evidence that something very interesting happens with cold immersion. Now, we aren't talking freezing cold water like Wim Hof (the ICEMan). Even Wim Hof doesn't suggest you run out in the snow right off the bat. Just 15 seconds of cooler temperature at the end of your warm shower for the first week. Do it 5 times. Feel really proud that you accomplished that goal and review how much better you felt that week. Then, increase it to 30 seconds. Can you stretch to 45? 60 seconds?. Get a mantra going in your head, "I'm raising my dopamine 250% and increasing my metabolism 530%". Now, those numbers apply to someone immersed in a full cold bath of 17 degrees C (62 Fahrenheit) for an hour in a research lab. Can you feel the burn? How is your mood and motivation doing? A little more get up and go?

But they could apply to you. The benefits of increased mood, weight loss, and higher motivation are all yours for the taking. And you feel them right away. So the key is to do it in a fashion that makes it rewarding and sustainable. Remember, just 15 seconds while you psych yourself out by doing your mantra of positive motivation. Try phrases like, "I do the hard things first", or "Yeah, dopamine?" A little bit of reward on day 1 will keep you going.

www.What will Work for me. It works. I tried it. I didn't jump in the snow but I turned the dial on the shower way down. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11........didn't seem that long. And I'm feeling irrepressibly cheerful. And I take curcumin every day from Prodrome because it has the bis-demethoxycurcumin at 50% making it 20-30 times more potent than the regular turmeric.

References: Br Jr Sports Med, European Jr Appl Physiology, Be Brain Fit, Psychopharmacology, Frontiers in Psychiatry, Trebel Wellness,

Pop Quiz

1. What is dopamine?                     Answer: a potent neurotransmitter central to mood.

2. Where is most of it made?                         Answer: In your gut by bacteria stimulated with fermented foods and suppressed by sugar. But also in your amygdala and hippocampus.

3. What will one hour of 62-degree water do for my dopamine level?                     Answer: 250% increase.

4. What happens with 15 seconds?                      Answer: You will feel a boost in your mood, so you can feel it for yourself.

5. What else can you do to help your dopamine?                   Answer: Good exercise, good sleep, less sugar, more curcumin, more fermented foods.