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Top Hacks to Increase Dopamine and Success

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

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Do you want to be happier, smarter, wealthier, better with people, or get more stuff done? How about more creative and focused? Join the club. You might need some more dopamine for that.

Here you’ll find out all about how dopamine can make you more successful, and what you can do to increase your levels of it. Welcome to the field of personality hacking through biohacks!

The Birth of Personality Hacking

Have you ever gotten into trying to change your personality with mental hacks? By willing it enough? Been there. Done that. The result was a marked increase in neurosis, and then anxiety.

I’m a strong believer that the self-help movement has only helped increase anxiety and neurosis.

I make it my business to not attempt to change anything about myself, even not interfering with my attempts to change myself. Self-help is like poison for me. It’s my kryptonite.

I believe you have to change your natural biological state and let nature take its course. This Zen attitude resonates with me and I am most comfortable with it.

Therefore, I’ve been engaged in an attempt to modulate my personality through biological manipulation.

I am naturally very introverted, but as a CEO of 2 companies, I have been forced to increase my extroverted self.

Once upon a time, I was able to lock myself in a room and speak to no one. But now I am forced to speak to various people most of the day, multi-task, put out fires, and get distracted by various things that come up. These situations have forced me to become extroverted.

Also, in the past 4 months, I’ve been dating quite a bit, speaking with investors, and interviewing potential employees, so it’s been critical to ‘turn on’ my extroverted side for months at a time, or even permanently.

Dopamine and Personality – Joe’s Experience

Overall, the data supports that dopamine and its pathways increase social status and make you more social [1].

In general, it seems like increasing dopamine is a good idea before social situations.

I’ve subjectively noticed that increasing my dopamine makes me more social, funnier, confident – and attractive to women, as nerdy as that sounds.

You can say that dopamine is the “success” neurotransmitter.

My Top Dopamine Hacks

The main methods I use to increase dopamine are:

  1. Keeping inflammation low
  2. Exercise
  3. Sunlight by being outside and getting the morning sun
  4. Music
  5. Nicotine, in the form of Snus
  6. Pregnenolone

I also use various supplements that can be found here.

Read these great posts:

Other Effects

Can Decrease Inflammation (By Reducing Th1 and Th17 Dominance)

Dopamine may interact with the immune system, being its action dependent on the receptor type. Animal and cell research has found that the dopamine D3 and D5 receptors are pro-inflammatory, while the D1, D2, and D4 receptors reduce inflammation [2].

Although the immune effects are quite complex dopamine decreases inflammation overall because it reduces Th1 and Th17 dominance [2].

Low levels of dopamine mainly stimulate the D3 receptor in T cells, thus favoring Th1-like responses and T cell activity. Moderate dopamine levels stimulate the D5 receptor as well, thus inhibiting T cell function but favoring inflammation. At higher levels, dopamine reduces both T cell response and inflammation [2].

DRD1 signaling inhibited the NLRP3 inflammasome (an immune system receptor that induces inflammation in response to infections) in mice and cells, suggesting that its activation can help treat NLRP3-driven inflammation and diseases [3].

Observations in animals suggest that high dopamine levels may help alleviate autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBD, and lupus [4].


Q: What’s the connection between telling people to increase dopamine but then telling people the study associations are with more receptors?

A: It’s just easier to understand. When I say increasing dopamine, it just means to increase some part of the pathway, including increasing receptors.

It can get complex because if you have more D2 receptors, it can reduce the dopamine you have, but it functions better in specific ways.

The idea is the dopamine system, in general, is very important for success.

For example, light doesn’t increase dopamine, it increases the D2 receptor.

Q: These seem like weak dopamine increasers. Why not dl-phenylalanine, green tea, Rhodiola, etc..?

They don’t seem to have as good of an effect for me. Green tea/EGCG is not bad. My top hacks are simply a subjective list of what works for me. The dopamine system is quite complex, so it requires more of a systems or big-picture thinking.

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

As a kid, Joe suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, mood and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers. Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO and founder of SelfDecode. His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.


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