Studies demonstrate that anandamide, a neurotransmitter that binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and elsewhere in the body, bestows an overall up-regulating effect on the brain’s reward circuitry.* Dopamine — another brain neurotransmitter — is well-known for modulating excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmissions between brain cells that control emotions, memory, movement, and reward. Lately, the close relationship between these two neurotransmitters and their role in inducing a sense of happiness has received significant scientific interest, owing to the immense potential for their application in adverse health and nutritional conditions.
Below, we discuss how anandamide and dopamine function together to support mental well-being* and how to enhance your body’s anandamide level with a nutritional supplement.
Before understanding how anandamide and dopamine are related, let’s look at the separate roles each one plays in influencing our moods.
In addition to being known as the “happy” or “feel-good” hormone, dopamine also functions as a neurotransmitter that carries messages between nerve cells. Although a low level of dopamine is related to certain neurodegenerative conditions in the body, a high level of dopamine can also be detrimental to cognitive functioning. An optimal level of dopamine falls somewhere between the two extremes at a median, or “Goldilocks” level — where everything is “just right.”
Synthesized in the brain by neurons, as well as in the body’s peripheral tissues, to modulate mood and memory, anandamide is a critical component of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Anandamide binds to and activates cannabinoid Type I (CB1) receptors and acts as a messenger molecule for responses to general stress and occasional anxiety (not Generalized Anxiety Disorder).*
The body’s natural production of anandamide can decrease because of certain undesirable health conditions, and its degradation can be exacerbated by excessive activity from the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme. Such reduced anandamide levels can compromise the body’s natural adaptive responses to stress- and anxiety-filled environments.
The endocannabinoid system, and anandamide in particular, is known to modulate dopamine activity via inhibitory and excitatory synapses, the minute gaps between nerve cells that carry messages along neurotransmitters, although the specific cellular mechanisms that produce these mitigating effects remain unknown. The table below summarizes the interrelated functions of anandamide and dopamine and how anandamide influences optimal dopamine levels in the body.
|Anandamide and Dopamine: Interrelated Functions
|Anandamide influences dopamine transmission*
|Findings1 show anandamide modulates activity of dopamine transporter (DAT) — a protein that controls dopamine transmission*
|Anandamide can increase extracellular dopamine levels*
|When anandamide is injected intravenously in alert, free-moving rats2, it increases extracellular dopamine levels
|Anandamide can interact with the dopaminergic system* to trigger the brain’s neural circuits* * The dopaminergic system involves the synthesis and secretion of dopamine.
|An animal study3 showed anandamide release increased eight times above baseline levels after introducing a dopamine receptor agonist — a chemical that binds to or blocks certain receptors
Many other studies have established anandamide's role in beneficially influencing dopamine levels. Furthermore, the activation of dopamine D2-autoreceptors — which are key components in dopamine synthesis, release, and uptake — has been found4 to enhance the body’s anandamide concentrations by increasing synthesis and diminishing degradation.* Given such deeply interrelated functions and the combined effects of anandamide and dopamine on a wide range of brain activities,* it is critical to maintain an optimal level of anandamide production in the body.
Although the body naturally produces anandamide, certain adverse health conditions can inhibit its synthesis and release. Also, excessive activity of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme can further aggravate the degradation of anandamide, resulting in compromised neurological functions.
A healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet containing anandamide-rich foods support an optimal level of anandamide production in the body. In addition, an anandamide nutritional supplement can help fill the gaps in your diet.
Developed by Tesseract Medical Research, AnaQuell® is an innovative supplement formulation containing anandamide and L-citrulline to support a healthy response to mild anxiety (not GAD), stress, mood changes, and trauma. Enhanced by Tesseract’s proprietary CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery technology, AnaQuell is designed for the unprecedented absorption and bioavailability of anandamide and citrulline in the body to promote optimal neurological health.*
The power of Tesseract supplements lies in enhancing palatability, maximizing bioavailability and absorption, and micro-dosing multiple nutrients in a single, highly effective capsule. Shop products on our website and learn more about how they can help support neurological health.*
1Oz M, et al. Journal of Neurochemistry vol. 112,6 (2010): 1454-1464. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06557.x
2Solinas M, et al. Journal of Neurochemistry vol. 98,2 (2006): 408-419. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03880.x
3Giuffrida A, et al. Nature Neuroscience vol. 2,4 (1999): 358-363. doi:10.1038/7268
4Centonze D, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology vol. 29,8 (2004): 1488-1497. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300458