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Natural Treatment

Please Note
This is not to be considered medical advice, d-mer.org is not endorsing the use of any of these things, but they are options you can discuss with your health care provider. We urge you to thoroughly research any of the options mentioned on this site. If you do decide to try one of the following suggestions, dmer.org would be very interested in hearing your results.
Tested Natural Treatments:

Rhodiola
Rhodiola, also known as Roseroot or Golden Root, is an herb that helps rebuild dopamine and in the brain stem, rhodiola compounds stimulate the release dopamine. This has been tested with D-MER with outstanding results, and is the most likely natural remedy to have a lasting impact on D-MER. Because of it's strength and the fact that it acts as a MOAI it should not be used in conjunction with a prescription for D-MER. Check with your herbalist/care provider regarding the dosage and safety of this herb in a breastfeeding mother. We recommend referring to the book The Nursing Mother's Herbal by Sheila Humphrey. As with most herb it is important that they be attained from a reputable source.
                                    
Placenta Encapsulation
This option has been used by mothers with a history of D-MER with good results. You can have your placenta encapsulated to take as a supplement. Placenta capsules are traditionally used to help balance hormones after birth. This is a good option if you had a home birth and the placenta is in your freezer still, or if you have a history of D-MER and are planning out treatment options for after the next baby. PlacentaBenefits.info has a wealth of information, including certified placenta encapsulation specialists, how to get your placenta released to take home from the hospital, kits for DIY encapsulation and links to studies. We do not know how positively this treatment could affect D-MER,  we hope to hear from mothers who try this and have results to report.

B-Vitamin Complex
This treatment makes the most sense in regards to why D-MER has become a prevalent problem, as nutrition deficiency in our culture is a very common problem. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is essential for normal brain development and function, participating in the process of making dopamine. More can be read about the use and safety of B6 here. This supplement can be found in the vitamin section of the grocery store. B-12 promotes the activity of dopmaine in the brain. Taking a full B-Complex supplement would be recommended.

Acupuncture
We have heard from mothers that they have had good success with this option. You would want to request from the acupuncturist a treatment that would regulate dopamine (preferably in the nucleus accumbens part of the brain.) There have been some studies done on this and an educated acupuncturist should be able to reference them in order to know the specific acupuncture points.Acupuncture specific to treatment of Parkinson's Disease is likely to help mothers who have D-MER as well. 

Other Suggestions:



Diet

Dopamine is made from the amino acids Tyrosine and Phenylalanine. Foods that increase these amino acids are eggs, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, pork, whole milk, plain non-fat yogurt, granola, oats, wheat germ, dark chocolate, soy products, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, cheese, yogurt, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. However Fava beans (below) will have the most impact on D-MER.

Fava beans, also known as broad bean, faba bean, horse bean, field bean or tic bean, contain levodopa (50-100 grams of L-dopa in 3 ounces of canned beans.) This could mean significant improvement for a mother with D-MER, but if you are taking any other supplements or medications consult a qualified botanical prescriber before using fava beans, and make sure all prescribing doctors know about adding them to your diet and research this option carefully. Because of the potency of fava beans they should not be used in conjunction with taking a prescription for D-MER. We are just learning more about this option ourselves, a good site for more information can be found here.  The beans would need to be young grren fava bean, not matured beans. We feel very good about fava beans being a effective and safe solution and would be willing to talk about fava beans, and where to find them, further on the D-MER forum with anyone who would like more information regarding this option.

Supplements

DHA is the Omega 3 that has the most effect on dopamine, it
may increase endogenous dopamine levels by 40-75%. Many sources recommend about 250 mg per day. DHA can be found in fish oil supplements, fish, some omega 3 supplemented foods, as well as in breast milk. Something to consider, if you are a real crunchy-earthy kind of person and have an excess of milk, is to go ahead and receive your extra DHA by drinking your own milk. We realize this suggestion may not appeal to everyone. Side effect and dosing information for fish oil capsules can be found here.

Tyrosine and
phenylalanine are the amino acids that dopamine is made from and are available as a dietary supplement, but our consulting nutritionist does says , "while adequate precursor levels are necessary for dopamine production, more building blocks will not necessarily result in more dopamine unless protein deficiency was a contributing factor to the dopamine deficiency and given that I would proceed with caution. With all protein supplements, you want to be careful to watch the dose. " Nonetheless this is an option some mothers may choose to investigate.

Cytidinediphosphocholine or CDP-choline is a supplement that is another substance that is made in the body that, from studies done for Parkington's Disease appears to increase dopamine levels. We do not have much information on this supplement, so investigate it and talk to your care provider.


Herbs

Chasteberry (also called vitex berry) is an herb that, at high doses,
can truly affect the dopamine system in the brain. It inhibits prolactin secretion and increases dopamine activity with regular use at high doses. Because of it's strength is should not be used in conjunction with taking a prescription for D-MER. This also means at a high dose it is an antigalactagogue and a dopaminergic so please consider your milk supply with this herb. Chasteberry takes one month or more to reach it's maximum effectiveness. Check with your herbalist/care provider regarding the dosage and safety of this herb in a breastfeeding mother. We recommend referring to the book The Nursing Mother's Herbal by Sheila Humphrey. As with most herbs it is important that they be attained from a reputable source. This is an herb that is harder to find and is not available at most health food stores. You can also read more about Chasteberry here. There is also another good article here.

Ginkgo is an antioxidant that improves blood flow to the brain and may help with dopamine delivery. Check with your herbalist/care provider regarding the dosage and safety of this herb in a breastfeeding mother. We recommend referring to the book The Nursing Mother's Herbal by Sheila Humphrey. As with most herb it is important that they be attained from a reputable source. Most grocery stores carry this product. Side effect and dosing information for Ginkgo can be found here.


Cowhage, also know as
Mucuna pruriens, contains levodopa and so it would increase general dopamine levels in the body. Check with your herbalist/care provider regarding the dosage and safety of this herb in a breastfeeding mother. We recommend referring to the book The Nursing Mother's Herbal by Sheila Humphrey. As with most herb it is important that they be attained from a reputable source. Some more information on this herb and it contradictions can be found here.


Evening Primrose Oil is thought to increase the availability of levodopa in the body. Levadopa is converted to dopamine in the brain. EPO is easily found in the health food section of a grocery stores and more can be read about dosage and safety here.

Other Options

Flower Essences

If you want to go a homeopathic route, there are Bach flower essences that can be used. The ones that would treat D-MER well are a mix of:

Aspen: Have unexplained fears and worries, are nervous and anxious
Mustard: Experience unexplained deep gloom
White Chestnut: Have unwanted thoughts, preoccupations and worries
Sweet Chestnut: At the limits of endurance and in deep despair
Gorse: Feel hopelessness and despair, and are pessimistic
Gentian: Are easily discouraged, hesitant, despondent
Olive: Feel exhausted in body and mind
Pine: Feel full of guilt

Find a homeopath to mix them for you (or order them on line and mix yourself) and then place a few drops in you water glass and sip them all day long. Then, especially right before feeding, drop a few drops straight onto your tongue.

Homeopathic Remedy: Sepia
Sepia is a homeopathic tincture and if you do an informational search for its uses it is used for "a sensation of a ball in inner parts during lactation; intermittent nausea worse for the thought of food; painful sensation of emptiness; an empty, sinking feeling in the stomach; if one feels apathetic, exhausted and heavy." It is possible for some mothers their system would react wonderfully to this remedy. It can be obtained from a homeopath and should be used at a lower dose/concentrate then what might otherwise be recommended.Aromatherapy
Here are some aromatherapy suggestions based on
traditional uses and anecdotal information.

For Despondent D-MER-
Frankincense and Grapefruit
For Anxiety D-MER-
Chamomile or Marjoram
For Agitation D-MER-
Jasmine or Melissa

Guided Imagery
For Baby Girls Downloadable Sound File
For Baby Boys- Not yet available


Music Therapy
Research in both music therapy and in neuroscience have shown that certain types of music stimulate the production of dopamine. Something with a definite rhythm but not a commanding one. Reggae (Cas Haley, Bob Marley, Buju Banton) Latin (Ozomatli, Los Lobos, Ricky Martin) Jazz (Micheal Buble, Harry Connick Jr, Frank Sinatra) would be  appropriate choices. We like the website Pandora for exploring different genres and artists!

Hypnosis
If a mother is concerned about a psycho dynamic aspect to her feelings while breastfeeding or is hoping to manage her D-MER through the means of
cognitive re-adjustment then she may choose hypnosis as an option.
 

Counseling or Therapy
D-MER is not a psychological issue, but that doesn't mean that a mother won't find some healing through talking about it. Having someone to talk to (professional or friend) about how you feel, your frustrations about not having a "normal" nursing experience, your fears of not being able to get through it, etc. can be very freeing, healing and helpful thing.


Craniosacral or Chiropractic Therapy
Talk to your care provider about a
hormonal balancing therapy. Most providers know ways to
help restore the normal function of the mesolimbic system to help your body release dopamine.