Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid the body makes from another amino acid called phenylalanine. It is a building block for several important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Neurotransmitters help nerve cells communicate and influence mood.
Tyrosine also helps produce melanin, the pigment responsible for hair and skin colour.
It helps in the function of organs responsible for making and regulating hormones, almost every protein in the body.
It’s rare to be deficient in tyrosine. Low levels have been associated with low blood pressure, low body temperature, and an under-active thyroid. This does not mean, however, that taking tyrosine supplements will help any of these conditions.
Following its synthesis from phenylalanine, Tyrosine functions as a precursor to the catecholamines, that is, the neurotransmitters, epinephrine (adrenaline), nor-epinephrine (nor-adrenaline) and dopamine. It is also used in the production of thyroid and adrenocortical hormones
Tyrosine is involved in the production of the stress hormones epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. Some researchers believe that, under stress, the body isn’t able to make enough tyrosine from phenylalanine. Some animal and human studies suggest that tyrosine supplements may help improve memory and performance under psychological stress.
The ability of L-tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress has been the subject of several publications in respectable journals over the past decade. Most of these articles originated from research units attached to the US military; other publications originated from universities and the Dutch military.
L-Tyrosine is the precursor of the catecholamines; alterations in the availability of L-tyrosine to the brain can influence the synthesis of both dopamine and norepinephrine in experimental animals and probably in humans. In animals, stress increases the release of catecholamines, which can result in the depletion of their levels, an effect that can be corrected by giving L-tyrosine. L-Tyrosine does not seem to enhance the release of catecholamines when neurons are firing at their basal rates, but it does when firing rates are increased by stress. This is the basis for studying the effect of L-tyrosine on the stress response of humans.
The main effects of L-tyrosine that have been reported are acute effects in preventing a decline in cognitive function in response to physical stress. The physical stressors include those of interest to the military, such as cold stress, the combination of cold stress and high-altitude stress (i.e., mild hypoxia), extended wakefulness and lower body negative pressure stress (designed to simulate some of the effects of space flight). Doses of L-tyrosine in these studies ranged up to 20 g, many times the normal daily dietary intake.
One study suggests that taking tyrosine may help you be more alert after sleep deprivation, but more research is needed.
Some athletes claim that tyrosine helps their performance. However, there is no proof that this claim is true or safe.
Because tyrosine helps the body produce the mood-influencing chemical dopamine, and because people who are depressed often have low levels of tyrosine, researchers thought that tyrosine might help treat depression. However, studies have found that it has no effect.
Some people are born with a genetic condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), which leaves them unable to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. This condition can cause mental retardation and other severe disabilities.
While restricting phenylalanine from the diet can prevent these problems, it also leads to low tyrosine levels in some people with PKU, who may benefit from Tyrosine supplementation.
As well as the above uses, Tyrosine may also be taken for attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), alcohol and cocaine withdrawal, heart disease and stroke, ED (erectile dysfunction), loss of interest in sex, schizophrenia, and as a suntan agent and appetite suppressant.
It has also been shown that those deficient in Tyrosine may have low blood pressure, low body temperature (generally evident as cold hands and feet) and “restless leg syndrome”, that is, a compelling urge to move one’s legs especially when trying to go to sleep.
Tyrosine is found in soy products, chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Take tyrosine supplements at least 30 minutes before meals, divided into 3 daily doses. Taking vitamins B6, B9 (folate), and copper along with tyrosine helps the body convert tyrosine into important brain chemicals.
Dosage levels are not confirmed but some experiments have been performed with people taking up to 5 – 7 grams per day, with no confirmed toxic levels.
People taking MAO inhibitors, who suffer from high blood pressure and have problems with skin cancer should not take supplementation of L-tyrosine, and should limit their intake of food sources high in this nutrient.
People who have migraine headaches should avoid tyrosine, as it can trigger migraine headaches and stomach upset.
People with hyperthyroidism or Graves disease should avoid tyrosine supplements because tyrosine may increase levels of thyroid hormone.
Deijen JB, Wientjes CJ, Vullinghs HF, et al. Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course. Brain Res Bull 1999;48:203—9. Dollins AB, Krock LP, Storm WF, et al. L-tyrosine ameliorates some effects of lower body negative pressure stress. Physiol Behav 1995;57:223—30. Koch R. Tyrosine supplementation for phenylketonuria treatment. Am J Clin Nutr 1996;64:974—5. Neri DF, Wiegmann D, Stanny RR, et al. The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med 1995;66:313—9. Shurtleff D, Thomas JR, Schrot J, et al. Tyrosine reverses a cold-induced working memory deficit in humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1994;47:935—41.
- Stress control
- Helps the production of Dopamine
- Alcohol and drug withdrawal assist
- May help increase skin colour / tan
- Appetite suppressant
Dose: 1-7 grams per day.
- Burner Combination
- Pre Workout 101
- Any other amino acid ingredient
- Any other protein powder product