As a precursor to several important neurotransmitters, tyrosine appears to have potent stimulating effects on the brain and has been shown to help individuals perform better mentally — aiding focus and alertness as well as inhibiting feelings of stress and fatigue.
It’s produced naturally in the body, in rather small amounts, from the essential amino acid phenylalanine.
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Known as the “antidepressant” amino acid, tyrosine is most commonly used to help lift mood and mental functioning. Some individuals report it’s especially effective for helping reduce stress and mental burnout. Strength athletes have also found it may help boost strength by improving the mind-body connection.
Deficiency of Tyrosine has been linked to:
Research indicates that Tyrosine may also be useful in the treatment of:
Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid produced from the essential amino acid phenylalaine. A high-ranking precursor to several important neurotransmitters or brain messengers, tyrosine appears to have potent mind-stimulating effects.
Tyrosine has been shown to actually block the absorption of another amino acid called tyrptophan to help “pick you up” and prevent the afternoon blahs. Theoretically, if you consume a protein-containing food or a tyrosine supplement about 20 to 30 minutes before eating a high-carbohydrate lunch, you may be able to avoid afternoon sluggishness and increase alertness throughout the day.
Supplementing with tyrosine 30 minutes before a workout may also give you a mental boost a little like caffeine but without the accompanying jitteriness. Experts theorize that tyrosine supplementation may help increase communication from the brain to the muscles, creating greater mind-body connections, which are believed to directly influence strength.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, and many of us seem to face it on a daily basis. If you sometimes feel like you’re losing mental control from the increasing stress in your life, tyrosine may be worth considering. This is because tyrosine is the precursor to three vital neurotransmitters — epinephrine, norepinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine.
Animal studies have shown that when stress is increased, levels of norepinephrine are reduced. However, tyrosine supplementation prior to inflicting stress prevents the reduction of norepinephrine.
Tyrosine has been shown to be an effective anti-stress nutrient in humans as well — one study with soldiers showed that those given supplemental tyrosine performed better on mental tests, had fewer complaints, and were more alert. It’s also been shown to reduce the stress many females undergo only once a month — that is, PMS — reducing the depression and irritation that often define this syndrome.
Tyrosine is known as the “antidepressant” amino acid for good reason. Because it is such an important nutrient for mental functioning, it’s been used in clinical settings to help individuals suffering from depression and anxiety and those who suffer from cocaine addictions.
Some research has shown that folks who are dependant on amphetamines to lift their moods are able to reduce the amounts significantly in only a few weeks. Orange juice spiked with nutrients including tyrosine has been shown to help alleviate the depression and irritability that are caused by cocaine withdrawal.
Several other studies have revealed that tyrosine is effective for relieving depression and anxiety, without the side effects so common with drugs used to treat these conditions.
This important nutrient is also a precursor to the hormones produced in the thyroid and may stimulate the release of growth hormone. In addition, tyrosine is a precursor to norepinephrine, which has been shown to help suppress appetite. Because tyrosine is linked to elevated levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, it’s also believed to help increase sexual interest.
If you’re an “up” person with little stress in your life and a little too much energy, tyrosine probably isn’t a supplement you need to worry about. For the rest of us, tyrosine may help return our bodies to optimal balance for improved mental and physical functioning.
Research suggests one to three grams a day as the most effective amount.
Tyrosine should always be taken on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. And if taken 30 minutes before a workout, tyrosine may increase intensity and focus in the gym.
Taking tyrosine a half hour before eating is reportedly effective for stimulating energy and mood and/or suppressing appetite.
Used with St. John’s wort, tyrosine may help relieve symptoms of mental and physical burnout.
Tyrosine is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or skin cancer.
If you are currently using MAO inhibitors or other antidepressant drugs, tyrosine is not recommended as this combination may raise blood pressure.
No known toxicity.