L-Tyrosine -What Makes it a Powerful Supplement

L-Tyrosine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. It is considered non-essential because our body can naturally produce it by processing another amino acid called phenylalanine.

However, you can also boost your body’s level of L-Tyrosine by consuming certain foods including cheese, dairy products, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, beans, wheat and oats.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for tyrosine and phenylalanine is 33 mg per kilogram of your body weight or 15 mg of tyrosine per pound.

A fun fact about L-Tyrosine is that it is fondly called cheese amino acid, and for a reason. The word tyrosine is from the Greek word tyros which means “cheese.” It was named as such by Justus von Liebig, a German chemist, because he first discovered it in the protein casein which is derived from cheese.

How does L-Tyrosine work?

The body uses L-Tyrosine to produce the following:

  • Neurotransmitters
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Catecholamines such as adrenaline
  • Proteins
  • Chemical messengers involved in brain function
  • Melanin which is a type of pigment
  • Brain chemicals such as nor epinephrine and dopamine

Benefits of L-Tyrosine

  1. Helps treat phenylketonuria

One of the most popular benefits of taking L-Tyrosine supplements has to do with treating phenylketonuria or alleviating its symptoms. Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder wherein the body can’t process phenylalanine properly and as a result, cannot produce tyrosine. Symptoms of this disorder include seizures, hyperactivity and skin conditions among others.

  1. Improves brain function

L-Tyrosine can also help improve brain function, especially in relation to alertness and focus. A 2010 study conducted on 19 healthy college students support this.

  1. May boosts physical endurance

In 2011, a study conducted on eight healthy male volunteers showed the effect of L-Tyrosine on exercise performance. These volunteers consumed a tyrosine-enriched drink and as a result, they gained a higher endurance while exercising in the heat.

However, another study conducted in 2012 contradicted this, so more research is needed to prove what others believe as a positive effect of L-Tyrosine in physical performance.

  1. Boosts cognition under stress

15 clinical trials investigated the effect of L-Tyrosine in cognition and behavior. The result is very promising. L-Tyrosine prevents the depletion of catecholamine and boosts mental function under stressful and demanding situations. People exposed to severe distractions, multitasking, harsh trainings and cold weather can greatly benefit from getting L-Tyrosine supplement.

  1. Helps with mood disorders

Depression and other mood disorders are commonly caused by an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters. L-Tyrosine helps as it enables the production of dopamine and noradrenaline which work as a nutritional mood support.

  1. Boosts thyroid health

The body produces vital thyroid hormones from the combination of tyrosine, iodine and with the help of selenium. Taking L-Tyrosine supplement can ensure that your body gets to produce adequate hormones for thyroid health.

  1. Combats narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a condition wherein a person struggles to stay awake during the day. L-Tyrosine helps combat this condition as it enables the production of dopamine and noradrenaline which also prevent cataplexy and promote arousal.

  1. Helps with weight loss

L-Tyrosine supplies the body with catecholamines and helps in the production of thyroid hormones. These compounds enhance metabolism, helping the body shed excess weight.

  1. Other health benefits

In alternative medicine, tyrosine supplements are often advertised as a natural remedy for a range of health problems, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Stress
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease



Side effects of L-Tyrosine

It is generally safe for adults to take L-Tyrosine supplement when taken in recommended doses for up to 3 months. Taking it in higher doses may cause the following side effects:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Hives
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Joint pain

Some people may also experience any of the above symptoms even if consuming L-Tyrosine within the safe dosage.

Moreover, safety precaution is also recommended if you have the following conditions:

Pregnancy and nursing – There is no enough evidence to support that L-Tyrosine is safe while pregnant or nursing. It’s best to stay on the safe side.

Grave disease (hyperthyroidism) – The body produces thyroid hormone with the aid of tyrosine. Taking L-Tyrosine supplement might increase your thyroid hormone too much which in turn could worsen this condition.

Interactions of L-Tyrosine with other substances

Stimulatory medications – As L-Tyrosine is stimulatory, theoretically, it may interact with other stimulatory medications or supplements.

Levodopa – Levodopa is a medication used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. Taking L-Tyrosine might decrease the body’s absorption of this medication, thereby decreasing its effectiveness.

Thyroid hormone – If you are taking thyroid hormone medication, taking L-Tyrosine at the same time might increase your body’s thyroid hormone more than what the body needs. This could eventually lead to hyperthyroidism.

Dosage of L-Tyrosine

The correct dosage for L-Tyrosine depends on the type of supplement you are taking as well as your goal. It is always good to check the product label before starting taking this supplement. Also, if you have a specific health condition, your healthcare provider might recommend a certain dosage (or advise you to avoid it).

In some studies, those taking L-Tyrosine as anti-stress supplement get the optimum benefit by taking 100-150 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

If for some reason you need to take higher dosage of L-tyrosine, it’s best to split the dose into two.

Cost of L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is commonly available in capsule and powder form. You can get 300 pcs of 500-mg capsules for $15 to $20. This is the same average cost for a high grade 500 mg L-Tyrosine powder.

Takeaway

It can be proven that L-Tyrosine plays a vital role in helping the body produce certain hormones and compounds that promote numerous health benefits. That is one of the reasons why L-Tyrosine supplements are gaining in popularity among health-conscious individuals.

While generally safe for adult consumption, be on the lookout for possible side effects. Also, if you are taking medications or other supplements that may interact with L-Tyrosine, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to take this supplement.