Nutrition Market

Tyrosine Supplements - Everything You Need to Know

What is Tyrosine?

Tyrosine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body from another amino acid called phenylalanine. Tyrosine is considered a non-essential amino acid because it can be made by the body.

Tyrosine plays a key role in producing important neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine that regulate mood, motivation, focus and alertness.

Supplementing with extra tyrosine aims to increase levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.

What is L-Tyrosine?

L-tyrosine is the form used in most tyrosine supplements. It is identical to the tyrosine that the body naturally produces.

The "L" refers to the molecular structure of tyrosine. L-tyrosine is considered the most effective supplemental form.

Benefits of Tyrosine Supplements

Some of the main potential benefits of tyrosine supplements include:

Multiple studies have shown these benefits, especially in stressful situations that can deplete natural tyrosine levels.

How Tyrosine Supplements Work

Tyrosine is used by the body to produce the important neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.

These neurotransmitters play key roles in cognition, mood, alertness and more. Low levels of tyrosine can reduce production of these neurotransmitters.

Tyrosine supplements may help maintain optimal levels of tyrosine in the body for producing adequate dopamine and norepinephrine.

This is especially beneficial in stressful situations where tyrosine can become depleted more rapidly.

Tyrosine Dosage Recommendations

For cognitive benefits, studies have used tyrosine dosages ranging from 500-2000mg per day. It's best to start low at 500mg and increase slowly as needed.

For exercise performance, dosages range from 2-5 grams about 30-60 minutes before a workout. This higher pre-workout dose aims to maximize tyrosine levels for intense exercise.

Always follow dosage directions on the supplement packaging. Speak with a healthcare provider to determine the right dosage for your needs.

Tyrosine for Enhanced Mental Performance

Multiple studies have shown tyrosine can enhance aspects of mental performance, especially in demanding and stressful situations that can drain natural tyrosine reserves.

In one study, tyrosine was shown to improve working memory and cognitive flexibility when subjects were exposed to demanding conditions.

Other studies found tyrosine helped improve reaction time, creative thinking, and task switching abilities under both acute and chronic stress.

Research indicates tyrosine supplements can enhance cognition during mentally demanding jobs like military combat training or emergency response situations.

Tyrosine for Improved Memory

Some studies have shown tyrosine may improve memory, especially in short-term stressful situations.

One study of military cadets showed tyrosine alleviated reduced memory performance after an intensive combat training course.

Another study in older adults found tyrosine improved memory for a mentally demanding task, but did not improve memory under resting conditions.

While results are mixed, tyrosine shows potential benefits for short-term memory function when under stress. More research is still needed in this area.

Tyrosine for Exercise Performance

Through its role in producing dopamine and adrenaline, tyrosine shows potential for improving exercise capacity and performance.

In one study, tyrosine given 30 minutes before exercise increased time to exhaustion by over 3 minutes compared to placebo.

Other research found tyrosine split into two doses - 30 and 60 minutes prior - significantly improved exercise capacity in the heat.

By maintaining optimal levels of tyrosine prior to exercise, levels of performance-enhancing neurotransmitters can be maximized leading to heightened endurance.

Tyrosine for Stress Resilience

Through its role in neurotransmitter synthesis, tyrosine has been shown to improve cognitive performance under both acute and chronic stress.

By supplementing with tyrosine, neurotransmitter levels can be optimized during times of stress when tyrosine levels might become depleted.

Human studies indicate tyrosine benefits cognitive functions like memory, alertness and information processing during demanding or stressful conditions.

Tyrosine may also help reduce subjective feelings of stress and fatigue during high demand situations.

Tyrosine Safety & Side Effects

Tyrosine is considered safe for healthy adults at proper supplemental dosages. Reported side effects are generally rare but can include headache, fatigue, GI issues or joint pain.

Those taking MAO inhibitors, levodopa, or thyroid medications should consult a doctor before taking tyrosine.

Individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid tyrosine supplements due to inability to metabolize phenylalanine.

Always start with lower dosages of tyrosine to assess tolerance. Speak with your healthcare provider before taking tyrosine if you have any medical conditions or take medications.

Tyrosine for Phenylketonuria (PKU)

PKU is a genetic disorder characterized by inability to properly metabolise the amino acid phenylalanine due to low levels of a liver enzyme called phenylalanine hydroxylase.

This results in a dangerous buildup of phenylalanine. Tyrosine supplements can provide an alternative source of tyrosine without increasing phenylalanine levels.

Research indicates tyrosine supplements may help improve cognitive function and quality of life in individuals with PKU by optimizing tyrosine and neurotransmitter levels.

The Science Behind Tyrosine

Now let's take a deeper look at the scientific research on tyrosine and how it affects brain function and neurotransmitter production:

Tyrosine Converts to L-DOPA

Tyrosine is a precursor compound that converts into L-DOPA (levodopa), which is then further converted into dopamine and other catecholamine neurotransmitters.

Tyrosine Affects Dopamine & Norepinephrine

Dopamine and norepinephrine have key roles in cognition, mood, motor control and more. Tyrosine supplementation aims to optimize levels of these neurotransmitters.

Tyrosine Depletion Under Stress

Research shows acute stressors can rapidly deplete tyrosine levels. Tyrosine supplements may help maintain optimal levels during stress.

Short-Term Cognitive Benefits

Most studies showing cognitive benefits of tyrosine are under short-term stressful conditions that can drain natural tyrosine reserves.

Mixed Results Overall

Some studies show significant benefits, while others show minimal effects. More research is still needed, especially on long-term tyrosine supplementation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for tyrosine to work?

The effects of tyrosine may be noticed within 1-2 hours, but it can take 2+ weeks of daily supplementation to notice the full effects.

When should I take tyrosine?

Tyrosine is best taken early in the day on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. Taking tyrosine too late in the day can disrupt sleep in some individuals.

Can I take tyrosine every day?

For most healthy adults, it is generally safe to take standard supplemental doses of tyrosine daily for up to 3 months consecutively. It's a good idea to cycle off for 1-2 weeks after 3 months of continued use.

Is tyrosine vegan?

Tyrosine supplements are typically vegan-friendly, but always check the label to confirm the capsule does not contain any animal by-products.

Does tyrosine deplete other neurotransmitters?

There is no evidence that taking tyrosine depletes serotonin, GABA or other neurotransmitters in the brain at proper supplemental dosages.

Can I take tyrosine with other supplements?

Tyrosine is safe to stack with most other common supplements like caffeine, creatine or vitamin B6. As always, speak with your doctor about any supplement combinations. Avoid taking tyrosine with thyroid hormones, levodopa or MAO inhibitors.

What are signs of taking too much tyrosine?

High doses of tyrosine can potentially cause nausea, headache, fatigue, heartburn or joint pain. Discontinue use if any discomfort occurs.

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