Stress and mental difficulties can take a significant toll on the body. With these problems, staying focused can be difficult, but many supplements can help. When I was dealing with major mood swings and found every stressor to be overwhelming, I decided to investigate tyrosine supplementation.
Even though I was hesitant to try something new, it worked out pretty well for me. What if tyrosine is your solution too?
What is Tyrosine?
Tyrosine, an amino acid, is crucial to the production of chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with the brain. For this reason, it is often linked to mood regulation, and the body naturally produces it from phenylalanine (another amino acid).
Though you can consume it in a variety of different foods, the name comes from the Greek word for cheese (“tyros”), which is one of the many sources.
Along with the support for the nerve cell communication, tyrosine is a major component of dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, hormones in the thyroid, and melanin. While dopamine is responsible for the pleasure center of the brain, memory, and motor function, adrenaline and noradrenaline control the body’s instinct to “fight” or “flee” from dangerous threats.
The hormones that tyrosine stimulates in the thyroid gland keep up metabolic processes and melanin is the chemical responsible for an individual’s skin pigment. It is also what controls your hair and eye color.
While the body naturally creates tyrosine, many supplements incorporate it to support a workout or to stimulate the brain without caffeine.
Benefits of Tyrosine
If you or someone you know is facing any of the above issues, the decision to use tyrosine could likely help. Tyrosine supplements are known to help increase your dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine levels, which can in turn help improve your memory issues and help you perform and think better in stressful situations.
Tyrosine is linked to the treatment of Phenylketonuria (PKU) as well. This genetic condition arises when the gene that is meant to create phenylalanine hydroxylase is corrupted. Typically, this condition is treated with a specialized diet to prevent the buildup of phenylalanine and behavioral issues later.
By supplementing with tyrosine, the symptoms of the disorder may be eliminated, though further research is necessary.
Let’s look at other ways that tyrosine can help.
Tyrosine improves alertness
If you are afraid that you are slowly losing your alertness, tyrosine will increase neurotransmitters to improve this attention. It is known to increase focus and help you balance your life state.
Studies show that the use of tyrosine during a stressful or difficult task can improve focus and alertness. Memory is also key to strong focus and alertness, which tyrosine can help improve.
When compared to a placebo, researchers discovered that tyrosine also improved the participants’ mental flexibility when testing. Consumers that have a big project, test, or workplace presentation ahead may benefit greatly from the use of tyrosine.
Tyrosine helps your nerve cells communicate better
Tyrosine is known to be highly effective in helping your nerves communicate with each other in a better manner. Like the way it improves alertness, much of the reason it is so effective is the increase in neurotransmitters.
Tyrosine is directly connected to the impulse to either “fight or flee” in stressful circumstances, as it regulates the body’s production of both adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Tyrosine can regulate mood
Tyrosine’s ability to increase dopamine levels can substantially regulate the mood. Some studies even link it to the treatment of depression, but there is still research being done to validate this claim.
Tyrosine has an innate ability to improve dopamine levels. Dopamine is a necessary chemical to regulate the part of the brain that deals with pleasure, inherently improving the mood.
Without the right dopamine levels in the body, depression is extremely likely, characterized by complacency and seemingly constant tiredness. While there are many ways to improve dopamine levels, supplementing with tyrosine is an excellent start.
Tyrosine can be used to treat addictions
Even though it is scientifically less proven, tyrosine can also help in alcohol and cocaine addictions and can help you reduce dependency on these things. When someone takes a drug or drinks alcohol, their dopamine levels go into overdrive to create the “high” feeling.
Since tyrosine increases both serotonin and dopamine, it prevents the body from reaching the low levels that occur when the addictive substance isn’t in the body. By regulating dopamine levels, addicts may be able to withstand their withdrawals. However, the evidence to support this idea is still limited (at best). Anyone with an addiction should still seek out professional support.
Tyrosine can regulate weight
Tyrosine is responsible for regulating the hormones in the thyroid gland. These hormones are most commonly connected to metabolic processes, which control the way that the body uses the nutrition it absorbs.
With this support for metabolism, consumers may manage their weight more effectively. While weight loss takes much more than a regulated metabolism, the inclusion of tyrosine may eliminate a major roadblock that can arise in weight loss.
Sources of Tyrosine
There are many natural sources of tyrosine that you can use and add to your everyday diet. Red meat, fish, pork, chicken, ricotta cheese, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and wild rice are all excellent options, though it may be easier to just take a supplement.
Try adding pumpkin seeds to all your bakery products and/or shakes or prepare a roasted ham as dinner or leftover snack. You could also try new recipes for meat, pork, and fish (since they are loaded with tyrosine), giving the body what it needs to fulfill the missing tyrosine in the body.
Cheese is another natural source of tyrosine, so it would be great to include some healthy cheese options in your everyday diet.
Other than the available natural sources of tyrosine, the amino acid is also available in the form of a tablet or capsule that can be easily taken in the form of a dietary supplement.
Children should not be administered doses of tyrosine without consulting a doctor at all. For adults too, the doses can vary. So, it is only wise to consult a nutritionist before you decide to start supplementing the amino acid.
Tyrosine Side Effects
Like any other substance that you additionally take to improve your body functions, tyrosine can also be expected to have some sort of side effects.
Tyrosine is known to be mostly safe when taken orally and in proper small quantities. It is also known to be safe when taken by adults in small quantities in ways that are permitted. The daily permissible dose for tyrosine for adults is 150 mg and is to be taken for three months.
However, some people tend to experience some side effects including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and heartburn. When taken in high doses in one go, tyrosine could also instigate stomach problems. Therefore, it is always better to split higher doses into two or more. It is considered to be safe when applied to the skin too.
Can pregnant women take tyrosine?
It has not yet been proven if tyrosine is safe for pregnant women and/or breastfeeding mothers. So, it is generally advised that such people stay safe and better rely on food supplements to fulfill their body’s tyrosine needs.
Should I stay away from tyrosine if I have a particular problem?
Consuming too much tyrosine could increase your Troxine levels, too much of which is particularly bad if you have hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease. Therefore, if you have any of these, it is advisable for you to not take tyrosine supplements.
If you are taking tyrosine through natural sources, you could customize the intake according to your diet and can incorporate it whenever and wherever you want to. However, as a supplement, the dosage should be kept in check.
A tyrosine supplement is available as a free-form amino acid or N-acetyl L-tyrosine (NALT). NALT is more water-soluble. However, it has a low tyrosine conversion rate in the body – which means that a larger dose of NALT would be required to form the same amount of tyrosine in the body as a small amount of free-form amino acid does.
How to take tyrosine
Tyrosine is most commonly consumed in doses of 500 to 2000 mg and is particularly taken about 30 to 60 minutes before workouts.
If you are looking to take tyrosine for mind relaxation and sleep improvement purposes, it is known to considerably help if and when taken in doses of 45 to 48 mg per pound of your body weight. Usually, this is about 7 to 10 grams for a person who weighs about 150 pounds.
To help with focus, the total amount needed will depend on the type of focus that the user needs to support. While 2 grams is optimal to improve cognitive function, a boost for the memory could take up to 300 mg/kg for the user instead.
However, higher doses of tyrosine should be split into two or more doses as when taken in one go, they could cause gastrointestinal problems.
If stressful situations trouble you or you are struggling with alcohol and/or cocaine addictions, you could very well choose for yourself to try tyrosine. Even though some of the benefits are yet to be scientifically proven, it could always help with your problems.
There are several sources of tyrosine – some of which are natural while others can be taken as artificial supplements.
Natural sources include eggs, red meat, pork, chicken, fish, nuts, and pumpkin seeds which can be incorporated into your diet as natural as you like and whenever and wherever desired.
Artificial dosages include free-form amino acid or NALT which should be taken if natural sources are not available and should be taken in proper dosages only.
However, un-administered dosages could be harmful both for children and adults. So, it is always advisable that you talk to your doctor and/or nutritionist before taking any dose of tyrosine.
This amino acid is mostly considered safe. However, supplementation in high amounts can cause nausea, headaches, and stomach issues.
Other than that, it is considered to be safe when taken both orally as well as when applied on the skin.