Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that the body produces from another amino acid, phenylalanine. Tyrosine is an essential component for the production of several important neurotransmitters including epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Also, it is involved in the structure of almost every protein in the body.
As a dietary supplement, tyrosine is often used to increase concentration and mental acuity.
In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about tyrosine.
What is tyrosine and what does it do?
Tyrosine helps make several important substances, including:
- Dopamine : it regulates our reward and pleasure centers. This chemical is also important for memory and motor skills.
- adrenaline and noradrenaline : These neurotransmitters are responsible for the fight or flight response to stressful situations. They prepare the body to “fight” or “flee” an attack or perceived harm.
These neurotransmitters therefore help nerve cells communicate with each other and influence mood.
Tyrosine is also involved in the production of hormones and pigment.
- Thyroid hormones : they are produced by the thyroid gland and are mainly responsible for regulating metabolism.
- melanin : this pigment gives color to our skin, our hair and our eyes. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people.
Tyrosine is also available in the form of a dietary supplement. It can be purchased on its own or mixed with other ingredients, such as in a pre-workout supplement or fat burner.
The goal here is to increase levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine.
By increasing these neurotransmitters, we can improve memory and performance in situations that require it.
The benefits of tyrosine
In a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013, researchers analyzed available clinical trials on the use of tyrosine supplements in people with phenylketonuria, a rare genetic disease. This is linked to a phenylalanine deficiency which itself leads to a tyrosine deficiency.
Reviewing data from six clinical trials involving a total of 56 patients with phenylketonuria, authors of one report found that blood tyrosine levels were significantly higher in participants receiving tyrosine supplements than in those receiving a placebo.
Additionally, a 2007 study of 19 people published in Physiology & Behavior found that the use of tyrosine supplements helped protect against the adverse effects of severe cold exposure on cognitive performance and memory.
Mental acuity and alertness
Supplementing with tyrosine can help staying alert in stressful situations, such as exposure to extreme weather conditions or performing certain cognitive tasks. In several studies, people who took tyrosine did not show the memory problems or deficits that would normally occur in difficult situations like military confrontation and extreme physical exertion.
To better manage lack of sleep
An anti-depressant effect
Because tyrosine is converted into dopamine and norepinephrine it may play a role in the relief of depression. An analysis of several studies found that tyrosine may be effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
Tyrosine is a popular dietary supplement commonly used in pre-workouts, fat burners, and nootropics.
In the body, it is used to make neurotransmitters, which tend to decrease in times of stressful or mentally demanding situations. Supplementation therefore improves cognitive abilities, promoting increased concentration beneficial to morale and sports performance.