What is tyrosine good for?
Tyrosine is best known as a performance enhancer.
When taken as a dietary supplement, it can be used by the brain to produce neurotransmitters.
This naturally results in sharper mental focus, better memory, enhanced multitasking ability, and improved mood.
In a nutshell, tyrosine augments short-term memory and motivation; what is commonly referred to as ‘working memory’.
What is working memory, and why should we care about it?
It’s basically the fluid, flexible part of your thought processes that allows you to get things done.
Creativity and ‘flow states’ are also easier to establish when supplementing with tyrosine, even under stress.
These particular characteristics have proven tyrosine to be very effective at helping with ADHD and depression.
So how does one nootropic manage to accomplish all of these wonderful things?
Let’s find out!
What is L-Tyrosine? – How does it work?
Tyrosine is an amino acid that’s commonly found in foods like beef, pork, fish, chicken, tofu, milk, cheese, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
It’s also taken as N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) in supplements.
NALT is a form of L-Tyrosine that is readily absorbed by the body, and can easily pass through the blood brain barrier.
It’s included in many premium nootropic stacks as a key ingredient for performance enhancement, because of it’s high absorption rate and effectiveness.
L-Tyrosine itself is an amino acid that is used to produce 3 essential neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Epinephrine, and Norepinephrine.
These ‘3 Amigos’ are collectively grouped into the ‘catecholamine’ group of neurotransmitters. The catecholamine neurotransmitters are essential for regulating mood, memory, creativity, and attention control.
When a person is under stress, hormones like Cortisol get released into their system, and can go on a rampage that destroys all 3 of the catecholamines.
The end result can be depression, difficulty remembering things, disrupted concentration, and an inability to shift focus from one task to another.
So how does NALT help? Simple.
By increasing levels of all 3 catecholamine neurotransmitters, NALT effectively counteracts the negative effects of stress, thereby improving overall working memory.
This roughly translates into these benefits:
- Mood Improvement – minimizes risk of Depression
- Working Memory Enhancement – provides the capacity to perform at a higher level; faster recall & better focus
- Attention Control – improved ability to multitask; helps reduce symptoms of ADHD
The impressive thing about NALT is that it has also been shown to provide these benefits even when individuals have not been getting enough sleep.
In practical terms, what this means is that NALT is a good item to have in your nootropics stack for situations like:
- High Pressure Work Scenarios
- Studying for Exams
- Recovery from Trauma
- Relationship Issues
- Extreme Sports
These situations can apply to just about any of us, so NALT is certainly a very useful nootropic.
That being said, I always like to highlight areas where standalone nootropics can offer benefits that are unique.
One condition that concerns a lot of people, and that NALT is supposedly good at mitigating, is depression.
Let’s take a closer look at how it can help people struggling with this debilitating issue.
NALT for Depression – How effective is it?
The 3 neurotransmitters most closely associated with depression are Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin. NALT increases levels of Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine.
It’s not an exact match, but I guess 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.
Nonetheless, NALT has been proven to protect both animal and human test subjects from depression due to various stressors.
Generally speaking though, some studies have had results that were inconclusive. In my opinion, NALT is not a suitable replacement for traditional therapy when it comes to depression.
I think that someone who is suffering from depression, and is interested in using nootropics as an alternative to traditional drug therapy should look at finding a good nootropic stack that already has NALT in it.
They should also work with their therapist or doctor, and ask them to monitor their progress.
NALT for ADHD – How Helpful is it?
Fortunately, NALT has shown better results when used to treat symptoms of ADHD or ADD.
In one clinical study, participants received L-Tyrosine over a period of 8-10 weeks, and 77% of them showed significant improvement in their symptoms.
The researchers concluded that, “The efficacy of this novel protocol appears superior to some ADHD prescription drugs…”. Pretty impressive!
Further studies later found that when ADHD patients took either Ritalin or Adderall, and supplemented with Tyrosine at the same time, the effects of the stimulants lasted much longer than when taken on their own.
The test subjects also noted that Tyrosine supplementation prevented the crash they often experienced once the effects of the stimulants wore off.
Additional studies are being conducted to find out if herbal nootropics, vitamins, and other amino acid compounds can also be used safely for ADHD.
This is all very exciting for me, because my daughter has ADD, and the standard psychotropic stimulants that usually get prescribed to children with ADHD right now often do not work.
30% of the kids that take them see no improvement, and the symptoms can include nausea, insomnia, and weight loss.
I would never put my daughter on these kinds of meds personally, but Bacopa Monnieri? Maybe.
So we have established that Tyrosine supplementation is excellent for maximizing working memory(especially under stress or when sleep deprivation is a factor), has some benefit for preventing depression, and is very good for minimizing the symptoms of ADHD.
The questions then remains, if we want to supplement with Tyrosine, how should we do it?
NALT Dosage – Recommendations for Best Results
NALT and L-Tyrosine are both available as a powder, tablets, or capsules.
The recommended daily dosage for NALT ranges from 150 mg to 350 mg/day, depending on your individual body chemistry.
NALT is an easily absorbed form of L-Tyrosine, and that’s why NALT is the preferred form to take in supplements, as opposed to plain old L-Tyrosine on its’ own.
I haven’t mentioned this before now, but L-Tyrosine is commonly found in foods like avocados, chicken, fish, almonds, and even bananas. However, there are still advantages to taking additional Tyrosine in supplements because we usually do not get enough in our everyday diet.
People can also develop a tolerance to NALT or L-Tyrosine, and that is why the dosage recommendation can vary slightly. You might start off taking 300mg/day, and find that 2 weeks later you need 500 mg/day to get the same benefits.
There is also a difference in dosage recommendations for straight L-Tyrosine. NALT has better bio availability than L-Tyrosine, so you need to take more L-Tyrosine to achieve the same effect. A certain amount of it will be flushed out of the body without being used.
The recommended daily intake for L-Tyrosine is 500mg to 1,000mg/day, taken at least 30 minutes before meals, 2 or 3 times per day.
It is also worth mentioning that although L-Tyrosine sounds like a pharmaceutical grade chemical compound, it’s actually just a simple amino acid. It’s synthesized in your body naturally.
My point is that, surprisingly, L-Tyrosine and NALT are both very non-toxic. The vast majority of people that take Tyrosine supplements do not experience side effects at all.
However, there are a few cautions I should mention to you, just to be on the safe side.
Some people can experience some mild nausea, and if they already suffer from migraines, they might start having more headaches more often. Unfortunately, if this should happen, you should stop supplementing with Tyrosine right away.
A few studies have shown that Tyrosine can increase Thyroid hormone levels slightly, and lower blood pressure. If you have a hyperthyroid condition, please do not take any Tyrosine supplements. In a similar fashion, people taking blood pressure medication should talk to their doctor first.
NALT and L-Tyrosine should not be taken together with MAO inhibitors. MAO inhibitors basically block the reabsorption of neurotransmitters in order to prevent depression.
If someone is already taking MAO inhibitors, it is reasonable to assume that they already have elevated levels of neurotransmitters in their brain.
Taking NALT or L-Tyrosine on top of an MAO inhibitor could actually lead to an overabundance of neurotransmitters in a persons’ cranium.
You might think that would make them super smart, but I am thinking it would be more like a can of soda getting thrown into a campfire, so please don’t risk it.
If you do find that Tyrosine supplementation causes an adverse reaction for you, Bacopa Monnieri has very similar benefits, and it’s an herbal nootropic. You could consider using Bacopa instead.
I’m not going to recommend a particular NALT supplement. I get my daily dose in my preferred stack; Mind Lab Pro. There are plenty of products out on the market to choose from, but quite honestly, I have never tried them.
You guys are my readers, my audience, my people. This site is for the nootropics community, and I would never intentionally mislead anybody.
So if you would like to try a good Tyrosine supplement, you will have to do your own product research.
I would recommend you find a product made by a company that is ‘GMP Certified’.
GMP stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices”, and it means that the producer has to follow strict guidelines in order to offer their supplement on the market.
GMP Certified products also get randomly tested by neutral third parties before they are packaged and shipped.
The goods are examined for effectiveness, purity, and safety. It’s the golden standard for the supplement industry.
Benefits of Tyrosine – Final Recommendations
So let’s recap. What is tyrosine good for? What can it do for us?
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid precursor to the catecholamine group of neurotransmitters Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine.
NALT, or N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, is more easily absorbed than L-Tyrosine in its’ raw form.
NALT is therefore preferred over L-Tyrosine for supplementation because a smaller amount can yield the same benefits.
Tyrosine is naturally occurring in foods, but most people do not receive enough of it in their diet to produce adequate amounts of catecholamines.
Supplementing with Tyrosine can therefore result in several benefits related to cognitive function.
In my opinion, Tyrosine is the best nootropic for working memory, but it has other advantages.
Stress and sleep deprivation can deplete catecholamine levels in the brain, and Tyrosine counteracts these effects extremely well.
Tyrosine has been proven to be somewhat helpful with staving off the symptoms of depression, and has been shown to be very effective at helping individuals with ADHD be more productive.
So who can benefit the most from using NALT or L-Tyrosine as a supplement?
I would say that anyone dealing with a lot of stress, possible depression, or ADHD should look at using Tyrosine supplements to their advantage.
There is also a lot of value in considering using a full spectrum nootropic stack like Mind Lab Pro that has NALT in it.
Premium nootropic stacks like Mind Lab Pro are often formulated to produce synergistic effects, where each individual nootropic in the stack supports the benefits of the others.
The nootropics in the stack will also tend to smooth out any jagged edges you might experience with a single nootropic on its’ own.
All right! That’s a good rundown of what tyrosine is good for as an individual nootropic.
Thanks for reading, and if you think of any questions later, just post a comment below.
In my next article, I’ll be talking about the health benefits of oat straw extract!
Until next time,
P.S. – If you have any questions, just post a comment below, and I’ll get right back to you!