Amino acids are needed in order to manufacture proteins, and are therefore sometimes referred to as the building blocks of life. L-tyrosine belongs to a group of amino acids called non-essential amino acids, which means that they can be manufactured by the human body given the right conditions.
What are its basic functions?
L-tyrosine’s primary function is in the synthesis of several important neurotransmitters.
A neurotransmitter is a chemical signal from the brain, and these chemicals control such factors as mood and appetite, as well as a variety of other control mechanisms.
The three most significant neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, all of which require tyrosine in order to exist.
Doctors often prescribe L-tyrosine supplementation to treat a variety of medical conditions, including depression and anxiety, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome and related conditions.
The effects of L-tyrosine when employed in this manner may be boosted by taking the supplement in conjunction with other anti-depressants, herbal or otherwise, or stimulants such as ginseng.
Can be beneficial for our overall health
The neurotransmitters that tyrosine is involved in synthesizing are responsible variously for our moods and general psychological health.
Serotonin in particular is known to regulate well-being, while dopamine and norepinephrine are both involved in the release of various hormones, some of which have beneficial psychological effects.
Studies have found that supplementation with L-tyrosine under different conditions can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, making people feel generally calmer and happier.
It also has stimulant properties and has been shown to increase alertness and general brain function, as well as co-ordination speed and reflexes, and can relieve tiredness in a similar manner to caffeine, though without some of the side-effects of that drug.
What are the actual sources?
Natural sources of L-tyrosine include meat, fish, dairy products and whole grains, though indications are that modern diets contain significantly lower levels of tyrosine than our ancestors might have enjoyed, largely due to the prevalence of cheap processed foods and lack of fresh, wholesome foods.
Tyrosine deprivation can present with psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety, feelings of tiredness and lethargy, as well as irritation.
Since the neurotransmitters created by tyrosine help to regulate the appetite amongst other things, people with low tyrosine intake may eat more and therefore gain weight.
If you experience any of the symptoms of tyrosine deprivation you should seek medical advice.
Are you the one to have L-tyrosine?
People at increased risk of tyrosine deprivation include those who have a high quantity of alcohol in their diet; also sugar and caffeine are known to reduce tyrosine supplies.
Some prescription medications can also inhibit the production of neurotransmitters, leading to symptoms of tyrosine deprivation.
Supplementing with L-tyrosine can help to regulate moods and moderate energy levels, and is particularly effective treatment for those who are prone to suffer stress and anxiety.
As an additional benefit, tyrosine assists in the production of melanin, which protects our skin from the sun’s harmful UV radiation, so L-tyrosine can be an effective supplement for those who live and work in, or are going to be visiting, very sunny climates, because it can help prevent sunburn that can lead to skin cancer.
Other studies show that L-tyrosine may have beneficial effects for mood disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, as well as dementia.
In these cases many subjects showed a significant reduction in symptoms after period of time on L-tyrosine supplements.
L-tyrosine also combats stress by stimulating extra production of adrenaline. This same action is sought by athletes wishing to train intensively.
L-tyrosine is recommended as a 100% natural and healthy way to treat various forms of depression and mood disorders, as well as chronic fatigue system and any condition which includes a general feeling of being tired and run-down.
It can also be of some beneit to athletes, as studies have shown that it can increase concentration and alertness levels during intensive exercise, helping athletes to push themselves further for longer, and thereby achieve superior training results.
L-tyrosine is available over the counter in a variety of forms, including capsules and powder for mixing either with water or, frequently, with a meal-replacement shake.
If you are taking L-tyrosine to treat a medical condition, your doctor will be able to recommend a suitable dose.
For athletes supplementing with L-tyrosine in order to improve their training performance, the recommended dose is around 100mg of L-tyrosine for every 2.2lbs of body weight.
There are few reported side-effects of taking L-tyrosine, but some people may experience ill effects.
You should consult your doctor before embarking on a course of supplementation or new medication, and in the case of experiencing negative side-effects.