L-Tyrosine is an amino acid known for its nootropic benefits. As a master precursor to dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, it regulates a number of processes within your brain. These include mood, memory, and cognitive function.
You may not know this, but Tyrosine is one of the most effective supplements for keeping your head ‘cool’ when things get hot.
In other words, it maintains your cognitive performance when you’re under stress. Whether that’s from exercise, an argument with your partner, cold exposure, or even loud music.
As one of the most effective cognitive boosters, Tyrosine helps with:
- Brain Chemicals – Your brain needs L-Tyrosine to make catecholamine neurotransmitters, which are dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. As your dopamine levels stabilize, you’ll be able to think clearly, focus easily, and get things done faster.
- Mental Resistance to Stress – Stress and lack of sleep deprive your brain of dopamine and other critical neurotransmitters. L-Tyrosine recharges your brain chemicals to preserve focus, mental clarity, and cognition. (2)
- Hyperactivity and Poor Concentration – If you have trouble focusing and staying productive, L-Tyrosine can be of huge help. It works in synergy with Ritalin and other ADHD medication to boost extracellular dopamine in your brain – making these drugs more effective. And helping with the energy crashes when these pharmaceuticals wear off. (1)
Tyrosine also enhances the levels of your T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. Both of these are critical for not just your physical but also cognitive health.
In this L-Tyrosine review article, I’ll look into how this intriguing nootropic works in our brain, and give you a few tips on how you can get the most out of it.
A Glance at L-Tyrosine
Tyrosine is one of many amino acids in foods. It’s mostly found in high protein foods such as poultry, cheese, fish, and peanuts.
However, as these foods often come with an abundance of other amino acids, Tyrosine has to compete with them for absorption in your body. This can make it a bit hard to get enough Tyrosine for your brain to produce optimal levels of dopamine.
That’s why many ‘neurohackers’ love to supplement with Tyrosine on an empty stomach to reap its full benefits.
In your brain, Tyrosine gets converted to L-DOPA, which is a direct precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Any extra dopamine then further converts into epinephrine and norepinephrine. As it turns out, all three of these neurotransmitters are collectively called catecholamines.
Ever guessed where the name Tyrosine comes from? It comes from the Greek word ‘tyrosic,’ which funnily enough means cheese – food that’s abundant in this nootropic amino acid.
L-Tyrosine boosts executive function and working memory in your prefrontal cortex. As a result, it enhances your inspiration, creativity, mental flexibility, and ‘outside of the box’ thinking.
How Does it Work?
The two main ways in which L-Tyrosine supports your brain function are:
- By enhancing cognition and memory during acute stress. Or short-term stress can be anything from taking cold showers, doing sprints, arguing with someone, experiencing a traumatic event, or taking an exam. As you’ll see in the “Tyrosine Studies” section below, it has been shown that Tyrosine can prevent your mind from going ‘blank’ in these situations.
- By boosting neurotransmitters. As a nootropic supplement, Tyrosine converts into dopamine when you ingest it. Dopamine is of paramount importance for not just problem solving, memory, thinking, and motivation but also physical movement.
As I’ve briefly said, your brain converts the unused dopamine to epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine.
Both of these neurotransmitters have their own roles in brain function, including attentiveness, sleeping, learning, emotions, and the ‘fight-or-flight’ response.
Who is L-Tyrosine For?
Is Tyrosine for you? Should you supplement with it?
Tyrosine can help anyone who goes through a lot of stress in their daily life.
Things like multitasking, sleep deprivation, and most notably, stress all drain your brainpower.
One of the reasons why this happens is because stress significantly depletes your catecholamine neurotransmitters. The same ones that L-Tyrosine helps to restore. (4)
Taking L-Tyrosine helps you to reverse stress-induced depletion in catecholamine brain chemicals – restoring peak mental performance in the process. (7)
How L-Tyrosine Can Help You
Tyrosine is there to help you to stay mentally sharp under pressure. What kind of ‘pressure’, you ask?
Well, clinical studies show that l-Tyrosine promotes (8, 9, 10, 11):
- Cognitive performance when listening to loud music (90+ decibels)
- Executive function and memory during cold water exposure
- Mood and mental clarity during times of sleep deprivation
- Working memory during tasks that require multitasking
While Tyrosine might be best known for its cognitive-boosting effects under stress. Its long-range support for neurotransmitters will positively impact cognition across the board. For people of all backgrounds, too.
Brain Pathways Affected by L-Tyrosine
What brain pathways does L-Tyrosine influence? See for yourself:
In animal studies, Tyrosine is shown to suppress the release of stress chemicals in the brain. Researchers suggest that this might combine with Tyrosine’s neurotransmitter support to protect the brain from ravages of stress. (14)
Not only is Tyrosine shown to promote dopamine and other catecholamines. But it also blocks the depletion of these very brain chemicals. It’s these effects that lead to L-Tyrosine’s powerful effects on your focus, cognition, and memory. (12, 13)
So far, I’ve explained how L-Tyrosine works in your brain, and how it can enhance your cognitive performance. But all the theory aside, how does Tyrosine actually perform in practice?
That’s what we’re diving into right now.
Study #1: Tyrosine Prevents Heat-Induced Cognitive Impairment in Soccer Players
Remember when I said in the beginning that Tyrosine can keep you cool when things get hot?
Well, the study below proves this – literally.
Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire looked into the effects of L-Tyrosine on cognition before an exercise test.
The study gathered 8 soccer players. The performance test involved completing a 90-minute soccer simulation in a warm environmental chamber.
Before the exercise test, one group of soccer players were given L-Tyrosine. And another group took a placebo (sugar pill). The study measured these players’ mental performance before, during, and after the soccer simulation.
The results showed that the reaction time and vigilance among the L-Tyrosine group significantly improved. (3)
Study #2: Tyrosine for ADHD
If you have issues with focus and concentration, then here’s some good news…
More than one study showed that L-Tyrosine can naturally manage symptoms of ADHD.
However, before I show you the study, here’s something you might want to know;
One research from the 1980s found that Tyrosine helped with ADHD symptoms – but only in the short term. You should keep this in mind. For some people, L-Tyrosine seems to only provide short-term benefits. There are some reports online of people building up a tolerance to this nootropic after taking it daily.
However, you’ll also want to hear the good news. And that is, most peer-reviewed clinical trials only show positive long-term results from L-Tyrosine supplementation.
A study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment tested the effects of amino acid precursors on ADHD.
The study included 85 young individuals. Their ages were between 4-18. All had ADHD. They received L-Tyrosine for dopamine and 5-HTP for serotonin. The whole trial lasted 8-10 weeks.
Can you guess what the researchers found?
It turned out that L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP delivered similar results as Ritalin and Strattera. Which are pharmaceutical ADHD medications. (15) What this study ultimately shows me is that amino acid precursors have an extremely high potential for combating ADHD symptoms.
Study #3: Tyrosine Helps With Problem Solving & Fluid Intelligence
L-Tyrosine will promote your cognitive flexibility. Now, what does this mean?
It means that Tyrosine helps your brain use stored information to find new ways to solve problems or tasks. Helping you to adapt to novel stimuli and situations.
High levels of cognitive flexibility are directly linked to increased comprehension, superior fluid intelligence, and a sharper brain.
A case in point: Researchers recruited 22 adults for a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. They split these adults into two grups; one took L-Tyrosine while the other got a placebo.
The researchers then measured these people’s cognitive flexibility by putting them through task-switching tests. The result? People in the L-Tyrosine group showed better cognitive flexibility than the placebo group. (16)
Now, here’s the most interesting bit… The researchers suggested that improved cognitive flexibility was the result of a boost in dopamine levels in these people. Which makes sense, when you think about it.
People who are set in their ways have all but cognitive flexibility – they have cognitive rigidity. It’s possible that this is in part due to having low dopamine levels.
Study #4: Tyrosine Mitigates the Effects of Stress on the Body
This study just goes to show that L-Tyrosine can be as much of a nootropic as a general health supplement.
When you’re stressed, your blood pressure rises – that’s a common understanding. It doesn’t matter where the stress comes from. All it matter is that when stress goes up, so does the blood pressure.
Well, a study in Amsterdam revealed some intriguing findings in regards to L-Tyrosine and its ability to mitigate the negative effects of stress on the mind – and body.
The study showed that Tyrosine is able to decrease blood pressure during acute stress. Acute stress means short-term stress, and can be anything from combat training, loud music, making a business deal, and doing CrossFit. (17)
The idea is that this study applies to both you, me, and everyone else. Just 15 minutes after the ingestion, L-Tyrosine lowered diastolic blood pressure, and normalized it within an hour.
What Does Tyrosine Feel Like?
Here’s the thing: Most if not all of L-Tyrosine’s benefits come from its influence on dopamine levels in your brain.
Your brain only takes the L-Tyrosine it needs to maintain stable catecholamine neurotransmitters. Taking more Tyrosine won’t raise your dopamine above normal levels.
In other words, if your brain isn’t ‘low’ on dopamine – you might not feel anything at all.
That said, many Tyrosine users report increased focus, energy, and mood from using L-Tyrosine. This nootropic amino acid can also keep you motivated. It helps to reduce social anxiety too.
- Taking L-Tyrosine before a stressful event will yield the biggest benefits. It can even lower your blood pressure down if it’s acutely elevated due to a stressor.
If you’re into fitness, you’ll notice that supplementing with L-Tyrosine will make you feel great after your workout.
As an interesting side note, L-Tyrosine also helps your body to make melanin, a pigment in your skin. Which means it’ll help you get a tan faster while in the sun!
How to Get the Most Out of Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine can help people who’re dealing with symptoms of ADD and ADHD.
- And while no supplement is a replacement for proper medical advice, it’s been shown that Tyrosine stacks well with stimulant meds such as Adderall. It helps to prolong the effects of the medication while preventing the crash when it wears off.
You can buy L-Tyrosine as an individual supplement. Or you can take it as a part of a professional nootropic formula such as Mind Lab Pro, which includes a premium form of Tyrosine called N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT).
Mind Lab Pro uses a synergy of 11 proven brain-boosting compounds – including herbs and mushrooms like Lion’s Mane – that work in concert with Tyrosine to recharge your brain chemicals and provide long-range support to your mental performance.
The suggested L-Tyrosine dose for mental benefits is 500-2,000mg per day.
Always start with the lowest dose first. The notion that ‘more isn’t better’ especially applies with L-Tyrosine.
The most important thing to remember with L-Tyrosine dosage is to take it 2 hours away from a meal. So either 2 hours before a meal or 2 hours after. Otherwise, it will compete with other amino acids in food and you will not get its benefits.
**ALSO IMPORTANT: Taking L-Tyrosine every day over the long-term can suppress serotonin. You can easily prevent this by taking a serotonin supplement such as 5-HTP alongside L-Tyrosine.
L-Tyrosine vs N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine or N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – which is better?
- NALT is simply L-Tyrosine with an added acetyl group. After supplementing NALT, your kidneys break it down back into L-Tyrosine. Therefore, the two offer the same benefits in theory.
However, many neurohackers have found NALT to be a more effective version of the two. As for the studies, a few minor ones suggest that NALT gets passed through the urine quicker than regular L-Tyrosine.
Basically, your individual experience may vary. (3)
For me personally, both nootropics worked great. Although I needed a higher dose of L-Tyrosine to match the effects of a lower dose of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine. So for me, NALT was more effective.
I’ve felt a huge improvement in my motivation, mental clarity, and focus since I’ve started taking this nootropic formula. Getting things done is much easier with it – and I feel that my quality of sleep has improved too.
As L-Tyrosine is a natural compound in many foods, it’s safe and shouldn’t cause any side effects.
Higher than ‘food’ doses, such as those in supplements, can in rare cases lead to mild side effects. These include migraines and stomach discomfort.
- Additionally, if you have any kind of medical condition, especially hyperthyroidism, avoid using L-Tyrosine. Or any supplement for that matter until you get the approval from your doctor.
If you’re taking MAO inhibitors which raise dopamine levels in the brain. Also avoid Tyrosine in this case.
L-Tyrosine can increase your thyroid hormones. So if you’re hyperthyroid you shouldn’t use L-Tyrosine. Combining the two can raise your dopamine levels too high, which has a number of serious side effects.
Anything Else to Consider?
Your body will make some Tyrosine from phenylalanine which is found in foods high in protein. But getting optimal amounts of Tyrosine from your diet alone can be tricky and hard. Supplementation makes things much easier.
Tyrosine is worth considering for anyone who suffers from stress and sleep deprivation. Or if you simply have a very busy lifestyle, Tyrosine can make it easier to deal with the daily challenges.
It can even help you tolerate loud music better. Plus, it will give you more focus and mental energy during your workouts.
However, if you want to get the most out of L-Tyrosine, I recommend combining it with other nootropics. These include Rhodiola Rosea, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, and Pine Bark Extract.
Each of these ingredients affects different brain pathways, helping with everything from mood, stress resistance and memory to long-term brain health.
Luckily, you can find these nootropics, including a premium form of L-Tyrosine, in the current top rated professional nootropic formula on the market – Mind Lab Pro.
Follow this link to see my Mind Lab Pro Review – including how it has worked for me.
Does L-Tyrosine Give You Energy?
If you’re deficient in catecholamine neurotransmitters, you might notice that supplementing Tyrosine gives you energy. This is because L-Tyrosine helps replenish these neurotransmitters – including adrenaline and noradrenaline. Both of which give your body and mind more energy.
How Quickly Does L-Tyrosine Work?
The amount of time it takes for L-Tyrosine to work depends on a number of factors. Including the route of administration, the dosage, whether you took it with or without food, and your own individual metabolism.
Tyrosine For OCD?
Does Tyrosine help with OCD? While human evidence is lacking, we know that Tyrosine can help reduce impulsiveness and improve decision making. As such it could potentially help with the symptoms of OCD.
Conclusion on L-Tyrosine Nootropic Review
L-Tyrosine is a natural amino acid found in foods like chicken, milk, and pumpkin seeds.
However, many people supplement Tyrosine to gain further cognitive benefits, including:
- Improved memory
- Better cognitive clarity
- Enhanced creativity
- Increased focus
For me, the most profound benefit of L-Tyrosine is how it helps you stay mentally sharp during stress. Stress drains your brainpower, which can make you feel fatigued and unable to think clearly.
This is because your brain loses brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine during stressful events – including loud music, sleep deprivation, intense exercise, arguments, etc.
Tyrosine replenishes your brain chemicals, helping you to maintain peak cognitive performance under any kind of high-pressure situation.