March 21, 2022 3 min read

L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body produces it naturally, but not everyone has enough. That can be concerning considering it plays a very important role in regulating important neurochemicals, like dopamine and adrenaline.

Thanks to its adaptogenic nature, some people believe it can have a wide range of benefits, like improving cognition, regulating mood, or boosting athletic performance.

Curious about L-tyrosine benefits for yourself? Here’s what you need to know.

Key Benefits

  • Stress reduction
  • Improved cognition
  • Increased athletic endurance

1. L-Tyrosine may lower stress.

It’s well-known that tyrosine is required for the body to produce essential chemicals, like dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. All of these are necessary for you to experience a balanced mood, motivation, and energy to get things done, and not having enough of these chemicals to go around can result in increased stress levels.

The opposite can also be true–experiencing high stress can decrease the production of these crucial neurotransmitters, which leads to a vicious cycle of stress, low motivation, and fatigue. Some experts believe that supplementing with L-tyrosine can help get your body back on track if you’re running low in any of these departments, which may help you manage stress in your day to day life.

A woman working on her laptop after taking her L-tyrosine dose to boost mental performance.

2. It may improve cognition.

Stress depletes your brain’s norepinephrine stores, tyrosine is crucial for keeping the brain running, even during moments of high stress. One study shows that tyrosine can help the brain function even in tasks that invoke stress and require high mental endurance. Another studyfound that tyrosine supplementation increased focus and alertness even after exhaustive exercise, although the trial size was small so more information is needed.

Another small study found that tyrosine supplements may even help protect against cognitive decline during certain extreme physical conditions as well. The study found that subjects taking tyrosine supplementation experienced less cognitive decline when exposed to severe cold conditions compared to the placebo group.

One larger study even found that regular tyrosine doses acquired through diet improved cognitive performance, memory, and fluid intelligence in both older and younger adults.

3. It could boost your mood.

We mentioned that L-tyrosine may help boost the production of certain neurochemicals to manage stress and improve cognition, but what if it could also boost your mood? The dopamine boost you get from regular tyrosine supplementation could do just that. Dopamine controls pleasure and motivation, and it also influences the production of serotonin.

Both of these chemicals play a key role in regulating your mood, and low dopamine and serotonin levels are both markers of depression. More evidence is needed to understand whether L-tyrosine can help manage depression, but it definitely could be useful for keeping your mood on track.

An athlete going for a practice run after using l-tyrosine to boost endurance.

4. L-tyrosine may improve athletic performance.

One small studyfound that taking a tyrosine-enriched beverage while exercising in hot conditions may boost endurance. Because of its potential ability to reduce stress, some people believe that L-tyrosine can help increase endurance during competitive activities, such as competitive sports.

5. It could help treat Phenylketonuria (PKU).

PKU is a genetic condition that’s usually diagnosed in infancy and prevents the body from breading down crucial amino acids. The condition can lead to brain damage, mental disorders, seizures, and more.

It’s important to note that PKU is associated with a tyrosine deficiency which is thought to lead to the behavioral and cognitive effects discussed previously. Some experts believe that supplementing with tyrosine may help prevent these adverse effects.

However, evidence is mixed, and one study found no difference in growth, nutritional status, or quality of life in participants taking tyrosine supplements versus those taking a placebo. Another study offered a similar conclusion–of 56 PKU patients studies, there was no significant difference observed between those taking tyrosine versus the placebo group.

Conclusion

Many people prefer to take L-tyrosine alongside other nootropic and adaptogenic supplements to create a full-coverage wellness routine. Because L-tyrosine supplements are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceuticals in the U.S., it’s important that you look for a high-quality supplement that’s well-made and lab tested. Always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements or making any changes to your wellness routine, especially if you take prescription medications.

Resources

  1. “Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26424423/
  2. “The effects of acute and prolonged CRAM supplementation on reaction time and subjective measures of focus and alertness in healthy college students” https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-39
  3. “Tyrosine supplementation mitigates working memory decrements during cold exposure” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938407001722?via%3Dihub
  4. “Food for thought: association between dietary tyrosine and cognitive performance in younger and older adults” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29255945/
  5. “Dopamine, depression and antidepressants” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1472-8206.2004.00287.x
  6. “Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-011-1921-4
  7. “Neurobehavioral Problems Associated with Phenylketonuria” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3028461/
  8. “Tyrosine supplementation for phenylketonuria” V J Poustie, P Rutherford https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10796799/
  9. “Tyrosine supplementation for phenylketonuria.” Diana Webster, Joanne Wildgoose https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23737086/

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