Not all supplements changed my life, but, L-tyrosine changed my life for the better.
But there are some things you should know about L-tyrosine before you go and try it too.
I will try to sum it up as quickly and clearly as I can for you here and how to best take L-tyrosine in combination with tryptophan.
Among the many critical amino acids for life, L-tyrosine comes from protein foods like meats, fish, eggs, and soy.
This important amino acid is required for making the happy-mood compound in the brain called dopamine.
It also is required to make epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Dopamine, made from L-tyrosine, is responsible for helping you feel joy and reward from daily life.Journal of Comparative Neurology
Tyrosine also has many other roles in the body.
- Making thyroid hormone
- Helping improve energy and physical performance
- Increases mental performance
- Potentially improving memory
- Reducing stress
- Increasing brain flexibility
Why can’t I just get L-tyrosine from food?
Tyrosine is found in foods.
Foods that are highest in tyrosine are beef, pork, chicken, fish, and tofu, along with slightly fewer amounts in dairy and legumes.
This critical amino acid is also made from other amino acids in foods like phenylalanine too.
So why can’t some people just get enough L-tyrosine in food?
The problem is this: amino acids get bound up with other amino acids. In the body, they are also made into other proteins.
Because of this, tyrosine is not always at hand to make your happy-brain compounds like dopamine.
After all, you may recall, tyrosine helps with physical performance, so it has a big role in maintaining healthy muscle tissue.
Also, keep in mind that when protein is eaten, its tyrosine is bound to other amino acids, meaning its fate may never be to become dopamine.
Your body uses tyrosine to make other compounds in the body, such as melatonin and coenzyme Q10 too.
Depending on your body’s priorities, your dietary tyrosine may never land you in a happy mood for this reason.
Additionally, your body needs plenty of vitamin B-3, vitamin B-6 (as P5P), vitamin C, copper, and iron to make tyrosine from phenylalanine.
Your body also needs these nutrients, as well as folate, to make tyrosine into dopamine.
Most people run low in one or more of these nutrients.
Some people may even be low in enzymes that make amino acids into tyrosine too.
To sum it up, the only way at this time to know if you will benefit from L-tyrosine is to actually try it.
Why I started taking L-tyrosine
A good friend and colleague of mine got me interested in taking amino acids for mood.
She had taken the Brain Health Assessment quiz from Dr. Amen, a world-recognized expert in brain health. Her experience from there was pretty impactful.
So, I eagerly took the quiz too.
My assessment showed that tryptophan, vitamins, and minerals would be helpful in improving my brain health.
This was great because adding tryptophan helps to make more serotonin, a calming and mood-boosting neurotransmitter.
So, I gave that a try and felt a lot better quickly. I felt calmer and relaxed, my thoughts were less intense almost all of the time.
Two years later, I still find that taking L-tyrosine always brightens my mood.
But, when taking tryptophan, it’s a good idea to balance it out with L-tyrosine too.
What I noticed by adding L-tyrosine
My journey started by taking a different amino acid called tryptophan for helping my mood.
I learned that it isn’t that simple.
If you take tryptophan long-term, it can cause an imbalance in tyrosine and dopamine.International Journal of Tryptophan Research
And I did notice this when I was taking L-tryptophan alone.
During this time, I was feeling less sharp and felt a little less excited about my daily life.
Adding in tyrosine fixed that dullness and more. I feel the best I’ve ever felt, emotionally speaking, on this regimen of supplements.
Specifically, I feel more creative, energetic, and happy.
I’ll put emphasis on the happy part because I definitely noticed that negative thoughts and emotions, while still occasional, would be even more fleeting and short-lived.
And PMS? Forget about it! I don’t need to worry about major mood swings with my periods anymore.
But, I do notice that if I take more than 1000 mg, I do get a headache, so I keep it to that dose, in a ratio of 10:1 with tryptophan.
The brand that I’ve been using that has this ratio is called Neurolink* from Brain MD, which gets thousands of positive reviews. And I’m among the ranks of those with positive reviews. It’s great for me.
Why combine L-tyrosine with L-tryptophan
According to Psychology Today, it is important to balance L-tyrosine with L-tryptophan if you plan on supplementing tyrosine for mood/depression.
This is because taking just one can cause an imbalance in the other in the brain. For example, if you take tryptophan alone, it competes with the enzymes that make dopamine.
In contrast, if you take both in proper ratios, you will make a balance of neurotransmitters.
When supplementing tryptophan, the most common way to do this is to get 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
While this word is a mouthful, it is actually naturally occurring in foods like Griffonia beans.
Using 5-HTP may be more helpful than using L-tryptophan. This is because, unlike L-tryptophan, 5-HTP doesn’t require the enzyme called tryptophan hydroxylase for conversion into serotonin. This enzyme can be low for some people.
A commonly suggested ratio of supplemental tyrosine-to-tryptophan ratio is 10:1.
Other reviews of L-tyrosine
Movie actors like Jim Carey have come out and told their stories of how using tryptophan and tyrosine has alleviated crippling depression.
Most online L-tyrosine reviews are also very positive, indicating that people overall have improved moods and energy.
And there are thousands upon thousands of reviews from many different sources.
People overall report reduced anxiety symptoms to a large degree along with a boost in their mood when using L-tyrosine.
However, the occasional user experienced increased anxiety.
People suffering from PMS also find this supplement very helpful in reducing premenstrual dysphoria.
Sleep patterns generally improve for people as well; some people prefer to take it at night while others prefer taking it in the morning.
Others impressively report that taking L-tyrosine helps to reduce alcohol cravings and helps them overcome addiction as well. This would make sense because tyrosine’s ability to boost dopamine would have that effect.
Other users find L-tyrosine beneficial for controlling appetite too, which may aid in weight loss. In research, tyrosine combined with capsaicin, catechins, and caffeine helped aid in aiding in body fat weight loss compared to a placebo.
Yet others find that L-tyrosine helps to reduce their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD).
Why medications sometimes fail to help dopamine
There are lots of prescription drugs that attempt to help people make their brain more responsive to dopamine.
But, do they sometimes miss a critical part of the equation?
Such as the nutrients required to make dopamine.
As in, do they miss out on the simple building blocks of a healthy mood and things that help reduce stress?
All the medication in the world can’t compensate for a void diet or inadequate amino acids. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for medicine.
The case I’m making is that nutrients are a huge piece of the picture for mental health.
Gut-mood connection with tyrosine
Another reason the medicines may not be enough is that your gut microbiome is out of balance. It is indisputable at this point that mental health is connected to gut health.
This is because the gut is responsible for helping the brain out in making critical compounds.
In your digestive tract, you have an enzyme that helps to convert tyrosine into the happy-mood compound dopamine. If you have imbalanced bacteria in your gut, this enzyme, called tyrosine hydroxylase, is not made in adequate supply according to research.
A poor microbiome also hinders your ability to make other happy mood chemicals too, such as serotonin and GABA.
Supplementing tyrosine may help improve the microbiome too, according to early research.
How to take L-tyrosine
If you take L-tyrosine, you will want to take it on an empty stomach.
The same goes for tryptophan too.
This is so it doesn’t compete or bind up to other amino acids in your foods.
Typical doses of L-tyrosine are between 500 mg to 1000 mg per day and are usually balanced out with 50 to 100 mg of 5-HTP.
It also is a good idea to take L-tyrosine with nutrient cofactors like folate and vitamin B6 as P5P.
Not surprisingly it makes sense to take a good comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplement like this one if you are taking tyrosine or just in general.
Also, make sure to address iron deficiency as well if you have that. Your body can’t convert tyrosine to dopamine without enough iron.
Taking tyrosine is generally recognized as safe according to the FDA. Research shows that it also has only minor side effects that are likely dose-related.
For example, very high doses of L-tyrosine are linked to memory issues in older adults, but this is likely because too much was given.
Some people occasionally get a headache, nausea, or irritability as well, but typically at higher doses than recommended.
If you are on medications, especially those for depression, ADHD, or Parkinson’s medications, make sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider first before starting L-tyrosine.
Many people fear new foods, new restaurants, and new supplements.
I’m not one of them.
With over 20 years of clinical experience and exhaustive research on many foods and nutrients, I know what to look for.
I also know how to read the research and to read between the lines of what the media is saying about supplements.
I feel that I owe it to you and to myself to be informed and to try these products too.
Sometimes I’m amazed by what I find helps improve overall health as in the case of L-tyrosine but remember this:
- I always back my experiences with the research we have available.
- With L-tyrosine, you won’t find huge clinical trials, largely because the funding of research today goes primarily to big pharmaceutical companies.
- Still, thousands of people give us the information we may want to know based on experience and reviews.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. While The Healthy RD’s posts are backed by research, you are unique, so you must seek care from your own dietitian or healthcare provider. This post is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
28 thoughts on “L-Tyrosine Changed My Life and It May Change Yours Too”
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I have an undiagnosed neurological condition and have suffered with chronic brain fog and exhaustion for around 15 years.
Since supplementing with l tyrosine I feel rejuvenated!
I feel more alert and alive than I thought possible at 80!
My father, brother and a sister all died with Parkinson’s?
It’s changed my life…
I’m so happy it’s helped you, Jayne! It’s amazing for me too. Stay well.
This is great and I’m very happy these supplements have helped you so much. They have been changing my life all for the better as well.
I only want to add that instead of taking tryptophan along with the L-tyrosine, one should take 5 htp (5-hydroxytryptophan). As it crosses the blood-brain barrier faster which means it is converted into serotonin more effectively, it also has a more anti-depressant effect.
Thank you so much, Leila! Yes, you are correct. 5-HTP is the way to go for better effectiveness. The supplements I recommend have that form in them.
I am currently taking a 5HTP supplement that also contains Sam e and a few others. Should I take L-TYrosine alone or do I need to add the Tritophan?
Thanks for your comment! Everyone is different, but most people can add l-tyrosine if they are already taking 5HTP and SAMe.
Hope this helps.
I read that L-tyrosine is good for you libido if you are struggling with sexual dysfunction, do you know this to be the case?
Perhaps! Animal studies indicate low tyrosine hydroxylase levels are related to sexual dysfunction. Thanks for your comment.
Thank you for this information. You mentioned that these amino acids should be combined and the potential risk of only taking the tryptophan but I didn’t see the risk of only taking the L-tyrosene. Is it necessary to combine l-tyrosene with tryptophan if I don’t suffer from depression and anxiety? I just started taking only L-tyrosene as I likely have undiagnosed ADD (I’m a 45-year old woman) and have been ‘self-medicating’ with caffeine (coffee) my entire life. I just started this tonight as I’m going to give it a try and see if I notice a difference in my mood, productivity/paralysis, and brain fog/scatter-brained/hyper-focus!
Thanks for this information. I have only just started taking L-Tyrosine and it has already helped with my focus and mood swings. I am also off adhd medication and I still feel okay. My only question is – can you take this daily long term? I have read you should stop after 3 months? Thanks 🙂
Great question, Dijana!
Research shows that super-high doses for 3 months were safe. That is probably why you are reading the three months, but this doesn’t mean you should only take it for 3 months. Personally, I take a moderate dose recommended here and I continue to have benefits from it.
When in doubt, I would ask your healthcare provider to be sure and make sure to balance it with tryptophan.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your comment and great question!
One research study gave VERY high doses of L-tyrosine for 3 months and it was safe. I’m assuming that this is why you are seeing a 3-month recommendation.
However, many people take it for much longer at reasonable doses and are just fine.
When in doubt, I recommend checking with your healthcare provider and make sure to balance it with tryptophan.
Hi! I was wondering what about taking L-Tyrosine with N-Acetyl mg? How does that work together for focus and racing thoughts?
Do you mean N-Acetylcysteine or N-Acetylglucosamine? N-acetylcysteine is used for detoxification and N-acetylglucosamine is used primarily for pain relief. It is hard to predict individual results for sure. L-tyrosine’s primary role is to make dopamine, so it can help with focus if you are low in dopamine, but may not if you aren’t low in it. Great question!
How do you find a supplement that’s 100/150mg? Everything I see is around 1000 or so.
I fear I have early onset Parkinson’s and I can’t see a neurologist for a long time. I’m hoping this would help me. Trying to do all the research I can but it has given me extreme anxiety.
Typically, it’s available in doses of around 100-500 mg. I suggest trying to look at Brain MD.
Hi, I’ve read that tyrosine and tryptophan compete for absorption, so wouldn’t it make more sense to take them separately, at least 2 hours apart?
That’s a great question! Technically, it may a bit, but the advantage of taking them together probably outweighs any small competition. For example, if you have too much tryptophan, it can cause your dopamine levels to drop, and in my experience, I didn’t feel as well taking just tryptophan. They use different enzymes in the brain. This study review shows how they work synergistically together: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7586026/ Although in theory, they could compete for absorption, there isn’t any data to show that this is a negative thing. In my experience, they work very well when taken together, but best to take them on an empty stomach.
The two days I took 5htp and l-tyrisone I became agitated and I had anxiety that I haven’t had in months. I’m guessing I’m one of the rare people? I just spent so much money on these darn it. Any way to combat this? When I was just taking 5htp it would give me horrific nightmares every time but no anxiety.
If I took it with a seperate vit B6 I became nauseas. If I took a 5htp with vit B and C incorporated I didn’t get nauseas.
What could be going on here? Any ideas?
I’ve given this to my 9 yr old adhd and I’ve seen no difference in him, how long would you wait to see any improvement?
Unfortunately, that is a side effect in some people-anxiety. This likely means this supplement isn’t for you, sadly. There are lots of other things to try. Good luck!
My daughter is suffering from hypothyroidism, she’s 20 now and she’s on thyronorm 100mcg since 8 months. Recently she’s diagnosed as she’s has hashimotto’s disease. Can she take sea kelp supplement along with l tyrosine.
Are these supplements safe for breastfeeding?
5htp makes me too listless even when I get sleep and actually too much sleep. Tyrosine with B6 works well for me but additional caffeine or capsaicin makes me light headed and nauseous.
Thanks for info.. could you please summarise, how do you take all these supplements(separately or not( and at what time???
Thanks for your comment. Generally people take these two supplements together and best taken on an empty stomach. In my experience, they still have a benefit if taken with food, though.
Hope this helps!
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD
The Healthy RD
I have both ADHD and a thyroid conversion issue. Coincidentally both these conditions depend on adequate tyrosine.
I have been taking L- tyrosine and 5-HTP separately for several years to take advantage of their different effects. I find L-tyrosine stimulating (as in alertness), so I take it on an empty stomach in the morning. I have had no problems taking it with Adderall.
Many people recommend taking 5-HTP (often with L-theanine) at bedtime for better sleep, but I found it gave me headaches. So instead I take it on an empty stomach before dinner, and this both helps my sleeps and balances out the tyrosine…without the headaches.
I starting a trial tomorrow of:
I’ll be taking this dose twice daily (12hrs apart)
Also, I’ll come back in 28days and let this thread know how I’m feeling.
Aim to improve the following: