Of the approximately 20 proteinogenic amino acids inside your body, L-tyrosine or simply tyrosine is nonessential because your body already produces it from another amino acid called phenylalanine. The primary benefits of tyrosine that have been reported are mostly attributed to preventing a decline in cognitive function in response to physical stress. Tyrosine is the precursor to catecholamines (stress hormones produced by the adrenaline gland). Therefore, alterations in the availability of tyrosine to the brain can impact the synthesis of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters which influence mood) in experimental animals, and are presumed to work well in humans.
Tyrosine is used in protein supplements to treat a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU). People who have this problem can’t process phenylalanine properly, so as a result they can’t make tyrosine. To meet this requirement, supplemental tyrosine is given. Tyrosine can also be found naturally in foods like cottage cheese, turkey, fish, pork, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, avocados, seaweed, mustard leaves and wheat.
Both mental and physical stress are an inevitable part of the human life cycle and in extreme forms, can cause or aggravate psychiatric conditions including depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many people may feel that they’d like to enhance the quality of their lives a bit due to work or family related stress— so this may account for the large number of herbal and “natural” compounds sold over the counter in supermarkets, drugstores and online to help control this dilemma.
In addition to participating in some function of almost every protein in the body, tyrosine helps produce melanin, the pigment responsible for hair and skin color. It also assists in the role of organs responsible for making and regulating hormones, including the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands.
The recommended dosage varies from person to person, so it’s best to begin (after you consult with your doctor) with a lower dose of 500 milligrams— then gauge your tolerance. This is best when taken prior to exercise on an empty stomach. I’ve tried tyrosine prior to my workout and have noticed a spike in my workouts in terms of rapid energy (when recovering from sleep), and an improved balance in my cognitive abilities (general brain function). Tyrosine could be used to help enhance one’s mood, bouts with depression or even anxiety. Check out Fitness Rx for Men’s supplement section to see which products that contain tyrosine could assist you in your personal or workout endeavors.