L-Tyrosine: A Powerful Way To Manage Stress, Anxiety, Depression
Everyone experiences stress in their lives. It is simply part of the human experience. Sometimes stress is caused by a medical condition and other times it’s caused by an event. Stress, depression, anxiety, and weight gain among other issues could be helped with an amino acid supplement called, L-Tyrosine. Most of us don’t think about taking individual amino acids for a condition, but this stimulant can help. It may be beneficial to look at your blood work to determine if it would be beneficial for you.
There are a variety of supplements you can purchase over-the-counter that can assist with anxiety and depression. Most AMA doctors might suggest more exercise or talk with a clinical therapist or potentially a psychiatrist. This way, you could end up with a pharmaceutical, which could have the potential for a variety of negative effects.
If you aren’t one to go that route, find an alternative. Amino acids can still have negative side effects. Though not approved by the FDA to treat medical conditions, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has determined through testing that L-Tyrosine helps aid in reducing stress.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein in the body. We get amino acids from a variety of foods including: meat, fish, nuts, wheat, eggs, and beans. These building blocks are needed for us to function properly and without them our body deteriorates. So, make sure you choose both your food and daily routine wisely.
First and foremost, here’s the version I use. It can be found on Amazon here. That said, you can do your own research.
Advice for Non-Protein Eaters
The vegan and vegetarian movement have become popular in recent years. You can get everything you need nutrient wise as long as you’re taking the appropriate amount of supplements along with your greens and pastas.
So, if you’re a vegan (eliminating practically everything from diet except veggies) you may want to consider taking a supplement for protein as well as certain vitamins and minerals. If you eat a tad more and consider yourself vegetarian, you still probably need more protein; get a powder mix. Vegetables are filled with vitamins, but protein is essential for organs to function properly. Protein helps you to build the fats needed to fend off certain illness. It’s best to be a vegetarian and eat small amounts of fish for fat building purposes.
Though a lack of many vitamins, amino acids and minerals can contribute to stress and anxiety, you may want to look into the possibility that L-Tyrosine or lack thereof may be playing a role in any medical issues that creep up, or you already have. (source)
How Does L-Tyrosine Work?
L-Tyrosine makes the chemical messengers in your brain more active. This is how it contributes to individuals that need to be more mentally alert.
L-Tyrosine Benefits and Conditions Used For
As stated above L-Tyrosine is essential for the body to function and can be found in a variety of foods high in protein. It is commonly used to treat phenylketonuria which is an inherited medical condition when you can’t process phenylalanine properly. An individual with this condition can take it as a supplement powder or in capsule form.
The amino acid is used for other conditions such as improving memory, learning, for more alertness, etc. General stress or significant stress can also be eased by the use of L tyrosine. Always consult with a medical professional or your primary care doctor to better determine levels of L tyrosine you may need. Checking your blood work would be beneficial.
Benefits of L-Tyrosine:
- Stress Reduction
- Improve memory
- Improve learning function
- Helps to stay alert
- Used for people who cannot process phenylalanine (DLPA benefits explained)
L-Tyrosine has been shown to reduce stress. It can also help improve memory, mental performance and help individuals who suffer from insomnia. Research has determined that a can help improve an individual’s performance mentally under stressful conditions.
Stress related to noise or cold conditions can be improved. Under stress, memory can be improved. The amino acid only seems to assist in stressful situations that are moderate to severe. Regular stress situations are not significantly improved. If you suffer from insomnia and have trouble with concentration due to lack of alertness L-Tyrosine may benefit you if you can’t sleep.
NIH study: L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress?
According to Simon N. Young PhD, a professor for the Department of psychiatry at McGill University in Montréal, extreme forms of stress can cause psychiatric disorders. These include depression, schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder. (study here)
Tyrosine and Stress Response
L-Tyrosine is used for the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in animal studies. Therefore, it probably does in humans according to the study. It also shows when the body is more pumped up by stress it helps to mitigate the stress response. This shows promise for reducing stress response in humans. The study also showed that the amino acid helps prevent cognitive function decline in relation to physical stress.
Study to Improve Cognitive Function in Military
In another study, L tyrosine was used at 2 g per five-day period, during a military combat training course. Over the course of five days, the amino acid improved aspects of cognitive function compared to a placebo that was given.
Study with L-Tyrosine and Hypertension
When L-Tyrosine was given to individuals with hypertension there were no significant benefits or adverse side effects. This particular study checked blood pressure as well as heart rate.
Conclusion from These Studies
It is unclear about the safety for taking L-Tyrosine for the long term. Getting L-Tyrosine from food is different than taking a supplement. You are essentially taking a drug when you take this amino acid specifically for a condition. In these varying studies, it can be concluded that L-Tyrosine can help with significant stressors in everyday life. It also has shown to help cognitive decline due to physical stressors as well.
Conflicting Information on L-Tyrosine: Neurological and Dependence Issues
According to Dr. Young’s studies mentioned above, it is clear that L-Tyrosine can significantly help with severe stressors in life. It has other benefits that assist with improving cognitive function and has been tested with our military. However according to web M.D. L tyrosine doesn’t improve with a disorder such as ADD, depression and exercise performance.
This is rather interesting because according to various studies done helping cognitive function and helping stress would most likely improve disorder such as ADD or ADHD. It would also help improve depression symptoms. Many times depression is closely linked with anxiety and anxiety is caused by severe stress. It’s also caused by posttraumatic stress disorder. Exercise performance may or may not be improved with the amino acid.
Web M.D. suggests there is insufficient evidence for L-Tyrosine to assist with individuals suffering from alcoholism, cocaine dependence, and schizophrenia. Dr. Young concludes that hypertension, as well as schizophrenia, can be potentially improved by the amino acid.
According to WebMD, there is insufficient evidence for L-Tyrosine to help with the following:
- Cocaine dependence
- Heroin withdrawal
- Weight loss
- Skin problems
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Erectile dysfunction
L-Tyrosine and Smoking
Using L-Tyrosine for going through withdrawal from smoking could potentially help. An NIH study was done using the amino acid in three different groups of people with different frequencies of smoking tobacco.
Because the neurobiology of tobacco is in understood that well it’s hard to completely rely on these results. L-Tyrosine plays an important role in dopamine in the brain. The supplement does show that it can be effective to use to stop smoking. The control group as well as the other two groups that were studied show potential for this addiction. It does, however, need to be further studied to have more concrete evidence.
L-Tyrosine and Caffeine Withdrawal
Anyone addicted to caffeine products such as work out drinks, soda, or coffee could benefit from using the amino acid during withdrawal. As with any addiction, moving forward is difficult and should be done slowly. This way you can slow down the side effects of withdrawal that can be dangerous.
You can use L-Tyrosine to quell the increased dopamine production that will occur due to you withdrawing from your caffeine intake. As always, consult with a dietitian or your primary care doctor.
L-Tyrosine and Weight Loss
L-Tyrosine helps to stimulate weight loss by suppressing one’s appetite. Studies with animals have shown it can be effective because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It does not do this however by itself. It has to be mixed with herbs that contain ephedra. L tyrosine also stimulates the production of narrow hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. This can also aid in improving muscular activity.
The amino acid also helps improve thyroid function. It is used to treat T3 and T4 which can show indications of hypothyroidism in blood work. Thyroid hormones help promote metabolism in the body. They help to burn stored fats and release the energy. If you suffer from low thyroid function or hypothyroidism it may be useful to you to help shed a few pounds.
L-Tyrosine and Depression
According to renowned integrative MD, Dr. Weil, he doesn’t believe using L-Tyrosine is warranted for certain kinds of severe depression. Though the amino acid is a precursor to neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine and can improve moods, it might not be beneficial for severe depression. This kind of depression should be managed by a qualified mental health professional.
His concern is raised because it can increase blood pressure. Many Americans suffer from hypertension and this could be raising anxiety for these individuals. He recommends a variety of other supplements or exercise routines that people should consider before taking L-Tyrosine for any kind of depression.
Dr. Weil’s Suggestions for Improving Depression:
- Exercise for 30 minutes/day; 5 days a week
- Eat omega-3 fatty acids
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga
- John’s Wort capsule: 300 mg, daily.
- SAMe tablet: 400 to 1600 mg a day on an empty stomach
- B vitamins: especially B6 and folic acid
- These meds can cause depression: tranquilizers, narcotics, antihistamines, sleep aids
- Cognitive behavioral therapy/psychotherapy
See More L-Tyrosine Reviews on Amazon
L-Tyrosine Side-Effects and Safety
According to web M.D. L-Tyrosine is a relatively safe amino acid when consumed from food, or proteins. It is relatively safe when taking out as a medicine short-term and can also be used on the skin. Too much can cause nausea, fatigue, headache, and heartburn. It’s always important to know what your levels are before taking it so discussing it with a physician is the best thing to do.
Potential Side Effects:
- Increased heart rate
- Because it’s a stimulant, always consult a pharmacist, other interactions with medications and supplements are possible!
There aren’t enough studies or information available to know how safe it is for children to use for medicinal purposes. Always discuss your child’s conditions with the healthcare provider before using this as a supplement for your child. Due to the lack of information and studies on pregnancy, it should be used with caution if you are pregnant, or breastfeeding. It is safer to consume L-Tyrosine by eating more proteins, during a time of pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you have an overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease it may be best to understand your condition thoroughly before using tyrosine supplements. Taking too much of them could cause a problem.
How and When to Take L-Tyrosine
If you are considering taking the supplement to make sure you take it without food. It can be purchased in health food or vitamin store as a capsule, pill, and powder. If you take it with food it will not be fully effective and will be slowed down. You also want to make sure to take it during the day as it could disrupt your sleep. Talking to an integrative medical doctor about using it and proper dosing is best.
L-Tyrosine, when used as a supplement in your everyday diet can help to alleviate mild stress and depression. Severe cases of depression or weight gain issues should be better understood by you and your doctor before taking supplements in pill or powder form at home. If you have medical conditions such as high blood pressure it’s not recommended as a first choice, as it may cause other problems. There have been studies proving it helps metabolism and helps work the thyroid if you have a low acting thyroid such as hypothyroidism.
It seems as though everyone can benefit from adding more L-Tyrosine to their diet to help improve everyday stress. When you are stressed, depression can set in and cause more weight gain. By improving your mood your stress is reduced, you won’t gain weight. Always have a routine of some form of exercise and eat as healthy as possible. It seems plausible that taking L-Tyrosine could improve a variety of medical issues according to small studies that have been done. Get some blood work done and determine if your levels of L-Tyrosine are insufficient. It may be the amino acid you need to function better.
Author: Meredith Iager
Meredith has 13 years of writing experience online and in newspapers and studied journalism at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Over the years, she has contributed entertainment articles and reviews to various sites including FrederickNewsPost.com and Fanbolt.com.
Since 2010, she has focused on AMA and integrative health and wellness content for AngiesList.com, SteadyContent.com, and a variety of private clients. She is an avid supporter of being prepared when SHTF and growing your own food, and is pro federal legalization of marijuana.
In addition to writing, she does transcription, researches on health constantly, and is an avid oil and acrylic painter. You can check out her paintings and older articles here: Meredith_A_Iager on HubPages | Follow Meredith on Instagram
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