Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid that is present in certain foods that we eat such as cheese, bananas, yogurt, milk, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, peanuts, almonds, and soy. It is produced in the body from phenylalanine which is found in the foods listed above. Tyrosine is the precursor or the foundation of many hormones and neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters help keep our nerve cells from degenerating, help them communicate with each other, and stabilize our mood and sleep. Some of the neurotransmitters that tyrosine is changed into are epinephrine, norepinepherine, serotonin, and dopamine.
Tyrosine is also the foundation for some of the thyroid hormones such as T3 and thyroxin. Tyrosine is also synthesized by the adrenal gland to produce certain hormones such as levodopa. It works in the body when it is stressed due to the extreme which can be either physical or emotional stressors.
Due to the type of neurotransmitter tyrosine is, it does not have significant effect on things like our moods or sleep under normal circumstances. This neurotransmitter is designed to work when the body is put under very stressful situations. There have been studies done that show that tyrosine can be beneficial to people who have been sleep deprived for example. Tyrosine is designed to kick in and work when the body is under attack in order to put it back to rights so to speak. Since it works in extreme stress it helps to prevent depression in most circumstances and helps to prevent insomnia.
Tyrosine has many functions in the body. In addition to the synthesizing of the epinepherines dopamine and thyroxin, tyrosine helps the body to regulate metabolism and growth. Other things that tyrosine help in the body are reducing the amount of body fat that is deposited on the tissues, reducing the appetite and helps the endocrine system to function properly. Tyrosine is also responsible for proper pigmentation of the hair and skin.
People that are deficient in tyrosine can exhibit symptoms such as irregular pigmentation of the hair and skin, hypothyroidism and goiters, failure to grow properly, low body temperature and blood pressure, low sex drives, depression, and problems with the development of the central nervous system.
Clinical trials have been done using tyrosine and they have shown that this amino acid is very helpful when the body has been exposed to stressors. The studies showed that this supplement helped in areas such as when the body was exposed to cold. It also did well in studies where the participants had been either sleep deprived or had been exposed to extremely long periods of work so that the body had been stressed due to that.
The Natural Medical Comprehensive Database states that tyrosine can be used for depression, fatigue, insomnia, attention deficit disorder, PMS, stress, impotence, loss of libido, and as an appetite suppressant. There is a lot of conjecture on the internet as to the use of tyrosine as a deterrent for withdrawal symptoms for opiate drugs, cocaine, or alcohol. There are even references to people using tyrosine for nicotine and caffeine withdrawal. There are no clinical studies that could be found to verify the efficacy of this supplement for these problems however we did find many references where people were using tyrosine for these issues.
Tyrosine is being marketed on the internet as an appetite suppressant and as a way to improve a person’s mood and sleep patterns amongst other things. In this respect consumers should do their own research and due diligence concerning what proof is available as to this supplement’s proven benefits in any one area. As with any type of supplement please consult with your physician or medical provider prior to starting this or any other supplement to make sure it is safe for you.
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