Tyrosine: Uses, Side Effects, and Reviews

Tyrosine: Uses, Side Effects, and Reviews

Tyrosine is often touted as a supplement which can aid in weight loss, stress relief, and depression. Today we’re taking a closer look at the uses and side effects of tyrosine.

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What is Tyrosine?

Tyrosine, or L-Tyrosine, is an amino acid which is a building block for several brain-related chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters affect mood, which is why tyrosine is being studied for mood-related conditions.

The body forms Tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine.

Tyrosine Benefits & Uses

  • Athletic performance – Though some athletes and bodybuilders believe tyrosine enhances performance, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support such claims.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – Sciences studies in this area have had mixed results.
  • Depression – It is theorized that tyrosine may help depression because many people suffering depression have low levels of this amino acid. However, studies in this area have had mixed results.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU) – People with this condition can’t process phenylalanine properly, so their bodies can’t make tyrosine. Tyrosine is effective for treating this condition.
  • Sleep – Limited research suggests tyrosine may increase alertness in sleep deprived people. WebMD lists this as a “possibly effect” treatment.
  • Stress – The University of Maryland Medical Center states, “Some animal and human studies suggest that tyrosine supplements may help improve memory and performance under psychological stress, but more research is needed.”
  • Weight Loss – It is believed that tyrosine may aid in weight loss for those who overeat due to stress. Studies have not confirmed this, though.

There are a host of other ailments for which people use tyrosine, but evidence as to its effectiveness for these conditions is lacking. Such conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, PMS, and schizophrenia.

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Tyrosine appears to be generally safe for up to three months of usage at appropriate does. Long-term effects of taking tyrosine are unknown.

The most recommended dosage for Tyrosin appears to be 150 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.  Dosages in science studies of Tyrosine ranged from 7 g to 30 g per day.

Tyrosine Side Effects and Interactions

Potential side effects usually occur at higher doses.

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting

There are also possible interactions which must be considered. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s), synthetic thyroid hormones, and Levodopa (L-dopa) are known to interact with Tyrosine. People with hyperthyroidism or Graves disease should not take tyrosine supplements.

You should consult a doctor before taking this supplement. 

Foods that Contain Tyrosine

Though many people take tyrosine supplements, it is found in a variety of common foods, such as:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy products
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt
  • Wheat

Where can I buy tyrosine?

Tyrosine is a common supplement that should be easy to find at any vitamin store or health shop for about $10. If you wish to purchase online, stick with a trusted vendor and avoid unknown websites which only sell one product.

Bottom Line

Tyrosine is an amino acid which is known to be effective for treating phenylketonuria (PKU) and may be effective for increasing alertness due to lack of sleep. Numerous other uses have been suggested, but there is currently no scientific evidence to support other uses. When dosage is appropriate, it is thought that Tyrosince is safe to take for up to three months. Before taking Tyrosine, potential users should consult with their doctor and be aware of possible side effects/interactions.

Your Turn

Have you used tyrosine? Let us know your experience with it in the comments below.


Updated January 29, 2015
Originally published May 2013


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