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Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid (a building block for protein) involved in the production of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and stress hormones.

What are its health benefits?

Tyrosine is produced in the body by phenylalanine, another amino acid. It is a building block for neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.

It also helps the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands make and regulate hormones, and helps produce melanin, which is the pigment responsible for hair and skin colour.

Tyrosine supplementation may have the following benefits:

  • Aiding mental performance, alertness and memory, especially in the management of sleep deprivation or stress
  • Assisting in the relief of symptoms associated with conditions like depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • In bodybuilding, it may aid performance and reduce fatigue and stress after hard training sessions
  • Assisting in the management of phenylketonuria (PKU), a hereditary disorder where the body is not able to properly process phenylalanine which can lead to brain damage

Do you have a deficiency?

Rarely can one suffer a deficiency, although low levels have been associated with low blood pressure, low body temperature and an underactive thyroid.

Find it in these sources

Tyrosine is found in a number of high-protein foods such as:

  • Most meats and fish
  • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Nuts and seeds like peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs
  • Soy products
  • Lima beans
  • Bananas
  • Avocados

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

The standard dosage of tyrosine is around 100mg per 100g body weight. This amounts to an average of between 500 and 1500 mg per day for adults, and should not be more than 12000mg per day.

However, first consult your doctor about whether you should be supplementing with tyrosine.

Warnings

Taking tyrosine supplements may have negative effects on those with an overactive thyroid, or Graves disease, and may worsen these conditions.

Tyrosine should not be given to children unless advised by a doctor.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid tyrosine.

Possible side effects

Tyrosine is generally safe to consume orally or applied to the skin for short periods of time, however, some people may experience some of the following side effects:

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicine Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015