• Coach Kristen, MD

Let's talk about tyrosine

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Tyrosine is probably the single most powerful supplement I've ever used. What is it, and what does it do?

Tyrosine is an amino acid. For those non-nerds out there, that means that it comes from protein - which many Americans neglect to eat enough of. Even the most health conscious - ESPECIALLY the most health conscious - are often taking in too little protein to get adequate tyrosine. Why? Because if you're anything like me, my initial attempts at cleaning up my diet involved removing high protein foods like meats and dairy and replacing them with fruits and vegetables.

The problem with this is the following: all the brain chemicals that create feelings of happiness, motivation, focus, and energy are made from amino acids like tyrosine. Tyrosine is a crucial component of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine - and the consequences of being deficient in these are low energy, addictive tendencies, lack of motivation, and depression. Not good. Even worse, tyrosine is a critical component of thyroid hormone. So if you're not getting enough tyrosine, you are very likely also not making enough thyroid hormone, and if you're not making enough thyroid hormone, you're tired, depressed, constipated, and overweight; your hair is thin, your skin is dry. Also - not good.

Thankfully, there's a solution! Well there are a couple solutions. One - address the root cause of the problem by eating more protein! If, like me, you love animals and are a vegetarian, supplement with a high quality protein powder. I love the Vega brand, which is vegan, but I also occasionally use whey protein powder, which I do just fine with despite that I'm dairy intolerant. Generally you should aim for at least 75 grams of protein per day (ask your doc if you have kidney or liver disease or another contraindication to high protein diets though). You need more if you exercise a lot. You'll feel better quickly - within days - once you start supplementing.

But for a faster and more targeted solution, supplement with tyrosine. I LOVE Pure Encapsulations brand, but am using Jarrow now, which I find as effective. Try taking 500 mg on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. You should feel the effects - energy, motivation, focus - within 20 minutes. If you don't, take another. I personally take two every morning, and when I don't take it, I feel it - decreased energy, focus, motivation. Try it out, and if you love it, which I suspect you will, leave me a comment and let me know what effects you experienced.

To your health!

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