Tyrosine essential amino acid is one of the four aromatic amino acids, namely tryptophan, phenylalanine, histidine, and tyrosine. These four aromatic amino acids support the health of your nervous system as precursors of neurotransmitters. Tyrosine, for instance, is a precursor of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals have a wide range of functions in the body. Talk about thyroid health, cognitive functions, energy levels, and mood quality. They are involved in all of these and many more. This amino acid is a major requirement for optimum health. You should be intentional about getting as much tyrosine as your body needs daily even if you would have to take supplements.
There are debates as to whether tyrosine is nutritionally essential or not. As with other non-essential amino acids, your body can make tyrosine by itself. However, it is classified as conditionally essential because sometimes your body cannot make enough to meet your needs. Tyrosine is usually made from another amino acid, phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. So in a way, tyrosine is nutritionally essential. But if you can’t get enough, your body can make some using phenylalanine. This amino is very important for metabolism and can be used to treat stubborn health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Tyrosine: Essential Amino Acid?
Tyrosine is a core amino acid in your body. Your body has 20 of such, and tyrosine is one of them. Among many other functions, these 20 amino acids help your body to build proteins.
Tyrosine is a conditionally essential amino acid. Of the 20 amino acids, 7 are conditionally essential. Your body can naturally make these 7 amino acids.
But in some conditions, you may not be able to get enough of them naturally. At such times, you must get these amino acids either from diet or supplements.
What does this imply? On a normal day, you don’t have to think about how to get tyrosine from your diet. However, it is very helpful if you can obtain more tyrosine from your foods.
Tyrosine contributes to optimum health by helping your body to fight fatigue, poor cognition, and depression, among many others. It can also prevent excess weight gain. We will discuss the benefits of Tyrosine extensively as we go on.
You can get tyrosine from protein-rich foods like fish, meat, and eggs. There are several tyrosine supplement products available on the market too. A lot of people take these supplements to support their weight loss goals.
Meanwhile, tyrosine is not the only compound your body needs to make neurotransmitters. Several nutrients are also involved in the process. Tyrosine may be the main precursor, but you should get lots of these other nutrients too. They include B vitamins, folate, magnesium, and copper.
Tyrosine (Tyr) has an opposite effect compared to the amino acid, tryptophan (Trp). The fluctuation in the balance of Tyr and Trp can determine how you feel per time.
Trp increases calm feelings and may make you feel sleepy. These are effects of serotonin that are made from Trp. Tyr, on the other hand, increases feelings of alertness as well as the ability to focus and concentrate.
The Health Benefits of Tyrosine
The following are ways in which tyrosine supports optimum health:
1. Managing depression
Dopamine is the happy hormone in your body. When your brain is “pumped full” with dopamine, you feel extremely happy.
Dopamine regulates the pleasure centers of your brain. So when your body uses tyrosine to make more dopamine, you would feel happy and have a generally improved mood. Some experts use this as a therapy in managing depression.
2. Managing stress
Adrenaline is the hormone that triggers “fight-or-flight response”. This is how you usually respond to threats, danger, emergencies, and stress generally.
Aside from the response that adrenaline triggers, tyrosine helps manage stress in yet another way. Through a series of biochemical processes, tyrosine protects you from mood changes and cognitive decline that may occur due to stressful situations.
Consuming more tyrosine is beneficial for people who are dealing with chronic stress and depression. It relieves the irritability, moodiness, and fatigue that usually come with these conditions.
3. Improved mental performance
We talked about how tyrosine (Tyr) opposes some of the effects of tryptophan (Trp). Trp may make you kind of drowsy, but Tyr does the exact opposite. It boosts your focus, concentration, alertness, energy levels, and mental performance.
Tyrosine has stimulating effects on your brain. Some experts have looked into using tyrosine to enhance learning abilities, mental alertness As well as decrease brain fog.
4. Prevents excess weight gain
Tyrosine surely helps to prevent weight gain. Besides, it can also enhance the results you get from natural fat-burning products like caffeine, cayenne, and green tea. This is beneficial for overweight and obese adults.
5. Optimizes thyroid health
Your body uses tyrosine to make the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. This is the main hormone that your thyroid gland releases into your bloodstream.
Thyroxine helps to regulate metabolism in your body. It also helps to control the levels of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4 in your blood.
If your body does not have enough tyrosine to make adequate amounts of thyroxine, you will come down with a condition called hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).
The main symptom of hypothyroidism is slow metabolism rates. Other symptoms include fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, weight gain, moodiness, and general body weakness.
6. Managing withdrawal syndrome
Tyrosine can assist in the process of coming off an addiction by helping to manage the withdrawal symptoms. This is because dopamine plays a very important role in the development of addictive behaviors.
Foods Rich in Tyrosine
You can find an abundance of tyrosine in foods protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, and meat. Some plant-based foods also contain tyrosine but in much smaller amounts.
Some of the best food sources of tyrosine are as follows:
- Dairy products (organic products are the best)
- Grass-fed meats
- Pasture-raised poultry
- Wild-caught fish
- Pastured eggs
- Nuts & seeds
- Beans & legumes
- Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, etc.
Tyrosine essential amino acids enhance optimum health. You should add rich sources of this aromatic amino acid to your daily diet.