In the nootropics space, l-tyrosine is a somewhat popular amino acid taken in combination with other brain supplements. It is used to produce noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain. But exactly is it good for and how does it help boost cognitive function? Well, l-tyrosine appears to decrease acute stress in the body and maintain cognitive function when the body experiences stress.
L-Tyrosine Human Trials
There have been four clinical trials that have sought to find out whether or not l-tyrosine increases human cognition.
- In a study with 23 subjects ages 18-29, subjects who took 100mg per kg of body weight found improvements in mood, cognitive function, and decreased side effects associated with acute stressors, including high altitudes and extreme cold.
- A study of 21 subjects showed that 2g of l-tyrosine lowered blood pressure and preserved cognition during one week of intense military combat training. The study also found improvement in subjective well-being
- A double-blind study involving 18 subjects showed 150mg per kg of body weight showed that the effects of sleep deprivation was significantly decreased when compared to the placebo
- A small double-blind study of 8 subjects showed that 150 mg of l-tyrosine per kg of body weight maintained working memory better during cold temperatures than the control group
It seems that l-tyrosine is a substance you need to take in large quantities for it to be effective. In human studies, cognitive benefits have been observed in dosages such as 2 grams, 100 milligram per kilogram of body weight, and 150 milligram per kilogram of body weight.
So if you weigh 70 kilograms (154 pounds), then you would take anywhere from 7 grams to 11.5 grams of l-tyrosine to meet the dosage requirement of some of the clinical studies. But in other clinical studies, 2 grams seems to show benefits of preserved cognition in human studies regardless of subject’s weight.
However, just because human trials used these amounts does not mean it is not effective in smaller dosages. The standard recommended dosage that most people recommend starting out with is 1 gram, or 1,000 milligrams. If this dosage does not work, increase the dosage gradually, upping it by 500 mg each time.
Although there have not been any deaths linked to l-tyrosine, some people have reported some side effects when taking over 12 grams (12,000 milligrams) within 24 hours. Some of the side effects include anxiety, overstimulation, heart palpitations, and restlessness. These side effects were not seen in a clinical setting.
When To Take L-Tyrosine
Studies show that this amino acid yields the most benefit when taken an hour before the onset of acute stressors. So essentially, you want to take this an hour prior to exercising, testing, or a big speech.
In human trials, there is no evidence of l-tyrosine helping with cognitive function during periods where the body doesn’t experience stress. Thus, taking it during periods of relaxation does not seem to help with cognitive function.
What to Combine L-Tyrosine With
The nootropic community is keen on combining multiple substances to see which combination yields the greatest cognitive boost. For the most part, this is pretty safe as nootropics aren’t pharmaceuticals—they are essentially supplements. But what works in conjunction with l-tyrosine really depends on your brain chemistry; a specific dosage and/or combination that worked for someone else may not work for you. However as a starting point, here are a few substances that are often combined with l-tryosine.
5-HTP: 5-Hydroxytryptophan, also known as oxitriptan, is an amino acid that is native to the human body. It is a chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of serotonin from tryptophan (an amino acid used in the biosynthesis of protein). Essentially, 5-HTP gets converted into serotonin in the brain. It has been used with success to increase serotonin levels in those with depleted serotonin, such as those with metabolic syndromes or with depression. Taking l-tyrosine with 5-HTP is popular because of its mood-enhancing properties. The combination of the two keep the ratio of dopamine to serotonin balanced in the brain, since l-tyrosine increases dopamine in the brain. A typical dose of 5-HTP is around 300 to 500 mg but your mileage may vary.
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Creatine: Creatine and l-tyrosine is a common stack used as a pre-workout supplement in the weight lifting community. Both substances seem to achieve the same goal, provide cognitive stability and mental energy during periods of acute stress.
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Rhodiola Rosea: This perennial flowering plant is yet another popular option for people to combine with l-tyrosine. It is used quite a bit in traditional Scandinavian and Chinese medicine. It has been shown in eight human studies to be effective in reducing fatigue and improving cognition during periods of fatigue.
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Where to Get L-Tyrosine
L-tyrosine is often combined with other nootropics to form a synergistic reaction. Alpha Brain (my review), one of the most popular nootropic stacks on the market, includes l-tyrosine in. You can also buy l-tyrosine by itself from Amazon or other suppliers like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe. If you are looking for variety, Amazon is probably the best place to look because it has l-tyrosine from many suppliers.
Getting Your L-Tyrosine From Alpha Brain
However, if you want to form a nootropic stack with l-tyrosine, you may want to try Alpha Brain to see how you like the interaction. The creators of Alpha Brain are a pretty big name in the nootropic space with a history of customer satisfaction. Try them first and see how it turns out; it definitely worked for me.
Admittedly, the quantity of some ingredients in the Alpha Brain blend may not be enough for you depending on your chemistry. For instance, the blend has less l-tyrosine that what the clinical trials used. However, the low volume of some of the ingredients can be offset by the addition of the other nootropics in the blend. Either way, try Alpha Brain and buy l-tyrosine from Amazon if you need more in the blend. This is probably the easiest way to try out a nootropic stack with l-tyrosine in it.
The Bottom Line On L-Tyrosine
L-tyrosine can be found in many nootropic stacks. And there’s reason for that. It has been studied on humans and have been shown to be an effective cognitive enhancer. However, the majority of human trials show that most of the benefits of l-tyrosine come from what it does to the brain during periods stress. That is to say l-tyrosine doesn’t seem to deliver much benefit to the user under normal (non-stressful conditions). Thus, in order for the nootroopic to deliver maximum benefit, it would be best to take it right before a high stakes or stressful event, such as a competition or a test.