Despite the reliance of nootropics enthusiasts on new synthetic research chemicals, often the most profound cognitive enhancing drugs are none other than amino acids and nutrients. L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, which is important for the function of numerous cognitive features.
L-tyrosine is most often used as a reliable dopamine precursor in addition to other brain chemicals like epinephrine and adrenaline . By modulating these brain chemicals, tyrosine improves memory formation and cognitive performance . It is also implicated in supporting cognitive health even during stressful situations .
Besides these many benefits, L-tyrosine is considered a great mood enhancer  and is considered generally safe.
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Benefits of L-Tyrosine
This non-essential amino acid is capable of enhancing many aspects of cognitive abilities especially under stress. One study showed that military personnel exposed to cold and altitude stressors were able to withstand these much better with an L-tyrosine supplement .
- Concentration and attention 
- Memory formation 
- Mood enhancer 
- Prevents cognitive decline with stress 
Another test showed similar reduction in blood pressure and cognitive ability preservation during combat training . One study on tyrosine showed that military personnel who were exposed to cold and altitude stressors were able to withstand this better with tyrosine than placebo . While somewhat unique, tyrosine benefits are largely correlated with the preservation of mental capacity while experiencing some type of hardship.
Of course, as with any nootropic drug that increases dopamine, there are going to be some enhancements related to subjective well-being and mood . Given that dopamine is one of the main brain chemicals associated with happiness, it is no wonder people enjoy taking L-tyrosine.
Beyond this, there are memory related benefits of L-tyrosine. In one study, participants were plunged into cold environments and tested on their mental capabilities. The conclusion stated that L-tyrosine was a good guarantor of memory in such a stressful situation .
Finally, although the test was confounded with other nootropic compounds, L-tyrosine was implicated in assisting children with ADHD to reduce their symptoms and maintain better attention .
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Are there Alternatives to Tyrosine?
Even though tyrosine (mostly purchased as L-tyrosine) is useful with many of the benefits we have described. There are other options for the same compound. For example, you might be able to use N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) as a mechanism to enhance these markers of your performance with more efficacy.
There are many people who utilize NALT as a way to get more L-tyrosine. The acetylated form of the compound will make it more bioavailable and thus easier to get this amino acid to do its work.
You may want to start out with buying tyrosine instead of NALT just to get a feel for the amino acid and to avoid any shocks to the system. While both drugs have relatively few side effects, it is almost always better to be on the side of caution.
How Does L-Tyrosine Work?
As described, the main mechanism of L-tyrosine is to produce brain chemicals called dopamine and adrenaline. These chemicals are useful in a number of functions including the above mentioned benefits.
Even these brain chemicals come from somewhere and the mechanism is attributed to catecholamine synthesis .
L-Tyrosine Side Effects
Even though this is an amino acid, there are still plenty of risks associated with any drug. The L-tyrosine side effects are not common, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Some people who use L-tyrosine find that they have headaches. Sometimes it is even as bad as migraine headaches and some hypothesize this is related to abnormal metabolism of tyrosine within the bloodstream .
Tyrosine side effects may also be related to people using MAO inhibitors because it is a precursor for a chemical called tyramine. If you are using an MAOI, keep this in mind for your supplementation.
The L-tyrosine dosage will depend somewhat on the goals. As most evidence covers L-tyrosine as a stress-reducing agent, it is effective to take L-tyrosine powder or L-tyrosine capsules 30 – 60 minutes before any stressor (usually exercise, cold therapy etc).
The typical tyrosine dosage to start off with is between 500 and 2,000 grams. This can be a good place to start.
How and Where to Buy L-Tyrosine
You can buy L-tyrosine from almost any grocery or health food store. There are many different options for this supplement and if you look for L-tyrosine for sale online, you are probably going to find a much better bargain. Without being able to compare different tyrosine bulk prices with one another, finding a product in a grocery store might be a bit too expensive.
There is another alternative to L-tyrosine as well. Some studies are suggesting that N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) can be an effective supplement instead of taking tyrosine . Read more about the difference and how it might impact your own tyrosine purchase decisions.
We recommend Pure Nootropics for L-tyrosine capsules as they have a reputable brand and their L-tyrosine is affordable.
Selected Community Experiences
“I carefully tried L-Tyrosine as it acts on entirely different neurotransmitters (Dopamine, Adrenaline, Noradrenaline). Immediately my anxiety dropped. I've now taken 3g L-Tyrosine daily for 2 days and I feel almost completely normal. All that is left of my severe anxiety is some very very slight lingering tension.”  – henkesand
“I've been taking 1,000mg of it about three times a day since Sunday. It has been fantastic, giving me a silky smooth flow of energy, motivation, stress relief and general happiness.”  – SpYf3R
Author’s Thoughts on L-Tyrosine
I’ve never tried L-tyrosine by itself, but with 5-HTP it can do wonders. This isn’t a test I recommend anybody try in the long-term, but it could be a useful tool every once in awhile. There is a lot of data (both theoretical and anecdotal) that suggests the two work synergistically together.
I don’t have extensive experience, but it seems like Onnit’s Alpha Brain product uses L-tyrosine as a replacement for mucuna pruriens for legal and / or moral reasons (who knows really).
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Contributor
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