The Amino Acids Section
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Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that helps regulate mood and stimulates the nervous system. It can also help speed up the metabolism and treat conditions characterized by chronic fatigue.
The body needs adequate supplies of tyrosine to make many important brain chemicals that help regulate appetite, pain sensitivity, and the body’s response to stress. It is also needed for normal functioning of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands—low levels of tyrosine may lead to hypothyroidism, low blood pressure, chronic fatigue, and sluggish metabolism.
The body needs both tyrosine and an the essential amino phenylalanine to make epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters that basically control the way you perceive and interact with your environment. Without adequate amounts of phenylalanine, the body can’t manufacture it’s own supply of tyrosine; without adequate amounts of tyrosine, the body cannot metabolize phenylalanine. A shortage of either of these amino acids could leave you vulnerable to a host of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, low libido, and chronic fatigue. Tyrosine supplements, especially when combined with 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan) supplements, have been used successfully to treat depression. Tyrosine supplementation has also been used for treatment of allergies, headaches, Parkinson’s disease, and drug withdrawal.
Although your body manufactures tyrosine from phenylalanine, you can also get phenylalanine from certain foods, including almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy foods, beans, and seeds. There are some people, however, that have a condition that makes it impossible for them to convert phenylalanine into tyrosine, which is called phenylketonuria (PKU). For these people tyrosine is an essential acid, and supplementation is necessary. Tyrosine is available in powder and capsules, and is best taken at bedtime so that it does not compete for absorption with other amino acids.
Anyone with high blood pressure or migraines should not take tyrosine or even eat foods high in this amino acid, as it may aggravate their condition. Anyone taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors should not take tyrosine or phenylalanine supplements or even eat foods that contain significant amounts of these amino acids—both have been shown to cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure when combined with these medications.
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