Tyrosine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body makes tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine. Tyrosine can also be found in dairy products, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, and wheat.
Tyrosine is most commonly used in protein supplements to treat an inherited disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU). People who have this disorder can’t process phenylalanine properly. As a result they can’t make tyrosine. To meet their bodies’ needs, supplemental tyrosine is given.
Tyrosine is also commonly used to improve learning, memory, and alertness, especially during stressful situations.
Tyrosine helps make several important substances, including :
- Dopamine: Dopamine regulates your reward and pleasure centers. This important brain chemical is also important for memory and motor skills
- Adrenaline and noradrenaline: These hormones are responsible for the fight-or-flight response to stressful situations. They prepare the body to “fight” or “flee” from a perceived attack or harm
- Thyroid hormones: Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland and primarily responsible for regulating metabolism
- Melanin: This pigment gives your skin, hair and eyes their color. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people