The Nootropics Library: L-tyrosine

Everything You Need to Know About L-tyrosine

General Information

Scientific Name: 4-hydroxyphenylalanine

Any Other Names: Tyrosine

Country or Region of Origin: [Naturally occurring in the Human Body, and Many Foods, especially Cheese and Dairy, Turkey, Soy Products, Bananas, Peanuts, Avocados, Fish, Chicken, and More]

Known Uses: Cognitive Function, Memory, Depression, Sleep Deprivation, Neurotransmitter Regulation and Production, and More

General History & Introduction

L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, manufactured by the body from the amino acid phenylalanine (Bloemendaal et al., 2018). It is found in all human tissue and bodily fluids (Kapalka, 2010).  It is also found in many foods, most especially in cheese and dairy products (Rao & Yeragani, 2009).  Tyrosine is one of the 20 amino acids which cells require to create proteins (Slominski et al., 2012). It has a lot of practical uses with a lot of empirical data backing its efficacy for these applications. Some of these uses include depression, neurotransmitter regulation and production, cognitive function, memory, sleep regulation, and many more (Bloemendaal et al., 2018).

Nootropic Benefits of L-tyrosine

Cognitive Function and Memory

L-tyrosine has long been revered for its proven and purported effects on the brain.  It has been suggested that the substance improves cognitive performance in stressful situations (Young, 2007).  It is purportedly able to improve memory and mental processing skills (Colzato et al., 2013). Tyrosine is often referred to as a “cognitive enhancer” and has been suggested to have the ability to replenish cognitive resources as needed, and it is especially useful in improving working memory. 

With an increasing surplus of empirical research and data, this nootropic has become a powerful addition to any cognition-based nootropic stack.  There are many studies and clinical trials which have showcased Tyrosine’s ability to increase cognitive performance (McTavish et al., 2005).  One study which measured participants with a multiple task battery outlined the gains Tyrosine provided in terms of arithmetic skills, visual and audio monitoring skills, memory tests, and other facets of cognitive performance (Colzato et al., 2013). 


L-tyrosine is responsible for creating brain chemicals which can bolster nerve cell communication (Young, 2007). Improved nerve cell communication, in addition to the nootropic’s ability to regulate certain key neurotransmitter production help with memory (McTavish et al., 2005).  Many studies and clinical trials focus specifically on Tyrosine’s incredible ability to improve working memory in multitasking or stressful environments (Thomas et al., 1999). This is the reason Tyrosine has been popular in many energy drink products, as energy drinks are usually consumed during stressful, multi-tasking or demanding tasks; and L-tyrosine has been proven to be especially useful for improving working memory when heart rate and or blood pressure are increased (1999).


L-tyrosine’s ability to create more dopamine and norepinephrine is one of the main contributing factors in its ability to aide in depression (Alabsi et al., 2016). The nootropic’s ability to improve nerve cell communication is purportedly able to reduce stress and improve overall mood (Young, 2007). And many clinical studies have proven L-tyrosine an effective treatment for depression (Alabsi et al., 2016).  One study outlined the non-essential amino acid’s ability to increase motivation and mood, another effect of the chemical’s production of dopamine (McTavish et al., 2005).

Sleep Deprivation

The nootropic’s innate ability to reduce stress has a great influence on the body’s ability to enjoy quality sleep (Young, 2007). It also seems that using Tyrosine when sleep deprived results in improved memory and reasoning (Neri et al., 1995). This is especially true in terms of work performance for individuals working extended hours with very little sleep (1995).

Other Uses

The non-essential amino acid is able to provide some positive effects for patients suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) disorder (Spronsen et al., 2001).  It is one of the important foundations in the body’s production of melalin, which creates color in the skin, hair, and eyes (Slominski et al., 2012).

Dosing and Usage Information

A typical supplemental dose of L-tyrosine is 100-1000 mg daily. For neurotransmitter and cognitive support, supplements usually determine a daily dose of around 500 mg.

Side Effects

Tyrosine is generally considered safe for consumption when taken in established daily value limits (well over 1000 mg per day).  In rare instances users might report headache, heartburn, fatigue, or nausea (Bloemendaal et al., 2018).

Other Important Information


It is interesting to note that the dietary supplement form of L-tyrosine is a purified form that ensures its metabolism via catecholamine synthesis, rather than protein synthesis (Young, 2007).  This metabolism method offers the substance the opportunity to become just as effective in the body as a drug (2007).  Tyrosine can be described as the biochemical precursor to the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine (Colzato et al., 2013).


Tyrosine offers excellent capability in terms of stress reduction, memory bolstering, and cognitive function enhancing. It is a powerful regulator of neurotransmitters and gaining popularity in the nootropics world. The effects it has on working memory are well-documented and strongly impressive. This non-essential amino acid is great for depression, sleep, and many other uses too.  It has been generally accepted as safe and improves almost any nootropic stack.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Alabsi, A., Khoudary, A., and Abdelwahed, W., (2016). The Antidepressant Effect of L-Tyrosine-Loaded Nanoparticles: Behavioral Aspects. Annals of Neurosciences. Vol. 23. Pp. 89-99. DOI: 10.1159/000443575

Bloemendaal, M., Froböse, M. I., Wegman, J., Zandbelt, B. B., van de Rest, O., Cools, R., and Aarts, E. (2018). Neuro-Cognitive Effects of Acute Tyrosine Administration on Reactive and Proactive Response Inhibition in Healthy Older Adults. eNeuro. Vol. 5(2). DOI:

Colzato, L., Jongkees, B., Sellaro, R., and Hommel, B. (2013). Working memory reloaded: tyrosine repletes updating in the N-back task. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. Vol. 7. Pp. 200. DOI:

Kapalka, G. (2010). Chapter 4 – Substances Involved in Neurotransmission. In Practical Resources for the Mental Health Professional. Nutritional and Herbal Therapies for Children and Adolescents. Academic Press. Pp. 71-99. DOI:

McTavish, S., Mannie, Z., and Harmer, C. (2005). Lack of Effect of Tyrosine Depletion on Mood in Recovered Depressed Women. Neuropsychopharmacol. Vol. 30. Pp. 786–791. DOI:

Neri, D., Wiegmann, D., Stanny, R., Shappell, S., McCardie, A., and McKay, D. (1995). The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med. Vol. 66(4). Pp. 313-9. PMID: 7794222.

Rao, T., and Yeragani, V. (2009). Hypertensive crisis and cheese. Indian journal of psychiatry. Vol. 51(1). Pp. 65–66. DOI:

Slominski, A., Zmijewski, M., and Pawelek, J. (2012). L-tyrosine and L-dihydroxyphenylalanine as hormone-like regulators of melanocyte functions. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. Vol. 25(1). Pp. 14-27. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00898.x

Spronsen, F., Rijn, M., Bekhof, J., Koch, R., and Peter G. (2001). Phenylketonuria: tyrosine supplementation in phenylalanine-restricted diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 73(2). Pp. 153–157. DOI:

Thomas, J., Lockwood, P., Singh, A., and Deuster, P. (1999). Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. Vol. 64(3). Pp. 495-500. DOI: 10.1016/s0091-3057(99)00094-5

Young S. N. (2007). L-tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress?. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience.  JPN. Vol. 32(3). Pp. 224. PMID: 17476368