If you are an adult with ADHD, it can be challenging to navigate treatment options. Many people take the traditional and pharmaceutical route, but there are potential risks of addiction and abuse with many stimulant medications. So what do you do if you can’t or don’t want to go that route? One amino acid has been causing quite a stir amongst those with ADHD online who are trying to manage naturally. That supplement is L-tyrosine. Let’s look at L-tyrosine and discuss why it may be a helpful and effective option for ADHD treatment.
What is L-tyrosine?
Several neurotransmitters in our brains are the result of a chain reaction. For your brain to build and release certain neurotransmitters to go out and do their specific functions, certain “building blocks” need to be in place. We call these precursors. Seven neurotransmitters are associated with the mind-body connection in the brain, and four of them directly affect ADHD: dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA. L-tyrosine is the precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine.
How Can L-tyrosine Help ADHD Symptoms?
To understand how L-tyrosine can help ADHD, we must first look at how the two dependent neurotransmitters affect us. Dopamine is the special sauce behind pleasure and reward. It also helps us regulate our emotions as well as our ability to take action to receive a resulting award. Not being able to control emotions and the inability to take action and feel the reward of said action could be very frustrating and have adverse effects in all areas of life.
Norepinephrine is made from our friend dopamine and is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone. Norepinephrine is part of our body’s “fight or flight” alarm system. However, in terms of ADHD, norepinephrine increases alertness, arousal, and attention as well as affects our sleep-wake cycle, mood, and memory. Both of these neurotransmitters play an important role in focus and concentration.
Our brain produces these amino acids and neurotransmitters naturally, though it is believed that many with ADHD do not do so effectively, leaving them deficient in executive functioning skills. L-tyrosine is found in foods such as eggs, fish, meat, beans, and seeds. However, supplementation can be more effective.
Supplementing With L-tyrosine
L-tyrosine is usually dosed between 500mg and 2g daily, and your physician can help you decide what dose is best for you. It’s often combined with other supplements, for example, vitamins B6 and B12 for converting L-tyrosine to dopamine, acetyl-L-carnitine for improving mental clarity, and folic acid for reducing symptoms of depression.
More research is needed to fully understand how L-tyrosine can be further used to help those with ADHD. Small studies and anecdotal evidence show initial optimism that this little powerhouse can have potential. Although some side effects may occur, L-tyrosine is considered safe in recommended doses. Be sure to check out the store for trusted L-tyrosine supplements.