When the calendar clicked over from 2020 to 2021, things were supposed to change. But many of the challenges we faced last year are still all too real in this new one, and you probably need all the help you can get to deal with them. In this article, we’ll explore how tyrosine – one of the key ingredients in Momentous Brain Drive – can help you stave off stress, improve cognition, and even increase endurance.
Tyrosine (aka L-tyrosine) is one of 20 amino acids that you utilize to create proteins. It’s formed from another amino acid, phenylalanine, in your body and is also found in foods like beef, nuts, poultry, avocados, dairy products, and seeds. Tyrosine can be obtained through certain supplements as well and is sometimes used to help treat depression, attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy, and a wide range of other conditions.
Like its fellow amino acids, tyrosine plays a variety of roles in your body and brain. Its presence triggers the release of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that are responsible for sending messages between cells. Specifically, tyrosine prompts secretion of dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. It is also a precursor for the thyroid hormone levothyroxine and is involved in skin pigment and collagen production.
What are the Cognitive Benefits of Tyrosine?
If you’ve got a mentally demanding day coming up that involves you switching between a lot of different tasks, tyrosine might help you maintain a high level of performance until you’ve checked every item off your to-do list. A research group from Leiden University in the Netherlands put participants through their paces with six different tasks. They concluded that those who took tyrosine beforehand were able to maintain a higher level of focus on each task and that the cognitive cost of changing between them was lower.
Tyrosine also shows some promise for helping you buffer stress in a demanding environment. A report commissioned by the US military showed that supplemental tyrosine helped soldiers avoid the cognitive impairments that usually result Other research has demonstrated that tyrosine helps reduce the amount of neurotransmitter depletion that occurs during periods of acute stress. For example, the authors of a review released via noted that tyrosine “does seem to effectively enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and/or cognitively demanding situations.”￼
Taking tyrosine the morning after a short or disturbed sleep might also be beneficial. A study published in Nutritional Neurosciencecompared the effects that the amino acid, caffeine, an amphetamine, and phentermine had on sleep-deprived subjects. While tyrosine wasn’t as effective as the amphetamine, it still increased performance in running memory, logical reasoning, and visual tracking. And unlike amphetamines, tyrosine doesn’t have addictive qualities and isn’t on any banned substances lists, making it suitable for most athletes. It would also help you sidestep the jittery feeling that consuming too much caffeine can create.
What Physical Advantages Does Tyrosine Offer?
As with other amino acids, tyrosine isn’t just involved in brain function but is also used in multiple processes and systems throughout your body. A research team from Aberystwyth University in Wales gave one group of cyclists a high-carbohydrate drink and another a tyrosine supplement before asking both groups to cycle to exhaustion in a simulated hot and humid environment. Those participants who took tyrosine were able to keep going longer. The authors suggested that as tyrosine triggers dopamine production, it can lower athletes’ perceived rate of exertion, allowing them to increase their time to exhaustion capability.
Another paper published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritioncombined tyrosine with theanine and caffeine in a supplement given to a group of college athletes. Compared to the placebo group, the participants who ingested this combination improved their ability to hit targets after strenuous exercise, suggesting enhanced movement accuracy. You could get this trio of micronutrients by combining a supplement containing tyrosine with black or green tea, both of which contain theanine and caffeine.
Do I Need Supplemental Tyrosine?
Tyrosine is considered a non-essential amino acid. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need it, but rather that your body can create it without ingestion. However, there are situations in which your body is using more tyrosine than usual, such as when you’re fighting off sickness, training hard, or undergoing stress. In which case, supplemental tyrosine can help to top up what you’re already producing on your own.
We included a therapeutic dose (400 mg) of tyrosine in Momentous Brain Drive, along with other carefully selected micronutrients like cognizin citicoline, acetyl-L-carnitine, and B vitamins that research has shown to increase neurotransmitter production, support healthy hormone function, and protect your brain from free radical damage. So if you’ve been searching for a cognitive boost, to extend your physical endurance, or to tame the effects of stress, look no further.
 Laura Steenbergen et al, “Tyrosine Promotes Cognitive Flexibility: Evidence from Proactive vs. Reactive Control During Task Switching Performance,” Neuropsychologia, March 2015, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25598314/.
 Stephen T. Ahlers, J. Thomas, J. Schrot, and D. Shurtleff, “Tyrosine and Glucose Modulation of Cognitive Deficits Resulting from Cold Stress,” Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations, 301-320, 1994, available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209069/.
 Bryant J. Jongkees et al, “Effect of Tyrosine Supplementation on Clinical and Healthy Populations Under Stress or Cognitive Demands – A Review,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, November 2015, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26424423/.
 Richard A. Magill et al, “Effects of Tyrosine, Phentermine, Caffeine D-Amphetamine, and Placebo on Cognitive and Motor Performance Deficits During Sleep Deprivation,” Nutritional Neuroscience, August 2003, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12887140/.
 Les Tumilty et al, “Oral Tyrosine Supplementation Improves Exercise Capacity in the Heat,” European Journal of Applied Physiology, December 2011, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21437603/.
 Javier Zaragoza et al, “Effects of Acute Caffeine, Theanine and Tyrosine Supplementation on Mental and Physical Performance in Athletes,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, November 26, 2019, available online at https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-019-0326-3.