L-Tyrosine is one of the twenty amino acids required by the body to perform its various functions. Out of twenty amino acids, twelve are considered essential amino acids meaning that the body cannot synthesize them and has to rely on an external supply. Non-essential amino acids can by synthesized by the body. Tyrosine belongs to the latter class. However, the body synthesizes it from another amino acid phenylalanine. This is essential and its deficiency may in turn cause the body stores of tyrosine to be depleted, making tyrosine an essential amino acid in such a situation. It is found in ample quantities in animal meat, seafood, wheat products, oatmeal etc.
Tyrosine is crucial for normal development and working of the Central Nervous System (CNS). It serves as a precursor for synthesis of neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine, Epinephrine and Dopamine. These chemicals are utilised at synapses of numerous pathways in the brain. These parts of the brain are associated with mood control, emotional status, appetite, motivation, stress endurance, cognition and memory formation. These neurotransmitters are also messengers of the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates various functions of the body such as heart rate, respiratory rate, mental alertness, and the supply of blood and glucose to the muscles.
Tyrosine also is a precursor for thyroid hormone synthesized in the thyroid gland. This hormone is responsible for metabolic rate of the body and is vital for all activity ranging from day to day work to strenuous athletic workouts. It is also used to synthesize melanin pigment in our skin that causes its coloration. Tyrosine is also utilised for anabolic purposes that is protein synthesis.
Given the above mentioned facts, it wouldn’t be wrong to say tyrosine is extremely important for the normal functioning of the body. A lack of the above neurotransmitters is associated with depression, decreased mental efficiency, stress induced memory impairment and decreased endurance for physical exertion. It is essentially needed by anyone and everyone, however some individuals may benefit markedly from tyrosine supplements:
1. Dopamine causes improved feeling of well-being, heightened mental alertness and decrease mental depression. These factors can help enhance performance and endurance of athletes. Dopamine also prevents overtraining due to its ability of offset mental and physical fatigue, and improves workout endurance. Supplementation of tyrosine results in increased synthesis and levels of these neurotransmitters in the blood, and all their perks with it. Also, norepinephrine and epinephrine induce lipolysis and glycogenolysis which results in a surge of blood sugar levels. This combined with their increased blood supply to muscles results in much improved muscle activity and endurance. Increased levels of tyrosine also help in melanin production. This protects the skin against the UV radiation in sunlight.
2. Norepinephrine (NE) enhances cognitive functions. Under stressful conditions, the storage pools of NE are depleted, and this impairs memory function among others. Supplementation of tyrosine will help replenish these levels. This is will result in improvement of memory dependent performances, beneficial for people exposed to chronic stress.
3. These neurotransmitters are also beneficial in alleviating mental depression and obesity through their effects in parts of brain.
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