By Natural Advocate | May 11, 2009 - 5:51 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

That’s the question I had when I started reading a few items about how it may help regulate body temperature, and also how some people take it so that they can tan better in the sun instead of constantly burning.  So I decided to look it up and see what exactly L-Tyrosine is supposed to be able to do in the human body.  It is available in supplement form, and it’s been used for years now for a variety of reasons, all of which follow.  Let’s talk first about what L-Tyrosine actually is so we can understand what role it plays in our bodies when it’s naturally produced first.

L-Tyrosine, or just Tyrosine, is one of the many amino acids that is produced by the human body.  It is used to synthesize proteins and create other types of cellular structures that are necessary for certain things.  One of them is the production of melanin, the natural chemical in our bodies that essentially provides us more protection from the sunlight and sun damage, and the thing that pigments our skin a deeper color.  People who are naturally darker in color have more melanin in their bodies, and so they have a darker appearance to their skin.

Melanocytes are responsible for melanin production.  There have been a number of interesting findings on L-Tyrosine when tested on human subjects lately.  There have been studies that show human supplied with Tyrosine may have improved cognitive function and stress responses (lower stress hormones such as cortisol), while on a tyrosine supplement, however this was only when the subjects were placed under stress.

It did not have any effect when it was given to patients who were not under additional stress to the norm.  It also may be useful in treating patients with addiction, especially when paired with tryptophan, or 5htp, as this seems to lower the withdrawal response.  However, it has not shown to be a successful treatment for mood, or depression as of yet.

Since tyrosine is a precursor to melanin, it is used as a part of many “tanning supplements” that people who want to get a better tan take. There is really no proof other than anecdotal that this works or helps to prevent burning, however some people do seem to think it helps them develop a tan better.  I’ve also read that tyrosine helps the body to regulate it’s temperature better.

I’m not really sure why that would be since I don’t know much about the role of amino acids in the body.  Most professionals think that tyrosine is not a necessary supplement as most people get plenty of this natura amino acid in their daily diet.  L-Tyrosine is found in the following foods in the human diet : turkey, chicken, soy products, peanuts, almonds, bananas, and several other foods, mostly ones that are high in protein naturally since this is essentially a protein itself.

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