L-Tyrosine for ADHD: Can You Supplement to Improve Focus?

L-Tyrosine for ADHD: Can You Supplement to Improve Focus? - Lucid™

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is typically treated with a number of stimulants that can help promote focus and calm hyperactivity. However, these stimulants, like Adderall and Vyvanse, come with a number of potential adverse effects, including a high risk of dependence. So, although these tried and true medications may help, many people with ADHD are on the hunt for alternative methods. 

Enter L-Tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid that may help to regulate neurotransmitter production in a way that benefits cognitive health. So much so that L-Tyrosine is emerging as an alternative treatment for ADHD–at least, according to anecdotal reports. 

So, what is there to know about using L-Tyrosine for ADHD? Most of the claims behind this natural nootropic treatment hinge on one study, but there may be more supporting evidence to help us understand how L-Tyrosine may help. 

Let’s take a look:

What is L-Tyrosine?

L-tyrosine is a form of the amino acid tyrosine. It’s responsible for helping the body to build proteins and produce important enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and even the skin pigmentation melanin. Most significantly, tyrosine is necessary for the production of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, hormones responsible for stress responses, mood regulation, and more. 

Dopamine and norepinephrine are both implicated in ADHD. In fact, both of these neurotransmitters are directly linked to motivation and focus, and low levels may inhibit your ability to concentrate and complete tasks. 

L-tyrosine is often described as a non-essential amino acid, a title that can be a bit misleading. This just means that you don’t need to get it from food because your body is able to produce tyrosine from the amino acid phenylalanine. Of course, natural L-tyrosine levels are dependent on a diet rich in high-quality protein. Some people, however, choose to supplement with L-tyrosine, citing various brain-boosting and mood-balancing effects, including for ADHD. 

Luckily, there’s no need to worry about the risks of over-supplementing with L-tyrosine because the body can break down and dispose of excess tyrosine easily. It has far fewer side effects than most prescription medications given for ADHD, which is a reason why L-tyrosine for ADHD is gaining so much traction. 

Can ADHD be treated with nootropic L-tyrosine?

Compounds with the ability to regulate neurotransmitter levels in a positive way are often referred to as “nootropics.” 

Medications prescribed for ADHD are generally synthetic nootropics, but natural nootropics also exist in supplemental form, which means they are available without a prescription. 

However, you should talk to your doctor before attempting to self medicate, and especially before using L-tyrosine for ADHD or related symptoms. You should never discontinue medication without a doctor’s guidance since common ADHD prescriptions may cause symptoms of withdrawal. 

Before you talk to your doctor about the possibility of using L-Tyrosine for ADHD, take a look at the science behind the claims:

L-Tyrosine Nootropic Research

Evidence to help us understand how L-Tyrosine supplementation may improve symptoms of ADHD is limited, but there is good reason to believe that it may positively impact cognitive performance. 

The original sentiment behind L-Tyrosine for ADHD stemmed from the belief that children with ADHD had low levels of tyrosine in the brain. While this claim has only been substantiated in half of the research available, there’s definitely some interest surrounding L-Tyrosine’s potential ability to improve cognition, especially in cases of stress. 

According to a review of 15 studies, taking tyrosine supplements may improve memory, particularly in challenging situations such as extreme weather or high cognitive load. Another 2015 study also found that tyrosine supplementation could enhance cognitive function in the short term during stressful or demanding circumstances. 

Yet another study in 2015 revealed that taking tyrosine supplements may enhance cognitive flexibility in high cognitive demand situations. These studies involved healthy adults, however, and not adults with ADHD. 

Is L-tyrosine like Adderall?

No, L-tyrosine is not like Adderall. Adderall is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system in a way that raises dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your brain to improve focus, memory, and attention. 

Tyrosine has a more subtle but sustainable impact. It is a precursor to dopamine, so while it does help your body naturally produce more dopamine, it doesn’t have an immediate, short lived response that stimulates the neural environment as harshly as Adderall does. 

In other words, the drug and the supplement have similar effects on the body, but L-Tyrosine is milder and can have compounding effects over time. Adderall, on the other hand, lasts 4-12 hours (depending on if it is extended release) and does not improve the body’s ability to produce dopamine over time, although it can be habit forming when used daily. 

Natural Sources of L-Tyrosine

We mentioned that L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning it is naturally produced by the body. More specifically, it is synthesized from phenylalanine. In order to provide the body with what it needs to produce L-Tyrosine, you need to add the following foods to your diet:

  • almonds
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • cheese
  • lima beans
  • milk
  • peanuts
  • poultry
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • soy
  • yogurt

Should I Take L-Tyrosine Supplements?

Although your body can naturally make L-tyrosine, many people choose to use supplemental L-tyrosine for ADHD symptoms. Supplemental L-tyrosine is used in studies concerning cognitive health. Using L-tyrosine supplements also gives you greater control over the dosage so that you can more easily tailor your L-tyrosine experience. 

How to Use Supplemental L-Tyrosine for ADHD

Before we dive into what you need to know about L-Tyrosine supplement quality, we want to remind you that L-Tyrosine is not FDA approved as a treatment for ADHD. You should talk to your doctor before trying to treat ADHD with nootropic supplements.

Once you get the go ahead, you should also talk with your doctor about choosing a supplement and dosage. The information below is only meant to be used as a guide: 

L-Tyrosine Supplement Quality

Choosing a high quality supplement is crucial–especially since supplements are not regulated as well as pharmaceuticals are in the U.S. To find an L-Tyrosine supplement that is safe and effective, look for a supplement that’s made in a cGMP compliant facility, which means that it’s made according to current FDA guidelines. 

L-Tyrosine Dosage

As you try to work out an L-Tyrosine dosage for ADHD, remember that the amount of L-tyrosine you need to take depends on certain factors, like the health results you’re trying to achieve, how much tyrosine you get in your diet, your weight and age, and other unique biological factors. You may need to start with a small dose of L-tyrosine and increase it overtime until you experience the full benefits.

Also keep in mind that L-tyrosine is sold as a supplement in the U.S., which means that the dosage size is not standardized. You should pay close attention to the dosage of any product you choose.

Some sources recommend 150 mg of L-tyrosine as a typical daily dosage, though this seems to be at the low end of the dosing threshold. Limited clinical studies use amounts this small, while others suggest that doses of 500-1,500 mg per day are necessary. 500 mg is an average daily dosage of L-tyrosine for most people, and it may be divided into three smaller doses taken throughout the day.

When to Take L-Tyrosine for ADHD

Most sources agree that L-tyrosine is best used in the morning when used as a nootropic. A once daily dose of L-tyrosine may be best for enhancing cognitive function. Like many nootropics, you may experience the best results when taking L-tyrosine daily. It may take up to two weeks to feel the full effects. 

Does L-tyrosine interact with ADHD medications?

There are no known drug interactions between tyrosine and common ADHD medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall. However, there is no guarantee that the combination is 100% safe. You should always discuss the addition of new supplements with your doctor, especially if you already take prescription medications. 

Consider L-Tyrosine as Part of a Nootropic Stack

L-tyrosine’s cognition enhancing effects are the reason we added it to our nootropic stack–a selection of natural supplements that help to boost brain and body wellness from every angle. 

Lucid is a synergistic blend of medicinal mushrooms and nootropics designed to enhance focus and support a healthy brain, but it also does much more. Balancing on powerful therapeutics like Maitake, Lion’s Mane, Alpha-GPC, and more, Lucid beverages target whole-body wellness. Our unique ingredient blend helps to boost immunity, improve physical and mental performance, reduce stress, balance mood, and more. 

Read about Why We Chose Our Ingredients to learn more. Or, check out our three flavor varieties:

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