Tyrosine is a type of amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein. The body makes tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine.

In the diet, tyrosine can be eaten in dairy products, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, and wheat. The body uses tyrosine to make chemical messengers that are involved in conditions affecting the brain, such as mental alertness.

People most commonly use tyrosine in protein supplements for an inherited disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU). It is also used for alcohol use disorder, cocaine dependence, and memory and thinking skills, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

How does it work ?

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Effective for

  • An inherited disorder that increases levels of phenylalanine in the blood (phenylketonuria or PKU). People with PKU are not able to process the amino acid phenylalanine. This amino acid is used by the body to make tyrosine. To prevent tyrosine levels from becoming too low, people with PKU are advised to consume medical foods that contain tyrosine and very little phenylalanine.

Possibly Effective for

  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Taking tyrosine by mouth might improve mental performance under stressful conditions.
  • Memory. Taking tyrosine by mouth seems to improve memory during stressful situations.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Athletic performance. Taking tyrosine by mouth before running or cycling doesn't seem to improve performance.
There is interest in using tyrosine for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Tyrosine is commonly consumed in foods. Tyrosine is possibly safe when taken as a medicine, short-term. It seems to be safe when taken in doses up to 150 mg/kg daily for up to 3 months. Some people experience side effects such as nausea, headache, fatigue, and heartburn.

When applied to the skin: Tyrosine is possibly safe when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if tyrosine is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Thyroid disorders: The body uses tyrosine to make thyroxine, a thyroid hormone. Taking extra tyrosine might increase thyroxine levels too much. This could make hyperthyroidism and Grave's disease worse. If you have a thyroid disorder, don't take tyrosine supplements.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Levodopa interacts with TYROSINE

    Tyrosine might decrease how much levodopa the body absorbs. By decreasing how much levodopa the body absorbs, tyrosine might decrease the effects of levodopa. Do not take tyrosine and levodopa at the same time.

  • Thyroid hormone interacts with TYROSINE

    The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Tyrosine might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking tyrosine with thyroid hormone pills might cause there to be too much thyroid hormone. This could increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormones.


In the diet, tyrosine is found in dairy, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, and wheat. In supplements, tyrosine has most often been used by adults in doses of 100-300 mg/kg by mouth daily. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.