N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) plays a necessary part in the synthesis of dopamine and other hormones in your body. Sufficient levels of L-tyrosine give you the building blocks necessary to make enough dopamine so your brain has the tools it needs to function properly. NALT helps to support higher levels of focus and cognitive function. It can increase working memory and feelings of well-being.
NALT is a popular supplement for those who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
If you have trouble with focus, memory, or concentration — you may benefit from increasing your intake of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine.
What Is N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine?
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, sometimes called acetyL-tyrosine, or shortened to NAT or NALT, is an acetylated form of the amino acid L-tyrosine. That means an acetyl group is bonded to tyrosine to make NALT much more water-soluble than L-tyrosine. Water-solubility indicates that it’s generally regarded as more bioavailable (easily used by the body) when taken as a supplement or intravenously.https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/N-Acetyl-L-tyrosine
Considered a “non-essential” amino acid, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is made by the body, using the amino acid phenylalanine.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, which is a crucial neurotransmitter that helps to promote feelings of well-being. Dopamine also plays an important role in many bodily functions— notably memory, motor control, and attention.
Your brain takes tyrosine and converts it into L-dopa, which in turn is made into dopamine, and then epinephrine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) together are called catecholamines, or sometimes CATS for short.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17513421/ Adequate levels of the CATS are important for maintaining a healthy brain and a positive mood.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046107/ Dopamine also works with serotonin to help influence mood.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1472-8206.2004.00287.x
Is N-Acetyl Tyrosine The Same As L-Tyrosine?
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine and L-tyrosine are similar forms of the same amino acid. And since N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a form of L-tyrosine, it often begs the question, “Which is better, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine or L-tyrosine?’
The answer is a somewhat nuanced, “whichever form you tolerate and find best results with.”
There’s the general consensus that since NALT is more water-soluble, it should therefore be more bioavailable. NALT is the form of tyrosine that’s administered as intravenous nutrition. Since it’s water-soluble, NALT can also be taken orally without having to worry about pairing it with food.
But there’s some evidence to suggest that it is excreted in large amounts, unused, by the body.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2507878/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14621123/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1996632/
However, as with many nootropics, there are differing opinions on which form produces the best results. Some neurohackers prefer NALT and others swear by L-tyrosine. It seems to be ultimately, a matter of preference.
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What Is L-Tyrosine Good For?
So, what exactly does N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine do? Since tyrosine is a dopamine precursor, L-tyrosine is used as you may expect— to help lift mood, improve working memory, and generally sharpen the mind.
Nootropic Benefits of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine has been studied for its nootropic benefits, especially under stressful conditions.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395615002472?via%3Dihubhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25797188/
Researchers have documented tyrosine supplementation appearing to help:
- Working memoryhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24379768/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17585971/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10548261/
- Cognitive performancehttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7794222/
- Decrease blood pressure and cognition simultaneouslyhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8293316/
- Cognitive flexibility (the capacity for switching between tasks)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25598314/
- Increase feelings of general well-beinghttps://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-230X-5-11
- Reduce effects of environmental stresshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2736402/
- Dopamine-dependent depressionhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3126995/
- Improve levels of norepinephrine in the brains of animalshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5020390/
Since the dosage for L-tyrosine isn’t really standardized, we have to look at how it’s been administered in the studies above.
This method suggests that a typical L-tyrosine dose for cognitive benefit lands between 150-500 mg taken up to twice per day. Ultimately, how much L-tyrosine to take will depend on your experience with it, and also what other nootropics you’ve got in your stack.
When To Take L-Tyrosine
One great thing about NALT is that you don’t have to worry about taking it with food. Since it’s water-soluble, you can take N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine at any time.
L-tyrosine, like other amino acids, is generally regarded as best taken on an empty stomach. It’s thought that this allows the body to use it more efficiently since it won’t have to compete with other nutrients.
Tyrosine is a supplement best taken earlier in the day since it has a reputation as a mild stimulant. If you take it too late in the day, it could interfere with your sleep.
L-tyrosine is a great nootropic to stack with others. Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine. And since attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is commonly associated with dopamine deficits (especially in inattentive-type ADHD)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958516/ — many people with ADHD look to tyrosine to help manage their inattentive symptoms. Some even combine L-tyrosine and Adderall® or Ritalin®, common ADHD medications. This combination has been shown to increase extracellular levels of dopamine significantly compared to using medication alone.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1760749/ Of course, you’ll want to check with your prescribing doctor or pharmacist before you combine medications and supplements.
Stacking N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) with N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine may also be a good idea. Since NAC can help protect dopamine receptors in your brainhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911055/, it makes sense that pairing these two makes for a great combination.
When taking N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine to stimulate dopamine production, it’s important to be sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and B vitamins as well. Your body needs these nutrients in addition to L-tyrosine to synthesize dopamine.
Foods With L-Tyrosine
Tyrosine is an amino acid, which means it is found in protein.
L-tyrosine whole foods include https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00426-017-0957-4:
- Animal protein like chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and fish
- Dairy products like cow’s milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Soybeans and tofu
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine Side Effects
L-tyrosine gets the generally regarded as safe (GRAS) stamp of approval from the FDA.https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.320
Few side effects from L-tyrosine are reported, but at higher doses, sometimes people complain of:
Also, there are certain things that you cannot take with L-tyrosine:
- Tyrosine is used by the body to synthesize thyroid hormones. If you have a thyroid disease or take thyroid medication, check with your doctor before you take additionaL-tyrosine.
- Since tyrosine is used to synthesize L-dopa, it could interfere with the absorption of medications like levodopa. Don’t take tyrosine if you take levodopa.
- If you take any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) don’t take L-tyrosine. Common MAOIs include phenelzine, selegiline, isocarboxazid, and tranylcypromine.
Can You Take L-Tyrosine Every Day?
L-tyrosine supplementation hasn’t been studied for long-term, daily usage. But most people who take NALT or L-tyrosine for nootropic benefit see the best results when they take it every day.
Since tyrosine is an amino acid, it is quickly utilized by the body and is generally regarded as safe.
Even when taken three times daily at a high dose, L-tyrosine didn’t produce adverse effects in study participants.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1863555/
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