Tyrosine Rich Diet
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Amino acids are the ‘building blocks’ of protein in our bodies. Tyrosine is considered a non-essential amino acid because it is synthesised from another amino acid called phenylalanine.
You can get plenty of phenylalanine from foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, beans, and seeds. But because many people do not consume adequate amounts of these foods, then foods rich in tyrosine are necessary. Tyrosine is found in many high-protein foods such as meats, poultry, seafoods and nuts and seeds.
Tyrosine from diet along with supplementation is often recommended for people with anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and thyroid conditions.
There are also some people (estimated to be 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 in the United States) who have an inherited disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) which makes it impossible for them to convert phenylalanine into tyrosine. For these people tyrosine becomes an essential amino acid, and supplementation is necessary.
Benefits of Tyrosine
The body needs both tyrosine and the essential amino phenylalanine to make epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are three neurotransmitters that basically control the way you perceive and interact with your life.
Without adequate amounts of phenylalanine, the body can’t manufacture its own tyrosine and conversely, without tyrosine, the body cannot make phenylalanine. A shortage of either of these amino acids can aggravate symptoms of anxiety, depression, low libido, and chronic fatigue.
The body needs tyrosine to make many important brain chemicals that help regulate appetite, pain sensitivity, and the body’s response to stress. Tyrosine is also needed for healthy functioning of the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. Low levels of tyrosine can lead to hypothyroidism, low blood pressure, chronic fatigue, and a sluggish metabolism.
Foods rich in Tyrosine
The recommended daily intake for tyrosine is 12.5mg per kg or 5.5mg per pound. For example, a person weighing 70kg/154 pounds should consume around 875mg of tyrosine per day.
Following are foods rich in tyrosine, showing the weight of the food and the quantity of tyrosine in mgs:
- Roast beef and lamb: 3oz/85g = 1180mg
- Pork: 3oz/85g = 1085mg
- Fish and seafood: 3oz/85g = 900mg
- Poultry: 3oz/85g = 900mg
- Nuts and seeds: 1 cup = 1400 (average)
- Eggs (medium): 1 = 250mg
- Beans and lentils: 1 cup = 490mg (average)
- Whole grains like rice: 1 cup = 275mg (average)
The right diet should provide adequate amounts of tyrosine quite easily. However, for some people tyrosine supplementation may be required, particularly if they are vegan or vegetarian, or have difficulty digesting the above foods, or have chronic health conditions such as those previously mentioned. It is important to speak with your health practitioner regarding the right dosage.
Before you commence your diet, see your medical or health care professional for qualified guidance about what foods and supplements are best for your body. While on the diet do not stop any medications or supplements previously prescribed unless advised otherwise by your medical or health care professional.
During the early stages of a new diet, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or body aches, which may occur because your body is detoxifying. However, if you are unsure about a symptom at any time, check immediately with your medical or health care professional.