Who doesn’t want the ability to power through a tough workout with absolute focus? Most serious athletes would say “no one.” Tyrosine is touted as the pre-workout ingredient known to increase focus and help you power through challenging workouts. However, many aspiring athletes want to know what tyrosine is, how we know it works, and how much is needed to increase focus and power through a workout?
Tyrosine…What Is It?
In short, tyrosine or l-tyrosine is an amino acid. It’s found in meats, nuts, beans, and a whole host of other protein-rich foods. Tyrosine is an effective pre-workout because it produces dopamine as well as adrenaline. Adrenaline is also known as noradrenaline and epinephrine. These two hormones are called catecholamines and they can reduce stress during high intensity, or stressful situations.
You may wonder how tyrosine helps or aids both adrenaline and dopamine when it comes to managing and reducing stress and the answer is straightforward. Tyrosine plays a helping role when it comes to these two hormones or catecholamines. It doesn’t necessarily increase adrenaline and dopamine, but rather assists in rebuilding your levels when you’re faced with a stressful situation. Catecholamines are extremely important neurotransmitters that play a major role when it comes to your management of stress.
Tyrosine’s Impact on Stress
An abundance of tyrosine aids in the process of making more adrenaline and dopamine, catecholamines when a stressful situation has depleted your levels of these hormones. In essence, tyrosine is an amino acid that supports the process of replenishing your adrenaline and dopamine levels. The use of tyrosine can promote mental clarity and focus, which can help in many different stressful situations, including high-intensity workouts. Tyrosine can even positively impact your perception of fatigue. For example, tyrosine can offset the effects of stress during a workout, which in turn helps you to focus and power through intense difficult workouts.
More focus is usually equal to less muscle fatigue and increased endurance. Dopamine and adrenaline production increase dramatically during an intense workout, disturbing or disrupting the brain’s transmitters. Using tyrosine can make the difficult intense moments of a workout more tolerable by helping to supply the brain’s neurotransmitters with what’s needed to reduce the effects of the stressors. Tyrosine simply stalls the depletion of hormones that help to manage and diminish stress.
Supporting Research on Tyrosine
Much of the research involving tyrosine is focused on extremely high-stress situations. Imagine situations that a soldier may experience, as well as other survival-based situations where stress levels would be uber high. Extremely high stress is considered/labeled as an “acute stressor.” A 1995 study involving sleep deprivation where participants were required to stay up for 13 hours straight doing performance-based tasks. After six hours, half of the participants took tyrosine and were able to increase and regain their focus significantly while they performed the tasks.
Another study involved extreme cold. Eight male participants were required to perform a computer task that was memory-based in an environment where the temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The study revealed that the men were able to maintain their performance despite the cold temperatures and low oxygen levels when tyrosine was consumed. Despite the extreme conditions, tyrosine helped the study participants to focus on the task.
Conversely, another study involving extreme heat was conducted with athletes who were required to cycle for an hour in 86 degree Fahrenheit temperatures and sixty percent humidity. The participants cycled until they were exhausted. However, the participants who took tyrosine were able to increase their endurance and diminish exhaustion. The main takeaway is that although research hasn’t solidly confirmed the effectiveness of tyrosine, studies and theoretical confirmation have uncovered some effectiveness in the use of tyrosine for greater focus and stress recovery.
How Much Tyrosine Should I take to Achieve a more Focused Workout?
The honest answer to this question is that not enough research has been done to determine the minimum dosage necessary for premium focus. However, there does seem to be a suggested dose that research supports as useful for achieving a more focused workout. Before a workout, 500 to 2000 milligrams could help to achieve a more focused and intense workout. However, 10-15 grams of tyrosine may be a bit much.
When paired with coffee, tyrosine may pack a more potent punch because both caffeine and tyrosine stimulate catecholamines. Imagine getting ready to take on a difficult workout by supplementing with tyrosine and coffee. Your focus would help you to keep going, perhaps past your normal threshold, with an abundance of dopamine and adrenaline on deck.
How Can I take Tyrosine?
Tyrosine or L-tyrosine is usually taken in two forms, as well as in certain foods. It can be taken as a free-form amino acid supplement or as L-tyrosine, which is a more water-soluble form of tyrosine. However, it has a low conversation rate in the body. Tyrosine is also prevalent in;
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Lima beans
- Cottage cheese
- Soy products
Tyrosine should be taken as a pre-workout, or before a workout and is most commonly taken as a supplement that can be added to water. However, other pre-workout supplements can be added too. Athletes will notice an increase in focus, endurance, and energy. NAT seems to be the preferred form of tyrosine because it’s easily absorbed and bioavailable. Often, this form of tyrosine produces more nootropic activity than plain tyrosine, which can help produce a more focused and energized workout session with less perceived stress.
It’s no secret that tyrosine is a key amino acid when it comes to the production of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine which all help to produce brain chemicals that promote better focus, mood, and even sleep. Many people feel the effects of tyrosine minutes after taking it. However, many people don’t need to take L-tyrosine because the natural body regulates tyrosine supply.
How and Why is Tyrosine Effective?
In short, tyrosine produces powerful physiological effects within the body. However, unlike other amino acids, it contains a highly reactive hydroxyl group which allows it to interact/react with non-protein atoms. The body’s cells use tyrosine to synthesize proteins. For athletes or strength trainers, tyrosine’s ability to produce neurotransmitters that aid in nerve cell communication, as well as the production of dopamine and adrenaline, may be a great pre-workout supplement to diminish the perceived effects of muscle stress and fatigue and heighten focus. Imagine powering through an extremely intense workout that would normally leave you depleted. Tyrosine may have the ability to help athletes move beyond fitness plateaus. In addition, the production of adrenaline and dopamine would help lift the mood and encourage an athlete to move beyond their comfort zones and continue to push themselves with greater focus.
The Bottom Line…
Although there’s not a lot of data regarding how much tyrosine to take to get focused adrenaline and dopamine-driven workout, there is an abundance of data that supports its efficacy as well as a suggested dosage amount. Most of the studies haven’t been on athletes and the effects that tyrosine can have when tackling a difficult workout. However, the studies that have been conducted have drawn a clear line between tyrosine and its ability to improve focus in stressful situations. Caffeine can be paired with tyrosine for an added boost of dopamine and adrenaline, enough to power through any challenging workout. Tyrosine simply supports the cognitive benefits needed to focus during a high-intensity workout, which in turn can make the workout session more enjoyable and build more tolerance. Although there hasn’t been a lot of research on the effects of tyrosine on athletes during intense workouts, the research present has formed a solid defense of its ability to improve focus and keep adrenaline and dopamine levels up. Increased focus, and heightened levels of dopamine, and adrenaline, are all components of an effective and results-driven workout for any athlete.