Tyrosine Is Being Studied For Lung Health

Australian researchers at Monash University found new molecules that provide profound protection in animal models of asthma.

Their study discovered two molecules that can provide protection in experimental models of asthma as well as reduce the severity of an asthma attack. These molecules were previously not known to have an effect on asthma. In addition, animal studies supported a role for these two molecules in treating the respiratory illness that is often fatal, in people with COVID-19. The study discovered that the production of a specific gut bacteria by-product, called p-cresol sulfate (PCS), led to a “profound and striking protection against asthma.” The PCS was produced by enhanced bacterial metabolism of the amino acid L-tyrosine.

According to the researchers giving mice either L-tyrosine or PCS, provided significant protection against lung inflammation. The researchers also tested these molecules in animal models of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and found them to be protective. ARDS is a common killer of people with serious COVID-19. The potential use of L-tyrosine as a therapy for asthma could be fast-tracked into clinical trials because it is known to be safe. The Monash researchers will test one of the molecules in a clinical trial in 2021 in asthmatics.

Tyrosine is a powerful amino acid for health

Tyrosine is often known as “mood food”. Tyrosine is required for the manufacture of several important and powerful brain neurotransmitters called dopamine, noradrenalin and adrenalin. Healthy amounts of these mood uplifting neurotransmitters depend on adequate tyrosine levels in the brain, adrenal glands and gut.  Each of these neurotransmitters helps to regulate mood, emotions and motivation.

Low dopamine levels have been linked with:

  • Food cravings (particularly for carbohydrates)
  • Excessive hunger
  • Reduced ability to achieve satisfaction
  • Reduced ability to experience pleasure
  • Reduced concentration and mental drive
  • Low mood

Tyrosine supplementation may provide the following benefits:

  • Improved concentration, motivation and alertness
  • Better memory
  • Increased ability to experience satisfaction and pleasure
  • Improved mood
  • More efficient metabolism, due to improved thyroid hormone production
  • Improved energy levels

How to take tyrosine

The recommended dose of tyrosine is 2 to 3 grams taken two or three times daily. Tyrosine is best taken in the form of a pure white powder and is tasteless and odourless. This powder can be stirred into water or juice. Take away from meals for rapid absorption.

Why would it be beneficial to supplement with tyrosine?

A study carried out by Dr Alan Gelenberg of the Harvard Medical School showed clearly that a lack of the amino acid tyrosine resulted in a deficiency of the brain transmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. These deficiencies occurred at certain locations in the brain, which relate specifically to mood disorders. Tyrosine can be an excellent and safe supplement to improve your mental state. In general, tyrosine exerts a stimulating effect on the emotions and mental energy. Sometimes tyrosine is referred to as a “mood food” because it is a supplement that can improve mood.

Contraindications to tyrosine

Tyrosine supplements must not be used by people taking a type of antidepressant medication called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) unless first checking with their doctor.  Examples of these drugs include Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine), Selgene and Eldepryl (selegiline).  Tyrosine can cause a rise in blood pressure in people taking these medications. People taking the common type of antidepressants known as Tricyclic medications or Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SRIs) can take Tyrosine.

Thyroid and adrenal gland function

If the adrenal glands are sluggish, with cortisol levels at the lower limit of the normal range, you need to support your adrenals more. Supplements of tyrosine and vitamin C are most helpful for this. The adrenal medulla manufactures adrenalin from tyrosine. vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the cells of the adrenal glands. Tyrosine is required by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone, which controls the metabolic rate.

Alan Gelenberg. Tyrosine for the treatment of depression, American Journal of Psychiatry 137(5):622-3 DOI: 10.1176/ajp.137.5.622 
Tomasz P. Wypych, et al, Microbial metabolism of L-tyrosine protects against allergic airway inflammation, Nature Immunology (2021)