Some people believe supplementation with L-tyrosine may help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though there is little evidence. L-tyrosine is a form of the amino acid tyrosine, which can act as a mood elevator and antidepressant.

ADHD makes it challenging for a person to maintain attention. ADHD can also cause a person to experience difficulty managing energy levels and impulses.

Estimates suggest that in the United States, around 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.

There are several treatments for ADHD, including medication and psychotherapy.

Some people believe that a person with ADHD may be able to improve their symptoms by taking L-tyrosine supplements.

A person spinning a fidget spinner for ADHD.Share on Pinterest
Gabriel (Gabi) Bucataru/Stocksy

The body naturally produces tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine.

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid. This means that a person’s body manufactures enough that the person does not need to get it through their diet.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), L-tyrosine helps the body produce certain proteins, enzymes, and muscle tissues.

It can also help the body produce the hormones dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones can affect a person’s brain chemistry, which can improve their mood and help combat the symptoms of depression.

Tyrosine may also help improve memory and increase a person’s mental alertness.

L-tyrosine is a form of tyrosine. According to the NLM, people may use L-tyrosine supplements to:

One 2016 study found that L-tyrosine might also be beneficial for treating depression. However, researchers conducted the study on animals. They also stated that the antidepressant properties of L-tyrosine need further investigation.

A person can increase tyrosine levels by eating foods that contain phenylalanine.

These foods include:

Find out more about which foods contain tyrosine.

Some people believe that tyrosine is an effective treatment for ADHD.

This may be due to studies that show that supplementation with tyrosine can help improve cognitive function and memory.

Despite this, there is limited evidence to support L-tyrosine supplementation as an effective treatment for ADHD.

In children

Some experts thought that low levels of tyrosine in the body might be related to ADHD. This theory supported the use of L-tyrosine as a possible ADHD treatment in children.

However, a 2016 study revealed that children with ADHD had normal levels of tyrosine and other amino acids in their blood.

The study concluded that children should not receive amino acid supplementation to treat their ADHD symptoms.

Another 2011 study revealed positive results when treating children with ADHD with amino acid supplements. However, the editor-in-chief and publisher of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment withdrew the paper and retracted the results.

It stated that it had concerns about the alleged “competing interests” of some of the authors, and the amount of information they provided on methodology, study data, and ethical approval.

More research is needed to determine whether L-tyrosine is an effective ADHD treatment in children.

In adults

There is no evidence that supplementation with L-tyrosine is an effective treatment for ADHD in adults.

More research is needed to determine whether L-tyrosine is an effective treatment for adults with ADHD.


A 2015 review of 15 studies showed that supplementation with tyrosine might help improve memory. The review showed that tyrosine benefited people in demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.

However, this study did not include participants who had a diagnosis of ADHD.

Cognitive function

One 2015 study showed that tyrosine supplementation helped improve cognitive function in the short term in stressful or demanding situations. However, it is worth noting that the participants in this study did not receive a diagnosis of ADHD.

Another 2015 study stated that supplementation with tyrosine helped improve cognitive flexibility in situations that had high cognitive demand. But again, this study did not involve participants with an ADHD diagnosis.

More research is required to determine the efficacy of L-tyrosine in improving cognitive function in people with ADHD.

There are no specific studies on the effects of L-tyrosine on ADHD medications. A person should always check with their doctor before combining L-tyrosine medications with their standard ADHD medication.

L-tyrosine may interact with other medications.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

A person should avoid taking L-tyrosine supplements if they take MAOIs. People may use MAOIs to treat depression.

When tyrosine breaks down, it causes the production of the amino acid tyramine. Tyramine plays a role in the regulation of blood pressure.

A 2014 article proposed that MAOIs can interact with tyramine and may cause a person to experience high blood pressure. However, this article was retracted in 2021 and may be unreliable.

It is unknown if L-tyrosine supplements cause a buildup of tyramine in the body. More research is required to understand if L-tyrosine supplements may interact with MAOIs.

A person should always speak with a doctor before using any new supplements with their existing medications.

Thyroid medications

If a person takes thyroid medications, they may wish to avoid supplementing with L-tyrosine.

The body uses tyrosine to make thyroid hormones. The concern is that supplementing with L-tyrosine alongside thyroid medications could lead to too much thyroid hormone.

However, more up-to-date research is necessary to investigate this issue. Again, a person should always consult a doctor before using any new supplements alongside existing medications.

There are several possible treatments for ADHD.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment for ADHD. It involves helping a person change their behavior to help tackle some of the symptoms of ADHD.

This can involve:

  • helping a person organize tasks or complete school work
  • helping a person work through emotionally difficult events
  • helping a person learn how to monitor their own behavior

Behavioral therapy can teach people to give themselves praise or rewards for acting in a desired way. A person may also learn about controlling their anger or thinking before acting.

Therapists may also help teach a child with ADHD certain social skills, such as waiting for their turn, sharing, and asking for help.

Find out more about behavioral therapy for ADHD.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that can help a person with ADHD find new ways to behave by changing their thought patterns.

The core principles of CBT outline that:

  1. Faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking can contribute to psychological problems.
  2. Learned patterns of unhelpful behavior may worsen psychological problems.
  3. By learning to cope with psychological problems, a person can relieve their symptoms.

CBT may help a person with ADHD learn how to be aware of their thoughts and feelings. This may help them improve focus and concentration.

A therapist may also help the person adjust to life changes that come with treatment, including thinking before acting and resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks.


Medications can help children manage their ADHD symptoms. These medications can help individuals control certain behaviors that may cause difficulties with their family, friends, and school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stimulants are the most common medication for ADHD. These drugs can help a person with ADHD improve their attention and focus.

Stimulants work by increasing the amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals play essential roles in thinking and attention.

Stimulants are fast-acting medications. When taking stimulants, between 70–80% of children with ADHD experience fewer ADHD symptoms, says the CDC.

Another type of drug that a person with ADHD can use is nonstimulants. These drugs do not work as quickly as stimulants, but their effect can last for up to 24 hours.

These medications can affect people differently. According to the CDC, they may cause some side effects, including:

A healthcare professional may wish to monitor how a person reacts to the medication. They can help a person to manage any side effects that arise.

Learn more

Learn more about ADHD medications.

This section answers some common questions about L-tyrosine.

Does L-tyrosine deplete dopamine?

L-tyrosine does not deplete dopamine levels in the brain. L-tyrosine actually increases dopamine levels in the brain.

Does L-tyrosine help with focus?

Some studies show that tyrosine can effectively help improve a person’s cognitive function. If the supplement can improve cognitive function, it may help improve a person’s ability to focus.

However, more research is needed to determine whether L-tyrosine can effectively improve a person’s ability to focus.

How much L-tyrosine should I take for ADHD?

No evidence supports the use of L-tyrosine to treat ADHD in adults or children. More research is required to determine if it is an effective treatment for the condition.

L-tyrosine is a form of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine can play a role in producing proteins, enzymes, and muscle tissues.

It can also help the body produce the hormones dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones play a role in affecting a person’s brain chemistry. Some people use tyrosine supplements to treat stress, narcolepsy, chronic fatigue, and depression.

Some people suggest that tyrosine supplements can treat the symptoms of ADHD. However, there is no research to support tyrosine supplementation in reducing ADHD symptoms.

A person should consult their doctor before using L-tyrosine supplements to treat ADHD.