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.
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.
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:
A person can increase tyrosine levels by eating foods that contain phenylalanine.
These foods include:
- soy products, including soybeans, soy milk, and tofu
- fish and meat
- eggs and dairy products
- seeds, including pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
- beans, such as lima beans
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.
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.
The study concluded that children should not receive amino acid supplementation to treat their ADHD symptoms.
It stated that
More research is needed to determine whether L-tyrosine is an effective ADHD treatment in children.
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.
However, this study did not include participants who had a diagnosis of ADHD.
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
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.
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 can be an
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.
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:
- Faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking can contribute to psychological problems.
- Learned patterns of unhelpful behavior may worsen psychological problems.
- 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
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:
- reduced appetite
- sleep problems
- abdominal pain
- raised blood pressure and heart rate
- increased anxiety and irritability
- personality changes
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 about ADHD medications.
This section answers some common questions about L-tyrosine.
Does L-tyrosine deplete dopamine?
Does L-tyrosine help with 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.