DR CABOT: Hello. My name is Dr Sandra Cabot and I’m joined today by our wonderful naturopath and author Margaret Jasinska.
MARGARET: Thanks so much, Dr Cabot, for that kind introduction.
DR CABOT: And we’re talking about one of my favorite nutrients, which is an amino acid called tyrosine. T-Y-R-O-S-I-N-E, tyrosine. And it’s often referred to as mood food, because many people use it as a mood lifter. Or, you could say, a natural antidepressant or mental stimulant. And the reason why it can help is because tyrosine is a raw material for your brain to make very important neurotransmitters, which are of a stimulatory nature. So, they boost your mental alertness, your concentration, your focus, your mental energy and your mood. And those particular neurotransmitters are called biogenic amines, and they include adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine. And a lot of people who feel a bit down, a bit moody or flat, not necessarily clinically depressed, but they just not enjoying life. They feel a bit flat.
MARGARET: Yes. And lack of motivation.
DR CABOT: Yeah, and poor concentration. They are suffering with the deficiency of these biogenic amines, these wonderful neurotransmitters. So, we all need adrenaline. It’s the chemical that makes us feel switched on and excited. And usually when we’re children, we have a lot of it. That’s why life is so exciting. And also, they don’t have enough dopamine, they don’t have enough noradrenaline.
So, researchers have looked at the use of tyrosine as a natural antidepressant by virtue of its ability to increase the levels of these neurotransmitters. And there was a very good study done by a psychiatrist, Dr Alan Gelenberg, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that found that tyrosine could be helpful for people with mild depression. So, it’s definitely worth trying, because there’s a lot of people who just feel flat, they’re not really enjoying life. But they’re not ready to take an antidepressant yet. They don’t feel bad enough.
MARGARET: Yes, yes! Exactly!
DR CABOT: So, let’s think, what will we feel like if we don’t have enough dopamine or adrenaline? What could the symptoms be?
Well, not only may we be feeling a bit down, we could have a lot of food cravings, particularly for sugar, because sugar is like a drug. It elevates people’s moods temporarily.
MARGARET: Yes, exactly. And also, just lack of satisfaction after eating. Where you feel like, “Well, I could just really keep eating all day.” But you just don’t feel that enough is enough.
DR CABOT: That’s right! And a reduced ability to experience pleasure, reduced mental drive. So, these things are very common and people are always looking at things they can do to improve their mental energy, improve their mood. And of course, a lot of people have nicotine or they have caffeine. And those things do spike mood because they release adrenaline dopamine. But unfortunately, they kill you in the process – not coffee, but nicotine overdoses and healthy.
So, tyrosine is something that we could try, which is very, very safe. Tyrosine is a very safe supplement and may improve your concentration, your motivation. May even improve your memory, because of your concentration being improved. Also improve your ability to experience pleasure and satisfaction.
MARGARET: Yes. And it’s interesting that tyrosine is in your weight loss formula Metabocel, because people who are trying to lose weight often need help with motivation and with feeling satisfied after their meals and with reduced sugar cravings. So, it really makes it easier to lose weight having the tyrosine in the Metabol.
DR CABOT: Yes. Metabocel is very good for boosting your metabolic rate.
Now, the other interesting thing about tyrosine is it’s not only good for the brain, it’s important for the adrenal glands. Because the adrenal glands is where you produce a huge amount of adrenaline, which you need to survive. Particularly if you’re under a lot of stress, you’re going to produce a lot more adrenaline and you need to keep your adrenaline up to a baseline, healthy level. So, the tyrosine is used by the adrenals to produce adrenaline.
And the other interesting thing that tyrosine is used for, is to produce thyroid hormone.
MARGARET: Yes, that’s often what a lot of people associate it with. Thyroid conditions are so common and people often read about how they can enhance their thyroid hormone production. And that’s how they stumble upon tyrosine.
DR CABOT: Yes. So, an amino acid with many different applications in the body. From the brain to the adrenal glands to the thyroid gland. And of course, we get it in our diet. There’s no doubt about that. Not that many people have what we call a tyrosine deficiency, like you could have a vitamin D deficiency. But we’re not using it to overcome a deficiency. We’re using it as a therapeutic tool, if you like, to give ourselves a natural spike in dopamine and adrenaline production. So, for that reason, you wouldn’t take your Tyrosine powder with food. You’d take it in between meals, just in water. Doesn’t have any taste. And you would take it away from any food, so that it’s absorbed rapidly and it’s not competing in your body with other amino acids that could be in your food. So, you take the Tyrosine away from food, in between meals.
And some other interesting research on tyrosine, which is very, very early research, and we don’t know 100% for sure. But it was research done in Australia at Monash University, and they looked at animals who had a dysfunctional immune system and had asthma because of that. And they found that by giving them tyrosine, they got a big improvement in their asthma.
MARGARET: Yes. Fascinating.
DR CABOT: So, they’re not quite sure of the mechanism. But once again, tyrosine, an amino acid with many, many applications and something safe that you can try. The only contraindication to tyrosine is if you’re taking a very old-fashioned antidepressant drug, which is rarely used these days, called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. You can’t take tyrosine, but otherwise it’s quite safe and you can take it with the regular antidepressant drugs. Or as an alternative to try and boost your mood with some Tyrosine Mood Food.
So, if you have any questions, feel free to email us. Or you can have a look at my book called “Help For Anxiety And Depression”. And I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering the amino acid tyrosine.
MARGARET: Thank you, everybody. Bye bye!