Q & A Library
Tyrosine: Good Supplement for Depression?
I have been told by a nutritionist that tyrosine is an effective agent in fighting depression and anxiety. What do you know about this amino acid as a supplement?
Answer (Published 2/23/2010)
Tyrosine (actually L-tyrosine) is an amino acid precursor of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Taking tyrosine on an empty stomach is supposed to cause an increase in norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which can lead to increased energy, alertness and improved moods, thus relieving depression. Unlike Saint John's wort, an herbal remedy that can take two months to work, and prescription antidepressants, which probably won't kick in for about six weeks, tyrosine works very quickly. However, because it can raise blood pressure in some people, it must be used cautiously by individuals with hypertension. It can also cause anxiety. For those reasons, it is not my first choice for treating depression.
Instead, I recommend the following measures for mild to moderate depression. (Severe depression requires management by qualified mental health professionals).
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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