Should You Take Tyrosine on an Empty Stomach?

Part of getting your weight under control is making sure that you’re not depressed. People suffering from depression tend to exercise less and be withdrawn and may binge eat in an attempt to alleviate their depression. Tyrosine and phenylalanine are two amino acids that help many people improve their depression. And while most instructions say to take either of these two amino acids on an empty stomach, you can take them with food with no dilution of their potency. Although there is evidence that the amino acid L-Valine found in food competes with L-Tyrosine as far as crossing the blood-brain barrier, there shouldn’t be any problems taking L-Tyrosine with food. There is in fact a scientific experiment that showed minimal effects of eating food along with Tyrosine supplementation. According to Melamed, Glaeser et al. Plasma tyrosine in normal humans: effects of oral tyrosine and protein-containing meals (J Neural Transm 1980, 47:299-306) :

Increased plasma tyrosine levels were measured in human subjects who were administered L-tyrosine (100 mg/kg/day) in three equally divided doses before meals containing a total daily intake of 113 grams of protein. Plasma tyrosine levels rose significantly after L-tyrosine ingestion and did not appear to affect plasma concentrations of the other neutral amino acids that compete with tyrosine for brain entry.

Dr. Daniel Kalish says it’s fine to take these Tyrosine, 5-HTP and Tryptophan with our without food. The effect is simply quicker if the supplements are taken on an empty stomach.

Dr. Kalish also recommends taking either 5-HTP or Tryptophan when you take Tyrosine, as these will help you to keep your Serotonin levels high. Most people don’t realize that boosting their Dopamine through the use of Tyrosine has the consequence of suppressing your Serotonin, which can be disastrous if you don’t take anything to increase your Serotonin levels. He recommends a 10:1 ratio (10 units of L-Tyrosine for every 1 unit of 5-HTP). If using Tryptophan, then the ratio is closer to 10:2. Dr. Kalish says that you can safely use up to 3,000 mg of L-Tyrosine with 300 mg of 5-HTP daily. Tryptophan is recommended for those who have GI discomfort when taking 5-HTP, as the conversion process of Tryptophan-to-5-HTP happens outside of the stomach.

Tyrosine Cofactors

Dr. Kalish recommends the following co-factors to be taken with L-Tyrosine:

  • Vitamin C: 1,000 mg / day
  • Vitamin B6: 75 mg/ day
  • Calcium: 500 mg/ day
  • Cysteine: 4,500 mg/ day
  • Selenium: 400 mcg / day
  • Folic Acid: 2,000 – 3,000 mcg / day

Cofactors are what help support Tyrosine in creating the desired effect of more energy and increased mood. In their pioneering book Life Extension, Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw mentioned that for every gram of Tyrosine taken, there should be 10mg of B-6 and 500 mg Vitamin C added as co-factors.

Two other books on the subject of using Tyrosine / Phenylalanine / Tryptophan etc. to boost your mood:
The Mood Cure
The Way Up from Down

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