As a supplement, the alleged benefits of tyrosine are many; however, some of these benefits have more scientific validity than others. For example, when tyrosine is used for PKU, it is known to help people, but whether it works as an appetite suppressant has yet to be determined. In general, tyrosine uses are limited to adults; children should not be given supplements without the approval of a healthcare provider.
What Benefits Can Tyrosine Provide?Tyrosine (also known as L-tyrosine) is an amino acid. It is not essential for human nutrition, since the human body can produce tyrosine on its own. However, supplementation is often claimed to be beneficial for the following conditions:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Cocaine withdrawal
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart disease
- Impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Low libido (sex drive)
Sometimes, tyrosine is also claimed to be an appetite suppressant (used to help people lose weight), and tyrosine creams or serums are sometimes claimed to be beneficial for reducing wrinkles and other signs of skin aging.
Some of these supposed benefits of tyrosine may be more valid than others (see Does Tyrosine Work? for more information), and some have absolutely no scientific basis. As with many supplements, claims for the benefits of tyrosine are sometimes exaggerated, and such claims must be evaluated critically. More importantly, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many natural products can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products).