Over-the-Counter Treatment for ADHD with L-Tyrosine

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In the treatment of ADHD, physicians often prescribe stimulant medications or medications that inhibit reabsorption of stimulant neurotransmitters. However, these formulations often cause unpleasant side effects that include appetite loss, anxiety or sleep disturbances. More serious effects include a prolonged increase in blood pressure and heart rate, altered personality, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and medication addiction. The potential for harm influences many parents to seek natural alternatives.

ADHD Characteristics

Children or adults diagnosed as having ADHD exhibit three types of major symptoms. Some have difficulty paying attention or staying focused. This characteristic often manifests as being easily distracted, being forgetful, poor listening skills and an inability to follow instructions. Others display hyperactive behavior and poor impulse control. Traits of this type of ADHD include an inability to sit still or remain seated for extended periods of time. Patients may feel the need to talk continually and often interrupt others during the course of a conversation. A third group suffers from both attention deficit and hyperactivity.

L-Tyrosine Supplements

L-tyrosine is an amino acid that the body makes from another amino acid known as phenylalanine. Tyrosine is necessary for the development of many important neurotransmitters, which include dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These chemical compounds are responsible for various cell and organ functions in addition to playing a role in regulating mood. Tyrosine is also needed to regulate the adrenal glands, the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland, which all release hormones that also regulate body functions.

Tyrosine and ADHD

Researchers have been interested in the function and benefits of supplementing L-tyrosine since 1979. Early studies indicated that the amino acid improved levels of the stimulant neurotransmitters that are deficient in people having ADHD and provided symptomatic relief. However, during six to eight-week trial studies, tyrosine only worked effectively for approximately two weeks before participants developed a tolerance toward the amino acid and the ADHD symptoms resurfaced.

A later study performed in 2011 by Neuro Research Clinics indicated that L-tyrosine combined with a 5-HTP supplement showed greater promise as an ADHD treatment. In fact, the symptomatic results provided by the supplements was thought to be equal to the effectiveness provided by conventional ADHD medications. Other studies suggested that combining L-tyrosine with prescription methylphenidate also enhances neurotransmitter levels.

Tyrosine Sources

The amino acid is naturally in a variety of common foods. You get the compound by consuming avocados, bananas, cheese, chicken, fish, lima beans, milk or peanuts. In capsule or tablet form, the recommended dose for children ranges from 200 to 400 milligrams everyday in two or three divided doses. Adults take 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day in divided doses. The supplement should also be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before a meal.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Over-the-Counter Treatment for ADHD with L-Tyrosine," in PsychologyDictionary.org, March 6, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/over-the-counter-treatment-for-adhd-with-l-tyrosine/ (accessed August 12, 2022).