N Acetyl L-Tyrosine
Other names: Hup-A, Chinese Club Moss
Used for: treatment of cognitive decline, improved neurotransmitter health, increased mental energy and cognition
Known side effects: increased blood pressure, incontinence, diarrhea, vomiting
Dosing: 50 mcg to 200 mcg daily
Add an acetyl group to L-Tyrosine – a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine – we get N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT). The NALT nootropic can do wonders to the brain and body; the supplement boosts your ability to handle stress, improve cognitive processes and brain function, helps in cell growth and repair, and encourages muscle building. N Acetyl L-Tyrosine is believed to treat the symptoms of ADHD/ADD, act as an antidepressant, improves mood, and increases concentration, focus, and memory.
Our body, especially the brain, needs L-Tyrosine for various functions, both physiological and cognitive. One of its primary functions is to increase the levels of catecholamines (a collective term used for the three neurotransmitters adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine).
After NALT changes to L-Tyrosine, the tyrosine hydroxylase enzyme acts on the amino acid to produce L-DOPA, which goes through decarboxylation to become dopamine. The process doesn’t end there because the dopamine with the help of an enzyme transforms into two other neurotransmitters, namely, adrenaline and norepinephrine.
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What Does N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) Do in the Body?
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine and Neurotransmitters: NALT stimulates the production of the following neurotransmitters:
Dopamine: The brain chemical that controls the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. The neurotransmitter is also essential for normal memory functions and motor skills.
Norepinephrine and Adrenaline: When our whole discussion is about how NALT brings out the best in us at the time of acute stress, it’s only natural that the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and adrenaline make an appearance. These two hormones play a crucial role in how our body responds – to flee or stay and fight – to stress.
Acute stress and sleep deprivation are two of the major factors that decrease the levels of catecholamine – the three neurotransmitters mentioned above. Taking N Acetyl L-Tyrosine ensures normal cognitive performance by restoring the catecholamine levels in the body. In the case of normal and healthy people, the supplementation of the dopamine precursor can improve cognitive capabilities such as memory, attention, and concentration.
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine Stimulates Melanin and Thyroid Hormones: Melanin is a well-known chemical that gives the skin, eyes, and hair their color. Excess production of melanin is characterized by darker skin. NALT directly influences metabolism by regulating the output of the thyroid hormone.
NALT and L-Dopa (Levodopa): We have seen that NALT goes through many transformations, one of which is the production of Levodopa. Scientists believe that both Tyrosine and L-Dopa are capable of treating specific symptoms of cognitive decline. Furthermore, Levodopa is often prescribed for treating Parkinson’s disease.
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine and Other Supplements: Excess of neurotransmitters can lead to headaches and other unwanted reactions in the body. NALT acts as a protective supplement; helping in maintaining neurotransmitter balance. Sometimes, NALT is needed for the optimal functioning of supplements such as Ritalin.
The Benefits of Using N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine Improves Memory and Attention
Improvement in memory and attention is linked to the alleviation of stress or improved ability to handle stressful situations. According to a study done in 2013, research subjects who were given L-Tyrosine supplement performed much better as the difficulty level increased.
The results showed that as the test became more stressful and demanding, the L-Tyrosine group outperformed the placebo group. There was nil to minimal improvement when stress and pressure were removed as factors from the experiment.
The scientists believe that under stressful and demanding conditions the nootropic supplement can increase resource allocation to perform cognitive functions (1).
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine for Increasing Cognitive Flexibility
NALT’s ability to supply cognitive resource also helps in increasing the cognitive flexibility of the users. Cognitive flexibility can be defined as the ability to adjust one’s thinking to adapt to changing stimuli quickly. Higher cognitive flexibility is a sign of a healthy brain, excellent reading and comprehension skills, and higher fluid intelligence.
In 2015, a double-blind study was undertaken with 22 participants. One group was given placebo capsules, and the other received the nootropic supplement. Both groups were asked to go through a task; the researchers then changed procedures to evaluate the cognitive flexibility of the subjects. The scientists found that the NALT supplement group was better at adapting to changing procedures. Tests after the trial also showed increased levels of dopamine in members of the NALT group (2).
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine Helps Combat Stress
Stress is the enemy of clear thinking; stress can include extreme weather conditions, demanding situations, and sudden change in the state of affairs. During stressful times all our cognitive faculties are tested. NALT supplementation optimizes faculties such as information processing and working memory so that our performance or productivity doesn’t dip.
Supplementation of the dopamine precursor prevents sleep deprivation from affecting cognitive performance. In 1995, in a study that involved sleep-deprived subjects, one group received the nootropic supplement while others took a placebo. The supplement group performed better in psychomotor and cognitive tasks (3).
In another study, cadets undergoing combat training were given the dopamine precursor. The cadets who received the supplement had lower blood pressure (systolic). They also excelled in tracking tasks and memory tests (4).
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine to Treat Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The efficacy of dopamine precursor in treating ADHD was examined in a study involving 85 young participants with ADHD. The subjects were all aged between 4 to 18 years. The participants were treated for ADHD. The dopamine and serotonin levels of the participants were tested after four weeks. If the tests showed inadequate neurotransmitter levels, the dosage was increased, and tests were done again after two weeks and so on.
The final results showed that the dopamine and serotonin precursors were as good as Ritalin and Strattera in treating ADHD/ADD (5).
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) to Regulate Blood Pressure
Stress and stressful situations can increase blood pressure; this is widely believed, and many doctors and experts share this viewpoint. According to research done in Amsterdam, L-Tyrosine influenced blood pressure (diastolic) within 15 minutes and normalized the BP within 1 hour of taking the supplement (6).
Why Use N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)?
Why use NALT instead of L-Tyrosine. There isn’t much difference between the two; in fact, NALT is the acetylated form of L-Tyrosine. If you take N Acetyl L-Tyrosine, the supplement reaches the kidneys, where it’s broken down into L-Tyrosine.
NALT is considered a better supplement because it’s readily soluble, which makes it highly bioavailable. It must be mentioned that not all users and experts agree with this claim. Anyway, there is no question about the effectiveness of N Acetyl L-Tyrosine; the supplement boosts adrenaline and dopamine and helps cognition and overall brain health.
Synergistic effect with other supplements is another reason to choose N Acetyl L-Tyrosine. NALT seems to work well with Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR). They complement each other well and give a substantial boost to cognitive capabilities. Like NALT, ALCAR effortlessly crosses the blood-brain barrier to boost the levels of neurotransmitters the brain. While ALCAR increases acetylcholine and serotonin, N Acetyl L-Tyrosine takes care of dopamine levels. Both substances work together to treat ADHD and its symptoms.
In addition, NALT is also needed for the proper functioning of Nootropics like Ritalin. The nootropic Ritalin requires plenty of dopamine to take effect and deliver results. But, our brain isn’t capable of releasing enough dopamine to trigger Ritalin into action. Hence, to boost dopamine levels, NALT is usually taken together with Ritalin.
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) Dosage
How much of NALT do you need to have an impact on the body? The daily intake must depend on the purpose for which the supplement is taken. The standard dosage of 350 – 500 mg is suggested for enhancing cognitive capabilities. Sometimes the ideal policy is to allow the body to act as the guide while deciding on the perfect dosage.
Those taking a higher daily dosage, between 500 – 1000 mg, can split the dosage into 2-3 and take them throughout the day, 30 minutes to 1 hour before meals.
There is no special instruction on when to take the NALT supplement. The nootropic is water-soluble; hence, it can be taken with or without food.
Possible Side Effects of N Acetyl L-Tyrosine
NALT is known for its high bioavailability, so just a small dose of this nootropic goes a long way in influencing the brain function.
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine – the best form of dopamine precursor – is non-toxic, well-tolerated, and safe to consume if the standard dosage guideline is followed. The possible side effects of NALT are all related to overuse or overdosing of the nootropic.
Taking too much of NALT in some cases can cause migraines and gastrointestinal tract problems. Migraines can indicate the presence of excess neurotransmitter in the brain. The risk of migraine increases if the user is already suffering from migraine headaches.
For some, NALT is off-limits, at least until a medical care provider gives a go ahead. N Acetyl L-Tyrosine has the tendency to increase thyroid hormone, so those with hyperthyroidism are advised not to take the nootropic supplement. The same advice applies to those taking Nardil, Marplan, Azilect, Selegiline, or any other MAO inhibitors, which affect neurotransmitters in the brain. The nootropic NALT might interact with MAO inhibitors to affect the cognition and healthy brain function by influencing the neurotransmitter levels.
Many people can only dream of optimal performance and productivity under acute stress. But, by taking N Acetyl L-Tyrosine, this can become your reality.
Working under stress and pressure isn’t a precondition for the nootropic supplement to work. There is an abundance of scientific evidence and user feedback to suggest NALT can improve memory, attention, and cognitive flexibility. The acetylated form of L-Tyrosine is also known to regulate blood pressure and treat ADHD/ADD.
Finally, the synergistic effect, high bioavailability, and the ability to balance the neurotransmitters in the brain ensure N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) gets a place in most pre-made nootropic stacks.
- “Working Memory Reloaded: Tyrosine Repletes Updating in the N-Back Task.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24379768.
- “Tyrosine Promotes Cognitive Flexibility: Evidence from Proactive vs. Reactive Control during Task Switching Performance.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25598314.
- “The Effects of Tyrosine on Cognitive Performance during Extended Wakefulness.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7794222.
- “Tyrosine Improves Cognitive Performance and Reduces Blood Pressure in Cadets after One Week of a Combat Training Course.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10230711.
- “Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Monoamine Amino Acid Precursors and Organic Cation Transporter Assay Interpretation.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035600/.
- “Effect of Tyrosine on Cognitive Function and Blood Pressure under Stress.” NCBI, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8293316.
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“Tyrosine: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/nutrition/tyrosine.
“L-Tyrosine.” Braintropic, www.braintropic.com/nootropics/l-tyrosine/.
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