L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is synthesized from phenylalanine. It is important to the structure of almost all protein within the body. L-tyrosine is the precursor to a number of important neurotransmitters – L-dopa, dopamine, nor epinephrine, and epinephrine to name a few.
Through its effects on neurotransmitters, tyrosine may have positive effects in battling multiple mental disorders. Many studies have suggested that tyrosine can help battle depression and anxiety. This, due to its release of nor epinephrine and epinephrine, two of the main stress reducing hormones located within the body. Tyrosine has also been seen to ease adverse effects on environmental, psychological, and physical disorders effecting people each day. The fact that it contains these properties leads many researchers to believe that the amino acid can also help to ease the draining symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), and more importantly for this article, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder. There are some who think that there are several psychiatric and psychological conditions related. The notion is of a spectrum of obsessive-compulsive related disorders, comprised of such disparate disorders as obsessive compulsive personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, certain eating disorders, pathological gambling, and even autism. The fact that these disorders share obsessive-compulsive features in patient characteristics, course, neurobiology, and treatment response raises the question of whether obsessive compulsive disorders are best thought of as an anxiety or an obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder.
The OCD symptoms are characterized by recurrent, unwanted, and distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive, irresistible behaviors. Individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder recognize that the obsessions and compulsions are senseless, yet they are unable to extinguish them. Symptoms such as frequent hand washing and fear of mistakes or disasters can appear at any age, but are not usually recognized until around age 5.
L-tyrosine enters the picture as a possible treatment option for OCD. While it still may be viewed as an alternative or supplemental treatment, tyrosine has been proven effective in many individual cases. Most studies have shown that a dosage of 500-1500mg daily, separated into two or three dose periods, can be effective in suppressing the symptoms as an OCD treatment. Since tyrosine releases nor epinephrine and epinephrine, the body’s stress levels are reduced, thus decreasing the propensity to harp on negative imagery (or to worry). Also, since the amino acid is a precursor to many important neurotransmitters like L-dopa and dopamine, the body has immediate access to these chemicals in its ongoing effort to relieve your mind of anxiousness and worries.
When the body is in a relaxed state, your mind typically follows suit. Since obsessive compulsive symptoms inhibit relaxation, finding a way to maintain a non-anxious state must sometimes be done chemically. With proper L-tyrosine supplementation, the neurotransmitters and hormones released will help, over time, to battle anxiety and eventually Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (including OCD in children). Be sure to consult a physician before starting an L-tyrosine supplementation regimen for OCD therapy.