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Should you take L-tyrosine with Adderall?
Certain combinations can have beneficial synergistic effects. For example, l-theanine synergizes with caffeine.
On the other hand, supplements can also dangerously interact with drugs. For example, taking 5-HTP with a MAOI like phenelzine could precipitate serotonin syndrome.
L-tyrosine is "natural" in the sense that it’s an amino acid present in foods.
L-tyrosine is non-essential because it can be synthesized from phenylalanine in the body by the simple addition of an OH group.
Adderall, by contrast, is a catecholamine-releasing agent. Adderall is a potent prescription drug that promotes dopamine release to increase attention and arousal.
Mixing L-Tyrosine and Adderall
Is mixing l-tyrosine and Adderall dangerous?
You might think that it could be dangerous to mix the two because both substances increase synaptic dopamine levels in the brain.
Increasing dopamine via multiple mechanisms can be dangerous, but l-tyrosine only very weakly and indirectly increases dopamine.
While it’s not dangerous to mix Adderall and l-tyrosine, you will get more mileage by avoiding co-administration.
It’s better instead to take l-tyrosine in the evening or even before bed, after Adderall has worn off. This works better because dopamine and other catecholamines (norepinephrine) will be depleted after Adderall use during the day.
Since l-tyrosine is a dopamine precursor, taking it at night will theoretically replenish the dopamine depleted by daytime Adderall use.
How L-Tyrosine Affects The Brain
Once l-tyrosine penetrates the blood brain barrier, it is converted to L-DOPA by the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase.
Tyrosine hydroxylase is the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of dopamine. In other words, tyrosine hydroxylase activity is the “bottleneck” that directly controls the rate at which dopamine is synthesized.
L-DOPA is the immediate precursor to dopamine and is used as a drug for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
In summary, tyrosine is converted to DOPA, which is converted to dopamine, which is converted to norepinephrine. Both dopamine and norepinephrine are biologically neurotransmitters.
Why Not Take L-DOPA?
Since tyrosine is converted to L-DOPA, it's an indirect precursor. Why not cut to the chase and take L-DOPA instead?
L-DOPA is actually not available as a supplement. That's because it's an FDA-approved treatment for Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's patients take L-DOPA as a form of dopamine replacement therapy, since L-DOPA is converted to dopamine.
But this is not the best strategy in the long run because L-DOPA is ultimately neurotoxic. Dopaminergic neurons are very sensitive to oxidative stress because they're so metabolically active. Taking l-tyrosine is a gentler and non-toxic way to boost dopamine.
Best Supplements To Take With Adderall
There's no question that Adderall can be hard on your brain. Amphetamine neurotoxicity is well-documented.
There are a few things you can do to hedge your bets and mitigate the risk of neurotoxicity. The following have been noted to protect against amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity
- Vitamin C
- NSAIDS (e.g., aspirin)
- Green tea phytochemicals