Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid the body makes from another amino acid called phenylalanine. It is a building block for several important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters including epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Neurotransmitters help nerve cells communicate and influence mood.
Tyrosine also helps produce melanin, the pigment responsible for hair and skin color. It helps in the function of organs responsible for making and regulating hormones including the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. Tyrosine is involved in the structure of almost every protein in the body.
Although it is rare to be deficient in tyrosine, low levels have been associated with low blood pressure, low body temperature and an under active thyroid.
Tyrosine is found in soy products, chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.