N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) has its fair share of supporters and critics. Its proponents credit NALT for enhancing their memory, reducing stress, boosting mood, increasing focus and boosting memory and thinking skills. Not so fast, say its skeptics, who warn others of NALT’s potential side effects.
Their main criticism of NALT is that it isn’t well-studied in humans. This means that we don’t yet have a complete picture of this supplement’s potential side effects. The naysayers also blame NALT for causing fatigue and headaches and interacting with thyroid and L-DOPA medications.
Which of the two camps should you be a part of? That’s what we’ll decide here. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about NALT. We’ll tap the latest pieces of research to discuss how NALT works, its benefits, side effects, and dosage.
What is NALT?
It aids the body in improving attention, focus and alertness. It also helps produce brain chemicals that regulate your mood and help nerve cells communicate. In fact, many individuals consider NALT to be one of the best nootropics on the market currently, due to its strong efficacy and minimal side effects.
Once absorbed by the bloodstream, NALT is transformed into L-Tyrosine. This is useful not only for people who have a hereditary condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), in which the body cannot produce adequate levels of L-Tyrosine. NALT’s consumption can benefit almost everyone.
That is because NALT contains acetic acid. This helps it produce a modified form of L-Tyrosine that can be absorbed more readily by your bloodstream than natural L-Tyrosine, whose solubility is pretty poor. This enables NALT to offer the various benefits mentioned below.
Proven benefits of NALT include enhancements in mental flexibility, working memory and information processing. This supplement may also boost your overall mood and help you handle stress better, potentially preventing the harmful aspects of stress and anxiety.
Here are the benefits of NALT:
1) Improves Cognitive Performance
Cognitive performance refers to a person’s ability to learn new things, remember old ones, concentrate better and make decisions that affect their lives. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) warns that cognitive decline is one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. [R]
The good news is that NALT may improve your cognitive performance. Research has found that supplemental tyrosine can increase the brain’s synthesis of catecholamines, hormones that play a crucial role in several cognitive functions such as attention, working memory, and impulse control. [R]
2) Improves Stress Response
NALT may help improve your body’s stress response. It’s well-known that high levels of stress can diminish levels of catecholamine neurotransmitters in the body. Catecholamines are a vital part of the body’s stress response, as they help it erect a ‘fight or flight’ response to a perceived threat.
With adequate NALT supplementation, you can prop up your body’s levels of this neurotransmitter and improve how it deals with stress. That’s not all. By improving your body’s stress response, you may also avoid the dangers of chronic stress and anxiety over the long term. [R]
3) Speeds Up Metabolism
There are various benefits of boosted metabolism, including losing weight and keeping it off, experiencing more energy in your daily tasks, and enjoying quality sleeps. People with a higher-than-average metabolism also experience elevated mood levels and appear younger.
The good news is that NALT has been linked to boosted metabolism in human trials. An 8-week intervention in obese people found that those who took tyrosine experienced increased metabolism and achieved more body fat loss than members of the placebo group. [R]
4) Increases Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones affect every body tissue and all body organs. They regulate your metabolism, affect weight gain or weight loss, and reduce or speed up the heartbeat. Thyroid hormones also control how slowly (or quickly) dying cells are being replaced and how your muscles contract.
Research has found that tyrosine may increase the body’s thyroid hormone production. [R]
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. The body already uses tyrosine to make thyroxine, the primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland. So taking extra tyrosine may increase its production of thyroxine, too.
5) Improves Mood
An improved mood is almost always a precursor to enhanced health. Experts say that the better someone feels, the more likely they are to take better care of themselves. [R] They are also more likely to eat healthy, exercise and are more compliant with medications, too.
Various studies link NALT with an improved mood. One study has found that treatment with Tyrosine (which NALT converts into after being absorbed by the bloodstream) helps humans feel better about the environment. [R]
Another links it to an elevated mood during long winter spells. [R]
6) Helps with Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. More so because early on, it may pose no signs that the person is using it. It’s only after prolonged use, or when the person tries to get rid of their addiction, that they may feel symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, sweating, yawning, muscle aches and more.
Fortunately, when combined with other supplements, tyrosine has been shown to decrease heroin withdrawal symptoms in addicts. People who took the supplements reportedly experienced less insomnia, anger, fatigue, anxiety and mood disturbance than placebo group members. [R]
7) Might Help Treat Phenylketonuria
Phenylketonuria is an uncommon but potentially severe genetic disorder. It’s caused by a defect in the gene that helps our body produce the phenyl hydroxylase enzyme. This enzyme is used by the body to convert phenylanine into tyrosine, which it then uses to create neurotransmitters.
People with PKU may not have as much tyrosine as needed in their bodies. This may expose them to behavioral problems such as decreased motivation, poor self-esteem, hyperactivity, and mood disorders. Supplementing with NALT may help alleviate these symptoms to some extent.
NALT Side Effects
Due to the lack of clinical data, the side effects of NALT are relatively unknown. While it’s similar to L-Tyrosine, it may have a different safety profile. Consult your doctor about the potential side effects of NALT based on your health conditions and potential drug or supplement interactions.
Some of the reported side effects of NALT include:
Supplement-drug interaction is one of the most feared possible side effects of NALT. That’s because L-Tyrosine, the amino acid which NALT is transformed into once your bloodstream absorbs it, has been shown to interact with thyroid and L-DOPA medications.
That’s why we suggest you always consult your doctor before starting taking NALT. Let them know about all supplements and drugs you’re currently using or considering using in future. Children, pregnant women and the elderly should avoid it unless prescribed by their doctor.
There are no officially released guidelines for NALT dosage. Mainly because the US Federal Drug Authority is yet to approve NALT supplements for medical use. You’d thus be better off taking the advice of your doctor about how much of these supplements you can safely take per day.
Here are the manufacturer-recommended NALT dosage guidelines:
- 700 mg daily for an average weight person
- 1000 mg daily for an obese person
Keep in mind that NALT supplements usually come in bulk powders or 350 mg pills. The first option may be better if you intend to stick to the manufacturer guidelines. However, it’s the second option that has been used in most L-Tyrosine clinical trials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is N Acetyl L Tyrosine Safe?
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is relatively safe for most people, excluding the children, the elderly and the pregnant women who should avoid taking it. Some people apply NALT (in powder form) to the skin: it’s possibly safe when applied to the skin as well.
What is NALT used for?
NALT helps improve memory, alertness, focus and concentration. It may also boost your metabolism, increase thyroid production in your body and help your body deal with stress better. Some people also use NALT because it may help threat phenylketonuria.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a highly-soluble form of amino acid L-Tyrosine. After being absorbed by the bloodstream (and converted into L-Tyrosine), it may improve cognitive performance, increase thyroid hormone production, and elevate mood. That’s not all.
This bioavailable form of L-Tyrosine may also help treat phenylketonuria, speed up metabolism, and improve stress response. Juxtapose these benefits with its reported side effects – headaches, nausea, heartburn – and it’s clear that NALT is not only relatively safe but also beneficial for most people.
However, since it is yet to be approved by the US FDA, there are no officially sanctioned NALT dosage guidelines. That, along with the lack of clinical data on this supplement, is why we recommend you consult your doctor before you start taking NALT.