Tyrosine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. We get tyrosine in our body by eating protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and beans.
Tyrosine is used by the body to make the neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is believed to be in short supply in the brains of people who are depressed.
There is only one good scientific study on tyrosine as a treatment for depression. Participants in this study were 65 adults with major depression. They were treated with either tyrosine supplements, an antidepressant medication (imipramine) or a placebo (dummy pill). Tyrosine was no more effective than the placebo at reducing depression.
There are no known disadvantages.
Tyrosine is available as a dietary supplement from health food shops.
On the limited evidence available, tyrosine is not an effective treatment for depression.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 December 2016