L-Tyrosine and L-Dopa: A Fair Comparison of Two Biological Compounds

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L-Tyrosine and L-Dopa are two biological compounds that are often compared for their abilities to increase the dopamine levels in the central nervous system. While structurally different, L-Tyrosine is actually a precursor of L-Dopa, so the question as to which between these two compounds is better seemed inevitable. To make things simpler, L-Tyrosine is converted into different neurotransmitters and hormones after ingestion, most notable of which is L-Dopa, a dopamine precursor.

Based on the conversion processes of these two (L-Tyrosine and L-Dopa) dopaminergics, it would seem as if supplementing with L-Dopa, also known as Levodopa, will be faster and more efficient. Although this may be true to some extent, there are more variables to consider when supplementing with dopaminergics other than efficiency. Such variables include toxicity, safety, and long-term effects. Let us take a closer look at these two biological compounds in order to make a fair comparison.

L-TYROSINE

L-tyrosineThis biological compound is one of the 22 amino acids that make up the building blocks of protein. Most of those who take muscle building supplements may be familiar with this amino acid as it is a constant fixture in whey protein and amino acid preparations. Apart from being a muscle builder, L-Tyrosine supplementation is also prescribed for topical, dietary, and medical applications. Being a versatile biological compound, L-Tyrosine is a usual component in some suntan lotions due to its ability to promote the production of melanin, and in weight loss supplements for its ability to suppress appetite and burn fat.

The dopaminergic properties of L-Tyrosine are so well-documented that it has been prescribed for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and narcolepsy. Other medical applications of L-Tyrosine include the management of erectile dysfunction and PMS symptoms, and to help individuals who are recovering from substance abuse cope better.

Benefits

  • It is affordable.
  • It is widely available and can be acquired without a prescription.
  • It can raise dopamine levels in the body.
  • Its anxiolytic effects help you handle anxiety, depression, and stress better.
  • It can safely be added to nootropic stacks.
  • It has other health benefits.

Disadvantages

  • It doesn’t appear to be effective on some individuals.
  • It requires high dosages in order to be an effective dopaminergic.
  • Its calming effect only kicks in if there is an aggressive outside stressor present.

L-DOPA

L-DopaThis biological compound is both an amino acid and a hormone produced naturally by certain plants and animals. As a supplement, L-Dopa is a precursor of a group of neuroendocrine transmitters called cathecolamines. These neurotransmitters are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Cathecolamines are often referred to as the “feel good” hormones as high levels of these neurotransmitters give off a feeling of well-being and promote a positive mood. L-Dopa has psychotropic effects that are often likened by users to a cocaine and amphetamine high.

The dopaminergic properties of L-Dopa make it an ideal therapeutic management option for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dopamine responsive dystonia. Some also claim that L-Dopa has the ability to increase testosterone levels, which mean that it may also be added to post-workout and recovery supplements for health and fitness enthusiasts.

Benefits

  • It is more effective than L-Tyrosine in raising the levels of dopamine in the body.
  • It has better nootropic effects than L-Tyrosine.
  • It is more effective as a mood stabilizer.
  • It can improve motivation.
  • It has antioxidant properties.
  • It has other health benefits.

Disadvantages

  • It is more expensive than L-Tyrosine.
  • It is not ideal for supplementation for extended periods.
  • It can degrade neurons.
  • It also raises systemic dopamine, which can cause several health issues like hypertension.
  • It can’t effectively cross the blood-brain barrier on its own.
  • It has negative effects once the body develops a tolerance for it.

L-Dopa may have a few advantages over L-Tyrosine when it comes to raising dopamine levels in the central nervous system. However, supplementation with L-Dopa also poses significant health risks with prolonged use.  This is the reason why some experts recommend that only those who are in a disease state should supplement with it.

The daily recommended dosage for L-Tyrosine supplementation is set at 500 milligrams to 2 grams divided into two doses. Daily doses for L-Dopa on the other hand are set at 100 to 900 milligrams depending on your sensitivity to it. L-Dopa supplementation should be cycled in monthly intervals of 2 to 1 on-off cycles to lessen the health risks associated with it. It is best that you consult with your doctor before starting supplementation with either L-Tyrosine or L-Dopa.

Comments

  1. Alyson Esh says:

    I have been using tyrosine for some time now, as my doctor sells capsules I can take. Was not aware of L-DOPA until recently and it definitely looks like something I can try. Glad to know there are options, and do not have to pay the doctor office price always!

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