Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


What Foods Are High In Tyrosine?

What Foods Are High In Tyrosine?

Tyrosine is a vital amino acid that plays a crucial role in producing neurotransmitters and hormones essential for brain function and overall well-being. We’ll explore foods rich in tyrosine, highlighting its significance in maintaining mental health, enhancing cognitive performance, and supporting adrenal function.


Let’s take a closer look into the best dietary sources of tyrosine, particularly showcasing how the carnivore diet, with its focus on animal-based foods, serves as an ideal source for this important nutrient. Discover how incorporating tyrosine-rich foods into your diet can boost your health and why the carnivore diet is exceptionally effective in providing this essential amino acid.


What Are Amino Acids?



Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins, which are critical for various bodily functions. They play a vital role in the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters, the repair and growth of tissues, and the regulation of metabolism. Structurally, amino acids consist of an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a distinctive side chain, which varies among different amino acids.


Amino acids are categorized into two main types: essential and non-essential.


  • Essential Amino Acids: These amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through diet. There are nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. They are crucial for protein synthesis and various metabolic processes.
  • Non-Essential Amino Acids: These amino acids can be synthesized by the body and do not necessarily need to be obtained from dietary sources. Examples include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid. While they are still important for health, the body can produce them as needed from other nutrients.


What Is Tyrosine?

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is synthesized from phenylalanine, another amino acid. It plays a critical role in the production of several important substances in the body, including:


  • Neurotransmitters: Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, which are essential for brain function and mood regulation.
  • Hormones: It is involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism.
  • Pigments: Tyrosine is a key component in the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for hair and skin color.


What Are the Benefits of Tyrosine?

Tyrosine offers numerous health benefits by serving as a precursor to vital neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters play key roles in regulating mood, cognitive function, and stress responses. Increased intake of tyrosine can enhance mental performance, particularly under stress, by improving attention, focus, and memory. It also supports a positive mood and motivation due to its impact on dopamine levels, which are associated with feelings of pleasure and reward.


Additionally, tyrosine is important for thyroid hormone production, which is needed for regulating metabolism, energy levels, and overall development. Proper thyroid function affects everything from body weight to cardiovascular health, making tyrosine’s role in hormone production essential.


Lastly, tyrosine aids in protein synthesis, which is important for muscle repair and recovery. This makes it especially beneficial for athletes and those engaged in regular physical activity. By supporting the synthesis of structural proteins, tyrosine contributes to the maintenance and growth of healthy tissues.


Overall, incorporating tyrosine-rich foods, such as various meats, eggs, and dairy products, into your diet can significantly boost mental clarity, emotional well-being, metabolic health, and physical performance, making it an important nutrient for holistic health.


How Much Tyrosine Do I Need Daily?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for tyrosine is approximately 12.5 mg per kilogram of body weight, or about 11 mg per pound. For a 150-pound individual, this equates to roughly 1,650 mg of tyrosine daily. Ensuring adequate tyrosine intake supports the production of neurotransmitters and overall cognitive function, which is important for maintaining mental and physical health.


Comparing Tyrosine From Animal Sources vs. Plant Sources


tyrosine meat vs plant bioavailability


Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid found in both animal and plant-based foods, but its availability and concentration vary significantly between the two sources. Animal-based foods, such as beef, chicken, and fish, are rich in tyrosine, making it easier to meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of approximately 12.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. For instance, a 6-ounce serving of beef skirt steak provides 2,174 mg of tyrosine, easily surpassing daily needs.


Compared to animal-based foods, plant-based sources of tyrosine, such as soy products, beans, and nuts, generally contain lower levels of this amino acid. As a result, individuals on a plant-based diet must consume larger quantities and a more diverse array of foods to achieve the same tyrosine intake, which can be challenging and impractical. For example, while tofu and lentils do contain tyrosine, one would need to consume much larger portions compared to meat to meet the RDA. You would need to eat about 210 grams of soybeans for the same amount of tyrosine that’s available in 111 grams of a ribeye steak in order to meet the RDA. 


The Best Food Sources High In Tyrosine


foods with tyrosine


The best food sources high in tyrosine are animal-based products such as beef, chicken, fish, and dairy. These foods provide significant amounts of tyrosine, essential for neurotransmitter production, cognitive function, and mood regulation. Eggs and certain types of cheese also contribute notably to tyrosine intake, making them excellent choices for those looking to enhance their dietary intake of this important amino acid.


What Is the Carnivore Diet?


Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid


The carnivore diet focuses the consumption of animal-based foods while excluding all plant-based products. This diet has several variations to accommodate different health needs and preferences:


1. Beef-Only Carnivore Diet: Focuses exclusively on unprocessed beef, salt, and water. It is often used as an elimination diet to identify food sensitivities or those dealing with health concerns. To achieve nutritional completeness, a broader range of meats should be introduced over time.


2. Lion Diet: The lion diet includes only ruminant animals such as beef and lamb, along with salt and water, aimed at those with autoimmune and gut health recovery.


3. Nose-to-Tail Carnivore Diet: Encourages consuming all parts of the animal, including organs and bone broth, to maximize nutrient intake and variety. Caution is necessary with liver and kidney intake to avoid potential vitamin A toxicity and other nutrient imbalances, especially in those with specific liver issues.


4. Zero-Carb Carnivore Diet: Strictly eliminates all carbohydrates, focusing solely on animal fats and proteins such as dairy, eggs, and all types of meats. It may include seasonings and is suited for individuals without autoimmune or significant chronic health concerns who can digest dairy and/or eggs well.


5. Carnivore Keto Diet: Combines carnivore principles with ketogenic diet elements, maintaining ketosis through high-fat, moderate-protein consumption. It also allows for a wider variety of low-toxicity keto-friendly foods, such as avocados and coconut oil. Recommended for those who are metabolically healthy and have addressed their chronic health issues.


6. Carnivore-ish Keto Diet: Primarily carnivorous but allows for limited plant foods, such as keto sweeteners, some nuts, and other keto-friendly options. Ideal for metabolically healthy individuals without food addiction concerns.


7. Animal-Based Diet: Includes a variety of animal products in addition to raw dairy, fruits, and honey. From our clinical observations, only metabolically flexible individuals and elite athletes tend to thrive on this diet. We don’t recommend this variation generally because of the risks of mixing fruit with high fat.


The Carnivore Diet and Tyrosine


carnivore diet tyrosine


The carnivore diet is excellent for tyrosine intake due to the abundance of tyrosine-rich sources such as beef, chicken, and fish. Tyrosine is essential for producing neurotransmitters, which enhance cognitive function, mood regulation, and stress resilience. This diet ensures sufficient tyrosine levels, promoting benefits such as improved mental clarity, better stress management, and overall well-being. Additionally, the diet’s focus on nutrient-dense animal products supports overall health, making it easier to maintain optimal tyrosine intake compared to plant-based diets.


The carnivore diet naturally ensures an adequate intake of tyrosine without the need for meticulous dietary planning. This makes it more straightforward for individuals on such a diet to maintain optimal levels of tyrosine, supporting cognitive function, mood regulation, and overall health.


Closing Thoughts On Foods High In Tyrosine and the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is particularly effective for ensuring adequate tyrosine intake. Tyrosine plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter production, which enhances cognitive function, mood regulation, and stress resilience. The diet includes a variety of tyrosine-rich foods such as beef, chicken, and fish, ensuring that individuals easily meet their daily requirements.


Different variations of the carnivore diet, such as the beef-only diet, lion diet, nose-to-tail diet, and carnivore keto diet, provide flexibility and cater to specific health needs. Each variation ensures high tyrosine intake, promoting benefits such as improved mental clarity, better stress management, and overall well-being. Compared to plant-based diets, which often require careful planning to meet tyrosine needs, the carnivore diet naturally supports optimal levels of this amino acid.


Lastly, the carnivore diet not only provides a simple and effective way to achieve sufficient tyrosine intake but also supports overall health through its emphasis on nutrient-dense animal products. This diet is particularly beneficial for those seeking to enhance their mental and physical well-being through improved neurotransmitter function and balanced nutrition.


Work With Our Trusted Carnivore Diet Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

The Nutrition with Judy practice is honored to be a trusted carnivore diet practitioner support serving clients from around the globe. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve root-cause healing in order to lead the best quality of life possible that’s nearly symptom-free. Our team is dedicated to debunking mistruths and providing practical nutritional tips. We welcome you to explore our free resources and are always available to support you through personalized protocols. Our Symptom Burden Assessment (SBA) is the perfect starting point for discovering your root cause and is required to work with our team— you can learn more in-depth about this powerful tool here.

Start your root-cause healing journey today and contact us any time with any questions or concerns.


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. While we are board-certified in holistic nutrition and are nutritional therapy practitioners, we are not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always consult with your trusted practitioner first.

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