These are two major supplements among nootropic nerds and certain bodybuilders: NALT, a form of L-tyrosine, and L-tyrosine the amino acid itself.
Until recently I had no clue that there was a possible significant difference between the two, but during some unscheduled armchair researching, I sussed out their similarities and differences.
Brief Overview (Until I actually write about L-Tyrosine in depth)
L-tyrosine (and its acetylated cousin NALT) is a precursor to L-DOPA, which if we remember last week’s post, is found in abundance in mucuna pruriens and is therefore a precursor to other useful catecholamines.
Thus, L-tyrosine appears to have the following applications:
- Increasing dopamine
- Increasing noradrenaline
- Reducing anxiety/stress and poor mood caused by noradrenaline depletion
- Increasing energy without disturbing your sleep
In other words, these can help boost your mood and if it’s anything like mucuna, your libido as well. But overall I’d say that tyrosine helps support motivation, focus and a positive sense of well-being.
What’s the difference between NALT and L-Tyrosine?
NALT is supposed to be more heat-stable and soluble than L-Tyrosine, which sounds intriguing in a lab setting but it is unknown if this increases its viability as a supplement.
The major difference between the two is that NALT has an acetyl group on the molecule. L-tyrosine is just the amino acid L-tyrosine.
After the body processes NALT into L-tyrosine, it functions as L-tyrosine. The extent to which this happens is what creates their key functional difference however.
What’s the functional difference between the two?
Functionally, when NALT becomes L-Tyrosine after processing at the kidneys, the two supplements will in theory do the same thing.
However, not all of the NALT becomes L-Tyrosine. According to the page for NALT on Examine.com1, 56% of it will be excreted via the urine as NALT 4 hours after dosing (intraveneously), never broken down into the desired L-Tyrosine. In the study they cite in their section on NALT, it only increased L-Tyrosine levels by 20%.
So, is there a great reason to choose NALT over L-tyrosine or not? Is NALT still usable?
Comments on my personal use of NALT
I haven’t had any issues using NALT as it’s the primary form of Tyrosine that I have always supplemented. It gives me the sort of dopaminergic/adrenergic boost that I would expect from mucuna pruriens.
However, after coming across the above evidence, I’m beginning to question if L-Tyrosine isn’t a better option until evidence proves NALT to be more useful somehow. Though the issues with NALT they mention are through intraveneous administration. It’s not yet known (to myself, at least) if oral administration is better or worse.
As of the current edition of this post, I have not had the two supplements available at the same time to compare and contrast through direct experience.
Also, for those of you concerned about the effectiveness of the affordable, similarly named ALCAR (Acetyl-L-Carnitine), ALCAR is in my opinion a better supplemental choice over L-Carnitine for nootropic and mood-changing effects, as it can cross the blood-brain barrier and the acetyl group in ALCAR can reportedly contribute to increased acetylcholine levels in the brain2 . I explained this in my past article on choosing cholinergics for your nootropic stack.
And yes, you can take ALCAR and L-tyrosine together. ALCAR has serotonergic and cholinergic effects. L-Tyrosine has dopaminergic effects. Together they make a great combination for increasing their respective neurotransmitters.
Which should you choose, NALT or L-Tyrosine?
As of right now, if you were to take it on its own or as part of your own stack, I would choose L-Tyrosine. Unless a great reason to use NALT over L-Tyrosine comes up, this is my verdict.
Now, do you happen to have one of Powder City’s stacks that include NALT, like the Pre-Workout Energy Stack (see my review) or the Nootropics Stack? The NALT included isn’t totally ineffective or unusable, I’d recommend finishing it instead of rushing out to buy L-Tyrosine if you still have plenty of it. Just consider the possibility that not all of your NALT will become L-Tyrosine in vivo, that’s all.
I don’t believe the difference is significant enough to warrant tossing out one if you already have some. And who knows, maybe NALT will surprise us. This Longecity poster3 suggests that it can cross the blood-brain barrier like ALCAR, but has lower oral bioavailability than L-Tyrosine.