If you are someone who has had issues at some point with ADHD, focus, or self-discipline issues, then I want to share something that I have been finding helpful for me, and might be helpful for you, too.
A few months ago, I read a book about eating cures for various emotional difficulties, called “The Mood Cure” and written by Julia Ross. For people with attention issues (ie norepinephrine deficits), the author recommends minimizing the intake of caffeine, sugar, and white flour. More than anything else, however, she recommended taking amino acid tyrosine supplements. Apparently Dr. Amen of ADHD Amen Clinic fame also recommends tyrosine for people suffering ADHD.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor to the neurotransmitters called catecholamines. Wikipedia says, “Catecholamines are ‘fight-or-flight’ hormones released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. In the human body, the most abundant catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine, all of which are produced from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Various stimulant drugs are catecholamine analogs.” Most rsearch indicates that lower levels of catecholamine receptors in the forebrain, anterior cingulate, cerebellum, and other parts of the brain is what “causes” ADHD and many other attention, focus, and self-discipline issues. Taking tyrosine supplements is seen as a more gentle, natural alternative to the ADHD medications that do their work by boosting catecholamine levels in the brain.
I tried some tyrosine pills from GNC by themselves, but found the results to be a rough, jagged ride. A friend suggested that I try NOW Food’s True Focus pills, which contain other ingredients besides tyrosine – the amino acid phenylalanine, vitamins C, and B-6, and others – which are designed to help the tyrosine metabolize smoothly. So, for about six weeks now, I have been taking one True Focus pill in the morning, and some days I take another in the afternoon. If I go out to a party and know that I will be up late, I sometimes take a pill then too. At the same friend’s suggestion, I have also been taking a single capsule of NOW Food’s True Calm pills each morning, at the same time as my first focus pill, which noticeably helps smooth out the entire experience. The two seem to go well together.
I can feel a change usually within about five minutes after I taking one of the focus pills. I am able to fight off feelings of frustration to stay on task more easily, and generally just knock shit out quicker and with fewer time-wasting breaks. They seem to provide a subtle but noticeable feeling of energy, optimism, and well-being. In the past month, when I get up in the morning and begin doing unimportant things, I usually snap-to and say, I haven’t taken my pills. When I do take em, I usually get it in gear and get on it.
So – if you are looking for more focus in your life, I recommend these pills to you.
I know that there are drugs with negative interactions with tyrosine. For example, people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitor psychiatric meds (MAOIs) are asked to even avoid eating too much foods rich in tyrosine (which are mostly protein foods like meat, dairy, and legumes), and are definitely asked to avoid tyrosine supplements. Ditto for people about, for example, to do an ayahuasca ceremony. I think that the idea in both cases is that those chemicals block the reuptake of catecholamines – so, if you are making a whole bunch of new catecholamines from tyrosine, then you are flooded with energy, and (like with too much caffeine, cocaine, or speed) you can get high blood pressure headaches, a racing heart, dizziness, etc.
I have read on the net that people generally recommend against taking adderall/ritalin and tyrosine supplements at the same time. But it does seem that many people writing on the net also seem to practice taking their speed in the morning, and tyrosine in the afternoon. Also, for people taking adderall/ritalin, True Focus pills may be a thing to try for the times when you take a break from your meds.
Anyway – hope this information is helpful for some of you. Feel free to forward this information to anyone that you think may find it valuable. And, if you try tyrosine out, feel free to let me know how it works for you.