Top 10 Foods Highest in Tyrosine

Photo of Daisy Whitbread Written by Daisy Whitbread
BSc (Hons) MSc DipION
Photo of Dr. Patricia Shelton Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Patricia Shelton
Evidence Based. References sourced from PubMed.
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Tyrosine

Tyrosine is a conditionally essential amino acid involved in creating brain signaling molecules such as dopamine, and stress hormones like norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline). (1)

For most people, tyrosine is not classified as essential, since it can be made by the body if a person consumes enough of the amino acid phenylalanine. (2)

However, people with a genetic condition called Phenylketonuria (PKU) typically take tyrosine supplements. This is because their bodies cannot metabolize excess phenylalanine, and so they need to limit their intake of this amino acid in order to avoid serious health consequences. (3) Note that many high tyrosine foods also contain phenylalanine, and so are not a good substitute for people with PKU.

High tyrosine foods include beef, pork, fish, chicken, tofu, milk, cheese, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

The reference dietary intake (RDI) of phenylalanine and tyrosine is 25mg per kilogram of body weight or 11mg per pound. (4) Assuming a person gets half their requirement from each amino acid, a person can then consume 12.5mg per kg or 5.5mg per pound. As such, a person weighing 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 875mg of tyrosine per day, and this is the amount used to calculate the reference dietary intake (RDI).

Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in tyrosine, for more high tyrosine foods see the extended list of tyrosine rich foods.

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Printable list of foods high in tyrosine.

Even More Tyrosine Rich Foods

1. Canned Tuna per 3oz 87% RDI
2. Eggs in 1 large egg 29% RDI
3. Toasted Wheat Germ per oz 29% RDI
4. Sweet Potatoes per cup mashed 24% RDI
5. Spinach per cup cooked 23% RDI
6. Somen Noodles per cup 21% RDI
7. Green Peas per cup cooked 20% RDI
8. Sweet Corn per cup cooked 20% RDI
9. Okra per cup cooked 15% RDI
10. Baked Potato per average potato 13% RDI
11. Avocados per avocado 11% RDI
12. Whole Wheat (Bran) Bread per slice 10% RDI
13. Mamey Sapote 1 cup chopped 10% RDI
14. Kiwifruit per Cup 7% RDI
15. Cocoa Powder per tblsp 5% RDI

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View more nutrients with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. Joseph B, Dyer CA. Dopamine precursors and brain function in phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency J Neurochem. 2003 Aug;86(3):615-26. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01887.x. 12859675
  2. Rafii M, McKenzie JM, Roberts SA, Steiner G, Ball RO, Pencharz PB. An overview of phenylalanine and tyrosine kinetics in humans Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Feb;294(2):E475-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00604.2007. Epub 2007 Nov 27. 18042668
  3. Remmington T, Smith S. Tyrosine supplementation for phenylketonuria Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 Jan 4;1(1):CD001507. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001507.pub4. 33427303
  4. World Health Organization - Protein and Amino Acid Requirements In Human Nutrition
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