Physical, mental and emotional stressors are all around. Jobs, relationships, and responsibilities of the modern world are far more demanding than the conditions our ancestors were under. Stress seems to feed itself, having a snowball-like effect. Leaving a normal, relaxed state and entering one of stress, anxiety and tension can hinder performance on many levels. Physical stress can be detrimental to cognitive performance, emotional stress can make you feel physically weaker, carrying a heavy mental load can make you less emotionally aware and so on. In order to function at your top level, whether it’s in the gym, office, or classroom, your body must be under as little stress as possible. Being able to control or alleviate the stress that arises across multiple fields, particularly in the fitness and nutrition, can help tremendously. One supplement, NALT, has received a significant amount of attention in this area. NALT can blunt the impacts of environmental stressors and, when you’re not stressed, it promotes a relaxed, attentive state.
NALT: What is it?
NALT (N-Acetyl-Tyrosine) is an acetylated form of the amino acid l-tyrosine and converts to l-tyrosine in the body. Since NALT is 20 times more soluble in water than l-tyrosine, NALT is believed to be more easily absorbed than normal l-tyrosine supplements, so it may require a lower dose to achieve the same effects. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is normally obtained in varying amounts through food sources like chicken, eggs, and dairy. This amino acid is critical to the production of essential neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine. When the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine drop, severe conditions arise. Depression, anxiety and increased irritability are all associated with inadequate dopamine levels. Tyrosine, the amino acid broken down from NALT, is used to help replenish these neurotransmitters.
Benefits of NALT
Most of the research involving NALT is focused on its eventual form l-tyrosine. However, the increased bioavailability of NALT not only means the same research could apply to NALT as well as l-tyrosine, but it could perhaps be more effective. When supplementing with NALT, the primary objective and benefit are to optimize l-tyrosine levels as efficiently as possible. When this occurs, neurotransmitter levels can be topped off, and the brain can become more balanced. Specific benefits of optimized l-tyrosine levels as well as common uses of NALT or other l-tyrosine supplementation are:
- Improve mood 
- Environmental stress buffer 
- Enhanced cognitive performance under stress 
- Enhanced cognitive performance during sleep deprivation 
- Improved sense of wellbeing 
- Improved memory 
- Reduction of stress-induced high blood pressure 
- Stimulatory effects
Since NALT is more easily processed than regular l-tyrosine, the recommended NALT dosage is lower. For moderate effects, dosages as low as 100mg can be used as a starting point. Some sources suggest dosages up to 500mg to achieve maximal effectiveness. Like other supplements, you may have to adjust the dosage and timing to meet your exact needs. Given NALT and tyrosine’s stimulatory effects, it may be best to not use NALT late in the day. And, since NALT directly affects dopamine levels, it is best to contact your physician before you begin supplementing with NALT if you are using any other dopamine-related substances.