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L-arginine and L-tyrosine are small organic molecules that are better known as amino acids. In addition to their role as ingredients in proteins, these two amino acids offer many other functional characteristics in your body. Alternative supplementation of L-arginine and L-tyrosine may help improve thyroid function and ease the symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Regardless of the potential, you should always seek the advice of your primary care provider prior to using nutritional supplements for your thyroid.
L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that you get from the foods you eat and it is also naturally synthesized by your body. L-arginine plays several important biological roles in your body including as a component for protein and enzyme structure and function. According to PubMed Health, this nutrient is also utilized for the treatment of a variety of disorders including chest pain from angina, erectile dysfunction and congestive heart failure 1.
L-tyrosine is considered a nonessential amino acid because your body produces all the L-tyrosine you need from another amino acid called phenylalanine. Like L-arginine, L-tyrosine is one of the molecules that make up the proteins and enzymes throughout your body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, individuals who suffer from phenylketonuria cannot properly convert phenylalanine into L-tyrosine and are therefore L-tyrosine-deficient 2. People with phenylketonuria need to take L-tyrosine supplements to make up for the lack of natural production.
Thyroid Health and Disease
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located at the base of your throat and is responsible for releasing hormones that regulate your metabolism. According to the Hormone Foundation, there are two primary thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, which are regulated by another hormone from the pituitary gland called thyroid stimulating hormone. Blood tests for TSH levels can determine if you have too much or too little thyroid activity, also referred to as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively.
Hypothyroidism causes a decrease in your body’s ability to metabolize the foods and beverages that you consume. This condition can cause:
- many uncomfortable symptoms including constipation
- weight gain
- menstrual problems
- cognitive confusion
Treatment for hypothyroidism may include hormone replacement therapies or alternative supplementation. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, L-tyrosine can be used by underactive thyroids to produce more T3 and T4 hormones 2. While L-arginine is not considered a direct treatment for thyroid problems, it has been implicated as a factor in improving blood flow and complications of erectile dysfunction, which may also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. If you are interested in alternative treatments like L-tyrosine and L-arginine for your thyroid condition, be sure to consult with your physician prior to taking any of these supplements.
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