Acutely stressful situations can disrupt behavior and deplete brain norepinephrine and dopamine, catecholaminergic neurotransmitters. In animals, administration of tyrosine, a food constituent and precursor of the catecholamines, reduces these behavioral and neurochemical deficits. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design we investigated whether tyrosine (100 mg/kg) would protect humans from some of the adverse consequences of a 4.5 hour exposure to cold and hypoxia. Tyrosine significantly decreased symptoms, adverse moods, and performance impairments in subjects who exhibited average or greater responses to these environmental conditions. These results suggest that tyrosine should be evaluated in a variety of acutely stressful situations.