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Food for thought? This is no longer a far-Fetched idea - a growing body of evidence shows that certain foods might have profound effects on
brain function. For instance, a recent study conducted at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute in the Netherlands examined the
effects of the bovine (cow) protein alpha-lactalbumin on mood in 29 humans.
Alpha-lactalbumin is a whey protein with high tryptophan content. (Tryptophan may increase brain serotonin which, in turn, might improve adaptation to stress and deterioration in mood.) The researchers examined the impact of this protein on mood states and stress hormone (cortisol) levels in "stress-vulnerable" subjects.
During two experimental days, subjects were placed under a stressful situation (a math test) following a balanced meal containing either alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein or a placebo protein. The alpha-lactalbumin group experienced a significant rise in plasma tryptophan, but even more interesting, they also had lower stress hormone levels and reduced depressive feelings compared to the placebo group.
So what's the take-home message? If you consume whey protein enriched with alpha-lactalbumin, it may improve your coping ability This could be crucial the next time someone swipes your bench while you're at the drinking fountain!