Whey protein reduces stress and improves mood July 10, 2015 11:31 1 Comment

Stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain and depression. Stress causes increases in cortisol which can slow your metabolism and cause you to gain belly fat. It can also increase episodes of depression in those who are especially vulnerable to stress related depression. Managing stress is one of the most important aspects of your overall health and fitness.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has reported that a protein found specifically in Whey can have a significant positive impact on stress-vulnerable people. The findings showed that when these individuals consumed whey protein, the individuals had lower cortisol levels (this is a good thing!) and they reported lower incidents of depression.  Lower cortisol and improved mood were not found after consuming another form of dairy protein called casein. This means the benefits were not due to consuming protein in general but rather due to consuming whey protein.

Whey protein has many positive benefits that might lead to better mood and lower stress. It can help control blood sugar swings which can keep the mood stable. Whey is a great source of energy and can often reduce fatigue in the late morning or early afternoon.  It also provides many building blocks that the body uses to make hormones and brain chemicals like serotonin. The study does not investigate exactly why whey protein is good for stress reduction and mood but it does suggest that it might be due to a boost in serotonin in the brain which is known to be associated with a positive mood.  It is also possible that these benefits from whey are due to more than one of the beneficial aspects of whey protein.

So for a better mood and a reduction in stress, try a whey protein shake as a meal replacement for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You could also drink whey protein as a pre-workout or post-workout drink to enhance the effectiveness of your workout.

Read the study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837296

-Dr. Jeremy Webster- Weight Loss and Nutrition Expert