Effects of acute treatment with a tryptophan-rich protein hydrolysate on plasma amino acids, mood and emotional functioning in older women

E. L. Gibson, K. Vargas, E. Hogan, A. Holmes, P. J. Rogers, J. Wittwer, J. Kloek, R. Goralczyk, M. H. Mohajeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale Effective functioning of the neurotransmitter serotonin is important for optimal cognitive and emotional function. Dietary supplements able to increase availability to the brain of the precursor amino acid, tryptophan (TRP), and thereby enhance serotonin synthesis, can have measurable impact on these psychological processes. Objectives This study involves a randomised controlled trial of a TRP-rich egg-white protein hydrolysate (DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., Switzerland) on plasma amino acids, cognition, mood and emotional processing in older women. Methods Following a baseline test day without treatment, 60 healthy women aged 45-65 years received drinks containing either 2 or 4 g of TRP-rich protein hydrolysate product or 3.11 g casein hydrolysate as a control. One hour later, they undertook a 2-h battery of cognitive and emotional tests. Results The TRP-rich protein hydrolysate produced the expected dose-dependent increase in the ratio of plasma TRP to competing large neutral amino acids. TRP-rich protein hydrolysate (2 g only) prevented both the decline in wellbeing and increase in fatigue seen over the test session in the control group. This treatment dose resulted in a significant shift in emotional processing towards positive words and reduced negative bias in assessing negative facial expressions. Effects on cognition were small and not statistically reliable and are not reported here. However, there was no evidence for any adverse effects. Conclusions Consumption of a low dose of TRP-rich protein hydrolysate may have beneficial effects on emotional function that could promote feelings of wellbeing, possibly conferring resistance to deterioration in mood in healthy subjects or depressive episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4595-4610
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2014

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Facial expressions
  • Functional food
  • Memory
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Serotonin
  • Tryptophan
  • Wellbeing


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of acute treatment with a tryptophan-rich protein hydrolysate on plasma amino acids, mood and emotional functioning in older women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this