Recent studies have shown a link between whey protein powder and the relief of common depression symptoms. Some people say that the benefits that whey protein powder has when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of depression are due to the fact that the whey protein powder contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan that is detrimental in our body’s production of serotonin.
It is commonly believed that a large portion of the population that suffers with depression do so because they have lower levels of serotonin than they need. Eating foods that contain L-tryptophan is a natural way to increase the level of serotonin in your body.
Understanding the Connection between Depression and Anxiety
Doctors are really just now starting to understand the connection between depression and its symptoms and the presence of anxiety in a person. Our moods are not affected by just one element but rather by several different elements. The thoughts we have, and the behaviors we engage in as well as the chemical messengers in our body all play a part in our moods and the changes in them.
Serotonin and dopamine are both chemicals produced by the brain. Both of these chemicals can cause feelings of:
- Being depressed
- Being happy
Although the exact way these chemicals make these responses happen are not known there was a new class of medications developed in 1987 that stop the nerve cells in the brain from being capable of reabsorbing the serotonin. This leaves more serotonin circulating throughout the body and has the effect of elevating people’s moods. These medications are known as SSRI drugs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
How is Serotonin Produced?
Serotonin is produced from the L-tryptophan that you take in in the foods that you eat. Everyone has heard about the turkey making people sleepy because of the tryptophan. Well the largest amount of this type of amino acid is found in meats and animal products. Whey powder is also an excellent source of L-tryptophan.
Linking Whey Powder to Elevated Moods
There are no hard studies linking whey powder to a reduction in depression as of yet. There are however many reports on the internet of people who have noticed that people taking whey powder for other reasons were experiencing an elevation in moods and a reduction in anxiety issues and in depression symptoms.
It has been a known fact that serotonin could not be produced in the body without the body containing adequate levels of L-tryptophan so the deduction that the whey powders provision of this amino acid was the source of the elevation in the moods of the users was a natural one.
It appears that the majority of people who were using the whey powder and experiencing mood increases were athletes so there are some people who say you cannot accurately say that it was the whey powder that helped their moods because physical exercise has also been reported to improve the symptoms of depression.
It may be that it was a combination of the two things that created the elevation of moods. Whey powder will not cause harmful side effects in the human body so it is safe to say that trying it may be beneficial to your mental health.