Brad King, MFS
Most people these days will tell you that they are stressed. Chronic stress has been linked to North America's five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents and cirrhosis of the live.
Most people these days will tell you that they are stressed. Chronic stress has been linked to North America's five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents and cirrhosis of the liver. Author and researcher Kenneth Pelletier has contended that, in America, between 80 to 90 percent of all illnesses are linked to stress and 75 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor are for stress or anxiety-related concerns. Many people realize how detrimental the effects of excess stress can be to our health, but few associate everyday stresses with their ever expanding waist lines.
During a stress response - whether real or perceived - your adrenal glands pump out numerous stress-hormones, the most powerful of which is cortisol. Many diseases and cases of obesity have been blamed on excess cortisol production.
Cortisol is produced along the same biochemical pathway as other hormones, and during stressful times, excess cortisol is manufactured at the expense of other helpful hormones like dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone. Both DHEA and testosterone are needed to maintain and grow muscle tissue. Without muscle, fat cannot be burned. The longer you maintain a stress response, the more body fat you accumulate - especially in the abdominal cavity.
Cortisol and excessive stress can also lead to unhealthy weight gain by affecting the degree to which you crave certain foods. Constant stress can easily deplete levels of a neuropeptide called serotonin. When serotonin levels are low, chronic cravings for sweet and starchy foods often result. These cravings occur because chronic stress reduces your level of tryptophan&the amnio acid essential to the production of serotonin&by up to 90 percent in excessive situations leaving very little for serotonin production.
Because of its extremely high ratio of tryptophan, alpha-lactalbumin - from whey protein - has shown great promise in improving our ability to deal with excessive stress. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000 showed that high alpha-lactalbumin whey isolates given to 29 excessively stressed subjects, raised their plasma tryptophan levels by 48 percent opposed to a casein diet. In the stress-vulnerable subjects, this increase in plasma tryptophan was accompanied by a decrease in cortisol and a reduced depressive state. The researchers concluded that consuming alpha-lactalbumin-rich whey protein increased plasma tryptophan ratios and, in stress-vulnerable subjects, improved their ability to deal with excessive stress by altering their serotonin levels.
If your goal is to become lean and remain lean, stay as far away as possible from chronic everyday stress and try supplementing with a high quality alpha-lactalbumin rich whey protein.