Moderate whisky consumption in combination with an evening meal reduces tryptophan availability to the brain but does not influence performance in healthy volunteers

C.R. Markus*, A. Sierksma, C. Verbeek, J.J.M. van Rooijen, H.J. Patel, A.N. Brand, H.F.J. Hendriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Brain serotonin (5-HT) synthesis is controlled by nutrients that influence the availability of plasma tryptophan (Trp) as compared with the sum of the other large neutral amino acids (LNAA; Trp:LNAA). Alcohol consumption is found to change mood and performance and this might well be due to alterations in the plasma Trp:LNAA ratio and brain 5-HT. In the present study, we tested whether whisky consumption as part of a meal may alter the plasma Trp:LNAA ratio and influence mood and performance in healthy volunteers. Twenty-four healthy male subjects participated in a within-subjects cross-over study. Subjects consumed whisky (125 ml; 40 g alcohol) or water (125 ml) as part of a standard evening meal. Effects of whisky consumption were tested on mood and choice reaction time and blood samples were taken to measure changes in plasma amino acids, glucose and insulin. The plasma Trp:LNAA ratio showed a significant decline 2 h after whisky consumption of alcohol (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1000
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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