Effect of pre-exercise ingestion of α-lactalbumin on subsequent endurance exercise performance and mood states

Lu QIN, Fenghua SUN, Yu HUANG, Sinead SHERIDAN, Cindy Hui-Ping SIT, Stephen Heung-Sang WONG

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This study investigated the effect of pre-exercise α-lactalbumin ingestion on subsequent endurance exercise performance, muscle pain and mood states. In a two-stage cross-over counterbalance design, eleven male endurance runners (age: 31 (SE 2) years, height: 169·5 (SE 4·4) cm, weight: 63·6 (SE 5·1) kg, V̇O₂max: 58·8 (SE 6·3) ml/kg per min) consumed two solutions (carbohydrate+α-lactalbumin, CA; carbohydrate+whey protein isolate, CW) 2 h before a self-paced 21-km run. Creatine kinase, IL-6, muscle pain, pressure pain threshold (PPT) and mood states were assessed 2 h before exercise, immediately before exercise (Pre-ex0) and immediately after exercise (Post-ex0). No difference was found in 21-km running performance between two trials (CA v. CW: 115·85 (SE 5·20) v. 118·85 (SE 5·51) min, P=0·48). Compared with CW, CA led to higher PPT at Pre-ex0 (41·77 (SE 2·27) v. 35·56 (SE 2·10) N/cm², P<0·01) and Post-ex0 (38·76 (SE 3·23) v. 35·30 (SE 3·55) N/cm², P=0·047). Compared with CW, CA reduced the feeling of fatigue at Post-ex0 (P<0·01); CA also reduced salivary cortisol levels at Post-ex0 (0·72 (SE 0·07) v. 0·83 (SE 0·13) ng/ml, P<0·01). In conclusion, the ingestion of α-lactalbumin did not improve the 21-km time-trial performance. However, compared with the pre-exercise ingestion of whey protein, that of α-lactalbumin led to superior results during similar levels of endurance exercise: it elevated PPT and reduced the feeling of fatigue and the cortisol levels. Copyright © 2018 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019



Qin, L., Sun, F.-H., Huang, Y., Sheridan, S., Sit, C. H.-P., & Wong, S. H.-S. (2019). Effect of pre-exercise ingestion of α-lactalbumin on subsequent endurance exercise performance and mood states. British Journal of Nutrition, 121(1), 22-29. doi: 10.1017/S000711451800274X


  • Half-marathons
  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Time trials