Japanese researchers assessed whether L-carnosine supplements would enhance the effectiveness of computerized cognitive behaviour therapy sessions.
Previous research has demonstrated the moderate effects of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) on improving mood and reducing anxiety. There has also been research indicating that the nutritional supplement L-carnosine may have positive effects on mood. L-carnosine is an essential protein building block for healthy brain, liver, and kidney function. Researchers wanted to determine whether adding a supplemental drink containing L-carnosine would enhance the effects of a self-help CBT program in the workplace.
The study, published in BioPsychoSocial Medicine, was conducted with 87 participants over six weeks between October 2014 to November 2014. Researchers first tested the participants for chronic illnesses and overall health. Then, the three test groups were determined. A control group would self-assess their moods daily on a weekly monitoring sheet. One group would use computerized cognitive behaviour therapy (CCBT) sessions. and the other group would do the CCBT sessions as well as consume a supplement soft drink containing L-carnosine each day over the course of the study.
The results showed that the CCBT coursework was more effective at emotional self-management than unstructured daily monitoring. Moreover, the group that drank the supplement L-carnosine performed marginally better than the un-dosed CCBT group, indicating that it could prove useful as a nutritional wellness aid. Although all results were positive, there were some limiting factors in this present study. All participants were relatively healthy, with no diagnosed mental disorders; more varied results may occur in participants with mental disorders. Additionally, this study did not assess the effects of L-carnosine alone.
Overall, computerized cognitive behaviour therapy is a promising new way for those who struggle with tension and anxiety to better manage their stress. Furthermore, introducing wellness supplements like L-carnosine in CCBT programs can further boost emotional self-management by reducing fatigue.
Written by Patrick Powers, BSc
Shirotsuki et al. “The effect for Japanese workers of a self- help computerized cognitive behaviour therapy program with a supplement soft drink.” BioPsychoSocial Medicine (2017) 11:23 DOI 10.1186/s13030-017-0109-5