According to the 2017 Stress Statistics released by the American Psychological Association on 1st November 2017, 63% of the most common sources of stress was attributed to concern for the nation’s future, 61% caused by work related stress and 57% from the current political climate. Concern for the nation’s future includes health care access, economic situations, trust in the government, hate crimes issues, conflicts with other countries, terrorists attacks, high taxes, social security and government controversies. 1 All these circumstances are stress contributors which are known to affect an individual’s mental performance.
There are a few approaches to manage stress that are often reiterated by various organizations. They include eating healthy, reducing alcohol intake and smoking, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, taking time to relax, practicing mindfulness, and keeping situations in perspective.2 Associated with healthy eating is the fact that there is now an abundance of natural health supplements and tonics that are available in the market that are being sold for stress relief or for conditions related to stress. One of the tonics that has been consumed historically to improve cognition and has also been shown to improve mental performance under stressful conditions is chicken essence.
Numerous research has been conducted to discover the effects of chicken essence towards either physical or mental improvements. In the most recent and largest clinical study to-date published on the effects of chicken essence on cognition, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted to assess short-term memory, working memory, and selective and sustained attention utilizing four neuropsychological performance tests. The tests conducted were the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) Digit Span Forward and Backward tests, the Stroop Color-Word test and the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART).
Data from 235 participants who completed the trial was analysed. Participants were aged 18 to 45 years old and were assigned to consume either two bottles of chicken essence or two bottles of placebo daily. Participants’ stress level in daily life was also assessed at baseline, using the validated Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) questionnaire. Cognitive performance was assessed at three time points: baseline (Day 0, prior to starting the consumption), Day 7 and Day 14 of essence of chicken or placebo consumption.
Interestingly, results showed that stressed participants consuming chicken essence improved short-term memory performance during the two-week consumption period. Participants were categorized into four stress categories: normal (no stress), mild stress, moderate stress or severe stress based on their baseline stress scores. Results showed that subjects in the moderate and severe stress categories improved short-term memory with essence of chicken consumption.
Furthermore, among all participants (regardless of stress levels), the group consuming essence of chicken improved working memory performance during the trial. Compared to a baseline score of 7 digits in the Digit Span Backward test for working memory, the chicken essence group improved 0.6 digits more than the placebo group. This translated to an 8.5% improvement in working memory.
In summary, essence of chicken can help to improve working memory in the general population. Furthermore, among people experiencing stress in daily life, essence of chicken can also improve short-term memory.
1 Batson J. Daily Life. The American Institute of Stress. https://www.stress.org/daily-life/. Published 2018. Accessed December 19, 2018.
2 How to manage and reduce stress. Mental Health Foundation. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk. Published 2018. Accessed December 19, 2018.
3 Suttiwan P, Yuktanandana P, Ngamake S. Effectiveness of Essence of Chicken on Cognitive Function Improvement: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):845. doi:10.3390/nu10070845