More eggs, safer highways?

A new study from the Netherlands suggests the amino acid tyrosine improves response times.

Buckle up and pack the huevos. New research suggests that a nutrient found in eggs can improve your reflexes and perhaps keep us safer on the road.

Scientists at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands conducted research that suggests that that tyrosine, an amino acid found in eggs, peanuts, chicken, turkey, avocados, bananas and spinach, improves reaction times. The findings are published in the journal Neuropsychologia and noted on

“A child suddenly runs out in the road. Brake!! A drive who has recently eaten spinach or eggs will stop faster, thanks to the amino acid tyrosine found in these and other foods products,” said researchers in the Netherlands, in release about the study noted on

Researchers tested subjects, half of whom had been given orange juice with tyrosine, on “stopping tasks” on computers. These tasks required interrupting a repetitive activity at a random instant. They asked subjects to look carefully at a computer screen. Whenever a green arrow appeared they were to press a button as quickly as possible. At the same time they had to make sure the button they chose matched the direction of the arrow. If a red arrow appeared on the screen the candidates had to keep their hands off the keyboard completely.

Researchers found the subjects who drank the OJ with tyrosine performed better.

"This is the first demonstration that the supplementation of tyrosine selectively targets and reliably improves the ability to stop overt responses," wrote the researchers in a paper summarizing the findings of their work, noted on

Lead researcher Lorenza Colzato suggested the amino acid could make an impact off the road and in the classroom. "Tyrosine food supplements and tyrosine-rich food are a healthy and inexpensive way of improving our intellectual capabilities. This makes them preferable to Ritalin and Modafinil, products that students often reach for to improve their academic performance. Tyrosine is safe and doesn’t need a doctor’s prescription," she told the British website.

Meanwhile, people driving to Labor Day getaways might want to start with eggs Florentine and coffee. A study published last year suggested long-haul truckers who drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks are way less likely to crash than uncaffeinated truckers.


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