< Back

The ultimate performance advantage

23 June 2023

NPY is one of the most influential resilience promoting molecules in the human body

Within each and every one of us exists a powerful resilience promoting protein known as Neuropeptide Y (NPY).

NPY functions to dampen stress responses, reduce fear, anxiety and aggression and promote sleep. It has also been shown to enhance cognition and concentration under stressful conditions. In many respects, NPY can be considered as one of most influential performance-promoting molecules in the human body.

A study done on soldiers undergoing intense survival training showed that those who had higher NPY levels were more resilient and coped better under a variety of hostile conditions. The research team from Yale compared special forces’ soldiers and ordinary soldiers and revealed that NPY levels in the special forces group increased dramatically during the extreme physical and psychological challenges and remained elevated for almost 24 hours afterwards. This profound elevation promoted and supported improved adaptability, reduced stress and gave them exceptional courage. However, in the ‘normal’ soldiers, especially in those who struggled mentally and emotionally with the training exercise, there was a decrease in NPY expression, which remained reduced for days following the experience, leaving them vulnerable to replaying events and disassociation behaviours.

While there is a strong genetic influence in the expression and impact of NPY, we can positively influence this system, and by doing so, give ourselves a significant performance advantage through challenge and adversity. The following are five of the most influential factors in NPY optimisation.

  • Cold immersion
  • Curcumin (a compound found in turmeric)
  • Rhodiola rosea (a flowering plant that grows naturally in the Arctic)
  • Intermittent fasting or caloric restriction (30% reduction in overall food intake)
  • Prolonged aerobic exercise (30 minutes or longer)


To learn more about NPY and many other resilience biomarkers, get a copy of THRIVE –The Power of Resilience.

Back to top