BCAAs combined with Arginine and Citrulline may fight fatigue

Past studies have confirmed that as exercise progresses, there is a deterioration in the cognitive and skill performance of athletes. Recently, a few researchers investigated whether a non-stimulant amino acid supplement made up of BCAAs, Arginine Citrulline could reduce mental fatigue in 12 elite taekwondo athletes.

In this double-blind, randomized study, each of the athletes underwent both an amino acid trial and a placebo trial with a seven day washout period between the two trials.

For each trial, the athletes performed three simulated taekwondo matches with either the amino acids or placebo before their third match. Validated taekwondo-specific reaction tests after each match were used to measure cognitive performance. In the amino acid trial, the athletes’ reaction times were maintained throughout all three matches, but in the placebo trial they were significantly impaired.

The researchers concluded that these central nervous system improvements could provide powerful benefits in many sports, especially those that require quick thinking and reactions.

They explained that cerebral serotonin can result in lethargy and loss of motivation, and in past studies, serotonin boosters have decreased endurance, while serotonin inhibitors have increased endurance. BCAAs in the blood can act like serotonin inhibitors, but during exercise this may result in excess ammonia, offsetting any potential benefits.

Arginine and Citrulline can reduce exercise-related accumulations of ammonia by promoting the urea cycle and nitric oxide biosynthesis. The formula they used consisted of about 11g of BCAAs, 3g of L-Arginine and 3g of L-Citrulline, but the dose varied based on individual body weight.


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