Thought this might be interesting for some of you out there
Something new from our AIS
Researching the effects of amino acids on longer sports performance
New research into the use of amino acid supplements to reduce fatigue in players of team sports is being carried out in Melbourne under the direction Dr Nigel Stepto (principal researcher) of Victoria University, Dr Graeme Hyman from Monash University and Australian Institute of Sport Physiology researcher Professor David Pyne.
Highly skilled, fast paced team sports, such as Australian rules football, require players to perform at consistently high intensities for long periods. Excessive fatigue can impair physical performance, skill execution and decision-making, so the ability to limit fatigue during a game gives players a competitive edge over the opposition.
Serotonin, a chemical produced naturally in the body, controls the level of fatigue. The more serotonin present in your brain, the more tired you feel, mentally and physically.
Athletes from different sub-division Melbourne Australian rules football teams have been recruited as subjects for the project, which involves them taking a high dose of serotonin-depleting branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) three hours before completing a series of sport-specific activities. Level of fatigue is assessed by monitoring the ability of the players to complete game and training exercises.
The experimental design has been structured so that the results can be related to the manipulation of serotonin levels. The supplements should, in theory, counteract the detrimental effects of serotonin build-up. The BCAA dosages have been closely monitored, as low levels of serotonin in some individuals can cause depression and trigger bipolar disorders.
Initial findings from the project have been positive, and there will be further investigation into similar but more practical amino acid formulations to try to achieve the same effects. Dosing regimens and applicability to other team sports are also being considered.
There is also potential for non-athletic populations to benefit from the findings. Dr Stepto believes that amino acid supplementation might eventually improve conditions for people working in high stress and fatigue jobs, such as the military, law enforcement and the transport industry, and even sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome.