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sunnuntai 24. tammikuuta 2010

Researching the effects of amino acids on longer sports performance

Research into the use of amino acid supplements to reduce fatigue in team-sport players is being carried out in Melbourne under the direction of the principal researcher Dr Nigel Stepto of Victoria University, Dr Graeme Hyman from Monash University and AIS 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, produced naturally in the body, is a chemical that controls the level of fatigue. The more serotonin present in your brain, the more tired you feel, both mentally and physically.

Athletes from different sub-division Australian rules football teams in Melbourne 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. 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 feels 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.

Lähde: Australian Institute of Sport

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