Share this article on:

Failure of Oral Tyrosine Supplementation to Improve Exercise Performance in the Heat

TUMILTY, LES1; DAVISON, GLEN2; BECKMANN, MANFRED3; THATCHER, RHYS1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 7 - p 1417–1425
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000243
Applied Sciences

Purpose: Acute oral tyrosine administration has been associated with increased constant-load, submaximal exercise capacity in the heat. This study sought to determine whether self-paced exercise performance in the heat is enhanced with the same tyrosine dosage.

Methods: After familiarization, seven male endurance-trained volunteers, unacclimated to exercise in the heat, performed two experimental trials in 30°C (60% relative humidity) in a crossover fashion separated by at least 7 d. Subjects ingested 150 mg·kg−1 body mass tyrosine (TYR) or an isocaloric quantity of whey powder (PLA) in 500 mL of sugar-free flavored water in a randomized, double-blind fashion. Sixty minutes after drink ingestion, the subjects cycled for 60 min at 57% ± 4% peak oxygen uptake (V˙O2peak) and then performed a simulated cycling time trial requiring completion of an individualized target work quantity (393.1 ± 39.8 kJ).

Results: The ratio of plasma tyrosine plus phenylalanine (tyrosine precursor) to amino acids competing for brain uptake (free-tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, methionine, threonine, and lysine) increased 2.5-fold from rest in TYR and remained elevated throughout exercise (P < 0.001), whereas it declined in PLA from rest to preexercise (P = 0.004). Time-trial power output (P = 0.869) and performance (34.8 ± 6.5 and 35.2 ± 8.3 min in TYR and PLA, respectively; P = 0.4167) were similar between trials. Thermal sensation (P > 0.05), RPE (P > 0.05), core temperature (P = 0.860), skin temperature (P = 0.822), and heart rate (P = 0.314) did not differ between trials.

Conclusions: These data indicate that acute tyrosine administration did not influence self-paced endurance exercise performance in the heat. Plasma tyrosine availability is apparently not a key determinant of fatigue processes under these conditions.

1Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UNITED KINGDOM; 2Endurance Research Group, Centre for Sports Studies, University of Kent at Medway, Chatham, UNITED KINGDOM; and 3Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Les Tumilty, Ph.D., Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Aberystwyth University, Carwyn James Building, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, United Kingdom, SY23 3FD; E-mail: llt07@aber.ac.uk.

Submitted for publication August 2013.

Accepted for publication December 2013.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine