Mental and physical fatigue-related biochemical alterations

Nutrition. 2009 Jan;25(1):51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2008.07.010. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


Objective: To confirm fatigue-related biochemical alterations, we measured various parameters just before and after relaxation and fatigue-inducing mental or physical sessions.

Methods: Fifty-four healthy volunteers were randomized to perform relaxation and fatigue-inducing mental and physical sessions for 4 h in a double-blind, three-crossover design. Before and after each session, subjects were asked to rate their subjective sensations of fatigue, and blood, saliva, and urine samples were taken.

Results: After the fatigue-inducing mental and physical sessions, subjective scores of fatigue were increased. After the fatigue-inducing mental session, the vanillylmandelic acid level in urine was higher and plasma valine level was lower than after the relaxation session. In contrast, after the fatigue-inducing physical session, serum citric acid, triacylglycerol, free fatty acid, ketone bodies, total carnitine, acylcarnitine, uric acid, creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, plasma branched-chain amino acids, transforming growth factor-beta1 and -beta2, white blood cell and neutrophil counts, saliva cortisol and amylase, and urine vanillylmandelic acid levels were higher and serum free carnitine and plasma total amino acids and alanine levels were lower than those after the relaxation session.

Conclusion: Some mental or physical fatigue-related biochemical changes were determined. Various biochemical alterations reflecting homeostatic perturbation and its responses might be shown. We believe that our results contribute to clarifying the mechanism of fatigue, developing evaluation methods, and establishing a basis for treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatigue / blood
  • Fatigue / metabolism*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue / blood
  • Mental Fatigue / metabolism*
  • Mental Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Mental Fatigue / urine
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Relaxation / physiology*
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Time Factors
  • Urinalysis