Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of tyrosine (TYR) ingestion on cognitive and physical performance during soccer-specific exercise in a warm environment.
Methods: Eight male soccer players completed an individualised 90 min soccer-simulation intermittent soccer performance test (iSPT), on a non-motorised treadmill, on two occasions, within an environmental chamber (25 °C, 40 % RH). Participants ingested tyrosine (TYR; 250 mL sugar free drink plus 150 mg kg body mass(-1) TYR) at both 5 h and 1 h pre-exercise or a placebo control (PLA; 250 mL sugar free drink only) in a double-blind, randomised, crossover design. Cognitive performance (vigilance and dual-task) and perceived readiness to invest physical effort (RTIPE) and mental effort (RTIME) were assessed: pre-exercise, half-time, end of half-time and immediately post-exercise. Physical performance was assessed using the total distance covered in both halves of iSPT.
Results: Positive vigilance responses (HIT) were significantly higher (12.6 ± 1.7 vs 11.5 ± 2.4, p = 0.015) with negative responses (MISS) significantly lower (2.4 ± 1.8 vs 3.5 ± 2.4, p = 0.013) in TYR compared to PLA. RTIME scores were significantly higher in the TYR trial when compared to PLA (6.7 ± 1.2 vs 5.9 ± 1.2, p = 0.039). TYR had no significant (p > 0.05) influence on any other cognitive or physical performance measure.
Conclusion: The results show that TYR ingestion is associated with improved vigilance and RTIME when exposed to individualised soccer-specific exercise (iSPT) in a warm environment. This suggests that increasing the availability of TYR may improve cognitive function during exposure to exercise-heat stress.