Prevention of perceptual-motor decline by branched-chain amino acids, arginine, citrulline after tennis match

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017 Sep;27(9):935-944. doi: 10.1111/sms.12717. Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Perceptual-motor performance in prolonged tennis matches may be affected by central fatigue. The purpose of this study was to investigate the supplementation of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), arginine, and citrulline on tennis-specific perceptual-motor performance after a simulated match. Nine male tennis players consumed 0.17 g/kg BCAA, 0.05 g/kg arginine, and 0.05 g/kg citrulline (AA trial), or placebo (PB trial) 1 h before the match. In the perceptual-motor performance test before and after the match, the subjects hit balls to the opposite direction of the examiner's movement. The AA trial showed significantly higher rate of correct direction than the PB trial after the match (AA trial: 93.63 ± 1.28%, PB trial: 69.09 ± 2.40%). The AA trial also demonstrated significantly higher post-match accuracy and consistency than the PB trial. The AA trial showed significantly lower heart rate and ratings of perceive exertion during the match, concurrently with a significantly lower plasma total tryptophan/BCAA ratio. Similar post-match plasma NH3 concentrations were found in both trials while the AA trial was significantly higher in NOx concentration. This study suggested that the supplementation could prevent the decline in perceptual-motor performance through alleviation of central fatigue by BCAA and prevention of excess hyperammonemia by arginine and citrulline.

Keywords: Central fatigue; exercise performance; neurotransmitter; skill.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / administration & dosage*
  • Arginine / administration & dosage*
  • Citrulline / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hyperammonemia / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sports Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Tennis / physiology*


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Citrulline
  • Arginine