Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise

Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Jan;159(1):41-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.1997.547327000.x.


On two occasions, seven male endurance-trained cyclists performed exhaustive exercise on a cycle ergometer in the morning after they had performed a bout of exercise the preceding evening in an attempt to lower the muscle glycogen stores. The subjects exercised at a work rate corresponding to approximately 70% of their maximal oxygen uptake for 60 min, followed by another 20 min of maximal exercise. During exercise the subjects were given either a solution of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or flavoured water (placebo). Every 10 min during exercise the subjects rated their perceived exertion and mental fatigue on two different Borg scales. During the 60 min exercise at a given work rate the subjects ratings of perceived exertion when they were given BCAAs were 7% lower, and their ratings of mental fatigue were 15% lower than when they were given placebo. In addition, the performance in the colour task of Stroops Colour Word Test performed after exercise was improved when BCAAs had been ingested during exercise, compared with the results from the placebo trial. There was no difference in the physical performance between the two trials measured as the amount of work done during the last 20 min of exercise when the subjects performed at their maximum. The plasma concentration ratio of free tryptophan/BCAAs, which increased by 45% during exercise and by 150% 5 min after exercise in the placebo trial, remained unchanged or even decreased when BCAAs were ingested.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects*
  • Task Performance and Analysis


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Blood Glucose