Acute tryptophan depletion does not improve endurance cycling capacity in a warm environment

Ruth M Hobson, Phil Watson, Ronald J Maughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Newsholme's theory of central fatigue suggests that acute tryptophan depletion should improve endurance exercise capacity in a warm environment by reducing serotonergic activity in the brain. Eight males cycled to volitional exhaustion at 55 % VO(2) peak in 30.1 ± 0.5 °C and 30 ± 7 % relative humidity on two separate occasions, after consuming either an amino acid load to deplete their circulating tryptophan concentration (TD), or a control amino acid load (CON). Blood samples were taken before ingesting the amino acids, before the start of exercise, every 15 min during exercise and at the point of exhaustion. Heart rate (HR), core (Tc) and skin (Tsk) temperatures and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal comfort (TC) were also monitored every 10 min during exercise. Plasma tryptophan (P = 0.003) and free tryptophan (P < 0.001) concentrations, and the free tryptophan to branched-chain amino acid ratio (P = 0.004) were all lower on the TD trial than on the CON trial. There was no difference in endurance exercise capacity (TD 99.2 ± 24.4 min as compared to CON 108.4 ± 21.6 min; P = 0.088). There was a tendency for HR (P = 0.053) and Tc (P = 0.069) to be higher on the TD trials. There were no differences for any of the other parameters. Endurance cycling capacity in a warm environment is not improved by acute tryptophan depletion, suggesting tryptophan availability is not a significant factor in the development of fatigue in such situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-991
Number of pages9
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Environment
  • Exercise
  • Heart Rate
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Skin Temperature
  • Tryptophan
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Acute tryptophan depletion does not improve endurance cycling capacity in a warm environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this