European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 12, pp 2941–2950 | Cite as

Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat

  • Les Tumilty
  • Glen Davison
  • Manfred Beckmann
  • Rhys Thatcher
Research Article


Increased brain dopamine availability improves prolonged exercise tolerance in the heat. It is unclear whether supplementing the amino-acid precursor of dopamine increases exercise capacity in the heat. Eight healthy male volunteers [mean age 32 ± 11 (SD) years; body mass 75.3 ± 8.1 kg; peak oxygen uptake (\( \dot{V}O_{{2peak}} \)) 3.5 ± 0.3 L min−1] performed two exercise trials separated by at least 7 days in a randomised, crossover design. Subjects consumed 500 mL of a flavoured sugar-free drink (PLA), or the same drink with 150 mg kg body mass−1 tyrosine (TYR) in a double-blind manner 1 h before cycling to exhaustion at a constant exercise intensity equivalent to 68 ± 5% \( \dot{V}O_{{2peak}} \) in 30°C and 60% relative humidity. Pre-exercise plasma tyrosine:large neutral amino acids increased 2.9-fold in TYR (P < 0.01), while there was no change in PLA (P > 0.05). Subjects cycled longer in TYR compared to PLA (80.3 ± 19.7 min vs. 69.2 ± 14.0 min; P < 0.01). Core temperature, mean weighted skin temperature, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion and thermal sensation were similar in TYR and PLA during exercise and at exhaustion (P > 0.05) despite longer exercise time in TYR. The results show that acute tyrosine supplementation is associated with increased endurance capacity in the heat in moderately trained subjects. The results also suggest for the first time that the availability of tyrosine, a nutritional dopamine precursor, can influence the ability to subjectively tolerate prolonged submaximal constant-load exercise in the heat.


Central fatigue Amino acid Mild hyperthermia 



No external funding was received in order for this work to be carried out.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Les Tumilty
    • 1
  • Glen Davison
    • 1
  • Manfred Beckmann
    • 2
  • Rhys Thatcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise ScienceAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythWales, UK
  2. 2.Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural SciencesAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythWales, UK

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