Dr. Dwayne Jackson

The Vital Science Blog

Starting Living Your Best

Retaining cognitive strength!

Most high performance sports involve skills that require focus and split second decision-making. However, research shows that there is a decline in cognitive processing associated with fatiguing exercise. Since reaction time, focus, and movement accuracy are cognitive tasks that contribute to exercise performance, then finding a supplement that keeps our brains on task when we are going all out would be a significant advantage. This is especially true for tournament athletes who compete several times per day. 


The magic bullet might be right under our noses….


Scientists from Taiwan recently investigated the effect of a supplement stack of BCAAs (0.17 g/kg), arginine (0.05 g/kg), and citrulline (0.05 g/kg) on “brain fade” after three simulated matches in high-performance taekwondo athletes. They reported that when participants received the supplement stack they maintained cognitive performance throughout all three simulated matches (measured by validated taekwondo-specific reaction tests). In contrast, when subjects received the placebo there was a significant decline in cognitive performance. Beyond increases in cognitive performance, the BCAA, arginine, and citrulline stack resulted in a doubling of blood nitrate/nitrite levels versus placebo— indicating a huge boost (a doubling) in blood nitric oxide levels! We all know nitric oxide is important for promoting increased blood flow to working muscle resulting in increased nutrient delivery, waste removal, and incredible pumps. 


ACTION POINT: Stacking BCAAs, arginine, and citrulline is something we have promoted for years, now you have one more reason to include these key supplements in your regimen. For best results take: 5-10 g BCAAs, 4-5 g L-arginine, and 4-6 g citrulline malate 30-60 minutes preworkout. 



Chen IF, Wu HJ, Chen CY, Chou KM, Chang CK. Branched-chain amino acids, arginine, citrulline alleviate central fatigue after 3 simulated matches in taekwondo athletes: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jul 13;13:28

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