Brain-Boosting Supplement Combo

Most high-performance sports involve skills that require focus and split-second decision-making.

By Joe Wuebben | February 15, 2017

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

Well, the magic bullet might be right under our noses. Scientists from Taiwan recently investigated the effect of a supplement stack of branched-chain amino acids (0.17 grams/kilogram), arginine (0.05 grams/kilogram) and citrulline (0.05 grams/kilogram) 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/citrulline stack resulted in a doubling of blood nitrate/nitrite levels versus the placebo — indicating a huge boost (twofold) in blood nitric-oxide levels. 

This is a significant finding, as we all know that nitric oxide is important for promoting increased blood flow to working muscles, thus 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 to 10 grams of BCAAs, 4 to 5 grams of L-arginine and 4 to 6 grams of citrulline malate 30 to 60 minutes preworkout.



About the Author

Joe Wuebben

Joe Wuebben is a veteran fitness writer with over 15 years of experience. He was a staff editor at Muscle & Fitness magazine from 2002-2014 and currently writes for Muscle & Performance, The Box and Oxygen magazines, among other publications. He's authored or co-authored four books, including Mario Lopez's Extra Lean.