Lactic acid and cognitive function: Investigations in female volleyball athletes


  • Rola Angga Lardika Department of Sport Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Riau, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
  • Beltasar Tarigan Department of Sport Education, Faculty of Sport Education and Health, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia
  • Hamidie Ronald Daniel Ray Department of Sport Education, Faculty of Sport Education and Health, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia
  • Yunyun Yudiana Department of Sport Education, Faculty of Sport Education and Health, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia


Lactic acid, cognitive function, female atletes, volleyball


Lactic acid is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism and is commonly associated with muscle fatigue. However, recent research suggests that lactic acid may also positively affect cognitive function. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between lactic acid and cognitive function in female volleyball athletes. The study involved 12 female volleyball players from the Student Education and Training Centre (PPLP) of Riau Province, and a total sampling method was utilised. Data collection involved cognitive function tests using the Concentration Grid Test (CGT) instrument and lactic acid measurements using Accutrend lactate. The results revealed a significant correlation between lactic acid and cognitive function, with athletes with higher lactic acid levels after the training session performing better on cognitive tests. This suggests that lactic acid may enhance cognitive function by increasing glucose availability, which serves as the brain’s primary energy source. However, it is essential to consider the potential negative effects of excessive lactic acid levels, such as muscle fatigue, breakdown, and lactic acidosis, on both of the body and brain. Despite demonstrating the role of lactic acid in cognitive function among female volleyball athletes, caution must be exercised to prevent undue lactic acid production. Overall, this study provides valuable insight into the intricate relationship between lactic acid and cognitive function, which has implications for optimising cognitive ability in female volleyball athletes and potentially in other professional sports. Future research is needed to establish optimal lactic acid levels for cognitive function in diverse athletic contexts.


Download data is not yet available.


Aarsland, V., Borda, M. G., Aarsland, D., Garcia-Cifuentes, E., Anderssen, S. A., Tovar-Rios, D. A., Gomez-Arteaga, C., & Perez-Zepeda, M. U. (2020). Association between physical activity and cognition in Mexican and Korean older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 89(April), 104047.

Abbott, W., Brett, A., Watson, A. W., Brooker, H., & Clifford, T. (2020). Sleep Restriction in Elite Soccer Players: Effects on Explosive Power, Wellbeing, and Cognitive Function. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 00(00), 1–8.

Abbott, W., Brett, A., Watson, A. W., Brooker, H., & Clifford, T. (2022). Sleep Restriction in Elite Soccer Players: Effects on Explosive Power, Wellbeing, and Cognitive Function. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 93(2), 325–332.

Ahmad, N. S., Ooi, F. K., Ismail, M. S., & Mohamed, M. (2015). Effects of post-exercise honey drink ingestion on blood glucose and subsequent running performance in the heat. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 6(3).

Alderman, B. L., Olson, R. L., & Brush, C. J. (2019). Using event-related potentials to study the effects of chronic exercise on cognitive function. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17(2), 106–116.

Ali, A. M., Ali, E. M., Mousa, A. A., Ahmed, M. E., & Hendawy, A. O. (2021). Bee honey and exercise for improving physical performance, reducing fatigue, and promoting an active lifestyle during COVID-19. Sports Medicine and Health Science, 3(3), 177–180.

Antonioni, A., Fantini, C., Dimauro, I., & Caporossi, D. (2019). Redox homeostasis in sport: do athletes really need antioxidant support? Research in Sports Medicine, 27(2), 147–165.

Antunes, B. M., Rossi, F. E., Teixeira, A. M., & Lira, F. S. (2020). Short-time high-intensity exercise increases peripheral BDNF in a physical fitness-dependent way in healthy men. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(1), 43–50.

Bianco, V., Di Russo, F., Perri, R. L., & Berchicci, M. (2017). Different proactive and reactive action control in fencers’ and boxers’ brain. Neuroscience, 343(December), 260–268.

Cairns, S. P. (2006). Lactic Acid Affects on Performace. Sports Medicine, 36(4), 279–291.

Clark, J. M., Adanty, K., Post, A., Hoshizaki, T. B., Clissold, J., McGoldrick, A., Hill, J., Annaidh, A. N., & Gilchrist, M. D. (2020). Proposed injury thresholds for concussion in equestrian sports. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 23(3), 222–236.

Closs, B., Burkett, C., Trojan, J. D., Brown, S. M., & Mulcahey, M. K. (2020). Recovery after volleyball: a narrative review. Physician and Sportsmedicine, 48(1), 8–16.

Coco, M., Alagona, G., Rapisarda, G., Costanzo, E., Calogero, R. A., Perciaevalle, V., & Perciavalle, V. (2010). Elevated blood lactate is associated with increased motor cortex excitability. Somatosensory and Motor Research, 27(1), 1–8.

Coco, M., Di Corrado, D., Ramaci, T., Di Nuovo, S., Perciavalle, V., Puglisi, A., Cavallari, P., Bellomo, M., & Buscemi, A. (2019). Role of lactic acid on cognitive functions. Physician and Sportsmedicine, 47(3), 329–335.

Coppinger, T., Milton, K., Murtagh, E., Harrington, D., Johansen, D., Seghers, J., Skovgaard, T., & Chalkley, A. (2020). Global Matrix 3.0 physical activity report card for children and youth: a comparison across Europe. Public Health, 187, 150–156.

D’Angelo, S. (2019). Polyphenols and Athletic Performance: A Review on Human Data. Plant Physiological Aspects of Phenolic Compounds, 1–23.

da Silva, R. P., Del Duca, G. F., Delevatti, R. S., Streb, A. R., & Malta, D. C. (2021). Association between characteristics of physical activity in leisure time and obesity in Brazilians adults and elderly. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 15(1), 37–41.

Davranche, K., & Audiffren, M. (2004). Facilitating effects of exercise on information processing. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(5), 419–428.

De Waelle, S., Warlop, G., Lenoir, M., Bennett, S. J., & Deconinck, F. J. A. (2021). The development of perceptual-cognitive skills in youth volleyball players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39(17), 1911–1925.

Gasquoine, P. G. (2018). Effects of physical activity on delayed memory measures in randomized controlled trials with nonclinical older, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia participants. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 40(9), 874–886.

Gomes da Silva, S., & Arida, R. M. (2015). Physical activity and brain development. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 15(9), 1041–1051.

Hakked, C. S., Balakrishnan, R., & Krishnamurthy, M. N. (2017). Yogic breathing practices improve lung functions of competitive young swimmers. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 8(2), 99–104.

Hall, M. M., Rajasekaran, S., Thomsen, T. W., & Peterson, A. R. (2016). Lactate: Friend or Foe. PM and R, 8(3), S8–S15.

Hammami, A., Randers, M. B., Kasmi, S., Razgallah, M., Tabka, Z., Chamari, K., & Bouhlel, E. (2018). Effects of soccer training on health-related physical fitness measures in male adolescents. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 7(2).

Holfelder, B., Klotzbier, T. J., Eisele, M., & Schott, N. (2020). Hot and Cool Executive Function in Elite- and Amateur- Adolescent Athletes From Open and Closed Skills Sports. Frontiers in Psychology, 11(April), 1–16.

Hostinar, C. E., Stellern, S. A., Schaefer, C., Carlson, S. M., & Gunnar, M. R. (2012). Associations between early life adversity and executive function in children adopted internationally from orphanages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(SUPPL.2).

Howard, S. R., Avarguès-Weber, A., Garcia, J. E., Greentree, A. D., & Dyer, A. G. (2019). Numerical cognition in honeybees enables addition and subtraction. Science Advances, 5(2), 1–7.

Irwin, C., Campagnolo, N., Iudakhina, E., Cox, G. R., & Desbrow, B. (2018). Effects of acute exercise, dehydration and rehydration on cognitive function in well-trained athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(3), 247–255.

Jacobson, J., & Matthaeus, L. (2014). Athletics and executive functioning: How athletic participation and sport type correlate with cognitive performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(5), 521–527.

Kilger, M., & Blomberg, H. (2020). Governing Talent Selection through the Brain: Constructing Cognitive Executive Function as a Way of Predicting Sporting Success. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 14(2), 206–225.

Kraft, E. (2012). Cognitive function, physical activity, and aging: Possible biological links and implications for multimodal interventions. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 19(1–2), 248–263.

Loprinzi, P. D. (2019). Does brain-derived neurotrophic factor mediate the effects of exercise on memory? Physician and Sportsmedicine, 47(4), 395–405.

Lundgren, T., Näslund, M., Högman, L., & Parling, T. (2016). Preliminary investigation of executive functions in elite ice hockey players. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10(4), 324–335.

Masel, M. C., Raji, M., & Peek, M. K. (2010). Education and physical activity mediate the relationship between ethnicity and cognitive function in late middle-aged adults. Ethnicity and Health, 15(3), 283–302.

Mills, B. D., Goubran, M., Parivash, S. N., Dennis, E. L., Rezaii, P., Akers, C., Bian, W., Mitchell, L. A., Boldt, B., Douglas, D., Sami, S., Mouchawar, N., Wilson, E. W., Digiacomo, P., Parekh, M., Do, H., Lopez, J., Rosenberg, J., Camarillo, D., … Zeineh, M. (2020). NeuroImage Longitudinal alteration of cortical thickness and volume in high-impact sports. NeuroImage, 217(April), 116864.

Miura, K., Tsuda, E., Kogawa, M., & Ishibashi, Y. (2020). The effects of ball impact position on shoulder muscle activation during spiking in male volleyball players. JSES International, 4(2), 302–309.

Miyamoto, T., Hashimoto, S., Yanamoto, H., Ikawa, M., Nakano, Y., Sekiyama, T., Kou, K., Kashiwamura, S. I., Takeda, C., & Fujioka, H. (2018). Response of brain-derived neurotrophic factor to combining cognitive and physical exercise. European Journal of Sport Science, 18(8), 1119–1127.

Munroe-Chandler, K. J., Hall, C. R., Fishburne, G. J., & Shannon, V. (2005). Using cognitive general imagery to improve soccer strategies. European Journal of Sport Science, 5(1), 41–49.

Ohko, H., Umemoto, Y., Sakurai, Y., Araki, S., Kojima, D., Kamijo, Y., Murai, K., Yasuoka, Y., & Tajima, F. (2021). The effects of endurance exercise combined with high-temperature head-out water immersion on serum concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy young men. International Journal of Hyperthermia, 38(1), 1077–1085.

Özgül, F. (2018). Investigating Flexibility Effects on Vertical Jump of the Adolescent Athletes. International Journal of Sports and Physical Education (IJSPE), 4(4), 9–14.

Piepmeier, A. T., Etnier, J. L., Wideman, L., Berry, N. T., Kincaid, Z., & Weaver, M. A. (2020). A preliminary investigation of acute exercise intensity on memory and BDNF isoform concentrations. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(6), 819–830.

Pokorski, M. (2015). Neurotransmitter interactions and cognitive function. In Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Vol. 837).

Ren, H. J., Yang, Q., & Zhang, X. (2021). Relationship between college students’ physical activity and unhealthy psychological conditions. Aggression and Violent Behavior, May, 101640.

Santoso, D. A. S., & Irwanto, E. (2018). Studi Analisis Biomechanics Langkah Awalan (Footwork Step) Open Spike Dalam Bola Voli Terhadap Power Otot Tungkai. Jorpres (Jurnal Olahraga Prestasi), 14(1), 81–89.

Shahrbanian, S., Hashemi, A., & Hemayattalab, R. (2021). The comparison of the effects of physical activity and neurofeedback training on postural stability and risk of fall in elderly women: A single-blind randomized controlled trial. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 37(2), 271–278.

Singh, A. M., & Staines, W. R. (2015). The effects of acute aerobic exercise on the primary motor cortex. Journal of Motor Behavior, 47(4), 328–339.

Tomporowski, P. D., & Ganio, M. S. (2006). Short‐term effects of aerobic exercise on executive processing, memory, and emotional reactivity. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4(1), 57–72.

Vestberg, T., Reinebo, G., Maurex, L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2017). Core executive functions are associated with success in young elite soccer players. PLoS ONE, 12(2), 1–13.

Wallhead, T. L., Hastie, P. A., Harvey, S., & Pill, S. (2021). Academics’ perspectives on the future of sport education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 26(5), 533–548.

Wong, C. P. (2020). A Review of Honey Supplementation on Endurance Performance in Athletes. Journal of Medicine and HealthCare, 2(4), 1–3.

Yongtawee, A., & Woo, M.-J. (2017). The Influence of Gender, Sports Type and Training Experience on Cognitive Functions in Adolescent Athletes. Exercise Science, 26(2), 159–167.



How to Cite

Lardika, R. A., Tarigan, B., Ray, H. R. D., & Yudiana, Y. (2023). Lactic acid and cognitive function: Investigations in female volleyball athletes. Journal Sport Area, 8(2), 281–290.



Received 2023-04-20
Accepted 2023-07-25
Published 2023-08-04