Effects of psychosocial and physical stress on lactate and anxiety levels

Robin Hermann, Daniel Lay, Patrick Wahl, Walton T Roth, Katja Petrowski

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Both intense physical activity and potent psychosocial stressors increase blood lactate. Raising lactate levels by infusing the chemical can have an anxiogenic effect. Here, we compare the relationship between changes in lactate and anxiety levels resulting from two standardized stressors. We investigated the effects of the Multiple Wingate All-Out Performance Test (WG), a strong physical stressor, and the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), a well-documented psychosocial stressor, in 32 healthy young men using a crossover design. Before and after each stressor, venous blood was analyzed for lactate levels and the State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was given. Both stressors raised both lactate and anxiety significantly above their baseline levels. While the rise in lactate was much higher for the WG than for the TSST, the rises in anxiety were nearly equal. Individual fitness did not influence the results for lactate or anxiety. No significant relation between lactate and anxiety changes were found. Thus, our results as well as the literature suggest that lactate is an important variable for understanding the impact of sport participation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 02.11.2019

Research areas and keywords

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Anxiety/psychology
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone/blood
  • Lactic Acid/blood
  • Male
  • Saliva
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Stress, Psychological/metabolism


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