A study of the effects of popular supplement used by athletes, called L-arginine, shows the supplement does not provide any advantage for fit, athletic men.
L-arginine is one of twenty of the most common natural amino acids that plays a role in cell division, healing of wounds, immune function, release of hormones, and removing of wastes from the body. L-arginine has also been shown to stimulate the secretion of growth hormone and improve blood flow. Its effect on growth hormone increases the use of fat as energy, yet the effect has only been tested in a clinical setting.
L-arginine is produced by the human body and is available through dietary sources that include dairy products, poultry, seafood, wheat germ, granola, nuts, chick peas, and soy beans.
While many supplement their diets with L-arginine, the amount someone has to consume to get any benefit has not been established.
In the study 14 active and fit men between the ages of 20 and 30 were given a regulated diet and then given L-arginine supplements at various doses. Blood samples were taken from test subjects, while they were at rest and at 30 minute intervals to measure for the presence of L-arginine, growth hormone, and other important factors. The study found that while the level of L-arginine increased over time, the levels of growth hormone, insulin, and nitric oxide (participates in the removal of waste) remained unchanged. The findings are in contrast to the claims made by many L-arginine manufacturers and marketers.
The study’s author plans to study the effects of L-arginine on active men to determine its effect during exercise.
The study’s author said, “There’s a lot of money in nutritional supplements. The industry might not be too happy when they see the results at rest, but who knows, it may be different with exercise.”