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The right facts about Arginine

Arginine is a none-essential amino acid with a lot of claims surrounding it. It’s been proposed that it plays a role in muscle building and increasing the rate of protein synsthesis. Arginine supplements are usually marketed as: L-Arginine, Arginine pyroglutamate or Arginine-alpha-ketoglutatrate. The main claims surrounding Arginine is that it can:

  1. Has anabolic properties leading to increased muscle growth
  2. Increased protein synthesis
  3. Reducing muscle breakdown (Catabolism)
  4. Raises the levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) within the body
  5. Improves rate of recovery
  6. Increases the rate of blood flow to the muscle through vasodilation via an increase in natural Nitric Oxide production
  7. Aids in the removal of lactic acid and ammonia from within the body
  8. Reduce body fat levels

So is Arginine right for you? Whether you’re looking to build muscle mass, improve your recovery from training or improve your endurance levels Arginine can help you.

Arginine supplementation has been shown to dramatically increase HGH levels within the body leading to a significant increase in muscle mass and a reduction in body fat levels. One of the reasons of the positive effect of Arginine is the fact that it can stimulate the production of HGH which is also done through regular exercising.

Arginine has also been shown to enhance the production of Nitric Oxide, NO which acts as a vasodilator on the blood vessels supplying the muscles. This is crucial since it increases the amount of blood flowing to the muscles meaning an increased rate of delivery of nutrients and removal of metabolism by-products. This would lead to an increase in muscular endurance, an improvement to the repair of the muscle and a reduction in lactic acide and ammonia levels. Another effect of NO is acting as a muscle growth stimulant by increasing protein synthesis within muscle cells.

If you decide to take Arginine you should be aware that there are three different types:

1- L-arginine: This is the most basic free form of Arginine. It has the full range of effects on the body as you would expect, but a higher dose would be needed to feel the full impact of it. It’s recommended that you take 5 grams of L-arginine 30 mins before a training session.

2- Arginine pyroglutamate: This is made by adding L-arginine to pyroglutamic acid. Like L-arginine it has the full effects you would expect from Arginine but has a greater on increasing the levels of HGH within the body since it can cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) with more ease. Ig you decide to take arginine pyroglutamate you should take 3 grams of it combined with L-lysine 30 minutes before training to obtain optimal results.

3- Arginine alpha ketoglutarate: This is made by adding L-arginine to alpha ketoglutaric acid. Like L-arginine it has the full effects you would expect from Arginine but has a greater effect on the production of NO. If you decide to take Arginine alpha ketoglutarate you should take 3 grams of it 30 minutes before training to obtain optimal results.

In summary, all the research in Arginine has been shown to have a net positive effect on athletes through stimulating the production of HGH and NO to lead to an overall increase in muscle growth.


1- Di Luigi, L., Guidetti, L., Pigozzi, F. et al., (1999). Acute amino acid supplementation enhances pituitary responsiveness in athletes. Medicine of Science in Sport and Exercise. 31, 1748-1751.

2- Elam, R. P. (1988) Morphological changes in adult males from resistance exericise amino acid supplementation. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 28, 35-39.

3- Isiadori, A., Lo Monaco, A. and Cappa, M. (1981) A study of growth hormone release in man after oral administration of amino acids. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 7, 475-481.

4- Kraemer, W. J. (1992) Influence of the endocrine system on resistance training adaptations. National Strength and Conditioning Journal. 14, 47-54.

5- Merimee, T. J., Lillicrap, D. A. Rabinowitz, D. (1965) Effect of arginine on serum-levels of growth hormones. Lancet. 2, 668.

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