L-Arginine Supplementation and Nitric Oxide Production:No Additional Effect When Associated to Exercise


L-arginine is an amino acid semiessencial considered a precursor of nitric oxide, a gas mainly produced in endothelial cells. Nutritional supplements based on the amino acid L-arginine have been broadly marketed in order to increase vasodilation and the blood supply to muscle in order to optimize metabolic responses induced by exercise. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of L-arginine supplementation on nitric oxide production in response to exercise. Furthermore, the biochemical parameters of muscle fatigue were assessed. Fourteen trained runners were divided in two groups, supplemented with L-arginine (ARG) and placebo (PLA). Blood samples were collected before supplementation (T0), immediately after the first exercise session (T1), immediately after the second exercise session (T2), and after 20 minutes of rest (T3). Plasma cyclic guanosine monophosphate was assessed as a marker of nitric oxide production. The biochemical parameters of muscle fatigue analyzed were plasma lactate and ammonia. There was significant increase in plasma cyclic guanosine monophosphate in both groups in response to exercise: ARG (T0: 3.6 ± 1.4; T1: 17.9 ± 5.8; T2: 15.9 ± 5.3; T3: 7.3 ± 2.5 pmol/mL) and PLA (T0: 4.1 ± 1.1; T1: 18.8 ± 9.9; T2: 16.1 ± 3.5; T3: 9.3 ± 3.7 pmol/mL). A significant reduction in plasma lactate and ammonia were observed in the recovery period after exercise (T3). However, no significant difference was observed between groups in the variables studied. Therefore, L-arginine supplementation was unable to increase the effects of exercise on nitric oxide production and did not improve the metabolic responses to exercise in runners.

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D. Baião, C. Conte Jr., J. Silva, V. Paschoalin and T. Alvares, "L-Arginine Supplementation and Nitric Oxide Production:No Additional Effect When Associated to Exercise," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 8, 2013, pp. 779-784. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.48101.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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