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Arginine Supplementation Increases Your Exercise Mileage

July 28, 2012

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If you follow a regular exercise regimen, whether it be aerobic or resistance training, you know your body well enough when it hits the proverbial brick wall after bouts of exercise. You try to squeeze in a few more reps, or struggle through the last mile in order to maintain your routine.

Struggle no more. According to a UK study, supplementation of arginine prior to your regimen helps you cope with the stresses of your exercise. It's really no secret why. Arginine, being the precursor of nitric oxide, helps your muscles relax during intense bouts of exercise to bring in nutrients which are much need by your muscles. The additional benefit, as the study claims, is that interventions in the NO bioavailability can also alter the O2 cost of exercise in humans.

In the study, a double-blind, crossover study examined the response of nine healthy men (aged 19-38) to a series of "step" moderate- and severe-intensity exercise bouts for 1 hour. They are made to consume 500ml of beverage containing 6g of L-Arginine or placebo beverage. Plasma NO2 concentration was significantly greater in the Arg than the PL group (331±198 vs. 159±102 nM, P<0.05) and systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced (123±3 vs. 131±5 mmHg, P<0.01). The steady-state O2 uptake (VO2) during moderate-intensity exercise was reduced by 7% in the Arg group (1.48±0.12 vs. 1.59±0.14 l/min, P<0.05). During severe-intensity exercise, the VO2 slow component amplitude was reduced (0.58±0.23 and 0.76±0.29 l/min in Arg and PL, respectively, P<0.05) and the time to exhaustion was extended (707±232 and 562±145 s in Arg and PL, respectively, P<0.05) following consumption of Arg.

It is therefore beneficial to take in a diet rich in amino acids, or take in amino acid supplements, in keeping up with one's regimen.

July 28, 2012


  • Stephen J. Bailey, Paul G. Winyard, Anni Vanhatalo, et. al. Acute L-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of mederate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance. Journal of Applied Physiology 109: 1394-1403. August 19, 2010.