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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jul;113(7):1805-19. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2593-z. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

No effect of acute L-arginine supplementation on O₂ cost or exercise tolerance.

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Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke's Campus, Exeter, Devon EX1 2LU, UK.


The extent to which dietary supplementation with the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) substrate, L-arginine (ARG), impacts on NO production and NO-mediated physiological responses is controversial. This randomised, double blinded, cross-over study investigated the effects of acute ARG supplementation on NO biomarkers, O₂ cost of exercise and exercise tolerance in humans. In one experiment, 15 subjects completed moderate- and severe-intensity running bouts after acute supplementation with 6 g ARG or placebo (PLA). In another experiment, eight subjects completed moderate- and severe-intensity cycling bouts after acute supplementation with 6 g ARG plus 25 g of carbohydrate (ARG + CHO) or an energy-matched dose of carbohydrate alone (CHO). The plasma nitrite concentration was not different after ARG (Pre: 204 ± 79; Post: 241 ± 114 nM; P > 0.05) or ARG + CHO consumption (Pre: 304 ± 57; Post: 335 ± 116 nM; P > 0.05). During moderate-intensity exercise, the steady-state pulmonary VO₂ was not different, relative to the respective placebo conditions, after ARG (PLA: 2,407 ± 318, ARG: 2,422 ± 333 mL min(-1)) or ARG + CHO (CHO: 1,695 ± 304, ARG + CHO: 1,712 ± 312 mL min(-1)) ingestion (P > 0.05). The tolerable duration of severe exercise was also not significantly different (P > 0.05) after ingesting ARG (PLA: 551 ± 140, ARG: 552 ± 150 s) or ARG + CHO (CHO: 457 ± 182, ARG + CHO: 441 ± 221 s). In conclusion, acute dietary supplementation with ARG or ARG + CHO did not alter biomarkers of NO synthesis, O₂ cost of exercise or exercise tolerance in healthy subjects.

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