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L-Arginine AKG: Building Strength and Blood Flow in Athletes

L-Arginine AKG is scientifically known as L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate. It is a salt of arginine, a non-essential amino acid that has been used by bodybuilders to increase blood flow to the muscles and to boost workout endurance.

L-Arginine itself has received widespread attention for its use in helping patients with congestive heart failure, impotence (erectile dysfunction), and peripheral blood flow problems. Both L-Arginine and L-Arginine AKG supplements increase the body’s output of Nitric oxide. This gas increases the diameter (the vasodilation) of the blood vessels in the body[i] which in turn increases blood flow and improves workouts and lowers recovery times after hard workouts.

The L-Arginine AKG supplement has lately been the subject of scientific research. The research is as yet inconclusive however; there have been some interesting results of AAKG benefits. In a scientific article[ii] entitled: “Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance,” AAKG benefits were displayed to increase blood flow but did not strengthen the muscles themselves.

However, in another 2012 study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition entitled: “Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis,” the authors did conclude that:

“Protein supplementation increases muscle mass and strength gains during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in both younger and older subjects.”

In another very interesting 2012 scientific study[iii] for the elderly, entitled: “Protein supplementation increases muscle mass gain during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in frail elderly people: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” the scientists concluded that:

“Prolonged resistance-type exercise training represents an effective strategy to improve strength and physical performance in frail elderly people. Dietary protein supplementation is required to allow muscle mass gain during exercise training in frail elderly people.”

It may well be that supplements such as the AKG supplement may be much more impressive when part of an overall amino acid supplement to both increase blood flow and to help build muscle.

Nevertheless, in other research studies, they found AAKG benefits to include having a positive effect on building strength. In a 2006 study in the scientific journal Nutrition entitled: “Pharmacokinetics, safety, and effects on exercise performance of L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate in trained adult men,” the conclusion was that:

“AAKG supplementation appeared to be safe and well tolerated, and positively influenced 1RM bench press and Wingate peak power performance. AAKG did not influence body composition or aerobic capacity.”

Finally, in a 2007 piece of scientific research[iv] the conclusion was that:

“This line of research may have important therapeutic implications as there are indications that L-arginine augments the effects of exercise training on insulin sensitivity and capillary growth in muscles.”

It is difficult to make a broad sweeping statement in regard to AAKG benefits. However, generally speaking, the research seems to indicate L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate benefits the increase of blood flow to the muscles, that in some Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate studies it improved muscular endurance and may have more potential when combined with other amino acids. An example of this was research done by Stevenson back in 2000[v] where AAKG supplement was combined with other amino acids and it helped with muscular recovery.

L-Arginine AKG is available in either powder form or capsules. L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate dosage capsules may be found in 1000 mg sizes and up to 3000 mg are consumed on a daily basis.


[i] M Mario Ciocca, MD, Medication and Supplement Use by Athletes, Department of Sports Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
[ii] Alvares, T.S., et.al (2012)Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance, Appl Physiol Nutr Metab.;37(1):115-26
[iii] Tieland, M. et. al. (2012) Protein supplementation increases muscle mass gain during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in frail elderly people: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2012 Oct;13(8):713-9
[iv] McConell GK. Effects of L-arginine supplementation on exercise metabolism. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. (2007)
[v] Stevens BR, et al. (2000) High-intensity dynamic human muscle performance enhanced by a metabolic intervention. Med Sci Sports Exerc.


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