Athletic Injury

L-Arginine: An Amino Acid for Athletic Performance

L-Arginine amino acid is what is known as a non-essential amino acid in that it is normally created by the human body from food sources; most commonly, dairy products and nuts. However, because it is said to be non-essential should not mean that it is not required. As research continues to explore all of the L-Arginine amino acid benefits, especially to athletes of all kinds is particularly important.

The first clues to an L-Arginine vitamin and athletics are its ability to help with wound healing of both muscle and bones as the result of injuries. For example, a 2005 study[i] summarizes the positive effects of L-Arginine amino acid in helping our bodies make repairs. For weightlifters and many other athletes, every time we work out muscle tissue gets torn down and must be rebuilt. More than that, the more that muscle is built, the more the blood vessels must re-build and expand to handle the blood flow.

L-Arginine benefits include its ability to improve blood flow throughout the body. This has come from numerous clinical studies with cardiac patients. Indeed, an L-Arginine vitamin was seen to improve the physical performance of those in treatment for blood vessel disease.

For example, one study[ii] found the following L-Arginine benefits:

“In a double-blind study of 41 individuals, 2 weeks of treatment with a high dose of arginine improved walking distance by 66%; no benefits were seen in the placebo group or a low-dose arginine group.”

The prestigious Mayo Clinic website states:

“There is good scientific evidence that dietary supplementation with L-arginine may help people with coronary artery disease, angina, or clogged arteries, due to its effects on blood vessels. Larger, longer-term studies are needed to confirm these initial positive effects.”

In healthy subjects, an L-Arginine vitamin is especially valuable for supplying blood to all of the extremities for bodybuilding and performance. Because the L-Arginine amino acid benefits of healing the body and helping expand the supply of blood to the muscles, an L-Arginine vitamin may also be of benefit to prolonging the quality of workouts and overall endurance.

The May 2010 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported on the results of a scientific study[iii] entitled: “Effects of arginine-based supplements on the physical working capacity at the fatigue threshold,” concluded that:

“These findings supported the use of arginine-based supplements, at the dosages examined in the present investigation, as an ergogenic [enhancing physical performance] aid for untrained individuals.”

Unlike stimulants such as caffeine or banned substances, L-Arginine does enhance physical performance and increases and improves workouts and endurance.


[i] Stechmiller, J.K.; et al. (February 2005). “Arginine supplementation and wound healing”. Nutrition in Clinical Practice 20 (13): 52–61 REVIEW
[ii] Maxwell AJ, Anderson BE, Cooke JP. Nutritional therapy for peripheral arterial disease: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of HeartBar. Vasc Med. 2000;5:11-19.
[iii] Carmic, C.L., (May 2010) Effects of arginine-based supplements on the physical working capacity at the fatigue threshold. 24(5):1306-12


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