Can arginine make you look like Arnold?

Arginine is a precursor for nitric oxide, which relaxes vascular smooth muscle leading to improved blood flow and, thus, the flow of nutrients to muscles (1;2). Oral arginine appears to also stimulate growth hormone release, especially when taken with exercise (3). Supplementation with arginine didn’t increase body mass significantly in a study in 2008; although, when taken with creatine, arginine did improve endurance and power of muscle (2).

Reference List
1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.
2. Little JP, Forbes SC, Candow DG, Cornish SM, Chilibeck PD. Creatine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, amino acids, and medium-chain triglycerides and endurance and performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2008;18:493-508.
3. Kanaley JA. Growth hormone, arginine and exercise. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2008;11:50-4.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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