Acute Arginine Supplementation Fails to Improve Muscle Endurance Or Affect Blood Pressure Responses to Resistance Training

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Greer, BK and Jones, BT. Acute arginine supplementation fails to improve muscle endurance or affect blood pressure responses to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 25(7): 1789-1794, 2011—Dietary supplement companies claim that arginine supplements acutely enhance skeletal muscular endurance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether acute arginine α-ketoglutarate supplementation (AAKG) will affect local muscle endurance of the arm and shoulder girdle or the blood pressure (BP) response to anaerobic exercise. Twelve trained college-aged men (22.6 ± 3.8 years) performed 2 trials of exercise separated by at least 1 week. At 4 hours before, and 30 minutes before exercise, a serving of an AAKG supplement (3,700 mg arginine alpha-ketoglutarate per serving) or placebo was administered. Resting BP was assessed pre-exercise after 16 minutes of seated rest, and 5 and 10 minutes postexercise. Three sets each of chin-ups, reverse chin-ups, and push-ups were performed to exhaustion with 3 minutes of rest between each set. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired t-tests. The AAKG supplementation did not improve muscle endurance or significantly affect the BP response to anaerobic work. Subjects performed fewer total chin-ups (23.75 ± 6.38 vs. 25.58 ± 7.18) and total trial repetitions (137.92 ± 28.18 vs. 141.08 ± 28.57) in the supplement trial (p ≤ 0.05). Subjects executed fewer reverse chin-ups (5.83 ± 1.85 vs. 6.75 ± 2.09) during set 2 after receiving the supplement as compared to the placebo (p < 0.05). Because AAKG supplementation may hinder muscular endurance, the use of these supplements before resistance training should be questioned.

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