Oral arginine attenuates the growth hormone response to resistance exercise

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Sep;101(3):848-52. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00285.2006. Epub 2006 Jun 1.


This study investigated the combined effect of resistance exercise and arginine ingestion on spontaneous growth hormone (GH) release. Eight healthy male subjects were studied randomly on four separate occasions [placebo, arginine (Arg), placebo + exercise (Ex), arginine + exercise (Arg+Ex)]. Subjects had blood sampled every 10 min for 3.5 h. After baseline sampling (30 min), subjects ingested a 7-g dose of arginine or placebo (blinded, randomly assigned). On the exercise days, the subject performed 3 sets of 9 exercises, 10 repetitions at 80% one repetition maximum. Resting GH concentrations were similar on each study day. Integrated GH area under the curve was significantly higher on the Ex day (508.7 +/- 169.6 min.ng/ml; P < 0.05) than on any of the other study days. Arg+Ex (260.5 +/- 76.8 min.ng/ml) resulted in a greater response than the placebo day but not significantly greater than the Arg day. The GH half-life and half duration were not influenced by the stimulus administered. The GH secretory burst mass was larger, but not significantly, on the Arg, Ex, and Arg+Ex day than the placebo day. Endogenous GH production rate (Ex > Arg+Ex > Arg > placebo) was greater on the Ex and Arg+Ex day than on the placebo day (P < 0.05) but there were no differences between the Ex and Arg+Ex day. Oral arginine alone (7 g) stimulated GH release, but a greater GH response was seen with exercise alone. The combined effect of arginine before exercise attenuates the GH response. Autonegative feedback possibly causes a refractory period such that when the two stimuli are presented there will be suppression of the somatotrope.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arginine / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*


  • Growth Hormone
  • Arginine