No effect of short-term arginine supplementation on nitric oxide production, metabolism and performance in intermittent exercise in athletes

J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Jun;20(6):462-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Arginine supplementation has been shown to alleviate endothelial dysfunction and improve exercise performance through increasing nitric oxide production in patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. In addition, arginine supplementation could decrease accumulations of lactate and ammonia, metabolites involved in development of muscular fatigue. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of short-term arginine supplementation on performance in intermittent anaerobic exercise and the underlying mechanism in well-trained male athletes. Ten elite male college judo athletes participated with a randomized crossover, placebo-controlled design. The subjects consumed 6 g/day arginine (ARG trial) or placebo (CON trial) for 3 days then performed an intermittent anaerobic exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Blood samples were collected before supplementation, before and during exercise and 0, 3, 6, 10, 30 and 60 min after exercise. ARG trial had significantly higher arginine concentrations than CON trial at the same time point before, during and after exercise. In both trials, nitrate and nitrite concentration was significantly higher during and 6 min after exercise comparing to the basal concentration. The increase in nitrate and nitrite concentration during exercise in both trials was parallel to the increase in plasma citrulline concentrations. There was no significant difference between the 2 trials in plasma nitrate and nitrite, lactate and ammonia concentrations and peak and average power in the exercise. The results of this study suggested that short-term arginine supplementation had no effect on nitric oxide production, lactate and ammonia metabolism and performance in intermittent anaerobic exercise in well-trained male athletes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / blood
  • Arginine / administration & dosage*
  • Citrulline / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Martial Arts / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Placebos
  • Young Adult


  • Lactates
  • Placebos
  • Citrulline
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Ammonia
  • Arginine