Effect of L-arginine and selenium added to a hypocaloric diet enriched with legumes on cardiovascular disease risk factors in women with central obesity: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;60(2):157-68. doi: 10.1159/000335470. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Background/aims: We aimed to discover if L-arginine and selenium alone or together can increase the effect of a hypocaloric diet enriched in legumes (HDEL) on central obesity and cardiovascular risk factors in women with central obesity.

Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was undertaken in 84 premenopausal women with central obesity. After a 2-week run-in period on an isocaloric diet, participants were randomly assigned to a control diet (HDEL), L-arginine (5 g/day) and HDEL, selenium (200 μg/day) and HDEL or L-arginine, selenium and HDEL for 6 weeks. Cardiovascular risk factors were assessed before intervention and 3 and 6 weeks afterwards.

Results: After 6 weeks, L-arginine had significantly reduced waist circumference (WC); selenium had significantly lowered fasting concentrations of serum insulin and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index; the interaction between L-arginine and selenium significantly reduced the fasting concentration of nitric oxides (NO(x)), and HDEL lowered triglycerides (TG) and WC and significantly increased the fasting concentration of NO(x). HDEL reduced high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels in the first half of the study and returned them to basal levels in the second half.

Conclusion: These data indicate the beneficial effects of L-arginine on central obesity, selenium on insulin resistance and HDEL on serum concentrations of NO(x) and TG.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine / adverse effects
  • Arginine / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Reducing* / ethnology
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / etiology
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / prevention & control
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Iran
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Obesity, Abdominal / blood
  • Obesity, Abdominal / diet therapy*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Selenium / adverse effects
  • Selenium / therapeutic use*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Arginine
  • Selenium