Changes in mineral status are associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity in obese patients following L-arginine supplementation

Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(2):387-93. doi: 10.1007/s00394-013-0533-7. Epub 2013 May 25.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate the long-term influence of L-arginine intake on mineral concentration in patients with obesity and to assess the changes in lipid serum levels, fat content, and insulin resistance that result.

Methods: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted. 88 obese patients were randomly assigned to receive either 9 g of L-arginine or placebo daily, for 6 months. At baseline and after 6 months, selected anthropometrical measurements and blood biochemical analyses were performed and mineral levels were assessed. To assess insulin sensitivity, the gold-standard euglycemic clamp methodology was used.

Results: We found that 6 months of L-arginine supplementation resulted in significant increases in insulin sensitivity (Δ1.1 mg/kg/min, P < 0.01) and zinc levels (Δ1.5 μmol/L, P < 0.001). Moreover, a positive correlation between the change in zinc concentration in serum and the change in insulin sensitivity was observed (R = 0.80, P < 0.01). In the group of patients treated with L-arginine, a negative correlation between the change in zinc concentration in serum and the change in body fat content was noted (R = -0.38, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: L-Arginine supplementation affects zinc status in obese patients. One beneficial influence is related to the improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Copper / blood
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals / blood*
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Placebos
  • Zinc / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Minerals
  • Placebos
  • Copper
  • Arginine
  • Zinc