This study examined the effects of acute supplementation with L-arginine and nitrate on running economy, endurance and sprint performance in endurance-trained athletes. In a randomised cross-over, double-blinded design we compared the effects of combined supplementation with 6 g L-arginine and 614 mg nitrate against 614 mg nitrate alone and placebo in nine male elite cross-country skiers (age 18 ± 0 years, VO2max 69.3 ± 5.8 ml ⋅ min(-1) ⋅ kg(-1)). After a 48-hour standardisation of nutrition and exercise the athletes were tested for plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations, blood pressure, submaximal running economy at 10 km ⋅ h(-1) and 14 km ⋅ h(-1) at 1% incline and 180 m as well as 5-km time-trial running performances. Plasma nitrite concentration following L-arginine + nitrate supplementation (319 ± 54 nmol ⋅ L(-1)) did not differ from nitrate alone (328 ± 107 nmol ⋅ L(-1)), and both were higher than placebo (149 ± 64 nmol ⋅ L(-1), p < 0.01). There were no differences in physiological responses during submaximal running or in 5-km performance between treatments. The plasma nitrite concentrations indicate greater nitric oxide availability both following acute supplementation of L-arginine + nitrate and with nitrate alone compared to placebo, but no additional effect was revealed when L-arginine was added to nitrate. Still, there were no effects of supplementation on exercise economy or endurance running performance in endurance-trained cross-country skiers.
Keywords: Endurance athletes; Exercise economy; Nitric oxide.
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