Effects of arginine and ornithine on strength, lean body mass and urinary hydroxyproline in adult males

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1989 Mar;29(1):52-6.


Twenty-two adult males participated in a 5 week progressive strength training program. One half the subjects received the amino acids L-arginine and L-ornithine and the other half, a placebo. The study used a double blind protocol so that subjects as well as investigators had no knowledge of which substances were being administered. Dosages amounted to 2 grams or 1 gram each of L-arginine and L-ornithine, and 600 mg of calcium and 1 gram of Vitamin C as placebos. These supplements were taken orally for a total of 25 administrations. Following the short term strength program using progressively high intensities, tests were taken for total strength (TS), lean body mass (LBM) and urinary hydroxyproline (UH). The results from ANOVA showed that subjects who were taking the arginine-ornithine combination scored significantly higher in TS and LBM (p less than .05), and significantly lower in UH (p less than .05), than subjects on placebos. It was concluded that arginine and ornithine taken in prescribed doses can, in conjunction with a high intensity strength training program, increase TS and LBM in a relatively short period of time. Arginine and ornithine also aid in recovery from chronic stress by quelling tissue breakdown as evidenced by lower UH levels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyproline / urine*
  • Male
  • Muscles / drug effects*
  • Ornithine / pharmacology*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Weight Lifting


  • Arginine
  • Ornithine
  • Hydroxyproline