The clinical studies regarding the effect of L-arginine in human anthropometry have not been fully consistent, therefore, we carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials in order to precisely evaluate and quantify the efficacy of L-arginine on weight, waist circumference, and BMI. We searched online databases including PubMed, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar for relevant articles up to September 2017. Eligible articles were reviewed by two independent investigators. Mean differences of the outcomes were used for calculation of weighted mean difference (WMD) derived from the random-effects model. Statistical heterogeneity between studies was examined using Cochran's Q-test and I2 index. Funnel plot and Egger's tests were performed to assess the publication bias. In our initial search, we found 1598 publications, of which 8 RCTs (9 treatment arms) were included. The results of the meta-analysis displayed a significant reduction in WC following L-arginine supplementation (WMD: -2.97 cm; 95% CI: -4.75 to -1.18, P = 0.001). However, L-arginine intervention had not elicited a significant effect on BMI (WMD: -0.51 kg/m2; 95% CI: -1.11 to .08, P = 0.09) and body weight (WMD: -0.57 kg; 95% CI: -1.77 to 0.61, P = 0.34). Subgroup analyses displayed that longer-term interventions (≥8 weeks) had a positive effect on body weight and using < 8 g/day L-arginine with longer duration (≥8 weeks) could significantly decrease BMI. In conclusion, this meta-analysis result suggested L-arginine supplementation could reduce waist circumference without any significant effect on body weight and body mass index.
Keywords: BMI; L-arginine; Meta-analysis; Waist circumference; Weight.