Failure of commercial oral amino acid supplements to increase serum growth hormone concentrations in male body-builders

Int J Sport Nutr. 1993 Sep;3(3):298-305. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.3.3.298.


Amino acids are commonly ingested as ergogenic acids in the belief that they enhance protein synthesis and stimulate growth hormone release. The aim of this study was to determine the acute effect that amino acid supplements have on serum growth hormone (GH) concentration. Seven male body-builders reported to the laboratory on four occasions after an 8-hr fast and ingested, in random order, either a placebo, a 2.4-g arginine/lysine supplement, a 1.85-g ornithine/tyrosine supplement, or a 20-g BovrilR drink. Blood was collected before each treatment and again every 30 minutes for 3 hours for the measurement of serum GH concentration. On a separate occasion, subjects had an intravenous infusion of 0.5 microgram GH-releasing body weight to confirm that GH secretory response was normal. The main finding was that serum GH concentrations were not altered consistently in healthy young males following the ingestion of the amino acid supplements in the quantities recommended by the manufacturers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Growth Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Growth Hormone