Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AKG as in Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate for GI Health

For many of us, our gut is like our feet. We ignore it as long as it appears to be working properly. I think, I do not have to tell you that this is a mistake. Just like you cannot run without healthy feed, you cannot digest and use all the good food and supplements you consume without a healthy gut. This is why you should be interested in the findings of a recent review by scientists from the Hubei key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in Wuhan 430023, China (Hou. 2011).

The scientists evaluation of related studies lead them to conclude that the conversion of Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), which is an intermediate of the Krebs cycle and bridges amino acid metabolism with glucose oxidation, into glutamate in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals is of particular interest in view of overall gastric functioning, "including regulation of cell function, neurotransmission, and gastric emptying".
Translating the basic research into practice, results of recent studies indicate that dietary supplementation with AKG alleviates oxidative stress and injury in intestinal mucosal cells, while improving intestinal mucosal integrity and absorption of nutrients in endotoxin-challenged pigs.
If you do not find that exciting, you might be interested in AKG's effect on mTOR-signaling (largely regarded as one of the fundamental triggers of protein synthesis and "muscle growth"):
The beneficial effects of AKG are associated with increased activation of the mTOR signaling pathway and net protein synthesis.
So, in view of the disappointing news on the inability of Arginine-AKG to raise nitric oxide levels, it may come as a surprise that it may have a distinct value far apart from muscle pumps and popping veins.