Monday, July 14, 2014

Unexpected Performance Increments in Elite Wrestlers in Response to Well-Timed Arginine Supplementation: 5.8% Increased Time to Exhaustion, No Recution in O2 Cost!

Science is still wrestling with evidence in favor vs. against l-arginine
Actually the study at hand is not really exciting, the researchers from the Near East University Medical School in Cyprus recruited nine male national and international level wrestlers put them on more or less standardized diets, forbid them to work out and or use caffeine, stimulants or other ergogenic supplements and fed them 1.5g arginine per 10kg body weight (that's 12grams for someone with a body weight of 80kg).

Aside from the dosage, which would be on the higher side compared to the average arginine trial, there were no significant differences to study protocols you know.
Lear more about L-arginine at the SuppVersity!

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The subjects reported to the laboratory fasted in the AM, they have followed identical diets before both the active and the placebo trial and they had to perform one of those arduous pedal until you drop exercise tests on a cycle ergometer...

There was one difference, however. The subjects were not allowed to start working out immediately after they'd washed down the arginine / placebo supplement. Instead, they had to wait for sixty minutes for the arginine peak in plasma (Gannon. 2002).
Figure 1: Time to exhaustion and lactate levels increased, the VO2 costs of which you could expect that they decreased and would thus allow for the increased time to exhaustion, on the other hand, didn't change (Yavuz. 2014)
And voila! As you can see in Figure 1, Yavuz, Turnagol and Demirel observed a significant performance increase in the arginine trial.

In that, it is quite astonishing that these improvements occurred in the absence of changes in VO2 consumption. A reduction in O2 cost, as it was reported by Bailey et al. (2009) would after all be the most obvious explanation of the ergogenic effects of arginine.
Suggested Read: Arginine a BAT Building WAT Killer & Repartitioning Agent? Plus: The Arginine Enriched Biscuits Diet ;-) | read more
Bottom line: Previous results of studies with arginine supplementation on performance are rather inconsistent and it is difficult to say whether these differences can be explained by the length of the supplementation period, the combination of arginine with different components, different doses of arginine, different exercise protocols, different fitness levels of subjects (endurance trained athletes, physically active healthy men, or combat sports athletes as in the study at hand). Even the hitherto overlooked exact timing of supplementation and workout could make all the difference - so in case you still have a truckload of arginine lying around at home, remember to take it on an empty stomach and 60 minutes before your workouts.
  • Bailey, Stephen J., et al. "Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans." Journal of Applied Physiology 107.4 (2009): 1144-1155.
  • Gannon, Mary C., Jennifer A. Nuttall, and Frank Q. Nuttall. "Oral arginine does not stimulate an increase in insulin concentration but delays glucose disposal." The American journal of clinical nutrition 76.5 (2002): 1016-1022.