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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG) is a salt of the amino acid arginine and alpha-ketoglutaric acid. It is marketed as a body building supplement. The components are intermediates in the metabolism of nitric oxides, but no reputable scientific evidence shows any benefits from taking AAKG as a dietary supplement.

"At present, there is no research published in peer-reviewed journals to support the assertion that an increase in nitric oxide levels promotes greater muscle protein synthesis or improves muscle strength. There is also no evidence that the arginine alpha-ketoglutarate in “nitric oxide” supplements have any effect on nitric oxide levels in muscles."[1]

Scientific support

Arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate are precursors of nitric oxide and polyamines, respectively -metabolites which participate in a number of metabolic functions. AKG supplements have been shown to promote growth hormone and insulin secretion with anabolic effects in postoperative patients. Their intermediary metabolites (glutamine & proline) may also have beneficial effects in promoting recovery from trauma. In animal studies, AKG supplementation increases levels of arginine and glutamine in skeletal muscles and stimulates immune system function compared to animals not receiving AKG. The immunomodulatory properties found with AKG suggest that it may enhance host-defense mechanisms, particularly during injury and acute stress.

AAKG supplements (15 grams per day for 5 months) have been shown to improve growth rates in small children. The AAKG supplements resulted in elevated concentrations of anabolic (growth) hormones and amino acid metabolites, including insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), glutamine and glutamate. In another study of healthy men, AAKG given at 10 grams per day resulted in a 20-30% elevation in insulin (another anabolic hormone), which were not observed with supplementation of either Arginine or alpha-ketoglutarate alone.

A test tube study found that AAKG induces a significant increase in growth of human fibroblasts–cells with similarities to muscle fiber cells. This effect was dose-dependent, meaning that a more pronounced growth effect was noted with increasing levels of AAKG (but not with increasing levels of Arginine or alpha-ketoglutarate alone).

In one study, the anti-catabolic effects of AAKG were investigated in 14 multiple trauma patients who were highly catabolic and hyper-metabolic. One group of subjects received 20 grams of AAKG per day and showed a significant increase in protein turnover as well as an increase in blood levels of insulin, growth hormone, and free amino acids (glutamine, proline and Arginine) compared to subjects not receiving AAKG supplements.

References

Notes

  • Boger RH, Bode-Boger SM, Thiele W et al. Restoring vascular nitric oxide formation by L-arginine improves the symptoms of intermittent claudication in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 1998; 32:1336-44.
  • Campbell B, Baer J, Roberts M et al. Effects of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation on body composition and training adaptations
  • Hambrecht R, Hilbrich L, Erbs S. Et al. Correction of endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure: additional effects of exercise training and oral L-arginine supplementation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2000;35:706-13.
  • Maxwell AJ, Zapien MP, Pearce GL et al. Randomized trial of a medical food for the dietary management of chronic, stable angina. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2002;39:37-45.
  • Jeevanandam M, Petersen SR. Substrate fuel kinetics in enterally fed trauma patients supplemented with Arginine alpha ketoglutarate. Clin Nutr 1999 Aug;18(4):209-17.
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