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L-Arginine Ingestion after Rest and Exercise: Effects on Glucose Disposal


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 8 - p 1309-1315
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000079029.39770.2A
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

ROBINSON, T. M., D. A. SEWELL, and P. L. GREENHAFF. L-Arginine Ingestion after Rest and Exercise: Effects on Glucose Disposal. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 8, pp. 1309–1315, 2003.

Purpose There is considerable interest, both in health and disease, in enhancing postexercise glucose uptake and glycogen resynthesis in skeletal muscle. The amino acid, arginine, is known to stimulate insulin release and enhance glucose-stimulated insulin release.

Methods The present investigation examined whether an oral dose of L-arginine (10 g), when given with 70 g carbohydrate (CHO, in the form of simple sugars) improved factors associated with glucose disposal in previously exercised and nonexercised healthy males. The effects of different modes of activity (resistance or cycling exercise) upon these factors were also examined.

Results Whole-blood glucose and serum insulin concentrations after L-arginine + CHO ingestion were not significantly different from the placebo condition (glycine + CHO ingestion) in all experimental treatments (nonexercised, resistance exercise, and cycling exercise). Similarly, CHO oxidation, forearm blood flow, blood pressure, and heart rate during the postingestion period were unaffected by L-arginine + CHO consumption in all three experimental treatments.

Conclusion A 10-g oral dose of L-arginine was found to have no effect on blood glucose disposal in human subjects after oral CHO ingestion, either when rested or after different modes of exercise known to differentially affect glucose disposal. These results suggest that the addition of L-arginine to a CHO beverage would not augment postexercise CHO replenishment in healthy human subjects.

School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Dr. T. M. Robinson, Centre for Human Nutrition, Coleridge House, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2002.

Accepted for publication March 2003.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine