Arginine: An Important Supplement in the Sport?

Arginine is a sports supplement common due to its effects on the “potential” ergogenic. Learn more about this add-in in our article.

About the Arginine

The arginine is an amino acid precursor of some important compounds with benefits ergogenic, and in particular nitric oxide (no) and ornithine, two supplements that are very popular, and is also needed for the synthesis of creatine.

It is an amino acid is semi-essential, meaning the body can synthesize, but in an amount insufficient to cover the nutritional needs.


Arginine can be found in foods of animal and plant origin.

Inside of animal source foods are particularly the following:

  • the dairy products (such as cheese, milk and yogurt);
  • the beef and pork, chicken, and chicken;
  • the gelatin;
  • some fish, such as halibut, tuna, shrimp, lobster and sardines.

With regard to the sources of plant origin are summarized:

  • fruits;
  • dried fruits and oleaginous;
  • vegetables;
  • whole grains.


Arginine plays important roles in biological processes crucial, in particular, cell division, wound healing, production of hormones and strengthening the immune system.

By the fact be a precursor of IN, the main responsible for the relaxation of the blood vessels and by vasodilation, arginine has been associated with the decrease of blood pressure, blood clotting, and protection against cardiovascular diseases.



Supplementation with arginine seems to increase endurance and physical capacity and, as a consequence, the sports performance.

In fact, by their involvement in the production of creatine (this is not a direct precursor, but combined with other compounds such as urea and ornithine, arginine allows the synthesis of creatine), allows for increased energy availability, thus delaying the onset of fatigue.

A dose of 1.5 g daily appears to be sufficient to promote these effects.


The supplementation with arginine and ornithine seems to stimulate the synthesis of growth hormone and increase the concentration of insulin in circulation in athletes who practice bodybuilding.

In fact, the presence of a sufficient amount of arginine in the body has shown to increase the production of growth hormone, which has the ability to stimulate and regenerate the cells of the body, and is used as an anabolic agent in sports.


Recent studies have shown that the combination of arginine with glutamine improves the physical capacity of sportsmen and women and minimizes the wear and tear of the muscles.

In fact, it was found that the supplementation with this amino acid promotes significant improvements in muscle recovery post-workout, through the promotion of vasodilation.

Vasodilation allows increased blood flow in muscle tissue and, theoretically, the ability to transport nutrients and oxygen to the same, while improving the efficiency in the removal of debris from the muscle tissue.

In fact, a large part of the anabolic effects of insulin in muscle is due to its enhancing effect ON increasing the flow and uptake of amino acids and energy nutrients.

Allied to this, the ornithine synthesized from arginine accelerates the reactions of the urea cycle, a metabolic process whose goal is to excrete ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds, which harm the performance.


The dose of arginine conventionally recommended is approximately 3 grams daily.

However the ideal is to test the dose that best suits you by evaluating the differences in sports performance with or without the intake of this compound.


As already mentioned, through the promotion of vasodilation, arginine promotes a greater contribution of nutrients to the muscle tissue (which facilitate the synthesis and increase muscle mass), as well as a removal more efficient use of waste and lactic acid that are a result of muscle catabolism.

However, evidence of more current points that the accumulation of lactic acid during the workout is beneficial for the process of hypertrophy, to the extent that it stimulates adaptive mechanisms and an anabolic environment conducive in post-workout, enhancing the release of testosterone and growth hormone.

On the other hand, the vasodilator effect that arginine exerts, when taken pre-workout, does not seem to be significant. The contraction by itself is sufficient to induce a perfusion maximum muscle, as long as there is arginine in sufficient quantity.

And for this, you just need to ensure the existence of amino acids available, something that is achieved through a balanced diet rich in proteins of high biological value.


In this sense, supplementation with arginine although, in theory, be very beneficial to athletes, is shrouded in much controversy, as its effects are, often, contradictory.

As such, it should not be an add-on election to increase muscle mass or performance. Choose before protein Whey if your goal is the first or the creatine if it is the second.