Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, AAKG is a combination of alpha-ketoglutarate, a negatively charged ketone, and L-arginine, a conditionally essential amino acid.
AAKG contains arginine, an amino acid that has a number of vital roles in human biochemistry. Arginine plays an important role in the urea cycle, helping to detoxify and rid the body of excess ammonia.
This AAKG is also important in protein synthesis as well as for the support of healthy immune function, being that it is composed of arginine with alpha-ketoglutarate, another key player in amino acid metabolism, as well as in energy production.
Arginine released into the bloodstream will dramatically increase nitric oxide production, which may lead to benefits like extended and enhanced “muscle pump” after training, improved endurance and recovery time, improved workout capacity, and increased sexual vigor.
Benefits of Taking an AAKG Supplement
In theory, the production of nitric oxide from the supplemental arginine promotes vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels), which may make you look vascular, and increases blood flow, oxygen transport, and delivery of nutrients to skeletal muscle during resistance training.
This process is believed to results in dramatic increases in muscle size and strength.
Also, taking an AAKG supplement will likely lead to increased body insulin levels, and it is known that having more bioavailable insulin also promotes muscular growth, strength, and healing abilities.
Hence, consuming AAKG will likely yield longer, less painful workouts that give less recovery time.
Furthermore, the sedative effect of generalized anesthesia slows down the heart rate, and Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate is used by heart surgeons to ensure adequate blood flow during surgical operations.
Also, AAKG is used for many post-operative patients to prevent muscle wasting during inactive periods of recovery, and to enhance blood flow, counteracting potential side effects.
Clinical studies show that L-arginine levels are low in those with type II diabetes and other chronic conditions like hypertension.
These conditions often cause increases in an enzyme that has a degrading effect on L-arginine, known as arginase.
Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate is also used by doctors to treat liver and kidney disease as well as to treat certain bacterial infections. For example, women who suffer from recurring yeast infections also find relief by using AAKG supplementation.
In one double-blind, placebo-based clinical study, 16 weightlifters were monitored for 8 weeks, and the treatment group received 4g of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate 3 times daily.
The following observations were made:
- No adverse side effects were reported
- No changes in heart rate or blood pressure
- Standardized blood screens showed no anomalies
- No negative changes in sex drive, sleep, mental health and/or generalized health was recorded
L-arginine is a basic constituent of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which has led some physicians to believe that, it is capable of stimulating replication of certain viruses, including the herpes virus.
For this reason, AAKG supplementation may not be recommended for those with a history of herpes virus occurrence.
There exist also, a scientific study of 35 resistance-trained males taking 12 grams of AAKG for 8-weeks.
The study found no significant differences between the groups in changes in body mass, fat-free mass, fat mass, or body fat.
However, changes in sprint peak power, bench press 1RM, time to peak power, and rate of fatigue were significantly greater in the AAKG
Problems with AAKG
A 2012 study published in JISSN reported no adverse effects from the study participants taking AAKG, however, a 2009 case report published in Human and Experimental Toxicology reported otherwise.
This 2009 report discusses two individuals that experienced ill effects, including fainting, dizziness, palpitations, vomiting, and headache, after taking AAKG.
The University of Michigan Health System also notes that people with herpes should not take AAKG because it may increase the chance of a breakout of the virus.
An important benefit of taking an AAKG supplement comes from the fact that it would require a lot of food consumption to supply the same amounts that will be bioavailable, as a tablet or powder.
While it is possible to increase your L-arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate levels through diet alone, however, it would not be feasible.
For instance, L-arginine is abundant in red meats, but eating enough to supply a recommended 12g dosage daily would be quite unhealthy for the body.
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