Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG)
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) is an amino acid compound that’s been shown to help increase muscular ‘pump’ and vascularity as well as the delivery of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the working muscles during exercise. It is the primary ingredient in most pre-workout, cell volumising supplements.
The human biochemistry depends on arginine to perform various important functions. In particular, it has an important role to play in protein synthesis, the process by which the muscles use protein to repair and regrow.
The addition of the Ketoglutarate compound helps improve the delivery of L Arginine in metabolic pathways, helping the L Arginine to work more effectively within the body which is designed to assist one in achieving superior results.
Although Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) has been traditionally used by strength athletes and bodybuilders looking to increase muscle size and nutrient uptake, it has, however, more recently been used by endurance athletes too.
This is because AAKG works as a vasodilator. This means it widens the blood vessels within the body and could allow more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to be delivered to the muscles, therefore improve an athlete’s aerobic fitness.
“Several studies found that the use of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate by bodybuilders promoted larger and longer lasting pumps”.
The muscles were tighter and stronger, and some of the bodybuilders reported feeling ‘pumped’ all day long.
AAKG is also used during heart surgeries for its vasodilator properties, helping to ensure that there are no blood delivery problems during the procedures.
It is also given to many post-surgery patients to prevent muscle breakdown and is effective at treating certain bacterial infections, and recurring yeast infections.
Therapeutic Benefits of AAKG
Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate is therapeutically used to treat liver issues, kidney disease, cataracts and various stomach and intestinal disorders.
It is effective at relieving symptoms of erectile dysfunction and sterility in men, being used to increase sexual desire and performance.
However, the most common usage of AAKG supplements is for bodybuilding and athletic performance purposes, since it assists the liver in breaking down harmful substances, like ammonia, allowing for longer, less painful workouts.
L-arginine AKG supplementation has been researched widely in various laboratory settings.
It is a known fact that when arginine is released into the bloodstream, there is a significant increase in nitric oxide production, and with more nitric oxide present, extended muscle pumps, enhanced work capacity, elevated libido and improved recovery times are very much likely.
There is also clinical proof that shows L-arginine AKG is a catalyst for protein synthesis, which is required for growing, strengthening and repairing muscle tissue.
The muscle growth and strength increases manifest in the following manner:
- Nitric oxide works inside blood vessels as a vasodilator, widening them in diameter.
- The larger diameter allows more blood flow without causing dangerous increases in blood pressure.
- With this achieved, more blood reaches the muscles, delivering higher amounts of nutrients and oxygen.
- Likewise, more carbohydrates, muscle building hormones, and various protein chains are easily delivered to the muscles in optimal quantities.
- This results in an increase in muscle size, strength, and endurance. There is the decrease in recovery time.
Potential Anti-Cancer Activity of Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate
The anti-cancer properties of alpha-ketoglutarate were evaluated by researchers and published the results in the May 2012 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.
The authors explain that previous studies show alpha-ketoglutarate prevents tumor growth in cells that have been deprived of oxygen (hypoxia).
The researchers set out to determine whether it had the same effects in cells that had normal oxygen levels and found that alpha-ketoglutarate successfully prevented colon cancer from spreading to cells under normal oxygen conditions.
However, this study was done in a lab using cultured cancer cells, and more research is needed to know whether it offers the same cancer-fighting benefits for real people.
So far, research is inconclusive on the adverse side effects of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate. However, it appears to be safe for most adults.
In an eight-week study, subjects reported no abnormal side effects from taking about 4g per day of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate.
However, there is a report of patients who were admitted to the emergency room with very negative effects including dizziness, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
AAKG is not recommended for continuous, high-level use for more than 2 months.
Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate is a natural blood thinner. So people taking blood thinners should use with caution.
Finally, some doctors believe that people with cold sores or genital herpes virus should not consume arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, as it may induce virus symptoms.