What is L-Arginine A-Ketoglutarate (AKG) Supplement?
L-Arginine A-Ketoglutarate, also known as arginine AKG or AAKG, is a combination of the amino acid l-arginine and the keto acid a-ketoglutarate. Arginine is a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid that is critical for the urea cycle to rid the body of toxic ammonia and excess nitrogen. It’s also a proteinogenic compound that the body includes to synthesize proteins. Additionally, arginine is a nitric oxide booster that many athletes take to improve their exercise performance.
A-Ketoglutarate (AKG) is a keto acid produced in the body by removing an amino group from glutamate. It plays a role in energy production, as it is an important metabolic intermediate in the citric acid cycle. It’s also critical for transporting nitrogen through metabolic pathways to prevent a nitrogen overload. AKG attaches to amino groups of amino acids to deliver them to the liver, where the urea cycle takes place. It also acts as an antioxidant by decreasing hydrogen peroxide levels. While hydrogen peroxide isn’t a free radical per se, it can still cause cellular damage at surprisingly low concentrations.
Potential Arginine AKG Benefits
Arginine is a popular pre-workout supplement among fitness enthusiasts. It helps boost nitric oxide production, which promotes vasodilation and improves blood flow. Better blood flow allows for more efficient nutrient and oxygen delivery to muscles during exercise. One study reported that athletes taking arginine supplements for one and a half months significantly outperformed participants taking a placebo. Another study found that participants taking arginine supplements could work out for longer than the placebo group. Researchers attributed this improvement to the significantly elevated nitric oxide levels following arginine supplementation.
A-Ketoglutarate may work with arginine to expedite and improve muscle growth. A-Ketoglutarate produces energy and helps preserve glutamate levels. Glutamate is a precursor to glutamine, a proteinogenic amino acid that also acts as an energy source for cells. Glutamine also reduces fatigue during workouts and promotes faster recovery after exercise by reducing muscle soreness.
Combining arginine with AKG may enhance muscle synthesis and improve exercise performance. Arginine promotes protein synthesis and vasodilation, while AKG provides energy and the precursor to glutamine for less exercise fatigue and soreness. One study also showed that arginine AKG supplements improved power output and peak power performance.
Potential Arginine AKG Side Effects
Research shows that most healthy adults can take arginine AKG supplements without experiencing adverse effects. Some individuals may experience mild side effects similar to those of arginine as a standalone supplement. These include stomach ache and bloating. Arginine AKG may interact with the following medications due to its arginine content:
- Blood pressure medication
- Blood thinners
- Diabetes medication
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Painkillers (prescription strength)
Arginine may lower blood pressure, and arginine AKG may interact with other supplements that produce similar effects. These include:
Individuals taking any of the above medications or supplements should consult a physician before taking arginine AKG supplement powder.
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