What is L-Ornithine a-ketoglutarate (OKG)?
L-Ornithine a-ketoglutarate (OKG) is a salt form of l-ornithine and alpha ketoglutarate. L-Ornithine is a nonproteinogenic amino acid,
meaning it doesn’t participate in synthesizing proteins or enzymes. Unlike other amino acids, DNA doesn’t
code for ornithine. However, ornithine plays a pivotal role in the urea cycle, which is how the body
disposes of toxic ammonia.
Alpha ketoglutarate, also known as α-Ketoglutaric acid, is a keto acid produced by removing an amino acid
from glutamate. It plays a role in energy production, as it’s an intermediate in the citric acid cycle. It
also helps synthesize glutamine, which reduces
muscle soreness after workouts and supports gut health and the immune system.
Ornithine and alpha ketoglutarate are metabolically related and can readily convert into one another. The
conversion is reversible, and combining the two can suppress ornithine from converting into alpha
ketoglutarate. Researchers believe that inhibiting this process allows ornithine to convert into arginine,
which may convey several beneficial health effects.
Ornithine and the Urea Cycle
Ornithine is a significant part of the urea cycle and works alongside citrulline and arginine to excrete toxic ammonia from the
body. The cycle begins by converting ammonia into carbamoyl phosphate in order to transfer a phosphate group
to ornithine. The ornithine then uses the phosphate group to produce citrulline, an essential precursor to
arginine. Enzymes break down the arginine into urea and ornithine to complete the cycle. The body can then
recycle the ornithine to restart the cycle while removing the urea via the urine. However, research shows
that OKG is the superior supplement form for ultimately increasing plasma arginine levels.
Potential Ornithine (OKG) Benefits
Ornithine and Arginine
Research shows that ornithine synergizes with arginine
to improve total strength and lean
body mass. This supplement combination also promotes faster exercise recovery and inhibits muscle tissue
Ornithine (OKG) and Exercise Performance
Many athletes take OKG as a pre-workout supplement for its potential to build muscle and recover from intense
exercise. Ornithine is not an essential amino acid, as the body can synthesize it. However, certain
conditions can strain the body’s ability to produce enough ornithine to meet its needs, such as times of
stress, illness, or injury. These conditions often force the body into a catabolic state, resulting in
muscle protein breakdowns.
Studies show that OKG blocks these catabolic effects during periods of stress or injury and catalyzes
anabolic (protein-building) activity. Researchers believe OKG may achieve this through two possible
mechanisms. One is that OKG directly influences hormone metabolism enzymes. The other is that OKG increases
growth hormone levels. OKG supplements may promote muscle growth and repair by supplying the ornithine the
body needs. Animal research also notes that ornithine and alpha ketoglutarate synergize and perform better
together than as separate components for augmenting protein synthesis and increasing growth hormone levels.
OKG can also convert into glutamine, which may reduce muscle soreness after intense exercise.
Ornithine (OKG) and Liver Health
The liver struggles to effectively remove ammonia when damaged or diseased. Ammonia buildup can cause
numerous health problems, including impaired cognition, behaviors, and muscle control. OKG may alleviate
these issues by stimulating the urea cycle to eliminate ammonia. Alpha ketoglutarate can also buffer ammonia
without the need for the urea cycle, as it bonds to ammonia to form glutamine. OKG may reduce hangover
symptoms, too. Ammonia levels rise rapidly following alcohol consumption and contributes to many of the
unpleasant hangover symptoms. OKG may expedite a hangover recovery by stimulating the urea cycle to excrete
the excess ammonia.
Potential Ornithine (OKG) Side Effects
Ornithine (OKG) does not appear to cause side effects when taken in recommended doses based on the available
preliminary research. However, individuals should consult with a physician before starting any new
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