Int J Sports Med 2002; 23(6): 403-407
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-33743
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

L-Arginine Reduces Exercise-Induced Increase in Plasma Lactate and Ammonia

A.  Schaefer1 , F.  Piquard1 , B.  Geny1 , S.  Doutreleau1 , E.  Lampert1 , B.  Mettauer1 , J.  Lonsdorfer1
  • 1Service des Explorations Fonctionnelles Respiratoires et de l’Exercice et EA 3072, Hôpitaux Universitaires et Faculté de Médecine, Strasbourg, France
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: April 6, 2002

Publication Date:
05 September 2002 (online)


To investigate the effect of L-arginine supplementation (L-ARG) on physiological and metabolic changes during exercise, we determined in a double-blind study the cardiorespiratory (heart rate, oxygen consumption (V˙O2) and carbon dioxide production (V˙CO2) and the metabolic (lactate and ammonia) responses to maximal exercise after either an intravenous L-ARG hydrochloride salt or placebo load in 8 healthy subjects.

Exercise-induced increases in heart rate, V˙O2 and V˙CO2 were not significantly different after L-ARG or placebo. By contrast, peak plasma ammonia and lactate were significantly decreased after L-ARG load (60.6 ± 8.2 vs. 73.1 ± 9.1 µmol × l-1, p < 0.01 and 7.1 ± 0.7 vs. 8.2 ± 1.1 mmol × l-1, p < 0.01, for ammonia and lactate, respectively). Plasma L-citrulline increased significantly during exercise only after L-ARG load, despite a concomitant decrease in plasma L-ARG. Furthermore, a significant inverse relationship was observed between changes in lactate and L-citrulline concentrations after L-ARG load (r = -0.84, p = 0.009).

These results demonstrate that intravenous L-ARG reduces significantly exercise-induced increase in plasma lactate and ammonia. Taken together, the specific L-citrulline increase and the inverse relationship observed between L-citrulline and plasma lactate after L-ARG might support that L-ARG supplementation enhances the L-arginine-nitric oxide (NO) pathway during exercise.


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A. Schaefer

Institut de Physiologie · Faculté de Médecine

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