L-Arginine Regulates Fat Loss


Amino Acid Controls Gene Expression in Muscle and Fat Tissue

I have always liked Arginine for a couple of reasons.

  1. More Muscle Pump which just feels awesome, even if there’s no long-term benefit of it
  2. Improved blood sugar.
  3. Increased blood flow to the extremities which is good for romance and for people with cold hands.
  4. Has a mild mood-mellowing effect.

But I’ve fallen in love with Arginine all over again since I’ve been reading so much about how long-term supplementation can affect genetic signals to build muscle and burn fat. The results won’t be mind-blowing by any stretch of the imagination, at least not as powerful as something like anabolic steroids or growth hormone (although Arginine does a good job of increasing GH output by inhibiting it’s counterpart, Somatostatin) but the results, over the long term with a consistent training regimen and a decent diet, should yield some really solid results.

For those of us whose goal is to transform our bodies, not just lose fat but to redefine our physiques, Arginine is just what the doctor ordered.

And it looks like scientists have started uncovering the specific method that Arginine effects our body composition. It appears to increase the release of fat from fat cells (lipolysis) while at the same time encouraging lipogenesis (creation of new fat stores) in muscle – which isn’t a bad thing necessarily unless one’s diet is completely out of whack.

J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Jul 7. [Epub ahead of print]

Dietary l-arginine supplementation differentially regulates expression of lipid-metabolic genes in porcine adipose tissue and skeletal muscle.

Tan B, Yin Y, Liu Z, Tang W, Xu H, Kong X, Li X, Yao K, Gu W, Smith SB, Wu G.

Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Human Health and Key Laboratory of Agro-ecology, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, Hunan 410125, China; The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China; Department of Animal Science and Faculty of Nutrition, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Obesity is a major health crisis worldwide and new treatments are needed to fight this epidemic. Using the swine model, we recently reported that dietary l-arginine (Arg) supplementation promotes muscle gain and reduces body-fat accretion. The present study tested the hypothesis that Arg regulates expression of key genes involved in lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue. Sixteen 110-day-old barrows were fed for 60 days a corn- and soybean-meal-based diet supplemented with 1.0% Arg or 2.05% l-alanine (isonitrogenous control). Blood samples, longissimus dorsi muscle and overlying subcutaneous adipose tissue were obtained from 170-day-old pigs for biochemical studies. Serum concentrations of leptin, alanine and glutamine were lower, but those for Arg and proline were higher in Arg-supplemented pigs than in control pigs. The percentage of oleic acid was higher but that of stearic acid and linoleic acid was lower in muscle of Arg-supplemented pigs, compared with control pigs. Dietary Arg supplementation increased mRNA levels for fatty acid synthase in muscle, while decreasing those for lipoprotein lipase, glucose transporter-4, and acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase-alpha in adipose tissue. Additionally, mRNA levels for hormone sensitive lipase were higher in adipose tissue of Arg-supplemented pigs compared with control pigs. These results indicate that Arg differentially regulates expression of fat-metabolic genes in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue, therefore favoring lipogenesis in muscle but lipolysis in adipose tissue. Our novel findings provide a biochemical basis for explaining the beneficial effect of Arg in improving the metabolic profile in mammals (including obese humans). Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20619625 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]