Arginine AKG (NO2 Compound)
AAKG (arginine alpha-ketoglutarate) is a compound made from the amino acid L-arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate, a substance formed in the body’s energy-generating process. AAKG is a popular supplement among bodybuilders and other athletes because of claims that it increases production of nitric oxide in muscles. Nitric oxide is known to have blood-flow-enhancing effects,1 which could in theory increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to exercising muscle. While L-arginine by itself is known to increase nitric oxide production, no research has been done to show that AAKG does the same. However, double-blind trials of AAKG suggest it improves some measures of strength and power resulting from weight training.2 3
Although the substances that comprise AAKG are present in many foods, the AAKG compound is found only in supplements.
AAKG has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
|Science Ratings||Health Concerns|
and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
A deficiency of AAKG has not been reported.
Optimal levels remain unknown, though weight lifters were given 12 grams per day in one trial.
In an eight-week double-blind trial, weight lifters taking 4 grams of AAKG three times a day reported no significant side effects, showed no changes in blood pressure or heart rate, and had no abnormalities on standard blood tests for general health.4 These athletes also reported no undesirable changes in general health, mental health, libido, sleep quality, or other quality of life measures.5 Some doctors believe that people with herpes (either cold sores or genital herpes) should not take arginine supplements, because of the possibility that arginine might stimulate replication of the virus.
No clear interactions between AAKG and other nutrients have been established.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with arginine AKG (NO2 compound).
1. Cylwik D, Mogielnicki A, Buczko W. L-arginine and cardiovascular system. Pharmacol Rep 2005;57:14–22 [review].
2. Campbell B, Baer J, Roberts M, et al. Effects of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation on body composition and training adaptations. Sports Nutr Rev J 2004:1:S10 [abstract].
3. Campbell B, Roberts M, Kerksick C, et al. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and effects on exercise performance of l-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate in trained adult men. Nutrition 2006;22:872–81.
4. Vacanti T, Campbell B, Baer J, et al. Effects of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation on markers of catabolism and health status. Sports Nutr Rev J2004;1:S10–S11 [abstract].
5. Nassar EI, Bowden RG, Campbell B, et al. Effects of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation on quality of life. Sports Nutr Rev J 2004;1:S12–S13 [abstract].
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The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.