T Nation

Is Arginine Really a Scam?

At a message board I go to on occasion (not good at all, geared for 13yo “athletes”), someone had suggested taking arginine as a means to increase GH output. I referred him to the article “The NO2/Arginine Scam”, to which he replied:

I will start with your article, then go on to my evidence.

“…some companies will scrounge up data showing that arginine can elevate growth hormone levels.”

Oh really? What companies would that be? The last time I checked arginine isn’t marketed, and there’s barely any money in it. They have maybe 2 or 3 arginine products total at GNC. The only people I’ve really heard of that take it are men with erectile dysfunction, which a small dose of arginine will help. If T-Nation wants to talk companies manufacturing data they should look at things like, I dunno, creatine maybe, or even cell-tech? Theres a few more bucks in that.

“Unfortunately, only five subjects were studied…”

Then that’s not a study. Five people is not a study by any means in the health field. Why doesn’t T-Nation cite one of the hundreds of REAL studies where a real sample of people was used?

“There’s little evidence to support that this short term increase in GH would do anything for your physique anyway.”

This is very true, and I agree with it. We do know from our physiology books that growth hormone plays a huge role in muscle hypertrophy, an even bigger role than testosterone. However, we do not know if increasing growth hormone levels by 50% or so has a significant effect on this muscle growth or not. It has, however, already been proven that an increase in testosterone of 50-100% has no effects on hypertrophy. So why not go with growth hormone? Or even better, why doesn’t someone do a study? Why does T-Nation (and the supplement industry) promote and sell so many testosterone increasing supplements when they DO NOT WORK? Speaking of company conspiracies…

My Evidence:

Here’s some info from “Optimum Sports Nutrition” by Dr. Colgan, a highly renowned sports nutritionists–possibly the best in the world:

“The darling of free-form amino acids is still arginine, and research continues to pile up supporting its use by athletes. There are now more than 50 positive studies. Arginine is so reliable at releasing growth hormone that is is used as a test of pituitary function in undersized children…Some skeptical folk, including some sports medicine professionals, who cannot have read the studies, still insist that arginine is at best a weak and variable stimulus to growth hormone release…There is a pile of new studies that prove these skeptics wrong.”

Citing one of the studies, Colgan writes, “Peak growth hormone release to l-dopa was 14.6 mcg/l, a large amount. Peak growth hormone release to arginine was 15.4 mcg/l, even larger. Total growth hormone release to somatocrinin was 891.7mcgmin/l, a very large amount. Total growth hormone release to arginine was 898.2 mcgmin/l, larger again. So arginine causes at least as big a boost to growth hormone release as the hormone naturally used by the body…”

Colgan concedes, however, that this study was with injected arginine. He goes on to explain that oral doses are effective as well, and he cites two studies, then he explains what dosages to use for oral consumption. Keeping in mind that this book was written in 1993, I decided to email Dr. Colgan (earlier this year) about the issue. In fact, to this day he still has his athletes supplement with arginine in the sleep cycles I described earlier. The smaller dose of 7-15 grams of arginine is effective because of the timing, as well as the reduced competition of other amino acids.

Do you really think that one of the top sports nutritionists in the world would supplement with arginine in this manner for 12+ years if it didn’t work? Especially when he has the studies and the results (in his athletes’ gains) to prove that it works? Yeah, T-Nation all the way…

Now, I am familiar with Michael Colgan and I don’t consider him to be the type of guy to…well…make shit up. He strikes me as being bright and I also don’t see why he would have his athletes using a supplement that doesn’t work.

What are T-Nations thoughts on this?

ps, I was completely unaware that increasing testosterone 50-100% has no effect on muscle hypertrophy. Can anyone explain this to me if it’s true?

Sounds like you experienced this on MySpace. The place is loaded with this sort of headbunting. T-Nation resources are frowned upon at a some of the groups there.

Here’s my two cents, and it’s not gonna be a popular one, I’m sure. I gave it a try back in March, and have been using it ever since. I know it is frowned upon by many people, and I commend those for not jumping on the bandwagon of the “latest thing”. However, my personal results, in a matter of days, were rather substancial. The biggest thing I noticed, aside from the “pump” (compliments are nice however), that my body fat % seemed to drop within days of taking the stuff. I have never in my life been able to get low or defined enough to have what I have heard some call “penis lines”, by this I mean kinda a well defined bottom part of the V in a torso. I’m not sure what the technical name is, but I think you get the picture. I want to say within the first week I was noticing this. Is the stuff a scam? I do not feel that it reaps any performance enhancing benefits. However, for me, I feel that it has greatly added to my overall body composition.

ckg, I’d love to go over this point by point, but really, there’s one big question: why place so much emphasis on the fact that a nutritionist has been doing something for a decade?

While its cute that he does this (I have nothing but respect for Dr. Colgan BTW), why do we care?

Is arginine this magic bullet that’s been around since the beginning of time, but we’ve all been missing the boat?

I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just give you something else to ponder.

Cheers

[quote]speedy5323 wrote:
Here’s my two cents, and it’s not gonna be a popular one, I’m sure. I gave it a try back in March, and have been using it ever since. I know it is frowned upon by many people, and I commend those for not jumping on the bandwagon of the “latest thing”. However, my personal results, in a matter of days, were rather substancial. The biggest thing I noticed, aside from the “pump” (compliments are nice however), that my body fat % seemed to drop within days of taking the stuff. I have never in my life been able to get low or defined enough to have what I have heard some call “penis lines”, by this I mean kinda a well defined bottom part of the V in a torso. I’m not sure what the technical name is, but I think you get the picture. I want to say within the first week I was noticing this. Is the stuff a scam? I do not feel that it reaps any performance enhancing benefits. However, for me, I feel that it has greatly added to my overall body composition.[/quote]

Even Anabolic Steroids hardly produce body composition swings that great in the first week of taking them.

There is only one supplement out there that I can think of that does though… Placebo something… I can’t remember the name but I’ll get back to you.

Also, money can swing 10 years of experience just about any which way it pleases, but now I am just speculating.

I’ve been taking an arginine product and found positive effects using it. In my workouts and even in the sack. Call me nuts…

You know, I was around circa “the beginning of time”. My first study (as a student) was in 1989 and it involved arginine and ornithine as GH stimulators.

Result? Nothing significant - both at rest and during treadmill exercise, in both a young (20-something) and older (30-something) group. IIRC, the three doses tried in each condition and in each group were ~3, 6, and 12g. This was eventually ‘published’ as a dissertation by Cheney, M. (sp)

The gut is unlikely to have the capability to absorb the 30g seen in intravenous tests - even if diarrhea wasn’t a problem for some subjects.

I tried the AKG or Nitric Oxide as its popularly called. In 1993,Ed Byrd, co-founder of EAS,founder of Medical Research Institute (MRI)introduced Creatine to the market,it earned him the title of “Mr. Creatine” In 1997 he gave the world Glucotize,a controlled release alpha-lipoic acid. In 2002 he brought the revolutionar nitric oxide generator NO2. I didn’t try the brand by MRI, I tried a brand by Universal called NOX3, in the third day my arms and chest were pumped and tight all day, I felt no fatigue or soreness.It felt awesome. I’m gonna try the NO2 by MRI next. You can read more about this stuff in a book called “The Nitric Oxide Revolution” by Edward A. Byrd.

This is crazy. Even the teen bb sites didn’t have this much positive feedback when these products were at their peak of popularity. Now all we get here is hype? Crazy I say.

DB, why are you hatin on arginine so much? I regrew a severed arm after taking arginine. In fact, I started growing a third. I had to lop it off and stop taking arginine cause it was kinda freaking me out. Also, I developed X-Ray vision and the ability to do accurate impressions of Gerald Ford. That was just in the first week!

[quote]nanjingldv wrote:
I tried the AKG or Nitric Oxide as its popularly called. In 1993,Ed Byrd, co-founder of EAS,founder of Medical Research Institute (MRI)introduced Creatine to the market,it earned him the title of “Mr. Creatine” In 1997 he gave the world Glucotize,a controlled release alpha-lipoic acid. In 2002 he brought the revolutionar nitric oxide generator NO2. I didn’t try the brand by MRI, I tried a brand by Universal called NOX3, in the third day my arms and chest were pumped and tight all day, I felt no fatigue or soreness.It felt awesome. I’m gonna try the NO2 by MRI next. You can read more about this stuff in a book called “The Nitric Oxide Revolution” by Edward A. Byrd. [/quote]

And how many times a day does he make you get his coffee?

I believe God introduced creatine. I could be wrong though… if you don’t believe in God.

You know there are people out their that drink their urine and have had health success with that.

I tend to follow studies in the masses and not the select few.

I’m continuing this thread with an anecdote about Ed Byrd in my Prime Time thread: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=734572&pageNo=0#734702

You also have to realize that a fifty percent increase is only half of the origional added to the whole. In terms of nanograms/deciliter, thats not a whole lot. Especialy if the person being measured is in a less than normal range. And the Whopping 100% increase? Well thats twice as much. Notice they inflate the numbers to make it seem like a lot more? doesn’t sound as good as if they said twice as much, especialy when there is very little to begin with.

And also, when stuff is eaten, it becomes subject to the first pass syndrome doesn’t it? But when something is injected directly into the blood stream it is not. That would lead to a huge difference (maybe 10,000%?,) in blood levels versus natural uptake.

I was only stating a fact that I tried nitric oxide. I didn’t buy the MRI brand by Ed Byrd cuz it cost 80 bucks a bottle and I got a bottle of Universal Nutrition’s version of nitric oxide for 30 bucks. All I’m saying is that it worked for me.

[quote]Need4Speed wrote:
DB, why are you hatin on arginine so much? I regrew a severed arm after taking arginine. In fact, I started growing a third. I had to lop it off and stop taking arginine cause it was kinda freaking me out. Also, I developed X-Ray vision and the ability to do accurate impressions of Gerald Ford. That was just in the first week![/quote]

Its true I saw it happen. I took the arm and grilled and ate it. I didnt want all the arginine built up in the limb to go to waste.

Nitric Oxide (eye roll)

The number of studies out there that say little to nothing for arginine are enormous.There is one currently under way at Baylor but the source of the funding would make me suspect of overated results.The only study that i have found that even remotely stands in favor is one on arginine alph-ketuglutarate which has shown some help in treating burn patients .I would like to read the whole article but do not subscribe to the british journal of medicine.

I wouldnt say that i have seen some degree of recovery improvement when taking AKG but it may well be a conglomeration of all my diet and supps.I have quit taking the akg and when not taking it seems that the soreness takes a day or two more to go away could be a fluke I dont know .I tend to be very skeptical of so called new wonder supps of any kind.

I am going to try the Carbolin 19 and would like to here some of youre results so I may judge whether it works for me.

I just got a stingray for my front squats in the mail yesterday and received a free issue of “Double XL” magazine w/ it. That rag was touting Arginine supps like it was a legal steroid. About the only redeeming value I found in the magazine was the cover girl (Valerie Shaw) and some nice plugs for Surge and the “Scrawny to Brawny Challenge” cookbook.