By: Charles Poliquin
Growth Hormone is a hormone naturally secreted in the body, often at night, which builds muscle and bone, while reducing fat mass and increasing fat utilization. Increase your body’s production of GH by strategically supplementing with arginine and ornithine.
New research supports taking a combination of arginine and ornithine for optimal body composition results while resistance training. Arginine and ornithine are amino acids—people are rarely deficient in ornithine because it is synthesized from arginine in the body, but taking extra can stimulate tissue remodeling. The study compared a placebo group with a group that took 3000 mgs of arginine and 2200 mgs of ornithine twice a day over three weeks. Participants resistance trained three times a week. They performed five sets of five at 80 percent of their 1RM of the back squat with five-minute rest periods.
Both the a placebo and the supplement group had elevated GH levels after training, and the group that took arginine/ornithine had significantly higher GH levels than the placebo group. The supplement-taking group also had higher Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 levels after training—another indicator that taking arginine and ornithine will result in optimal body composition results because IGF-1 production leads to muscle building. Arginine and ornithine also help with recovery from training and build connective tissue, allowing you to be healthier and come back from injury more rapidly.
The interesting thing about these results is that previously short rest periods and moderate to heavy loads have been shown to increase GH levels, but this study resulted in equally elevated levels using complete five minute rest periods. This suggests that taking arginine/ornithine will raise GH and IGF-1, while allowing trainees to completely recover between sets thereby lifting more weight because they are not fatigued from a short rest period. Great news for anyone who wants to overcome a plateau or reach a new level!
Take note that researchers suggest supplementing with arginine for a short period of time (3-4 weeks) as part of a periodized program because continuous use could lead to the muscle becoming insensitive to its anabolic effects. No side effects are known and arginine supplementation is safe and well tolerated.
Zajac, A., Peprezecki, S., Zebrowska, A. Chalimoniuk, M., Langfort, J. Arginine and Ornithine Supplementation Increases Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Serum Levels After Heavy-Resistance Exercise in Strength-Trained Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2010. 24(4), 1082-1090.