Article on AKG/OKG/Arginine and NO2

  1. Article on AKG/OKG/Arginine and NO2

    Supplement Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG)

    Description Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG) is a salt formed by combining two molecules of the amino acid ornithine and one molecule of alpha-ketoglutarate. Because OKG seems to be involved in amino acid synthesis and protein availability, many athletes supplement with OKG as a way to increase muscle mass and strength although the evidence for its effectiveness is this regard is quite limited.

    Claims Increase muscle size and strength
    Reduce body fat
    Stimulates the immune system

    Theory OKG has been used to treat patients suffering from burns, surgery, malnutrition and other trauma. Although the precise mechanism is unknown, OKG treatment decreases muscle protein catabolism (breakdown) and/or increases protein synthesis, in addition to promoting wound healing. OKG may promote the secretion of anabolic hormones such as insulin and growth hormone and increase amino acid metabolism (glutamine & arginine), which may help explain some of the clinical findings.

    Scientific Support Arginine and ornithine are precursors of nitric oxide and polyamines, respectively -metabolites which participate in a number of metabolic functions. OKG supplements have been shown to promote growth hormone and insulin secretion with anabolic effects in postoperative patients. Their intermediary metabolites (glutamine & proline) may also have beneficial effects in promoting recovery from trauma. In animal studies, OKG supplementation increases levels of arginine and glutamine in skeletal muscles and stimulates immune system function compared to animals not receiving OKG. The immunomodulatory properties found with OKG suggest that it may enhance host-defense mechanisms, particularly during injury and acute stress

    OKG supplements (15 grams per day for 5 months) have been shown to improve growth rates in small children. The OKG supplements resulted in elevated concentrations of anabolic (growth) hormones and amino acid metabolites, including insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), glutamine and glutamate. In another study of healthy men, OKG given at 10 grams per day resulted in a 20-30% elevation in insulin (another anabolic hormone), which were not observed with supplementation of either ornithine or alpha-ketoglutarate alone.

    A test tube study found that OKG induces a significant increase in growth of human fibroblasts cells with similarities to muscle fiber cells. This effect was dose-dependent, meaning that a more pronounced growth effect was noted with increasing levels of OKG (but not with increasing levels of ornithine or alpha-ketoglutarate alone).

    In one study, the anti-catabolic effects of OKG were investigated in 14 multiple trauma patients who were highly catabolic and hyper-metabolic. One group of subjects received 20 grams of OKG per day and showed a significant increase in protein turnover as well as a an increase in blood levels of insulin, growth hormone, and free amino acids (glutamine, proline and ornithine) compared to subjects not receiving OKG supplements.

    Safety No apparent side effects have been noted with OKG supplementation at the doses studied (10-15 grams/day), although there have been anecdotal reports of increased appetite perhaps owing to elevated insulin levels (??).

    Value OKG supplements, taken at a dose shown to produce effects (10-15 grams per day) is a fairly expensive regimen. At $30-$35 per 100 capsule bottle (1250 mg capsules), a one month supply will cost over $100. For stimulating increases in muscle mass, creatine may be able to provide the same end benefit at a much lower cost per day.

    Dosage OKG has been used at doses of 10-15 grams per day in healthy men and short-stature children.

    References 1. Cochard A, Guilhermet R, Bonneau M. Plasma growth hormone (GH), insulin and amino acid responses to arginine with or without aspartic acid in pigs. Effect of the dose. Reprod Nutr Dev 1998 May-Jun;38(3):331-43.

    2. Jeevanandam M, Petersen SR. Substrate fuel kinetics in enterally fed trauma patients supplemented with ornithine alpha ketoglutarate. Clin Nutr 1999 Aug;18(4):209-17.

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  2. Please don't take this personally, but this seems to be almost totally marketing hype. For one thing, they don't compare the stuff to anything else, and most if not all of the reported effects of OKG could be obtained to some extent from taking just about ANY amino acid supplement.

    For example: "OKG has been used to treat patients suffering from burns, surgery, malnutrition and other trauma." Same with protein. A diet high in protein is often extremely helpful and necessary to healing. Toss in an excess of a single amino acid, and surely it will help.

    "The OKG supplements resulted in elevated concentrations of . . . amino acid metabolites". Gee, if you take in an excess amount of any amino acid, your body sure is gonna metabolize them so that they can be excreted.

    And of course any amino acid supplement is going to be "anti-catabolic". So is a Double Whopper with Cheese! Mmmmm it's lunch time!

    All of that said, the stuff MAY more effectively produce any or all of the reported effects than other aminos. But this particular article doesn't make that claim.


  3. Hmm, I don't know.  I got the info. from  You can type in almost everything and it will give a write up.  ALA, Glutamine, etc.

  4. Someone at had nosebleeds from taking NO2. Might have been the high BP or something unrelated, but worth noting anyway.

  5. Originally posted by bigbadboss101
    Hmm, I don't know.  I got the info. from  You can type in almost everything and it will give a write up.  ALA, Glutamine, etc.
    ive been looking for a site similar to this (reviews and write up about various supps. will have to take a look to see if its a biased site or just a place giving straight info.

  6. The site looks decent. They have some decent information for public consumption on those supps they do cover. However, they basically dismiss all PHs based on the argument that andro sucked so bad, so there's nothing about any PHs except androstenedione and certainly nothing about 1-test.

    I did notice that, with only 2 references cited, this write-up for Alpha-ketoglutarate is one of the least-supported ones on their site. Most of their write ups have many more references listed, from which they seem to do a fairly good job of gleaning the relevant information.

    It still doesn't change the fact that many of the same claims are made of other amino acids and may not be particular to Ornithine-AKG or Arginine-AKG.

    Good site, though!

  7. Originally posted by DaddyR
    I did notice that, with only 2 references cited, this write-up for Alpha-ketoglutarate is one of the least-supported ones on their site. Most of their write ups have many more references listed, from which they seem to do a fairly good job of gleaning the relevant information.

    Good site, though! [/B]
    i was thinking the same thing...citing 2 references but pretty straight forward reviews.

  8. Enteral administration of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate or arginine alpha-ketoglutarate: A comparative study of their effects on glutamine pools in burn-injured rats.

    Laboratory Investigation
    Critical Care Medicine. 25(2):293-298, February 1997.
    Le Boucher, Jacques; Eng, Biol; Coudray-Lucas, Colette PhD; Lasnier, Elisabeth PharmD; Jardel, Alain PhD; Ekindjian, Ovhanesse G. PhD; Cynober, Luc A. PhD

    Objectives: Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate has proved to be an efficient nutritional support in trauma situations, especially after burn injury. To determine whether the action of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate is due to its alpha-ketoglutarate moiety (as a glutamine precursor), we studied the effects of alpha-ketoglutarate administered to rats as ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate, or in combination with arginine salt (arginine alpha-ketoglutarate), as the two closely related amino acids have similar metabolic behavior.

    Design: Prospective, randomized trial.

    Setting: Animal laboratory.

    Subjects: Forty-six male Wistar rats, weighing [approximately]90 g.

    Interventions: Rats were burned over 20% of their body surface area, starved for 24 hrs, with water ad libitum, and then enterally refed for 48 hrs using Osmolite[R] (210 kcal/kg/day, 1.2 g of nitrogen/kg/day), supplemented with one of the following: a) an amount of glycine isonitrogenous to ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (group 1); b) 5 g of monohydrated ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate/kg/day (group 2); c) an amount of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate isonitrogenous to ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (group 3); or d) an amount of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate isomolar to ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (group 4).

    Measurements and Main Results: We measured amino acid concentrations in plasma, muscle, and liver, and plasma urea concentration. At refeeding, ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate increased plasma glutamine concentration (p < .05 vs. the three other groups), and counteracted the increase in plasma phenylalanine concentration. In muscle, although the three alpha-ketoglutarate combinations induced similar increases in the glutamate pool, ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate induced the highest increase in glutamine (7.0 +/- 0.3 vs. 5.4 +/- 0.3 micro mol/g in group 3, 6.3 +/- 0.3 in group 4, and 4.6 +/- 0.2 in group 1, p < .01 between group 2 and groups 3 or 1). Also, only ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate increased liver glutamine concentration. Finally, isomolar arginine alpha-ketoglutarate increased plasma urea concentration (+50% vs. the three other groups, p < .01).

    Conclusions: Our results demonstrate, for the first time, the following: a) the action of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate as a glutamine precursor cannot solely be ascribed to alpha-ketoglutarate since arginine alpha-ketoglutarate combinations did not exhibit this effect to the same extent; and b) the action of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate is not due to its nitrogen content since isonitrogenous arginine alpha-ketoglutarate did not reproduce the effects of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate. (Crit Care Med 1997; 25:293-298)


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