The Arginine Paradox - do L-arginine based NO boosters really work?

 

Some of the most popular supplements today are the so called pre-workout nitric oxide (NO) boosters [1, 2]. These contain a panoply of ingredients, but one the main ones is arginine. The rationale goes that L-arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator [3, 4]. Theoretically this would increase blood flow and nutrient/oxygen delivery to exercising muscles and thereby boost performance, as well as recovery. 
 
While it is true that L-arginine supplementation may be beneficial for various clinical populations (see below), studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype surrounding arginine supplementation and nitric oxide boosters [1, 5, 6]. Why? Let's take a look under the hood...
 
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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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