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L-Arginine For Weight Loss: Is It Effective?

f you want to shed a couple of pounds, you’ve probably heard of several supplements that claim to make the process easier. L-arginine is an amino acid that can increase blood flow and improve performance. But what about weight loss? What are the benefits of using L-arginine for weight loss? 

Here, we’ll explore the health benefits of L-arginine and answer the question: does L-arginine help with weight loss? 

While there is not much evidence stating the benefits of L-arginine for weight loss, some studies suggest it can help reduce white and brown fat mass. However, to achieve weight loss, you must still be on a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than the body needs). 

l-arginine for weight loss

What Is Arginine?

L-arginine is considered a semi-essential amino acid. While the body can produce some on its own, there are times (pregnancy, early childhood, critical illness, and trauma) when you may need larger doses coming from the diet. 

You can obtain L-arginine in different ways. It can be synthesized from citrulline (amino acid) when there is protein breakdown or through the foods you eat. 

L-Arginine And Weight Loss

If you are on a weight loss journey, you may look for different ways to make things more efficient. Some studies have shown that L-arginine supplements may help reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass. 

l-arginine capsules

However, supplementing with L-arginine is not a substitute for a caloric deficit. You still need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. This means that L-arginine on its own won’t produce weight loss results. Since L-arginine may help improve performance, it may help you burn more calories during a workout, resulting in a bigger caloric deficit. 

Do We Need Extra Supplementation For Weight Loss?

The doses for L-arginine will depend on what is being used for. The recommended dosage for arginine is typically 3-6 grams, used in pre-workouts. However, higher doses (up to 30 grams) may benefit certain people. 

Keep in mind that including larger doses of L-arginine (more than 10 grams) can result in gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. If you need a higher dose, supplementing with citrulline may be more effective at maintaining high levels of arginine. 

But how much L-arginine should I take for weight loss?

Currently, there is no recommended dosage for L-arginine regarding weight loss. That is because there is little evidence evaluating the effectiveness of L-arginine on weight loss. 

bottle of l-arginine

For this reason,  following the recommended intake of 3-6 grams used as a pre-workout is best. As mentioned, this may help improve performance and increase the calories you burn, resulting in weight loss. Keep in mind that a dietary intervention is a far better (and cheaper) intervention for this goal.

Other Health-Related Benefits of Arginine 

While there is not a lot of evidence regarding L-arginine and weight loss, there may be other health benefits L-arginine has to offer. Here are some of the possible health benefits from taking supplemental L-arginine:

✅ Enhanced Athletic Performance 

Some evidence (while limited) suggests that L-arginine may help enhance athletic performance. L-arginine may increase nitric oxide production. An increase in nitric oxide can widen the blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow and better muscle oxygenation. 

In a randomized study, soccer players that supplemented with L-arginine for 45 days improved sports performance compared to the placebo group. 

However, evidence is still limited since some studies have shown that L-arginine is not beneficial or doesn’t provide an advantage in athletic performance. In this case, L-citrulline (a precursor to L-arginine) may be more effective. 

✅ Lowered  Blood Pressure 

For those who have high blood pressure, L-arginine may provide a benefit. Since it may help dilate blood vessels, it may help lower both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. This is reaffirmed by a 2016 study where people decreased their blood pressure after taking an L-arginine supplement. 

✅ Blood Sugar Management 

Finally, evidence suggests that L-arginine may help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in how the body responds to insulin. So, it seems that nitric oxide production may help enhance insulin secretion. 

athlete taking capsules before training

In a 2018 study, people with high blood sugar levels reduced their risk of diabetes after supplementing with over 6 grams of arginine for 18 months. Another finding was that L-arginine may help reduce oxidative stress, and, therefore, result in less inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. 

What Really Is The Best Fat Loss Strategy?

Weight loss can be challenging, and while it is tempting to grab a pill and lose all the desired weight. The truth is that it takes time and commitment to shed those extra pounds. 

But what is the best strategy to help you lose weight? Here are some things to consider if your goal is to lose weight. 

1. Follow A Flexible Meal Plan With Sustained Energy Deficit 

The only way to lose weight is to be in a caloric deficit, meaning you need to eat less or burn more calories (or both) than the body needs. However, there is such a thing as a too-aggressive caloric deficit. Lowering your calories too much can result in nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormonal dysregulation, immune system suppression, bone problems, and other health issues. 

For this reason, a less aggressive weight loss approach (a caloric deficit of 10-20%) may be a better option to prevent long-term complications. Also, avoid fad diets since they can create a restrictive environment. 

2. Eat Enough Protein 

Protein is known for its positive effects on weight loss. It can increase satiety levels, and it supports the maintenance of muscle mass. Include protein-rich foods, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, beef, pork, and protein powder. 

Transparent Labs Whey Protein

Transparent Labs Whey Protein
  • Serving Size: 32.96 grams
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.8
  • Protein Percent Of Weight (%): 85%
  • Proteins: 28 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram (depends on flavor)
  • Fat: 0.5 gram (French Vanilla only)
  • Added Sugar: 0 gram
  • Calories Per Serving: 120

Transparent Labs offers the best whey protein powder. It doesn’t have artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives. Each serving provides 28 grams of protein, which can increase fullness levels and get a good dose of protein per meal. 

Whey protein Grass-fed

In addition, it has a high protein-by-weight ratio (87%), meaning it doesn’t contain many fillers, and it’s mostly protein that you are getting, not junk. You can also find it in several delicious flavors to choose from. 

3. Do Resistance Training With Progressive Overload 

Resistance training can help increase (or maintain) muscle mass, which can elevate your resting metabolic rate. In addition, strength training can also help you burn more calories, allowing you to reach a caloric deficit. 

4. Do Not Rely On “Magic” Pills 

While some supplements can aid in weight loss, what only helps you lose weight is to be in a caloric deficit. If you will add a weight loss supplement or need guidance, speak with a health professional. 

5. Be Patient And Aim For Long-Term Changes In Dietary Habits 

Even though you may want to lose weight fast, remember that it took you time to gain it. So, you cannot expect to lose it quickly. Doing so can jeopardize your health. Opt for long-term changes to help you create a more sustainable and long-term weight loss approach. 

Also, make sure you keep other indicators of progress. While the scale can be a good option, taking photos and measurements can guide you when it doesn’t reflect the progress on the scale. 

FAQ

Does L-Arginine Promote Weight Loss?

Currently, there is not enough evidence to support L-arginine for weight loss. The best approach to weight loss is to create a caloric deficit. 

Does L-Arginine Affect Metabolism?

No, no current evidence exists to determine that L-arginine affects the metabolism (metabolic rate). 

Does L-Arginine Reduce Belly Fat?

Some studies indicate that L-arginine may help burn body fat. However, most of these are animal studies. More research is needed to determine the effect of L-arginine on fat reduction in humans. 

Which Supplement Is Best for Fat Loss?

Caffeine and protein powders can be great options to promote weight loss. However, it’s best to consult a health professional to give you a more personalized approach. 

Conclusion

L-arginine has been studied as a weight loss aid. While some studies indicate its effect on fat loss, most are done on animals, and there are no long-term human studies. So, more research is still needed to determine its effect. 

The best weight-loss approach is to create a caloric deficit, have a high protein intake, and promote other long-term healthy lifestyle habits. For those who struggle with their protein intake, Transparent Labs Whey Protein provides a clean option with 28 grams of protein per serving. 

Have you tried adding L-arginine to lose weight? Let us know in the comments! 

Also read:

References:

  1. McKnight JR, Satterfield MC, Jobgen WS, et al. Beneficial effects of L-arginine on reducing obesity: potential mechanisms and important implications for human health. Amino acids. 2010;39(2):349-357. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-010-0598-z
  2. Jobgen W, Meininger CJ, Jobgen SC, et al. Dietary l-Arginine Supplementation Reduces White Fat Gain and Enhances Skeletal Muscle and Brown Fat Masses in Diet-Induced Obese Rats. The Journal of Nutrition. 2008;139(2):230-237. doi:https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.108.096362
  3. McNeal CJ, Meininger CJ, Wilborn CD, Tekwe CD, Wu G. Safety of dietary supplementation with arginine in adult humans. Amino Acids. 2018;50(9):1215-1229. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-018-2594-7
  4. Bailey SJ, Winyard PG, Vanhatalo A, et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2010;109(5):1394-1403. doi:https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00503.2010
  5. Pahlavani N, Entezari MH, Nasiri M, et al. The effect of l-arginine supplementation on body composition and performance in male athletes: a double-blinded randomized clinical trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;71(4):544-548. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2016.266
  6. Sandbakk SB, Sandbakk Ø, Peacock O, et al. Effects of acute supplementation of L-arginine and nitrate on endurance and sprint performance in elite athletes. Nitric Oxide. 2015;48:10-15. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.niox.2014.10.006
  7. McRae MP. Therapeutic Benefits of l-Arginine: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2016;15(3):184-189. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2016.06.002
  8. Monti LD, Galluccio E, Villa V, Fontana B, Spadoni S, Piatti PM. Decreased diabetes risk over 9 year after 18-month oral l-arginine treatment in middle-aged subjects with impaired glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome (extension evaluation of l-arginine study). European Journal of Nutrition. 2018;57(8):2805-2817. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-017-1548-2
  9. Rosenbaum M, Leibel RL. Adaptive thermogenesis in humans. International Journal of Obesity. 2010;34(S1):S47-S55. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2010.184
  10. Malik N, Tonstad S, Paalani M, Dos Santos H, Luiz do Prado W. Are long‐term FAD diets restricting micronutrient intake? A randomized controlled trial. Food Science & Nutrition. 2020;8(11):6047-6060. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.1895
  11. Freedman MR, King J, Kennedy E. Executive Summary. Obesity Research. 2001;9(S3):1S5S. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2001.113
  12. Tsai ML ., Chou KM ., Chang CK ., Fang SH . Changes of mucosal immunity and antioxidation activity in elite male Taiwanese taekwondo athletes associated with intensive training and rapid weight loss. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;45(9):729-734. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2009.062497
  13. Ihle R, Loucks AB. Dose-Response Relationships Between Energy Availability and Bone Turnover in Young Exercising Women. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2004;19(8):1231-1240. doi:https://doi.org/10.1359/jbmr.040410

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