Arginine Pumps & Unplumps

Bodybuilders know that the conditionally essential amino acid arginine can help pump up muscles by promoting the nitric oxide production responsible for dilating blood vessels. When more blood is able to flow into muscles, more nutrients can be delivered to hard-working muscles. Sure, it's a short-lived event. But developing that pump workout after workout can put you on the path to long-term gains.

A study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that arginine supplementation may also have weight management benefits. Scientists fed some lab rats a high-fat diet and kept others on a low-fat program, supplementing both groups with arginine for 12 weeks. The fat rats exhibited a 63% reduction in body fat gains, while the low-fat eaters posted a 65% reduction.

The Bigger Picture: Having more lean muscle and less body fat is a win-win proposition for anyone who's working hard to stay fit. Arginine appears to shift nutrient partitioning to favor muscle gains over fat buildup. Whole foods rich in arginine include watermelon juice, seafood, nuts and seeds. You can also find supplements with high concentrations of this promising amino acid.
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