The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    L-arginine and exercise performance

    In 2004, a study in patients with chronic stable congestive heart failure (CHF) showed that supplementation with l-arginine taken by mouth prolongs exercise duration. It was thought this might be due to nitric oxide-induced dilation of blood vessels in peripheral areas of the body.

    L-arginine is a dietary supplement that may improve the physical fitness of people with CHF. Under normal conditions, l-arginine is metabolized to nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels dilate and supply more oxygen-carrying blood to tissues. Dysfunction of the “l-arginine-nitric oxide” pathway in CHF leads to lower blood flow that partly accounts for the limited ability of these patients to exert themselves.

    Now, a study published last month supports these findings. Patients with CHF who took l-arginine supplementation by mouth for 6 weeks showed the following improvements during exercise compared with CHF patients who did not.

    • Average heart rate decreased during exercise and during recovery
    • Blood pressure and respiratory parameters stayed constant
    • Peak increase in plasma lactate was blunted (ie, more efficient energy metabolism)

    These findings support ongoing l-arginine supplementation to improve patients’ physical fitness. Patients most likely to respond to l-arginine supplementation have elevated blood levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine, which acts opposite to l-arginine to inhibit nitric oxide formation.

    8/2/06 21:45 JR

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