Although originally considered a supplement for weight lifters, arginine is fast becoming the go too supplement for endurance sports such as marathon running and road cycling. Arginine increases endurance because of the increased blood flow and widening of blood vessels it provides. Supplementing with arginine would help the endurance athlete because of the increased amount of oxygen and other essential nutrients delivered to the working muscles.
Arginine, Oxygen and Performance
Oxygen is essential to muscles during long bouts of exercise. This is because the energy system needs oxygen to create fuel. The oxygen is carried in the blood to the muscles ready to be used to make energy. Without oxygen the muscles would not be able to contract and function properly or for sustained periods of time. This is why when the body needs more oxygen, breathing becomes faster because the body is trying to get more oxygen into the lungs and then into the bloodstream. This is where arginine supplementation comes in. Arginine widens the blood vessels and improves the efficiency of circulation and therefore oxygen transport.
Arginine for Enhanced Performance
Research suggest individuals can exercise anything up to 20% longer and improve 1-2% in competitive race times when supplementing with arginine. Although this may not sound like a big improvement to some, it can be crucial in a race. This can be the difference between 1st and 2nd or a personal best. Along with improving endurance, arginine has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.
Should I Take Arginine?
When taking arginine, research has demonstrated improvements in endurance training and competition performance. This means that arginine can be a good idea for an endurance athlete such as a marathon runner, road cyclist or cross fit athlete. An athlete like this should consider supplementing with arginine regularly to achieve benefits of increased blood flow and oxygen uptake in the blood.