Arginine is an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. For many years now lifters and young bodybuilders have been supplementing with Arginine as it has a lot going for it and can be harder to get in your diet.
A new piece of reserach seems to show that it would also be helpful for older people in cardio type training running or cycling.
Arginine for Cycling
Taking arginine supplements can improve the cycling ability of over-50s. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition tested a combination of the amino acid and an antioxidant in sixteen cyclists, finding that it enhanced their anaerobic threshold — the amount of work done before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood.
Zhaoping Li worked with a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, to carry out the randomized controlled trial. She said,
“The loss of exercise capacity with age often results in a reduction in physical fitness and more rapid senescence.
A dietary supplement that increases exercise capacity might help to preserve physical fitness by optimizing performance and improving general health and well being in older people.”
The Role Of Nitric Oxide and Aging
One way in which older people may lose their exercise capacity revolves around the signaling molecule nitric oxide, which is involved in many physiological processes, including those related to working out. Nitric Oxide production diminishes in quantity and availability as we age and is associated with an increased prevalence of other cardiovascular risk factors.
In the body, Nitric Oxide is created from the amino acid arginine and is inactivated by oxygen free radicals. By supplementing diet with both the precursor and an anti-oxidant, the researchers hoped to support the Nitric Oxide system in the cyclists and thereby enhance performance.