Editor's note: Arginine, an amino acid, has already been known to be beneficial to cardiovascular health. It is found rich in peanuts.
January 30, 2009
Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,[email protected]
Dr. Guoyao Wu, 979-845-2714, [email protected]
COLLEGE STATION – A Texas AgriLife Research scientist and fellow
researchers have discovered that arginine, an amino acid, reduces fat
mass in diet-induced obese rats and could help fight human obesity.
"Given the current epidemic of obesity in the U.S. and worldwide, our
finding is very important,” said Dr. Guoyao Wu, an AgriLife Research
animal nutritionist in College Station and Senior Faculty Fellow in the
department of animal science at Texas A&M University.
research found dietary arginine supplementation shifts nutrient
partitioning to promote skeletal-muscle gain, according to the
researchers. The findings were published recently in the Journal of
In laboratory experiments, rats were fed both low-and high-fat diets.
They found that arginine supplementation for a 12-week period decreased
the body fat gains of low-fat and high-fat fed rats by 65 percent and
63 percent, respectively. The long-term arginine treatment did not have
any adverse effects on either group.
“This finding could be directly translated into fighting human
obesity,” Wu said. “At this time, arginine has not been incorporated
into our food (but could in the future).”
include seafood, watermelon juice, nuts, seeds, algae, meats, rice
protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, he said.
research suggests that arginine may increase lean tissue growth. In
pigs, it was found that dietary arginine supplementation reduced fat
accretion (growth) but increased muscle gain in growing/finishing pigs
without affecting body weight.
Another important observation
according to the research was that dietary arginine reduced serum
concentrations of branched-chain amino acids.
change is likely beneficial because elevated concentrations of
branched-chain amino acids may lead to insulin resistance in obesity.
Additionally, arginine can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, a
biochemical process that requires large amounts of energy,” Wu said.
“Thus, dietary energy would be utilized for lean tissue rather than fat
The research, funded by the American Heart Association,
will be presented in August at the 11 th International Symposium on
Amino Acids in Vienna, Austria.
Follow-up research will include clinical studies with obese children and adults, Wu said.
Members of the research team are: Wu, Wenjuan Jobgen, Scott Jobgen,
Peng Li, Stephen Smith, Thomas Spencer, all with the department of
animal science at Texas A&M; Cynthia Meininger of Texas A&M
Health Science Center; and Mi-Jeong Lee and Susan Fried, department of
medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine.