Cyclists Over age 50 Gain Momentum with Arginine Supplements
Exercise capacity declines with age, but new findings show that arginine supplements might offset loss of anaerobic exercise capacity associated with aging. Cyclists over age 50 who were given arginine supplements increased their anaerobic threshold 16.7 percent compared to a group not given the supplement.
After one week, cyclists given arginine supplements experienced enhanced exercise capacity that was sustained at three weeks.
One of the reasons that arginine supplements might have been shown to help exercise performance in older cyclists is the interaction between antioxidants and nitric oxide. The scientists used a combination of antioxidants and arginine, the precursor to nitric oxide. The combined effect could allow blood vessels to relax, improving circulation and nitric oxide release blocked by oxygen free radicals.
Sixteen male cyclists were studied, age 50 to 73 to find the benefits of arginine supplements for increased exercise capacity. One group received placebo, and the other the supplement.
Zhaoping Li who worked with a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles says, "We've demonstrated a 16.7 percent increase in anaerobic threshold. This indicates a potential role of arginine and antioxidant supplementation in improving exercise performance in elderly." Arginine supplements, shown to improve performance in cyclists over age 50, could help older adults remain active, improving levels of physical fitness.