l-Arginine Supplementation Alleviates Postprandial Endothelial Dysfunction When Baseline Fasting Plasma Arginine Concentration Is Low: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Overweight Adults with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

Ambre Deveaux, Isabelle Pham, Sheila G West, Etienne André, Frédérique Lantoine-Adam, Pierre Bunouf, Samira Sadi, Dominique Hermier, Véronique Mathé, Hélène Fouillet, Jean-François Huneau, Robert Benamouzig, François Mariotti
Journal of Nutrition 2016, 146 (7): 1330-40

BACKGROUND: Vascular endothelial dysfunction, the hallmark of early atherosclerosis, is induced transiently by a high-fat meal. High doses of free l-arginine supplements reduce fasting endothelial dysfunction.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine the effects of a low dose of a sustained-release (SR) l-arginine supplement on postprandial endothelial function in healthy overweight adults with cardiometabolic risk factors and to investigate whether this effect may vary by baseline arginine status.

METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind, 2-period crossover, placebo-controlled trial (4-wk treatment, 4-wk washout), we compared the effects of 1.5 g SR-l-arginine 3 times/d (4.5 g/d) with placebo in 33 healthy overweight adults [body mass index (BMI, in kg/m(2)): 25 to >30] with the hypertriglyceridemic waist (HTW) phenotype [plasma triglycerides > 150 mg/dL; waist circumference > 94 cm (men) or > 80 cm (women)]. The main outcome variable tested was postprandial endothelial function after a high-fat meal (900 kcal), as evaluated by use of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and Framingham reactive hyperemia index (fRHI), after each treatment. By use of subgroup analysis, we determined whether the effect was related to the baseline plasma arginine concentration.

RESULTS: In the total population, the effects of SR-arginine supplementation on postprandial endothelial function were mixed and largely varied with baseline fasting arginine concentration (P-interaction < 0.05). In the lower half of the population (below the median of 78.2 μmol arginine/L plasma), but not the upper half, SR-arginine supplementation attenuated the postprandial decrease in both FMD (29% decrease with SR-arginine compared with 50% decrease with placebo) and fRHI (5% increase with SR-arginine compared with 49% decrease with placebo), resulting in significantly higher mean ± SEM values with SR-arginine (FMD: 4.0% ± 0.40%; fRHI: 0.41 ± 0.069) than placebo (FMD: 2.9% ± 0.31%; fRHI: 0.21 ± 0.060) at the end of the postprandial period (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with low-dose SR-arginine alleviates postprandial endothelial dysfunction in healthy HTW adults when the baseline plasma arginine concentration is relatively low. The benefits of arginine supplementation may be linked to a lower ability to mobilize endogenous arginine for nitric oxide synthesis during a postprandial challenge. This trial was registered at as NCT02354794.

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