Agmatine – A Guide to Taking Agmatine

agmatine sulfate
By Derek Peterson
October 29, 2013

In the world of sports fitness, athletes are constantly bombarded with new supplements to increase performance and boost overall health. This leaves athletes faced with an important decision: what is clinically proven to work and what’s advertised hype?

Athletes are now left to make such a decision about agmatine, a new supplement that is quickly gaining popularity. Agmatine is used to reduce pain, increase nitric oxide production, and regulate hormonal secretion.

With proper education regarding its use and correct dosing, agmatine can be a useful addition to any supplement stack.

If you’re interested in finding a supplement with agmatine, see the top-rated pre-workout supplements on Supplementing.com.

What Is Agmatine?

Agmatine is a neurotransmitter derived from L-arginine, a common sports supplement ingredient found in many energy booster supplements and pre-workout supplements.

Arginine is used to stimulate hormone release, such as growth hormone, and to increase blood flow by widening blood vessels. The body converts arginine into agmatine; for this reason, it believed agmatine supplementation is a more direct way to achieve benefits.[1][2]

Clinical research involving agmatine is scarce, but many athletic professionals and scientific researchers promote agmatine as a safe, reliable sports enhancement supplement. Joey Rodriguez, a BodyBuilding.com supplement specialist, states “I am putting my name and street cred on the line by dubbing agmatine the holy grail of supplements.”[3]

Let’s take a closer look at clinically proven agmatine benefits and if it boosts performance.

Achieve Incredible Endurance

Agmatine enhances results gained from gym visits in multiple ways. First, it increases nitric oxide production.[4] Nitric oxide optimizes glucose transportation and stabilizes glucose muscle concentrations during exercise, prolonging the onset of fatigue.[5] Increasing glucose content has shown in clinical studies to reduce exercise time to exhaustion.[6]

One study observed the effects of agmatine on professional swimmers engaging in a forced swim test. Results show agmatine significantly lengthened exercise time before athletes were immobilized by exhaustion. Researchers note effects seem strongest when agmatine is supplemented within 30 minutes prior to exercise.[7]

Second, agmatine is the only molecule known to scientists with the capability to induce antizyme. This enhances cell growth and homeostasis and is proven to increase cell count per unit of surface area by 10-17%.[8][9]

Finally, Argmatine stimulates pituitary hormone secretion, including growth hormone. Raising growth hormone maximizes the speed and size of muscle growth. It’s also proven to improve muscle strength by 24-62%.[10][11]

Harness Your Brain Power

Because agmatine is a neurotransmitter, it influences brain function in a variety of ways. It inhibits hyperalgesia which protects against brain injury and neuron damage. Studies show it reduces stress placed on the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. It also enhances motoneuron and nerve recovery and is used to treat facial nerve damage because it accelerates healing and results in more complete nerve rehabilitation.[12][13][14][15]

Agmatine’s ability to inhibit hyperalgesia allows it to modulate pain sensitivity. In one study, agmatine injections were successful in alleviating chronic pain and inflammation caused by sciatic nerve damage. Researchers conclude agmatine “can modulate both acute and chronic pain.”[16]

Not only does it relieve pain, but agmatine increases overall mental well-being. It has shown to calm anxiety and depression, and also relieves symptoms of drug withdrawal. It has successfully reduced alcohol, opioid, and morphine dependency in past studies. Because of this, agmatine might become a primary treatment for drug-rehab patients in the future. However, more research needs to be conducted on human subjects before it’s routinely used for this purpose.[7][12][17]

How to Use Agmatine

Although there isn’t enough research to determine an official recommended dose, human studies have successfully used dosages between 1300-2670 mg per day. This dosing range seems to be effective and well tolerated.[2]

However, many clinically-proven doses refer to injection and not oral supplementation. To increase mental sharpness and alleviate anxiety, 6.4-40 mg per kg body weight is a typical dose for oral supplementation. But, according to some experts, agmatine’s effects are not dose-dependent and follow a “bellcurve” pattern. Consequently, exceeding 6.4 mg per kg body weight is usually not necessary.[2]

Scientists assert agmatine is best absorbed on an empty stomach or with a small meal. Avoid consuming agmatine with a large protein source because it competes for chemical transporters which have limited availability in the intestines.[2]

The time of day dosing occurs is not as vital for agmatine as other substances. It appears the optimal dosing schedule is left up to personal preference. Here are some dosing suggestions from real customers who supplemented with agmatine:

“I like 750 mg on an empty stomach 15 mins [before] pre-workout.” – Aaronuconn, Forum.BodyBuilding.com

“I primarily use it 45-60 minutes pre-workout [at] 1 g.” – MV2.0, Forum.BodyBuilding.com

“500 mg is a waste. Won’t respond much to this. 750 mg gives a nice, joocy pump. 1000 mg gives a great pump. 1250+ is a waste. I’d stick with 750 mg servings, pre-workout. I think it’s unnecessary to take it in the morning, and I only take it pre-workout.” – Socalchoirboy, Forum.BodyBuilding.com

Anecdotal Evidence

Because agmatine supplements are relatively new to the fitness world, the best way to know if it works is to examine the experience of real people who tried it.

Many people support the theory agmatine is more efficient than its parent source, arginine.

“Agmatine works much better [than arginine]. You have to play with the timing and dosing. It does give pretty wicked pumps.” –Massivehunt, LeanBulk.com

Lots of customer reviews state agmatine delivers advertised results, meaning you get what you paid for.

“One of the only products that does what it’s supposed to.” – Bmlax22, LeanBulk.com

However, some people were less impressed with agmatine, although, this may be due to variance in product manufacturer.

“It’s really hit or miss for me, I only use it as a pump product on lifting days… I took one company’s at 750 mg and it didn’t’ do anything, I’ve taken another company’s at 1 g and it worked like a charm until recently where the pumps haven’t been as good…” – Young Gotti, LeanBulk.com

Is Agmatine Right For You?

Joey Rodriguez wasn’t far off when he dubbed agmatine “the holy grail of supplements.” It offers a plethora of health benefits for athletes, elderly individuals, and people suffering from chronic pain or drug addiction.

Considering agmatine is derived from an amino acid, it poses low risk of side effects. Unfortunately, we won’t know everything about agmatine until more research is conducted. Currently, however, there is enough evidence to support agmatine’s use for enhancing performance and overall well-being.

References:

[1] “L-Arginine.” WebMD.com. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-875-L-ARGININE.aspx?activeIngredientId=875&activeIngredientName=L-ARGININE

[2] “Agmatine.” Examine.com. Available from: http://examine.com/supplements/Agmatine/

[3] Joey Rodrigues and Dr. Dana Housser, MD, MHSA. “Agmatine – What Is It, What Can It Do, and Who Needs It?” BodyBuilding.com. Available from: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jrod17.htm

[4] Santhanam A.V. Raghaven and Madhu Dikshit. “Vascular regulation by the L-arginine metabolites, nitric oxide and agmatine.” Pharmacological Research. Volume 49 Issue 5, May 2004 pages 397-414. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661803003372

[5] Thomas W. Balon, Jerry L. Nadler, and (with the technical assistance of Arnie Jasman). “Evidence that nitric oxide increases glucose transport in skeletal muscle.” Journal of Applied Physiology. January 1, 1997. Vol. 82 No. 1 pages 359-363. Available from: http://www.jappl.org/content/82/1/359.short

[6] Foster C, Costill DL, Fink WJ. “Effects of preexercise feedings on endurance performance.” Medicine and Science in Sports. [1979, 11(1):1-5] Available from: http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/582616

[7] Feyza Aricioglu and Hale Altunbas. “Is agmatine an endogenous anxiolytic/antidepressant agent?” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Volume 1009, Agmatine and Imidazolines: Their Novel Receptors an Enzymes. Pages 136-140, December 2003. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1304.014/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

[8] Joseph Satriano, Carolyn J Kelly, Roland C Blantz. “An Emerging Role for Agmatine.” Kidney International (1999) volume 56, pages 1252-1253. Available from: http://www.nature.com/ki/journal/v56/n4/abs/4491027a.html

[9] Kazuhiro Tanahashi and Antonios G. Mikos. “Protein adsorption and smooth muscle cell adhesion on biodegradable agmatine-modified poly(propylene fumarate-co-ethylene glycol).” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. Voluma 67A, Issue 2, pages 448-457, November 1, 2003. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbm.a.10077/abstract;jsessionid=9235E1EB4692BA039CC3BC14627DFE85.f03t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

[10] Satya P. Kaira, Edward Pearson, Abhiram Sahu, Pushpa S. Kalra. “Agmatine, a novel hypothalamic amine, stimulates pituitary luteinizing hormone release in vivo and hypothalamic luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone release in vitro.” Neuroscience Letters. Volume 194, Issue 3, July 21 1995, pages 165-168. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030439409511750Q

[11] Dennis R. Taaffe, Leslie Pruitt, Jennifer Reim, Raymond L. Hintz, Gail Butterfield, Andrew R. Hoffman, Robert Marcus. “Effect of recombinant human growth hormone on the muscle strength response to resistance exercise in elderly men.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Vol. 79 No. 5, pages 1363-1366. Available from: ftp://dhcp-221-222.cns.ohiou.edu/MCL_Athens/Student%20Storage/
Z_Former%20Students/Michelle/aging%20papers/effect%20of%20recombinant
%20human%20GH%20on%20muscle%20strength%20response%20to%20resistance%20exercise%20in%20elderly%20men.pdf

[12] Donald J. Reis and Soundararajan Regunathan. “Is agmatine a novel neurotransmitter in brain?” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. Volume 21, Issue 5, May 1 2000, pages 187-193. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165614700014607

[13] Meng-Yang Zhu, Wei-Ping Wang, […], Gregory Ordway. “Exogenous Agmatine has Neuroprotective effects against restraint-induced structural changes in the rat brain.” Eur J Neurosci. 2008 March; 27(6): 1320-1332. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2771702/

[14] Gad M Gilad and Varda H Gilad. “Accelerated functional recovery and neuroprotection by agmatine after spinal cord ischemia in rats.” Volume 296, Issue 2-3, December 22 2000, pages 97-100. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394000016256

[15] Leonard Berenholz, Shmuel Segal, Varda H. Gilad, Collen Klein, Eyal Yehezkeli, Ephraim Eviatar, Alex Kessler, Gad M. Gilad. “Agmatine treatment and vein graft reconstruction enhance recovery after experimental facial nerve injury.” Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System. Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 319-328. September 2005. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1085-9489.2005.10310.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

[16] Aricioglu F, Korcegez E, Bozkurt A, Ozyalcin S. “Effect of agmatine on acute and mononeuropathic pain.” Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec; 1009: 106-15. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15028574

[17] Halaris A. and Plietz J. “Agmatine: metabolic pathway and spectrum of activity in brain.” CNS Drugs. 2007; 21(11): 885-900. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17927294

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