Arginine discovery could help fight obesity
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.
The 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 Nutrition (jn.nutrition. org).
In laboratory experiments, rats were fed both low-and highfat diets. They found that argi- nine 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 longterm 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)."
Arginine-rich foods include seafood, watermelon juice, nuts, seeds, algae, meats, rice protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, he said.