As people age their ability to exercise for extended periods of time slowly diminishes. Fortunately, results of a new University of California study suggest that taking daily arginine and antioxidant supplements can help compensate for the loss of exercise capacity by enhancing a person’s anaerobic threshold, which is the amount of exercise that needs to be done before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood.
For the study, lead author Zhaoping Li and her colleagues from the university recruited 16 active male cyclists between the ages of 50 and 73, and randomly assigned them to take either a mix of arginine and antioxidant supplements or dummy placebo tablets.
After only one week of taking the nutritional supplements, the study group experienced a 16.7 percent increase in anaerobic threshold. In contrast, the threshold of the control group did not significantly alter.
"A dietary supplement that increases exercise capacity might help to preserve physical fitness by optimizing performance and improving general health and well-being in older people," said Li.
She concluded that findings suggest "a potential role of arginine and antioxidant supplementation in improving exercise performance in elderly."