Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The effect of L-ornithine hydrochloride ingestion on performance during incremental exhaustive ergometer bicycle exercise and ammonia metabolism during and after exercise



L-ornithine has an important role in ammonia metabolism via the urea cycle. This study aimed to examine the effect of L-ornithine hydrochloride ingestion on performance during incremental exhaustive ergometer bicycle exercise and ammonia metabolism during and after exercise.


In all, 14 healthy young adults (age: 22.2±1.0 years, height: 173.5±4.6 cm, body mass: 72.5±12.5 kg) who trained regularly conducted incremental exhaustive ergometer bicycle exercises after -ornithine hydrochloride supplementation (0.1 g/kg, body mass) and placebo conditions with a cross-over design. The exercise time (sec) of the incremental ergometer exercise, exercise intensity at exhaustion (watt), maximal oxygen uptake (ml per kg per min), maximal heart rate (beats per min) and the following serum parameters were measured before ingestion, 1 h after ingestion, just after exhaustion and 15 min after exhaustion: ornithine, ammonia, urea, lactic acid and glutamate. All indices on maximal aerobic capacity showed insignificant differences between both the conditions.


Plasma ammonia concentrations just after exhaustion and at 15 min after exhaustion were significantly more with ornithine ingestion than with placebo. Plasma glutamate concentrations were significantly higher after exhaustion with ornithine ingestion than with placebo.


It was suggested that, although the ingestion of L-ornithine hydrochloride before the exercise cannot be expected to improve performance, it does increase the ability to buffer ammonia, both during and after exercise.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1


  • Allen DG, Lamb GD, Westerblad H (2008). Skeletal muscle fatigue: cellular mechanisms. Physiol Rev 88, 287–332.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Araujo Jr JA, Falavigna G, Rogero MM, Pires IS, Pedrosa RG, Castro IA et al. (2006). Effect of chronic supplementation with branched-chain amino acids on the performance and hepatic and muscle glycogen content in trained rats. Life Sci 79, 1343–1348.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Demura S, Yamada T, Yamaji S, Komatsu M, Morishita K (2010). The effect of L-ornithine hydrochloride ingestion on human growth hormone secretion after strength training. Adv Biosci Biotech 1, 7–11.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evain-Brion D, Donnadieu M, Roger M, Job JC (1982). Simultaneous study of somatotrophic and corticotrophic pituitary secretions during ornithine infusion test. Clin Endocrinol 17, 119–122.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Graham TE, MacLean DA (1992). Ammonia and amino acid metabolism in human skeletal muscle during exercise. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 70, 132–141.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hirai T, Minatogawa Y, Hassan AM, Kido R (1995). Metabolic interorgan relations by exercise of fed rats: carbohydrates, ketone body, and nitrogen compounds in splanchnic vessels. Physiol Behav 57, 515–522.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • MacLean DA, Spriet LL, Hultman E, Graham TE (1991). Plasma and muscle amino acid and ammonia responses during prolonged exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol 70, 2095–2103.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meneguello MO, Mendonça JR, Lancha Jr AH, Costa Rosa LF (2003). Effect of arginine, ornithine and citrulline supplementation upon performance and metabolism of trained rats. Cell Biochem Funct 21, 85–91.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Norton LE, Layman DK (2006). Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. J Nutr 136, 533S–537S.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Okuda T (1966). Direct colorimetry of blood ammonia. Med Front 21, 622–627.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rodwell VW (2000). Conversion of amino acids to specialized products. In: Murray RK, Granner DK, Mayes PA, Rodwell PW (eds). Harper's Biochemistry, 25th edn, New York: Appleton and Lange.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sahlin K, Katz A, Broberg S (1990). Tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates in human muscle during prolonged exercise. Am J Physiol 259, C834–C841.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith WA, Fry AC, Tschume LC, Bloomer RJ (2008). Effect of glycine propionyl-L-carnitine on aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 18, 19–36.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stathis CG, Febbraio MA, Carey MF, Snow RJ (1994). Influence of sprint training on human skeletal muscle purine nucleotide metabolism. J Appl Physiol 76, 1802–1809.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sugino T, Shirai T, Kajimoto Y, Kajimoto O (2008). -ornithine supplementation attenuates physical fatigue in healthy volunteers by modulating lipid and amino acid metabolism. Nutr Res 28, 738–743.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • van Loon LJ, Kruijshoop M, Verhagen H, Saris WH, Wagenmakers AJ (2000). Ingestion of protein hydrolysate and amino acid-carbohydrate mixtures increases postexercise plasma insulin responses in men. J Nutr 130, 2508–2513.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wada M, Matsunaga T (1997). Factors regarding muscle fatigue. In: Katsuta S (ed). Exercise Physiology. Kyorinshoin: Tokyo. pp 77–83.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wasserman K (1976). Testing regulation of ventilation with exercise. Chest 70, S173–S178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O’kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M (2007). Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion. Amino Acids 33, 505–510.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to T Yamada.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

Demura S, Yamada T and Yamaji S received financial support from Kyowa Hakko Bio Co, Ltd. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Demura, S., Yamada, T., Yamaji, S. et al. The effect of L-ornithine hydrochloride ingestion on performance during incremental exhaustive ergometer bicycle exercise and ammonia metabolism during and after exercise. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 1166–1171 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • L-ornithine hydrochloride
  • aerobic exercise
  • fatigue recovery
  • ammonia metabolism

Further reading


Quick links