The Renal Safety of L-Carnitine, L-Arginine, and Glutamine in Athletes and Bodybuilders

One of the major concerns about taking amino acid supplements is their potential adverse effects on the kidney as a major organ involved in the metabolism and excretion of exogenous substances. The aim of this study is to review available data about renal safety of the most prominent amino acid supplements including L-arginine, glutamine and also L-carnitine as well as creatine (as amino acid derivatives) in athletes and bodybuilders.

The literature was searched by keywords such as “L-carnitine”, “L-arginine”, “glutamine”, and “kidney injury” in databases such as Scopus, Medline, Embase, and ISI Web of Knowledge. Articles published from 1950 to December 2017 were included. Among 3171, 5740, and 1608 records after primary search in the relevant databases, 8, 7, and 5 studies have been finally included, respectively, for L-carnitine, L-arginine, and glutamine in this review.

Arginine appears to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on kidney function. However, adverse effects are unlikely to occur with the routine doses (from 3 to >100 g/day). The risks and benefits of L-carnitine on the athletes' and bodybuilders' kidney have not been evaluated yet. However, L-carnitine up to 6000 mg/day is generally considered to be a safe supplement at least in healthy adults. Both short-term (20-30 g within a few hours) and long-term (0.1 g/kg four times daily for 2 weeks) glutamine supplementation in healthy athletes were associated with no significant adverse effects, but it can cause glomerulosclerosis and serum creatinine level elevation in the setting of diabetic nephropathy. Creatine supplementation (ranged from 5 to 30 g/day) also appears to have no detrimental effects on kidney function of individuals without underlying renal diseases. More clinical data are warranted to determine the optimal daily dose and intake duration of common supplemental amino acids associated with the lowest renal adverse effects in sportsmen and sports women. 


Autor / Fonte:Dorna Davani-Davari, Iman Karimzadeh, Mohammad Mahdi Sagheb, Hossein Khalili Journal of Renal Nutrition 2018 October 16