L-arginine and nitric oxide-related compounds in plasma: Comparison of normal and arginine-free diets in a 24-h crossover study

Oranee Tangphao, Stephan Chalon, Ann M. Coulston, Heitor Moreno, Jason R. Chan, John P. Cooke, Brian B. Hoffman, Terrence F. Blaschke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The amino acid L-arginine is the precursor of nitric oxide (NO), a powerful vasodilator with antiplatelet properties. The availability of L- arginine has been suggested to be a rate-limiting factor in the production of NO in conditions such as hypercholesterolemia. It was speculated that fluctuations in plasma concentrations of L-arginine during the day may be dependent upon dietary intake of the amino acid, or other variables, and might modify the elaboration of endogenous NO. Over a 24-h period, the plasma concentrations of L-arginine and NO-related compounds (NOx) were measured during an L-arginine and nitrate/nitrite-free diet (diet A) or a nitrate/nitrite-free diet with a fixed amount of L-arginine intake (3.8 g/d) (diet B) in eight healthy volunteers during a 2-day crossover study. Subjects were randomly selected to begin with diet A or diet B and consumed the other diet on the second day. During diet A, plasma L-arginine decreased significantly from 09.00 to 16.00 (21.4±2.0 to 11.9±1.1 μg/ml), rose slightly in the evening (to 16.6±1.7 μg/ml) and gradually increased during the night. During diet B, plasma L-arginine showed a peak after each meal (approximately 23 μg/ml). Plasma NOx concentrations measured by chemiluminescence did not show any circadian variation on either diet. Plasma L-arginine concentrations change during the day and are influenced by dietary intake. Importantly, plasma NOx do not seem to vary with this pattern in healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalVascular Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Chemiluminescence
  • L-arginine
  • Nitrate/blood
  • Nitric oxide/blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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