Despite being billed as the “next big thing” in bodybuilding supplements, agmatine sulfate is fucking useless.

Agmatine Sulfate: Just Say N.O.

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

4 min read

Supplement manufacturers are always on the lookout for ingredients to call “the next big thing”, and agmatine sulfate is the latest one.

This nitric oxide booster has seen a steady rise in popularity over the last few years, and it is included in many pre-workout supplements for it’s supposed performance-enhancing benefits.

So is it the real deal, or it it just another hyped up ingredient which fails to deliver?

I’ll be breaking down all of the latest research on agmatine sulfate below, and clearing up some of the biggest myths.

Table of Contents

Flip The Switch

CT Fletcher

Agmatine sulfate is billed as a nitric oxide booster.

Anyone who used a pre-workout during the 2000s will be familiar with these, as they were all the rage back then.

Channelling the body’s nitric oxide pathway causes a temporary widening of your blood vessels, which subsequently improves the delivery of key nutrients to your muscles. This will result in more reps being performed to failure, and higher training intensity being maintained for a longer time. (1)

To put it into context; if you’ve ever watched a Fast & Furious movie, Vin Diesel flipping the turbo switch in his car, triggering a release of the similar-sounding nitrous oxide, temporarily allows him to travel as fast as The Rock, whereas tapping into your body’s nitric oxide pathways temporarily allows you to train as hard as The Rock.


What Is Agmatine Sulfate?

Agmatine Sulfate formula

Agmatine comes from the amino acid l-arginine.

Most of you reading this will already be using a pre-workout supplement which contains l-arginine (or citrulline malate, which becomes l-arginine upon entering the body), and are probably aware of its ability to boost muscular endurance, recovery speed, and strength.

So what does agmatine sulfate bring to the table?

Well, this ingredient is said to inhibit the enzyme arginase (which breaks down arginine) and stimulate the enzyme eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), which produces nitric oxide. Therefore, the theory behind using agmatine sulfate is that by inhibiting the enzyme which breaks down arginine, and stimulating the enzyme that creates more nitric oxide, you will have a much bigger supply of arginine readily available during training. (2)



Agmatine Sulfate: Russ’ Rating

Bodybuilder lifting weights

The potential benefits of agmatine sulfate are amazing, but it just doesn’t work.

Despite the theory that using agmatine sulfate alongside other key nitric oxide boosters like l-arginine and CitMal would lead to greater performance, a 2007 study published in Brain Research discovered that the opposite is true! It turns out that combining agmatine and citrulline actually resulted in lower citrulline production via nitric oxide synthase; so rather than working together, the two ingredients clashed and actually hindered nitric oxide production. (5)

We definitely don’t want that.

It’s also been shown to cancel out the effects of yohimbine (another popular ingredient in pre-workouts and fat burner supplements). (4)

The final nail was driven into the coffin of agmatine sulfate (at least as far as bodybuilding goes) by Dr. Gad Gillad, who conducted a 5 year study on the long-term effects of agmatine supplementation (the most in-depth trial available on agmatine to this day).

He had this to say:

“The fact that agmatine is touted for bodybuilding purposes is completely unsubstantiated, and is backed by outright false claims.”

No supplement is 100% useless, of course, so it’s worth mentioning that agmatine has some benefits as far as mental focus, pain blunting, and stress reduction go – but that’s not why it’s included in bodybuilding supplements. (3, 6, 7, 8)

Until more research (or at least some… any… please!) shows that agmatine sulfate can improve performance, this is one ingredient which you simply do not need.

agmatine sulfate

References:

  1. Legaz M. E., et al. Endogenous Inactivators of Arginase, l-Arginine Decarboxylase, and Agmatine Amidinohydrolase in Evernia prunastri Thallus. Plant Physiol (1983).
  2. Mun C. H., et al. Regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase by agmatine after transient global cerebral ischemia in rat brain. Anat Cell Biol (2010).
  3. Hwang S. L., et al. Activation of imidazoline receptors in adrenal gland to lower plasma glucose in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diabetologia (2005).
  4. Molderings G. J., et al. Dual interaction of agmatine with the rat α2D-adrenoceptor: competitive antagonism and allosteric activation. Br J Pharmacol (2000).
  5. Yananlı H., et al. Effect of agmatine on brain l-citrulline production during morphine withdrawal in rats: A microdialysis study in nucleus accumbens. Brain Res (2007).
  6. Gilad G. M., et al. Long-term (5 years), high daily dosage of dietary agmatine – evidence of safety: a case report. J Med Food (2014).
  7. Taksande B. G., et al. Agmatine, an endogenous imidazoline receptor ligand modulates ethanol anxiolysis and withdrawal anxiety in rats. Eur J Pharmacol (2010).
  8. Chang C. H., et al. Increase of beta-endorphin secretion by agmatine is induced by activation of imidazoline I(2A) receptors in adrenal gland of rats. Neurosci Lett (2010).

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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own russhowepti.com.

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