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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Alpha Ketoglutarate (AKG)
AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) is the nitrogen-free portion of the amino acids known as glutamine and glutamic acid. It is formed in the Krebs cycle, the energy-producing process that occurs in most body cells. AKG is used by cells during growth and in healing from injuries and other wounds,1 and is especially important in the healing of muscle tissue.2 A controlled study found that intravenous AKG prevented a decline in protein synthesis in the muscles of patients recovering from surgery.3, 4 For these reasons, it has been speculated that oral AKG supplements might help improve strength or muscle-mass gains by weightlifters, but no research has been done to test this theory.
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AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) is used by cells during growth and in healing from injuries and other wounds, and is especially important in the healing of muscle tissue. Controlled studies have found intravenous AKG helpful for supporting protein synthesis, which often declines as a result of surgery, and for protecting the heart muscle from damage during heart surgery, but no research has investigated whether oral AKG would be similarly effective.
Only intravenous AKG has been used in research studies; no reliable information about desirable oral amounts is available.
AKG is present in many foods and is synthesized for use in dietary supplements.
AKG is not an essential nutrient, and no deficiency has been reported.
1. Aussel C, Coudray-Lucas C, Lasnier E, et al. Alpha-Ketoglutarate uptake in human fibroblasts. Cell Biol Int 1996;20:359-63.
2. Wernerman J, Hammarqvist F, Vinnars E. Alpha-ketoglutarate and postoperative muscle catabolism. Lancet1990;335:701-3.
3. Blomqvist BI, Hammarqvist F, von der Decken A, Wernerman J. Glutamine and alpha-ketoglutarate prevent the decrease in muscle free glutamine concentration and influence protein synthesis after total hip replacement. Metabolism1995;44:1215-22.
4. Hammarqvist F, Wernerman J, von der Decken A, Vinnars E. Alpha-ketoglutarate preserves protein synthesis and free glutamine in skeletal muscle after surgery. Surgery1991;109:28-36.
Last Review: 03-24-2015
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