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L-arginine may help blast belly fat (apologies to Dr. Oz)

An amino acid may hold the potential to help treat central obesity.

A new pilot study suggests the potential of the amino acid l-arginine to promote weight loss.

Mayo Clinic scientists conducted the research, which was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements and noted on

L-arginine is one of the 22 amino acids found in high-protein foods, particularly peanuts. It’s been used as a supplement ingredient to improve libido, sports performance, and for cardiovascular health, although there are some safety concerns. Its function has been shown to improve blood flow and dilation of blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide.

The researchers found that l-arginine may be useful in treating central, or visceral obesity. Central obesity (also known as abdominal obesity, or belly fat) is linked to greater cardiometabolic risk than other types of obesity.

The pilot study measured the effects of three grams of L-arginine taken three times daily for 12 weeks on 20 nondiabetic obese women ages 18 to 40 years with BMI between 30 and 40.

The scientists found the amino acid’s weight-loss promoting powers promising. “L-Arginine may be effective at reducing central adiposity in obese patients,” wrote the study’s authors, after analyzing the results.

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