Alpha Ketoglutarate (AKG)
Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) 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.
Where is it found?
AKG is present in many foods and is synthesized for use in dietary supplements.
AKG has been used in
connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient?
AKG is not an essential nutrient, and no deficiency has been reported.
How much is usually taken?
Only intravenous AKG has been used in research studies; no reliable information about
desirable oral amounts is available.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
No side effects have been reported with the use of AKG.
No clear interactions between AKG and other nutrients have been established.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
with alpha ketoglutarate (AKG).
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. Lancet 1990;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. Metabolism
4. Hammarqvist F, Wernerman J, von der Decken A, Vinnars E.
Alpha-ketoglutarate preserves protein synthesis and free glutamine in skeletal muscle after
surgery. Surgery 1991;109:28–36.