Arginine Containing Foods

Are you training for an endurance event? 

If so try increasing your intake of Arginine to boost your exercise capacity, improve your endurance performance, and improve your body composition by increasing muscle mass.

How can it do such wonderful things you might ask?

Arginine increases Human Growth Hormone, which in turn increases blood flood and mitochondria biogenesis (creation). Mitochondria are involved in the creation of ATP, which is your muscles’ energy source. Since the body is using more energy to create more mitochondria to produce more energy… it burns more glucose (without effecting insulin) and fat, improving body composition by increasing lean muscle.

Arginine is also a precursor for Nitric Oxide (NO), which has been studied to help increase the endurance threshold by vasodilating blood vessels and allowing nutrients to flow throughout the body more freely, increasing oxygen delivery to the tissues.

But I am not saying go pick up a supplement today! No way… you can increase your intake of Arginine by the food you consume.

Top 4 Arginine Containing Animal Sources:

  1. Turkey – has the highest amount
  2. Pork Loin
  3. Chicken
  4. Dairy


Top 6 Arginine Containing Non-Animal Sources:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds – 4th highest source
  2. Soybeans
  3. Peanuts
  4. Spirulina – blue/green algae if you didn’t know, add it to a smoothie
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Lentils


If you can eat at least 1-2 servings per day of Arginine containing foods you will be well on your way to maximize your workout goals!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.