AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) is an intermediate and a key molecule in the Krebs cycle, which is a part of aerobic energy system. It is a rate-limiting intermediate in the Krebs cycle that determines the overall rate of the cycle in the cells. AKG is also known as 2-ketoglutaric acid, 2-Oxoglutarate, 2-OG, 2-oxoglutamate, 2-oxoglutaric acid and 2-oxopentanedioic acid.
Having a crucial role in cellular energy metabolism, AKG serves as a procurer of glutamine. In fact, it spares endogenous glutamine pools, causing the synthesis and bioavailability of glutamine to rise.
AKG has an anti-catabolic activity and can decrease protein breakdown in the body. Moreover, recent studies show that AKG may extend lifespan by inhibiting the enzyme ATP synthase and the protein TOR (Target of Rapamycin).
Vitamin B6 enhances the physiological functions of AKG.
Athletic Benefits of AKG:
1) Increases the production of glutamine.
2) Helps with exercise recovery after an intense training session.
3) Prevents from exercise-induced muscle breakdown.
4) Shows protective effect against overtraining syndrome.
5) Supports muscle growth.
6) Increases maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max).
7) Delays athletic fatigue by decreasing blood lacate level.
Non-Athletic Benefits of AKG:
1) May have an anti-aging activity and can increase lifespan.
2) Delays age-related diseases.
3) Accelerates collagen production.
4) May improve bone density by converting to proline.
5) Boosts immunity.
6) By acting as a nitrogen scavenger, it can prevent nitrogen overload and high levels of ammonia in people with liver cirrhosis, kidney failure requiring dialysis, urea cycle disorder, Reye`s syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, aluminum toxicity, and nitrogen overload induced by excessive protein intake.
7) As an anti-catabolic agent, it is useful in catabolic states, such as burns, fever, starvation, infections, dieting, fasting, muscle wasting diseases, cancers, and diabetes.
8) Demonstrates tumor suppressing activity by inhibiting TOR function.
9) Prevents from blood supply problems during heart surgery.
Dosage, Side Effects an Interactions:
The daily dose of AKG depends on the condition for which it is taken. For patients with kidney failure who undergoes hemodialysis, AKG is recommended at 1000-1200 mg three times a week. For better results in these patients, 800 mg of calcium bicarbonate is usually added to AKG.
The doses of AKG in athletes vary from 1 to 15 grams a day. As a sports ergogenic aid, AKG should be taken 1000-3000 mg about 30 minutes before exercise. To enhance the effects of AKG, it is better to take 100-150 mg of vitamin B6 along with it. For exercise recovery, a higher dose of AKG (5000-10000 mg) is required. Adding dextrose or ribose to AKG in post-exercise consumption acceleartes recovery.
AKG is considered safe and no side effects and interactions have been reported. While consuming glutamine by people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is not recommended, AAKG (arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate) appears to delay progression and extends survival rate in ALS. AAKG is a component of the Deanna Protocol (DP)―a metabolic therapy that has been reported to alleviate symptoms in patients with ALS.
The Deanna Protocol consists of AAKG, GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), Co-Enzyme 10 and Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH).