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Other Names:

ACO, Alpha-Cétoglutarate de L-Ornithine, Alpha-Cétoglutarate de L(+)-ornithine, Alpha-Cétoglutarate d’Ornithine, Cétoglutarate d'Ornithine, L-Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, L(+)-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate, OKG, Ornicetil, Ornithine Alpha Keto...
See All Names


Ornithine ketoglutarate is an amino acid. The body uses amino acids to build proteins. Ornithine ketoglutarate can be made by the body or in a laboratory. People use it as a medicine.

Ornithine ketoglutarate is taken by mouth for enhancing athletic performance and for healing wounds in burn patients.

Ornithine ketoglutarate is sometimes included in nutritional formulas that healthcare providers give as an injection into the veins (intravenously, by IV). Ornithine ketoglutarate is added to the formulas to prevent abnormally slow growth in children who are receiving long-term intravenous feeding.

Ornithine ketoglutarate is also given by IV for helping the body make muscle protein after surgery or stroke; and for treating brain change caused by liver disease.

Don’t confuse ornithine ketoglutarate with ornithine.

How does it work?

Ornithine ketoglutarate might change the way amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are used in the body. It also increases insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.

ORNITHINE KETOGLUTARATE Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Burns. Taking ornithine ketoglutarate by mouth might improve wound healing in people with burns.
  • Wound healing. Taking ornithine ketoglutarate before plastic surgery or after surgery for throat cancer improves healing time and reduces complications such as the number of infections.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Athletic performance. Taking ornithine ketoglutarate does not seem to improve athletic performance.

Likely Ineffective for:

  • Worsening of mental function caused by liver disease. Giving ornithine ketoglutarate intravenously (by IV) does not help treat mental changes caused by liver disease. In fact, it may make this condition worse.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Early research suggests that giving ornithine ketoglutarate intravenously (by IV) before and during chemotherapy can reduce the severity of nausea and vomiting similarly to the drug metoclopramide.
  • Abnormally slow growth. Some early research suggests that ornithine ketoglutarate helps prevent abnormally slow growth when added to long-term nutrition that is given intravenously (by IV) to children. However, other research suggests that taking ornithine ketoglutarate for one year does not improve growth in short-statured children.
  • HIV/AIDS. Early research suggests that taking ornithine ketoglutarate by mouth for 12 weeks does not improve immune function, strength, or body weight in people with HIV.
  • Pressure ulcers. Taking ornithine ketoglutarate by mouth for 6 weeks seems to improve healing in older people with heel pressure ulcers that are no larger than 8 cm2 at the start of treatment. However, it does not seem to improve healing in people with larger heel pressure ulcers.
  • Stroke. Early research suggests that giving ornithine ketoglutarate intravenously (by IV) for 5 days to people who have had a stroke might improve their ability to respond to stimuli. However, this improvement does not appear to continue once treatment with ornithine ketoglutarate is stopped.
  • Muscle regrowth after surgery. Early research suggests that ornithine ketoglutarate might improve the regrowth of certain muscles after surgery.
  • Complications of surgery or long-term feeding by vein and other conditions.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ornithine ketoglutarate for these uses.


Ornithine ketoglutarate is POSSIBLY SAFE when given intravenously or when taken by mouth with appropriate medical supervision.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of ornithine ketoglutarate during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Worsening of mental function caused by liver disease: Taking ornithine ketoglutarate might make this condition worse.

ORNITHINE KETOGLUTARATE Interactions What is this?

We currently have no information for ORNITHINE KETOGLUTARATE Interactions


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For the healing of burn wounds: 30 grams of ornithine ketoglutarate daily.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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