2-Oxopentanedioic Acid L-Ornithine, ACO, Alpha-Cétoglutarate de L-Ornithine, Alpha-Cétoglutarate de L(+)-ornithine, Alpha-Cétoglutarate d'Ornithine, Cétoglutarate d'Ornithine, Di-Ornithine Alpha-Ketogutarate, L-Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, L(+)-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate, OAKG, OKG, Ornicetil, Ornithine Alpha-Ceto Glutarate, Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate, Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, Ornithine 2-Oxoglutarate, Ornithine Oxoglutarate, Ornitina Cetoglutarato.


Overview Information

Ornithine ketoglutarate is a salt made from the amino acid ornithine and the glutamine precursor alpha-ketoglutarate. People use it as a medicine.

Ornithine ketoglutarate is taken by mouth to build muscle and increase muscle strength. It is also used for HIV/AIDS and for healing wounds, skinpressure ulcers, and burns.

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. It is also used to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and improving the health of people that have had a stroke.

Don't confuse ornithine ketoglutarate with ornithine or another chemical called L-ornithine-L-aspartate (LOLA).

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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

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.

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 to children intravenously (by IV). 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.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Ornithine ketoglutarate is POSSIBLY SAFE in children and adults when given intravenously or in adults 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.



We currently have no information for ORNITHINE KETOGLUTARATE (OKG) Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For burn wounds: 30 grams of ornithine ketoglutarate daily.
  • For other wounds: 10 grams daily beginning 5 days before and continuing until 10 days after surgery. 20 grams daily for one month.

View References


  • Donati, L., Ziegler, F., Pongelli, G., and Signorini, M. S. Nutritional and clinical efficacy of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in severe burn patients. Clin.Nutr. 1999;18(5):307-311. View abstract.
  • Griffith DNW, Dorf G James IM Woollard ML. The effects of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in stroke. Progress in Stroke Research. 1979;207-211.
  • Herlong, H. F., Maddrey, W. C., and Walser, M. The use of ornithine salts of branched-chain ketoacids in portal-systemic encephalopathy. Ann.Intern.Med. 1980;93(4):545-550. View abstract.
  • Herranz, Jordan B., Moreno, Romero F., Cardesa Garcia, J. J., Santos, Hurtado, I, Aparicio, Palomino A., and Requena, Guerrero F. [Controlled clinical assay in Clonidine, arginine aspartate, alpha-ketoglutarate of Ornithine and Ciproheptadine as growth stimulants in children with short stature]. An.Esp.Pediatr. 1993;38(6):509-515. View abstract.
  • Jeevanandam, M. and Petersen, S. R. Substrate fuel kinetics in enterally fed trauma patients supplemented with ornithine alpha ketoglutarate. Clin.Nutr. 1999;18(4):209-217. View abstract.
  • Jeevanandam, M. Ornithine oxoglutarate improved nutrition in elderly patients. ACP J.Club. 1995;123(2):56. View abstract.
  • Karsegard, V. L., Raguso, C. A., Genton, L., Hirschel, B., and Pichard, C. L-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in HIV infection: effects on muscle, gastrointestinal, and immune functions. Nutrition 2004;20(6):515-520. View abstract.
  • Le, Bricon T., Coudray-Lucas, C., Lioret, N., Lim, S. K., Plassart, F., Schlegel, L., De Bandt, J. P., Saizy, R., Giboudeau, J., and Cynober, L. Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate metabolism after enteral administration in burn patients: bolus compared with continuous infusion. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 1997;65(2):512-518. View abstract.
  • Meaume, S., Kerihuel, J. C., Constans, T., Teot, L., Lerebours, E., Kern, J., and Bourdel, Marchasson, I. Efficacy and safety of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in heel pressure ulcers in elderly patients: results of a randomized controlled trial. J.Nutr.Health Aging 2009;13(7):623-630. View abstract.
  • Pradoura JP, Carcasonne Y and Spitalier JM. Double blind randomized trial of l-dextro ornithine alpha ketoglutarate enteral supplementation in operated patients with oropharynx cancer. Clin Nutr. 1986;5:132.
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  • Vaubourdolle, M., Salvucci, M., Coudray-Lucas, C., Agneray, J., Cynober, L., and Ekindjian, O. G. Action of ornithine alpha ketoglutarate on DNA synthesis by human fibroblasts. In Vitro Cell Dev.Biol. 1990;26(2):187-192. View abstract.
  • Zur Nieden HC, Pullen R Fusgen I. Treatment of decubital ulcers in geriatric patients with ornithine- oxoglutarate - A randomized, double-blind pilot study. European Journal of Geriatrics. 1999;1:144-147.
  • 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 1995;44:1215-22. View abstract.
  • Chainuvati T, Plengvanit U, Viranuvatti V. Ornicetil on encephalopathy. Effect of ornicetil (ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate) on encephalopathy in patients with acute and chronic liver disease. Acta Hepatogastroenterol (Stuttg) 1977;24:434-9. View abstract.
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  • Meakins TS, Persaud C, Jackson AA. Dietary supplementation with L-methionine impairs the utilization of urea-nitrogen and increases 5-L-oxoprolinuria in normal women consuming a low protein diet. J Nutr 1998;128:720-7. View abstract.
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  • Wernerman J, Hammarqvist F, von der Decken A, Vinnars E. Ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate improves skeletal muscle protein synthesis as assessed by ribosome analysis and nitrogen use after surgery. Ann Surg 1987;206:674-8. View abstract.
  • Woollard ML, Pearson RM, Dorf G, et al. Controlled trial of ornithine alpha ketoglutarate (OAKG) in patients with stroke. Stroke 1978;9:218-22. View abstract.
  • Bean N, Redden J Goode H Grimble G Allison SP. Double-blind pilot trial, in elderly women with fractured femur, of ornithine a-ketoglutarate v. a defined formula peptide oral supplement. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1994;53:203A.
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  • Brocker, P., Vellas, B., Albarede, J. L., and Poynard, T. A two-centre, randomized, double-blind trial of ornithine oxoglutarate in 194 elderly, ambulatory, convalescent subjects. Age Ageing 1994;23(4):303-306. View abstract.
  • Cano N, Coudray-Lucas C Cynober L Lacombe P Labastie-Coeyrehourcq J Durbec JP di Costanzo-Dufetel J Fernandez JP. Ornithine alpha-ceto glutarate (OKG) in hemodialysed (HD) patients: metabolism and nutritional effects. Clin-Nutr. 1988;7:93.
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  • Cynober, L., Vaubourdolle, M., Dore, A., and Giboudeau, J. Kinetics and metabolic effects of orally administered ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in healthy subjects fed with a standardized regimen. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 1984;39(4):514-519. View abstract.
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