What is Arginine?
WHAT KIND OF AMINO ACID IS ARGININE?
Arginine is a chemical building block called “an amino acid.” It is obtained from the diet and is necessary for the body to make proteins. It is best known as a growth hormone releaser. It is found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. It can also be made in a laboratory and used as medicine.
Arginine is converted in the body into a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow. Arginine also stimulates the release of growth hormones, insulin, and other substances in the body.
WHAT ARE THE USES OF ARGININE IN THE BODY?
Arginine has several roles in the body, such as assisting in wound healing, helping remove excess ammonia from the body, stimulating immune function, and promoting secretion of several hormones, including glucagon, insulin, and growth hormone.
People use Arginine because it relaxes blood vessels. Arginine might have cardiovascular benefits for some people. Studies show that it might ease the symptoms of angina and peripheral arterial disease. It seems to boost the health of people with heart failure. It might also help erectile dysfunction, primarily when combined with other supplements such as pine bark extract. Some studies have shown an immune-boosting effect.
Arginine may also combat the symptoms of weight loss caused by HIV. It seems to improve the symptoms of kidney inflammation and assists kidney function after a transplant. Studies show Arginine might ease migraines, improve blood pressure, and lessen recovery time after surgery.
Studies showed Arginine as a treatment for many more conditions. They include dementia, hypertension, cancer, male infertility, diabetes, and obesity. But the results have been inconclusive. Additional research is necessary.
Uses of L-arginine for specific conditions:
Angina. Studies suggest that L-arginine might decrease symptoms and improve quality of life in people with a mild to severe form of this type of chest pain.
High blood pressure (hypertension). Research has shown that oral L-arginine can lower blood pressure in healthy people. People with mild blood pressure elevation and diabetes and people with high blood pressure affect the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart (pulmonary hypertension). Infusions of L-arginine also appear to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Infusions of L-arginine also appear to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
High blood pressure during pregnancy. Some studies show that L-arginine infusions may lower blood pressure in pregnant women who develop high blood pressure.
Preeclampsia. L-arginine infusions may lower blood pressure in women with this pregnancy complication. Some research shows that taking oral L-arginine might help prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Erectile dysfunction. Taking oral L-arginine might improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction due to a physical cause.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). When taken orally or by infusion for a short period of time, L-arginine may improve symptoms and blood flow in people with this circulatory condition.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ARGININE?
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Enhances blood flow to vital organs
- Combats the adverse effects of premature cardiovascular aging
- Sweetened with Xylitol to enhance oral health
- May aid in decreasing body fat
- Anti-aging benefits
- Supports healthy sexual performance
- Maintains healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
- May boost energy levels
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS TO ARGININE?
Most people taking Arginine have few side effects. It can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea, allergic reactions, and asthma symptoms. It could also cause low blood pressure and changes to glucose and blood chemical levels. Some thought that the lysine ratio to Arginine in the diet (or with supplements) could affect whether or not latent herpes viruses appear. Some doctors recommend increasing lysine and decreasing Arginine to help prevent the recurrence of symptoms associated with the herpes simplex virus.
Risks. If you have any medical conditions — like cancer, asthma, allergies, liver or kidney problems, low blood pressure, sickle cell disease, or a bleeding disorder — or have had a heart attack, don’t take Arginine without talking to a doctor first.
ARGININE DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS
- Poor growth (present in all the people who have arginase deficiency)
- Stiff muscles and increased reflexes ( spasticity )
- Developmental delay
- Loss of previously acquired developmental milestones
- Intellectual disability
- Small head size ( microcephaly )
- Problems with balance and coordination
WHAT IS THE PROPER DOSAGE FOR TAKING ARGININE?
There is no standard dose of Arginine. Studies have used different amounts for different conditions. One usual dosage is 2 to 3 grams three times a day, although lower and higher doses have also been studied. The safety of long-term arginine supplement use is not apparent. Ask your doctor for advice.
In some cases, doctors recommend supplemental Arginine. People with protein malnutrition, burns, infections, rapid growth, and other conditions might benefit from supplemental Arginine.
SOURCES OF ARGININE
Many foods are natural sources of Arginine. They include nuts (like walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts), seeds (like sesame and sunflower), oats, corn, cereals, buckwheat, brown rice, dairy products, meat, chicken, and chocolate.