Arginine is an important amino acid that plays a role in cell division, healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, improving hormone secretion and immunity to illness. Arginine is used by the body to make nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes blood vessels. For this reason, it has been used to treat cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure, impotence, female sexual dysfunction, and interstitial cystitis. Severe burns, infections, and injuries can deplete the body’s supply of arginine; therefore it is used in hospitals to speed recovery from severe illness.
The study of amino acids is making a major contribution to the understanding of diseases. Amino acid therapies have been used successfully to prevent aging, prevent heart disease, enhance memory, eliminate depression, control stress, improve sleep, relieve arthritis, reduce herpes, arrest alcoholism, and managing allergies. (1) Arginine has been linked to enhanced immunity, the release of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), greater muscle mass, rapid healing from injury, increased sexual potency, and helping to reverse atherosclerosis. (2)
Dietary arginine is found in a variety of foods such as granola, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, chicken and light turkey meat, salmon, shrimp and lobster, cottage cheese, skim milk, skim yogurt, chick peas and soybeans.
Benefits of taking arginine
Weight Loss. Arginine facilitates a reduction in body fat, while increasing lean muscle mass. And Arginine inhibits the absorption of dietary fat. (3)
Body Builders. Arginine is considered to be very important to efficient muscle metabolism because of its role in the transport, storage, and elimination of nitrogen. Creatine is derived from arginine, which does have a significant role in muscle metabolism. When you workout, there is a window afterwards lasting about two hours where the body has an increased level of testosterone and HGH. At this time, arginine can contribute to increased protein synthesis resulting in more muscle growth. (4)
Arginine, which is also a component of collagen, plays a role in the production of new bone cell which can be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. Arginine has also been linked to play a positive role in Alzheimer’s patients, Cancer patients, by slowing down the growth of tumors and in liver detoxification and sperm viability and motility (1).
L-arginine is available in tablet, capsule and powder form and as L-arginine hydrochloride and free base L-arginine. Arginine that is taken in high doses can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps and headaches, and in high doses can increase the level of stomach acid making it a contraindication for those with stomach ulcers. When it is taken in moderate doses of 2-3 grams per day, there appears to be no side effects.
As with any product, best results will come when taken in the recommended dosage in conjunction with a consistent health and fitness program. Arginine is available in a number of nutritional supplements.
• NOX-CG3 Nitric Oxide/Creatine/Glutamine 400g by Xyience
• ArgiNOne by Ultimate Nutrition 90ct
• Nitrox Xtra Strength by Sci-Fit 180 tabs
(1) Braverman, M.D., E.R, The Healing Nutrients Within (New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1997), pages 18, 21-23, 212, 214, 219-221, 223, 228-229. ISBN 0-87983-706-3
(2) Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., Kenneth H., Advanced Nutritional Therapies (Nashville: 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishers), pages 87-88, 93, 94. ISBN 0-7852-7302-6
(3) Balch, M.D., James F., and Balch, C.N.C, Phyllis A., Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Second Edition (Garden City Park, NY: 1997, Avery Publishing Group), pages 35-36. ISBN 0-89529-727-2
(4) DiPasqual, M.D., Mauro G., Body Building Supplement Review (no city listed: 1995, Optimum Training Systems), page 37.