Amino acids are among the most important molecules within the human body. Our DNA produces amino acids to build proteins and to serve a host of bodily systems. L-arginine is 1 of 11 nonessential amino acids. It is not considered an essential amino acid because the human body cannot manufacture them.
Once ingested or topically applied, L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide. Basically, nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider thus, vastly improving blood flow.
L-Arginine Health Benefits
L-arginine is most commonly found in red meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, peanuts, and most dairy products. However, it can also be synthesized for medicinal purposes.
It is a dietary supplement that has been used for a plethora of health problems including but certainly not limited to the following:
- Congestive heart failure
- Diagnosing pituitary disorders (such as panhypopituitarism, gigantism, acromegaly, pituitary adenoma, etc.)
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart protection during coronary artery bypass grafting
- High cholesterol
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Pressure ulcers
- Prevention of restenosis after coronary angioplasty (PTCA)
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Sickle cell anemia
- Uterine disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Adrenoleukodystrophy (a metabolic disorder)
- Altitude sickness
- Anal fissures
- Burns (ranging from minor to severe)
- Improved cognitive function
- Dental Conditions
- Inborn errors of Urea Synthesis
- Peripheral vascular disease/claudication
- Recurrent leg pain caused by blocked arteries
- Senile Dementia
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male infertility
- Prevention of the common cold
- Improving kidney function after a transplant
- Improving athletic performance
- Cyclosporine toxicity
- Type II Diabetes
- Diabetic complications
- Improved exercise performance
- Boosting the immune system
- Preventing digestive inflammation in premature infants
- L-arginine can be applied in a topical form to heal wounds faster and for increasing blood flow to hands and feet (especially in people with diabetes)
The reason consumption of L-Arginine is particularly important when battling illnesses and chronic conditions (aka hypertension, type II diabetes, etc.) is because many of these illnesses actually increase a naturally occurring enzyme within your body that actually degrades L-arginine resulting in a deficiency. This decrease causes harmful increases in blood pressure, which is not a good combination.
L-arginine is also commonly mixed with a multitude of both over-the-counter and prescription medications for the treatment of various conditions. Conventional chemotherapy drugs are often mixed with L-arginine for boosted efficacy against breast cancer. Much more commonly though, it is often mixed with ibuprofen for migraine relief. You have probably ingested L-arginine in one way or another without even knowing it. A few other examples include the following:
- When combined with other amino acids it is very effective when addressing weight loss in AIDS patients
- When combined with fish oil (and sometimes a variety of other common supplements) L-Arginine is incredibly effective when treating infections, healing wounds, and shortening surgical recovery time.
More recently, L-arginine has been used as a dietary supplement by athletic enthusiasts. This is mainly due to its ability to increase nitric oxide activity in one’s body.
Nitric oxide can benefit athletes in the following ways: Help memory and behavior (by transmitting information between the various nerve cells in the brain), assist the immune system in fighting off harmful bacteria, regulate blood pressure, reducing inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase sensory recognition, increase endurance and strength, assist in gastric motility, etc.
Because both l-arginine and nitric oxide are necessary for the execution of many physiological processes, they are key when fine-tuning one’s cardiovascular or body building abilities.
These physiological processes include hormone secretion, an increase in growth hormone output, the removal of toxic waste products from one’s body, and boosted immune system defenses; all of which keep you up and moving!
Due to l-arginine’s ability to increase growth hormone levels, cellular replication, encourage lipid oxidization, lower blood pressure, and decrease arterial plaque, l-arginine can even prove beneficial for those struggling with obesity.
Because of nitric oxide’s capability of destroying free radicals, signal to muscle cells, remove bad cholesterol, and enhance fat metabolism l-arginine athletic supplements are the way to go! L-arginine even aids in regulating your body’s sodium levels.
Retaining water under your skin can make one looks washed out and bloated, the nitrogen retaining abilities of l-arginine solve that problem for fitness models and bodybuilders alike! Additionally, l-arginine is also believed to be critical in muscle growth. This is due to its vasodilating abilities and its ability to perform protein synthesis.
Many studies have even shown increased endurance among participants. Your body’s capacity for oxygen delivery to the working muscles through blood is a limiter to endurance performance.
Because l-arginine increases blood flow, it has the potential to increase oxygen supply; thus increasing performance. For this reason, triathletes having been using this supplement just as much as bodybuilders. Run that marathon!
Athletes of any affiliation can enjoy faster recovery time, reduced fatigue levels during reps, increased availability of energy, increased glucose use, and increased muscle pump.
Because of its production of nitric oxide, l-arginine is absolutely one of the most effective performance boosting supplements available. Take your workouts to the next level.
In the case of an athlete interested in discontinuing their use of androgenic or anabolic steroids, l-arginine can ease hypertension (often caused by steroid abuse), and the accumulation of bad cholesterol. L-arginine can serve as a safe affordable way to aid in reversing these conditions.
No matter if you are interested in L-arginine to further your athletic prowess or to combat serious health problems, there is no doubt that this enzyme can seriously improve your lifestyle.