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L-Arginine is an important supplement that everybody should know about. It provides you with a wide variety of health benefits that can help improve your overall wellness.Health experts and fitness gurus alike swear by it.
What is L-Arginine and what can it do for your body?
A Short Introduction to L-Arginine
L-Arginine is a derivative of the amino acid Arginine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play many other important roles in your body. They are so vital that around 75% of our body is actually made up of amino acids.
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Among the roles Arginine may play in your body are strengthening the immune system, promoting healing of wounds, relaxing and dilating arteries, and helping the kidneys remove waste from the body. In addition, Arginine may also helps the body produce the protein Creatine, which is believed to help promote the building of muscle mass.
The “L” form of Arginine is one of the twenty most frequently occurring amino acids and is also synthetized in pharmaceutical laboratories as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Arginine is considered a “non-essential” amino acid, since people normally produce enough in their bodies to maintain its healthy functioning. Arginine is also commonly found in many food items that are rich in protein, including poultry, red meat, dairy products, seeds and nuts, soybeans and chickpeas.
However, there are times when you may suffer from a deficiency of this nutrient, either because you are not getting enough from your diet or you are suffering from a condition that prevents your body from making the amounts that you need. You may also need to get more Arginine to treat a certain disorder. You can get more L-Arginine by taking dietary supplements. Bodybuilders also take L-Arginine supplements to help them build muscle more quickly, particularly when they are preparing for competitions.
The Science Behind L-Arginine
Arginine was first identified in 1895, but its importance in promoting heart health would not be discovered until 1989.
Dr. Louis Ignarro, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in that year along with two other American doctors, was one of the pioneers in conducting research on the health benefits of L-Arginine. They were awarded the Nobel prize due to their discovery of Nitric Oxide and its positive effects on the body’s cardiovascular system.
Dr. Ignarro believes that, based on his thirty years of research, Nitric Oxide may actually reverse heart disease in addition to preventing it.
Nitric Oxide is a gaseous molecule that is used by the body to send signals between cells. One of its most important roles in the body is that it acts as a vasodilator. Vasodilators are medicines that open blood vessels by relaxing the muscles in the walls of veins and arteries. They ensure that blood flows more easily through them since they are prevented from tightening. This lowers your blood pressure since your heart doesn’t have to pump with much force.
Arginine is converted into Nitric Oxide in the body by enzymes known as Nitric Oxide Synthases. Once produced, the molecule is then released into the bloodstream.
Since L-Arginine has been shown to promote dilation of blood vessels, it is commonly prescribed to people with cardiovascular disease and related health problems. The amino acid is seen to relieve the symptoms of clogged arteries and normalize the functioning of the heart. It may also alleviate the chest pains commonly felt by people suffering from heart disease. You can even start taking L-Arginine supplements to prevent developing heart disease, although this should only be done under the supervision of your doctor.
Since the amino acid dilates blood vessels, it can help lower blood pressure, as well as improve blood circulation in people with clogged arteries. Since Nitric Oxide is effective in preventing blood clots that can cut off blood supply to the heart, L-Arginine supplements are commonly given to help prevent chest pains (angina) by addressing nitrate imbalance.
Since L-Arginine has been shown to scavenge free radicals from the body, it can help reverse the effects of aging. It is generally used in combination with antioxidant supplements such as Omega-3 fish oils and Vitamin C. In addition, it can promote improved functioning of the nervous system and possibly prevent senile dementia by increasing Nitrous Oxide levels in the brain, since the molecule also acts as a neurotransmitter.
The amino acid may also be able to help the body remove ammonia from the bloodstream. Ammonia is produced as a byproduct when the body breaks down proteins, and when it builds up, it can cause tissue necrosis that leads to inflammation and cellular destruction. L-Arginine can help detoxify the body and may even be used to help treat metabolic problems related to the process of excreting ammonia.
How Safe Are L-Arginine Supplements?
Generally, Arginine is seen as one of the least toxic of the amino acids and can be taken by healthy individuals without risk of adverse effects, even in relatively high doses. However, to reduce the risk of side effects, you should take only as much L-Arginine as can be found in foods that are high in this amino acid.
The main effects that have been reported by people taking L-Arginine include bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. However, these are generally mild and those who suffer from them will usually see the effects go away after several days once your body gets used to the increased L-Arginine intake. If the symptoms don’t go away, however, you should stop taking the supplement and see your doctor, since you may be sensitive or have an allergy to L-Arginine.
The usual recommended dosage for L-Arginine is from 5 grams to 30 grams when taken orally. For people who are advised to take this supplement to treat heart disease, the usual dose is around five grams a day to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, you should seek the recommendation of your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage for you to take.
However, there are certain types of people who should either avoid taking L-Arginine or use it with care. Women who are pregnant or those who are breastfeeding should either not take it or take the supplement only in small doses. Growing children should also use the supplement with caution since they usually already get the amount of Arginine they need from their daily diets and should only be given more when it is clear that they suffer from a deficiency.
In addition, if you are taking prescription medication, you should talk with your doctor first to determine if there are any possible contraindications that could lead to negative interactions. Never take an L-Arginine supplement without talking to a health professional or stop taking your maintenance medication since this may have serious health consequences.
There are also some indications that people who suffer from herpes should not take L-Arginine since it may increase the severity of outbreaks. However, this subject is still open to debate since there are also authorities who believe there is no link between Arginine and increased risk of herpes outbreaks. The Herpes Resource Center of the American Social Health Association, in particular, does not recommend eliminating Arginine-rich foods since they believe there is no evidence that they can result in more outbreaks.
To understand how L-Arginine can help with erectile dysfunction, you have to know how erections happen. There are spongy tissues known as corpora cavernosa that line the shaft of the penis, which are made up of small veins and arteries. When a man becomes aroused, the arteries in the corpora cavernosa dilate, allowing blood to flow into them and making the penis erect. When men suffer from high blood pressure and similar conditions that prevent arteries from dilating, they experience erectile dysfunction and consistently have difficulty sustaining erections.
L-Arginine helps to address erectile dysfunction by helping the body produce more Nitrous Oxide. This ensures normal dilation of the blood vessels so that men suffering from ED can achieve normal erections. L-Arginine supplements are often seen as a natural alternative to Viagra and similar remedies for sexual dysfunction.
Women who are suffering from sexual problems such as low sex drive and inability to have orgasms can also benefit from taking L-Arginine. Some research has suggested that these problems are related to poor blood flow in the clitoral tissue. Increasing Nitrous Oxide production in the body can result in more blood flowing to the clitoris. This can heighten its sensitivity and make it more responsive when stimulated during sex, making it more likely that women can achieve orgasm.
Arginine may also help boost the sex drive of both men and women. This could be because Nitrous Oxide is a neurotransmitter that helps the brain transmit signals between neural cells. In addition, the presence of more Nitrous Oxide in the body may also help make sex hormones such as testosterone more available to increase libido.
There are also some reports that men who suffer from low sperm counts or have poor sperm motility have enjoyed improved fertility and increased their chances of being able to conceive by taking L-Arginine daily. If the couple is trying to conceive through in-vitro fertilization, L-Arginine may help increase the chances of success by improving the quality of sperm.
L-Arginine supplements designed to treat sexual dysfunction work best when they are combined with yohimbe. Yohimbe is an herb that comes from the bark of a tree that is commonly found in Africa, and it contains yohimbine, a powerful stimulant. When used during sex, it helps to stimulate the brain and promote increased blood flow to the sexual organs. Thus, its effects compliment those of Arginine. But, it should only be used under the supervision of a doctor or health professional to avoid the risk of adverse effects.
L-Arginine and Athletic Performance
Among bodybuilders, L-Arginine is one of the most popular supplements and it has become an essential part of their workout routines. Since Nitrous Oxide increases the blood flow to the muscles, bodybuilder use it regularly to dilate the blood vessels in order to achieve the "Pump" and has even been seen to help promote the buildup of lean muscle while reducing body fat.
In addition, L-Arginine is seen to improve the release of growth hormone in the body. Bodybuilders and athletes need this hormone since it acts as an anabolic agent that stimulates the growth of bones and muscles. Taking L-Arginine is seen as being particularly useful in helping build stronger muscles when taken by athletes during their rest days, since these periods are when growth hormone production is at its highest.
Finally, by helping promote the production of Creatine, athletes are seen to benefit by enjoying energy boosts during workouts. Since Creatine is depleted during workouts, taking L-Arginine helps replenish the levels of this protein in the body. It can even increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing more glucose to enter the muscles for increased energy and endurance.
Older athletes who want to remain active can also take L-Arginine since it has been shown to help promote quicker recovery after workouts. It works by decreasing the release of free radicals in the body and thus reduces the negative effects of heavy exercise. And the benefits are seen not just in the skeletal muscles, but also in the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.
But even those with conditions that prevent them from exercising can use L-Arginine so they can become active again. For instance, if you suffer from fatty deposits on the blood vessels of your feet and legs, taking L-Arginine supplements can help alleviate the condition and increase walking distances as well as reduce muscle pains and aches.
Of course, more studies will need to be done to completely confirm these health benefits, but the initial research has been promising.
How to Choose an L-Arginine Supplement
L-Arginine supplements are available in a variety of forms, ranging from powders that are dissolved in water to capsules that are taken orally. The first step is to determine for what purpose you are taking the supplement. There are products that are designed as dietary supplements for general health purposes and those that are indicated for use for use by bodybuilders and other athletes. Make sure you choose the one that is appropriate for your needs, to ensure that you would get the benefits that you want.
The second step is to determine how much L-Arginine you are getting per dose. Each product contains a certain amount of the amino acid, whether it is per scoop or per capsule. Choose the one that will give you the amount of L-Arginine that you need. You can research this information by reading reviews or, better yet, looking at the labels of particular products.
Another consideration is the formulation of the supplement. L-Arginine supplements usually contain other ingredients that have their own health benefits. You should determine what these are and if they can provide you with the benefits that you want. However, L-Arginine should always be the main ingredient and make up the highest percentage of the formulation.
You should also make sure that you buy only from trustworthy manufacturers. You can do some research to determine which companies have a good reputation and sell a high quality product. In general, you should only deal with those manufacturers that are based in the US and avoid products from countries such as Mexico and China, since these are not only unregulated by any reputable agency but may also sell adulterated products. One indicator that the product comes from these countries is if the label contains many grammatical errors that indicate that the writer is not a native English speaker.
Of course, this does not mean that manufacturers in the US are automatically trustworthy, but they are subject to more oversight by agencies such as the FDA even if they are not directly regulated. In fact, the FDA maintains a list of “Tainted Products” which it updates regularly and lists dietary supplements it has tested and found to be potentially hazardous due to having hidden ingredients not listed on the label. There are also private consumer watchdogs whose websites you can consult about particular products, such as ConsumerLab, which test supplements and produce reviews of health supplements and nutritional products.
Another warning sign is if the price of the product is too low relative to others on the market. These prices may be “too good to be true” precisely because they are, since the manufacturers may be using low-quality ingredients or the supplement does not actually contain the amount of L-Arginine and other ingredients as stated on the label. At worst, they may be actively harmful since they are not tested for quality and may be adulterated.
When reading reviews of supplements, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Try to look past the exaggerations of reviews and look for hard information about the product. This will ensure that you get your money’s worth and that you choose the product that is right for your needs.
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